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5 Kitchen Gadgets to Throw Out Now (And What to Use Instead)

a pile of kitchen gadgets on a kitchen counter

Kitchens can quickly become a haven for single-use gadgets. Who really needs another odd-shaped, drawer-jamming tool? The truth is, we know we don’t need a butter mill or a banana slicer; the question is what to use instead.

There seems to be a different kitchen tool for every possible task. Want the perfect sliced egg? They’ve got a thing for that. How about a beautifully hulled strawberry? Yep, got that too. Or maybe putting a fork in the pickle jar is just upsetting to you, in which case, fear not, the pickle picker does exist.

Most of us don’t want our kitchen to turn into a one-use tool graveyard. But, it would be nice to know what multi-use tools might take the place of these single-use gadgets. We’re not saying to throw away that banana slicer…

Okay, yes, we are. Please throw away the banana slicer and read on.

Forget the Butter Mill, Use a Cheese Grater

If you’ve never seen a butter mill, you’re not missing out. This single-use tool is said to give you soft, spreadable butter without the wait time. However, as any experienced baker knows, there are other ways to get soft butter straight from the fridge. The easiest? Use a cheese grater.

Cuisinart Boxed Grater, Black, One Size, CTG-00-BG

Made from stainless steel, this grater features a large soft-grip handle and four sides for grating and slicing in different sizes.

Yep, grate the butter like you would your favorite soft cheese. You’ll have “softened” butter suitable for any use, whether it be on toast or in your next batch of cookies. Bonus, the cheese grater can also be used to grate just about anything else, from onions to gruyere, making it a much more versatile tool to have in your kitchen.

No Strawberry Huller Required, But a Chef Knife Is

Okay, we don’t really recommend hulling strawberries with a chef’s knife. However, a good, sharp, set of kitchen knives will take the place of many one-purpose tools. A sharp paring knife makes short work of strawberry hulling, dough scoring, and olive slicing. Meanwhile, a sharp chef’s knife will take care of just about everything else, including slicing that banana.

The keyword here is sharp. Skimping on knives is never recommended. If you go to cut a tomato and end up with tomato soup, it’s time to get those babies sharpened (or get a new set of knives).

Leave the Spiralizers for the Insta-Stars and Get a Mandolin

woman slicing vegetables with a sharp madolin
Arina P Habich/Shutterstock

Vegetable spiralizers are currently experiencing their time in the sun. This probably has to do with the whole low carb, don’t-touch-white-pasta-with-a-10-foot-pole trend. Here’s the thing, though. Most spiralizers take up a lot of room, don’t work very well, or have blades that are hard or impossible to replace.

A good mandolin will let you slice veggies into thin pasta-like strands just as well. It won’t give you those cute, photo-worthy curly cues, but it will let you do a whole lot more than just cut vegetable pasta. A mandolin will cut any veggie into the shape of a french fry, potato chip, or (depending on the model), even a waffle fry, and it works fast. If you’re squeamish about the open blade, invest in a cut glove to go with it, and watch your dinner prep time cut itself in half.

Don’t Buy an Asparagus Peeler, a Universal Vegetable Peeler Will Do

There are specialized peelers out there for every vegetable that ever required peeling. If you owned them all, you’d have a whole drawer of just peelers. And, while that may spark joy for some of you, a universal vegetable peeler is a much more practical way to go. Just be sure to get one that has a built-in potato eye remover, and you’re all set for any peeling job.

OXO Good Grips Swivel Vegetable Peeler

Universal vegetable peeler with a soft, oversized grip and built-in potato eye remover.

Why Invest in a Slow Cooker When You Could Buy an Instant Pot?

This may be a point of contention as there are many slow cooker loyalists out there. Here’s the thing about slow cookers, though, if you’re going to let something cook all day at low heat, a Dutch oven is going to give you a better result. There’s no doubt about it.

If you like the slow cooker because you want to leave your cooking duties unattended, then we recommend looking into an Instant Pot instead. The InstantPot does double duty, acting as a slow cooker when you need it too, but also acting as a pressure cooker. And, as many a chef will tell you, a pressure cooker is kitchen gold and worth having.

Instant Pot Lux 6-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Sterilizer Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute, and Warmer, 6 Quart, 12 One-Touch Programs

With enough volume for six quarts of food, this Instant Pot has all the standard features for easy timer operation and pressure adjustment.

So, stop jamming your drawers and stuffing your cabinets with one-use tools. Instead, look for the more versatile options, both your wallet and your precious kitchen square-footage will thank you.

Lauren Sakiyama Lauren Sakiyama
Lauren Sakiyama is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry. She has managed restaurants, country clubs, and large-scale event operations, but her passion has always been about the food. Read Full Bio »
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