5 Essential Small Kitchen Appliances

breakfast

No one wants too many things in the kitchen. First of all, they’re unnecessary if they don’t perform multiple functions. Secondly, who has that much cabinet and countertop space?? To keep it simple, we’ve narrowed down the list of kitchen “must-haves” to just five items.

Espresso machine
Coffee is amazing. But since Starbucks isn’t—and not everyone is lucky enough to have a great mom and pop shop nearby—consider investing in a home espresso machine. My machine is sleek, high performance, and oh-so-gorgeous. And it’s Italian. There’s something very satisfying about pulling my own shots and frothing my own milk.

Hand blender
Food processors and regular blenders are excellent, but they’re large and take a lot of effort to clean. For daily use, a hand blender is the way to go. It’s excellent for small jobs like soups, salsas, and smoothies, which is what most blending projects are. Our household would not function without this thing. As a bonus, a good hand blender is also very affordable.

Stand Mixer
When we got married, everyone I knew coveted the stand mixer. You know the one—it’s the gold standard of kitchen appliances. I wasn’t sure I needed it, could use it, or wanted to pay for it. And the truth is, we don’t use it a lot and it was expensive. But when you need a mixer, the gold standard Cuisinart is everything you could possibly need, especially when you buy the attachments. This investment is truly worth it.

Slow cooker
There is nothing better than throwing ingredients in a pot, walking away, and finding dinner ready six hours later. I don’t know what I did before my slow cooker. We use it for everything from soups to barbecued beef. If I could be better organized before I leave for work to get things cooking, we would use it for even more. As it is, Sunday is the perfect time for making chili or barbacoa tacos, and I’ll stick with that—especially when there’s football to be watched.

Toaster oven
A good toaster oven is really under-rated. There are certain things like pizza and meat that just aren’t meant to be reheated in a microwave. A good toaster over will do that in no time without the food becoming rubbery, tough, or otherwise inedible. They also heat up very quickly. That means that if you’re cooking or warming a small batch, you finish quickly and without spending the money to heat up your whole oven or making the whole house hot.

What’s the Best Material for New Cookware?

stainless steel cookware is a great option

If you are hungry for new cookware, there is a wide array of cookware materials and designs that you can choose from to suit your wants and budget. From stainless steel and nonstick enamel cookware to copper and cast iron, the sheer number of options can make the selection process overwhelming, particularly if you are unsure about what you want.

Of course, the allure of owning chef-endorsed sets and top-shelf cookware can be appealing and tempting. However, you still have to educate yourself in order to make the best decision. If you are wondering what the best material for new cookware is, here is a guide that can help you out before shopping:

Stainless steel cookware
Stainless steel cookware is a staple in many people’s kitchens because it is often inexpensive and long-lasting. Classic stainless steel is a perfect choice if you braise and brown often.

Pros

  • Very long lasting
  • Extremely easy to clean and maintain. Most brands are dishwasher safe.
  • Comes in sets so you get everything in one purchase.
  • Depending on what other material is used, it can be used on all stove types.

Cons

  • Uncoated pans are hard to clean and difficult to maintain.
  • It has poor heat transfer and distribution.

cast iron distributes heat evenly

Cast iron cookware
When seasoned properly, cast iron cookware is a good option as it is non-stick and distributes heat evenly. Cast iron is ideal for sautéing, frying, and searing.

Pros

  • It heats slowly and evenly, and it maintains heat long after the stove is off
  • It can be used safely in the oven
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • It is very heavy
  • It does not react well with acidic food like tomatoes.

Copper
Although it can cost a pretty penny, copper cookware retains heat wonderfully, which is perfect for making high temp foods like candy.

Pros

  • It cooks food evenly.

Cons

  • Often expensive
  • It reacts with alkaline and acidic foods and can leave a metallic copper aftertaste in food.
  • Has to be well maintained and serviced now and then.

Aluminum
When you are looking for a workhorse in the kitchen, aluminum cookware is a brilliant alternative. Aluminum conducts heat well, it is affordable, and it is typically sold at affordable prices.

Pros

  • Disperses heat evenly throughout the pan.
  • It is perfect for meals that need to cook slowly.
  • It resists denting and scratching well.

Cons

  • Unless anodized, raw aluminum reacts with acidic and alkaline foods.
  • It can cause health concerns as it is prone to staining and often discolors light colored meals and sauces.