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Over the last year, I spent a lot of time in our kitchen. At first, cooking three meals a day was just a lot of work. Thankfully, with time, I learned how to make cooking easier by utilizing small appliances.
I won’t lie. Some of the small appliances and kitchen tools I purchased were duds. But I don’t want you to make the same mistakes. No one needs a kitchen gadget that takes up space and collects dust.
To make sure you don’t waste your limited kitchen space, I am sharing the 5 small appliances every kitchen needs.
Small Appliances Ranking Criteria
To come up with this list, I looked at a few different criteria:
- Do I actually use it?
- Did it save me time?
- Was it easy to use?
- Did it make our food taste yummy?
- How much space does it take up?
For each small appliance, I will share why I love it and how I use it. I will also include links to the exact models I recommend so you can purchase one for your kitchen.
Related reading: Cookbooks Every New Cook Needs In Their Collection
1. An air fryer
When my husband and I talked about putting together this list, we hands down said that the air fryer was our most used small appliance. We love love love the air fryer. Why? They are available in a variety of sizes, they are easy to clean, and they make food taste better.
If you have kids, you need to pick up an air fryer. Our editor uses hers almost every day to cook things like chicken nuggets, fish sticks, corn dogs, veggie tots, and mini pizzas. For those with a big kitchen and a large family, we recommend the Cuisinart Air Fryer Oven.
For those of you that don’t need to cook for littles, the air fryer is still a great purchase. Pick up a 5-QT air fryer and make meals for two without turning on the oven. You can cook just about anything from chicken breasts, fish fillets, meat kabobs, eggrolls, and veggies.
- PowerXL 5qt Single Basket Air Fryer,
$99on sale for $60 at Target!
- Cuisinart AirFryer Toaster Oven, $199 at Target and Amazon
2. A Nespresso machine
Back when I used to leave the house, I was guilty of buying coffee every time I went out. But all of those coffee runs add up! One $4 latte a day is $120 a month! I absolutely had to put an end to that expense, but I didn’t want to give up our beloved coffee drinks. I tried the Keurig but found that the coffee it made was underwhelming. Once I tried my first pour of espresso from the Nespresso, there was no turning back.
The Nespresso machine and pods have been a staple in our daily routine. I love that I can make coffee shop-quality drinks from the comfort of our home for half the price.
At the time of publishing the post, a lot of the Nespresso machines are sold out. If you drink espresso and latte drinks exclusively, you will be pleased with the Nespresso Original machines. For a small kitchen, you can’t go wrong with the Nespresso Essenza Mini. If you want the option for coffee and espresso, you’ll want a machine from the Vertuo line.
Skip picking up the Nespresso frother. You can find great milk frothers on Amazon for a fraction of the price.
3. A blender
No list of essential small appliances would be complete without a blender. I love our blender for making the everyday essential smoothie. A blender can do more than smoothies and acai bowls, they are great for making creamy soups and sauces, too.
If you want a blender that will last and you have the budget, you can’t go wrong with a Vitamix. They are a classic for a reason. A Vitamix will blend just about anything you put in it.
If you are looking for a blender that is a bit more budget-friendly, I recommend Ninja Blenders. While not as powerful as Vitamix, the Ninja can blend our Daily Harvest smoothies in no time.
- Vitamix Explorian Blender, $349 at Target and Amazon
- Ninja Professional Plus Blender, $
99on sale for $89 at Amazon
4. A multi-function slow cooker
Yes, you read that correctly. I am recommending a slow cooker over a pressure cooker. Why? Food cooked in a slow cooker tastes exponentially better than food cooked in a pressure cooker. Also, I prefer a slow cooker with a longer oval shape. There is more surface area for browning, plus the shape makes it perfect for cooking roasts. But if you are tight on space, pick up a 4 quart or smaller.
We use our slow cooker year-round. In the summer, we love to make pulled pork for BBQ sandwiches or shredded chicken for tacos. During the cooler months, we make chili, soups, and stews.
You could opt for a regular slow cooker, but we love that we can sauté ingredients before slow cooking. It really turns up the flavor. Plus we can use the feature after cooking to thicken up sauces.
If you do pick up a normal slow-cooker, pick up a programmable one. A programmable slow cooker will make sure you don’t come home to an overcooked dinner.
- Cuisinart 6qt Electric Multi-Cooker, $159 at Target and Amazon
- Hamilton Beach 4-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker, $35 at Target and Amazon
5. An electric kettle
The final small appliance is the electric kettle. You may look at the unassuming electric kettle and dismiss it as an unnecessary small appliance, but that would be a mistake, my friend.
If you love tea, pour-over coffee, or hot chocolate, you need an electric kettle. We also use this kettle to make broth from our favorite bullion paste. And we’ve used it a few times for instant mashed potatoes, instant soups, and on-the-go oatmeal bowls.
For most people, I recommend a standard spout kettle with variable temperatures. I really love the Cuisinart PerfecTemp because I can select from one of six temperatures, plus it has a keep-warm function.
If you are wanting to achieve the perfect bloom when making pour-over coffee, you’ll need an adjustable-temperature gooseneck kettle. For the ultimate coffee lovers, only the best will do. The golden goose of gooseneck kettles is, of course, the Fellow Stagg.
- Cuisinart Perfectemp, $99 at Target and Amazon
- Fellow Stagg Gooseneck $149 at Amazon
- Bonus Pick* Cuisinart Gooseneck Kettle $99 at Best Buy