These Gadgets Really Do Save You Time
An investment you'll never regret, food processors can make speedy work out of slicing and chopping fruits and vegetables, blending ingredients, and kneading dough. With just the touch of a button, you can create homemade nut butters that add depth to many recipes and its shredding blade attachment can quickly slice cabbage and shred carrots for a quick slaw, like our Tequila Slaw with Lime and Cilantro.
A mini food processor is sometimes handy for small food prep tasks, such as chopping onions, garlic, herbs, and nuts, and it doesn't take up that much room on the countertop or the kitchen cabinet.
This gadget is a must-have in every kitchen. Cooking Light Nutrition Editor Sidney Fry relies on her box grater for shredding and grating cheese, zucchini, apples, sweet potatoes, and carrots. The large holes can even be used for butter—freeze it first and then toss it into flour for a scrumptious pie crust. The smaller holes are perfect for creating small bits of chocolate for a pretty garnish.
Oxo Box Grater, $17.99.
Keep shears handy to chop whole tomatoes right in the can, trim fat from meat and skin from poultry, and cut chives straight over dishes. (Just wash the scissors in between.)
KitchenAid Shears, $11.25.
The tried and true bench scraper is known by many names, such as dough scraper, bench knife, and bench chopper. Whatever you want to call it, it's an indispensable tool when baking bread. Its stainless-steel blade cuts and portions dough cleanly, it provides support for lifting and turning dough, and it makes quick work of cleaning up a messy work surface.
Test Kitchen staffer Deb Wise advises not to limit the bench scraper to homemade bread activities. "It works really well scooping up and moving chopped and diced veggies, or—and here is my favorite bonus job—it’s great for smoothing the icing on the sides and top of a frosted cake," she says.
Oxo Bench Scraper, $9.78.
Adjustable Rolling Pin
This is by far the quickest way to emulsify a vinaigrette (just shake, shake, shake). Another quick tip: Make simple syrup in a jar, shaking until the sugar dissolves. It's much faster than bringing the mixture to a boil and then waiting for it to cool down.
See More: Super-Easy Simple Syrup Trick
Razor-sharp tiny blades that yield finely grated bits in no time? Yes, please! Nutrition Editor Sidney Fry depends on her microplane to effortlessly zest lemon rinds, mince garlic, and grate hard cheese—and she wouldn't have it any other way. "A little cheese goes a loooooong way on that sucker," she says.
Microplane Grater, $8.
A mandoline makes quick work of slicing—it yields perfectly uniform, thin pieces and spares you the hassle of dragging out your food processor. Test Kitchen staffer Robin Bashinsky loves its compactibility. They just store in a drawer, and you can pull them out, use them, rinse them off, and dry on a dish rack," he says. "Just watch your fingertips!"
Oxo Mandoline, $14.99.
Stick it into a pot of soup, and you'll have a smooth puree in seconds. There's no need to transfer hot soup from the pot to the conventional blender and back again, making clean-up so much easier.
Bowls for Mise En Place
"Mise en place is your best friend when you’re trying to save time in the kitchen," says Test Kitchen fellow, Jiselle Basile. This is a French term that means “everything in its place” and it is the most essential skill that a great cook learns. Doing your mise en place means getting all of your peeling, chopping, and organizing out of the way before you begin cooking, so all your ingredients are ready to go. Let's rock and roll!
Mise en Place Set, $24.
A Really Sharp Knife
Sharp knives save a lot of time and grief in the kitchen by making prep work much faster. And they're safer—a dull blade is likely to slip and cause injuries. Editor in Chief Hunter Lewis attributes his sanity to always keeping a sharp knife handy. "There's nothing worse than trying to prep with a dull knife," he says.
3-Piece Cook's Set, $216.
There's no denying the appeal of the pressure cooker: slow cooking done faster. Essentially, you're saving time by cooking foods at above-boiling-point temperatures, usually from 212° to 250°. The best part about it? The heat stays in the pot, not in your kitchen. Our pressure cooker recipes prove that a meal delicious and nutritious meal can be on the table in just a half an hour.
Instant Pot, $99.
Use this tool when a recipe calls for crushed garlic because you'll be able to get both the garlic and its juice. For the everyday cook who's yet to master professional knife techniques, a press will save time rather than smashing and chopping. This gadget can also be used to crack spices, like whole peppercorns for marinades, brines, and pickles.
Oxo Garlic Press, $15.99.
Yes, your grandmother had one, but you should know it multitasks—use it for fresh hulled strawberries or small, firm mushrooms like button or cremini.
Oxo Egg Slicer, $10.