5 Tools Every Kitchen Should Have (and How to Use Them)
The following appliances and tools are helpful for serving up your own fast (and healthy) food—and most are available for a reasonable price.
Nonstick frying pan, saucepan, skillet
Nonstick pans let you cut down on the oil or fat you cook with. Thanks to new technology, they’re now being made of harder materials, so they heat faster and more evenly. Look for a pan or skillet with heavy-gauge construction.
Tip: Lift it up, check the width of the sides and bottom, and rap the pan with your knuckles. Listen for a thud, not a ping.
Mixing up fruit smoothies, grinding nuts, chopping herbs, blending soups—all are a breeze when you have a good blender.
Tip: A mini-processor saves space and works just as hard.
Tip: An immersion blender is a good handheld option and can be easy to clean.
There’s no need to grab fast food on the way home from a long day at work if you’ve got a meal already simmering.
Tip: Look for a cooker with a removable insert—it’s easier to clean. Plus, you can place food in it the night before and store it in the refrigerator overnight for speedier setup in the morning.
Tip: If you’re feeding a family of 4 or more, get a cooker that holds at least 6 quarts.
A simple idea but a great time-saver for anyone who likes a fresh salad without having to wait for the lettuce to dry.
Tip: Look for one with a tight-fitting lid.
Tip: Choose a larger rather than smaller model (over 3 quarts)—you want enough room for the salad to actually spin.
Help keep the nutrients in your vegetables by steaming them. You can choose simple steamers that work in the microwave and saucepans, or stand-alone versions with levels for different foods.
Tip: Some steamers also cook meat, fish, and rice.
Tip: An automatic shutoff/warmer option ensures the steamer won’t boil dry.
Tip: A timer lets you control when the steaming starts.