Can having the right kitchen appliances help you to make getting dinner on the table easier, simpler and less of a hassle? I think so. With the Fab Five kitchen appliances I recommend in this post, becoming a kitchen Ninja is just a matter of time!
Having the right kitchen appliances can really help you simplify your kitchen. How do I know?
Take it from someone who’s been cooking meals for my family non-stop for the last 20 years like it’s her job. Home cooking is something I take very seriously and something I’m constantly trying to improve upon.
That’s why, whenever I come across a kitchen appliance that can help me cook better, faster and easier, I can’t help but to spread the wealth sort of speak—especially right now, when their prices are at their lowest.
So, if you’ve been looking for simple ways to amplify your kitchen prowess, here are a few of my favorites that can get you there and fast.
For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links which means that if you make a purchase through any of my links, I may receive a small commission.
Instant Pot Duo
Ever since I read this post about the dangers of arsenic in white rice, I’ve become an avid user of the Instant Pot.
The funny thing is, I still prefer my rice cooked in my rice cooker but I use my Instant Pot almost every day now to cook virtually everything else.
From steaming, to slow cooking, to getting meats “fall off the bone” tender quickly and easily, the Instant Pot Duo is my number one favorite kitchen appliance to get dinner on the table.
Features and Benefits
My only regret is, one, I didn’t get one sooner, and two, that it’s a bit small for my family of 4.
But with this one appliance, you can cook in 7 different ways. You can:
- pressure cook
- slow cook
- make rice
- make porridge
- keep food warm and
- make yogurt
This means that not only will you save space on your countertop, it will save you time, effort and patience, as well.
I love, for instance, how you can brown and sauté your meats and veggies right in the same pot that you’re going to be pressure or slow cooking in.
This model also allows you to adjust the heat and pressure settings so that you can control how much or how little a dish needs to be cooked.
The best feature, of course, is that the Instant Pot allows you the ultimate benefits of hands-free cooking; I get to have some self-care time while my dinner is braising, simmering, steaming or pressure cooking away.
Dishes You Can Make in the Instant Pot
Lentils, quinoa, and chili all come out perfectly in the Instant Pot (just follow the easy directions that come with the Instant Pot).
As for me, some of my favorite Korean dishes like:
- Kimchi jigae (Kimchi stew)
- Galbitang (Short rib soup) or
- Braised Janjorim (soy braised beef with eggs)
are all simpler to make now in my Instant Pot rather than on my cook top.
Other soups and broths that used to take me hours to make on my stove top, like my anchovy broth, can now be prepped in less than 5 minutes and slow cooked without a separate slow cooker.
Also, with the porridge function, I can now make my favorite fall time treat, the Korean Pumpkin Porridge, with a flick of a switch—no fuss and no muss—just the way I like it!
Where to Purchase
I got my Instant Pot Duo from Amazon last year for about $100. But now, they have the latest model on sale for $79.00.
There are other models available at places like Kohls or Bed, Bath and Beyond but Amazon has THE best price on this as of this writing.
If you do get one, I’d love to know what you make with it; Also, subscribe to follow my Pinterest board for more recipe ideas.
Go Wise Air Fryer
The first person to turn me on to the concept of air frying was none other than my 78 year old mother about a year ago—can you believe that???
Anyone who knows her well enough knows that she’s not very tech savvy but whatever knowledge she lacks in that area she makes up for it in spades when it comes to cooking.
So when she called me up to rave about her friend’s “air” fried tempura shrimp, I was all ears.
She told me I MUST get this air fryer NOW or else, she threatened, she’d have to figure out how to shop on-line to get one to me all the way from California.
And so, rather than put her through that sort of stress, I got this Go Wise Air Fryer to find out if the hype was real.
Boy oh boy… was I in for a surprise.
Features and Benefits
Since the air fryer uses hot air circulation to crisp up your food, I only use 1/4 of the cooking oil (or even less than that in my experience) I used to use to get everything nice and crispy.
The air fryer also gives me pre-set functions the regulate the temperature for “frying” different types of foods; This helps to cut out all the guess work from frying.
Frying foods now doesn’t leave my whole house smelling like a greasy diner either, since all the oils stay trapped inside the fryer basket and doesn’t splatter all over the place like it did before when I was frying on my stove top.
Clean up is a breeze, too, since the basket you cook the food in, pops right out of the handle so I can pop it into the dishwasher and wipe down the rest with a clean towel.
It’s a great way to speed up, ease up and in general make frying foods much more enjoyable.
What I Cook With My Go Wise Air Fryer
Here are some fried dishes my family and I have enjoyed again and again using the Go Wise air fryer:
- Chicken Katsu (Japanese version of chicken cutlets)
- Air Fryer Spring Rolls
- Rotisseri Chicken
- Fried fish
It’s also safe and easy enough for my18 year old son to fry up his own home made fries made with his own unique blend of seasonings; These taste so much better than the frozen kinds!
Where to Purchase
There are so many more air fryers on the market now than a year ago when I got mine so I can’t even tell you which model is the best one.
However, I can attest to the Go Wise model I bought with the only exception being that it’s a bit small (I have the 5.8 quart model) for my family’s growing appetite and that the basket it comes with wears out pretty quickly.
I’ve even tried my friend’s Ninja Air Fryer but I found it comparable to my air fryer but costs a bit more (+$40).
I’m almost certain that I’m going to invest in another Go Wise air fryer this season but a 8 qt or 10 qt model if I can find one.
Cuisinart CSB-179 Smart Stick Hand Blender
Even before I knew what an immersion blender was, I picked this baby up from Costco nearly 20 years ago at the rave review of a blogger I can’t remember the name of now (Yes, they had bloggers even back then).
This was w-a-a-a-y back when I’d just started introducing solids to my newborn and both my mother-in-law and my mom had “gifted” me not one but THREE baby food (or Iusik) recipe books. True to their Korean instincts, they wanted to ensure that I’d give their first born grandchild every nutritional edge possible.
The pressure was ON, folks… THE PRESSURE WAS ON!!!
So being a newbie mom and a lesser experienced cook, I got this hand held blender thinking that it’s got to be better than chopping, blending and mashing all my child’s food by hand.
Who knew back then that once I mastered cooking home made baby foods, I’d become a home cooking Ninja!
Features and Benefits
My very first Cuisinart hand held blender, came with a blender, a mixer and this handy dandy mini chopper and grinder attachments.
The mini chopper and grinder made mincing, dicing or grinding anything that those baby food recipe books threw my way so easy.
I also learned how to make carrot and ginger soup and split pea soup as a result of this hand held wonder.
Clean up is also easy, since all the attachments—blender, chopper and mixer—can all go directly inside the dish washer.
The high and low speed functions also make it easy for you to control of how smooth or coarse you want your food to get.
This feature became especially helpful as I pureed less and chopped more as my son got better and better at chewing solid foods.
What Can You Cook With The Immersion Blender?
Most people use this immersion blender for doing just that—smoothing out soups or blending smoothies.
I use the mini chopper attachment for making fresh batches of guacamole, salsa, or prepping a whole batch of minced garlic and ginger to store and use throughout the week.
The whisk attachment also whips up THE best coconut whipped cream I’ve ever tasted (my Kitchen Aid stand mixer doesn’t do half as good a job).
Where To Purchase
The model I currently have is a Cuisinart CSB-179 Smart Stick Hand Blender, and I got it from Amazon 6 years ago. It’s still working even though I use this virtually every day if not 3-4 times a week.
The reason why I prefer this over the other competitors models from Braun is that it functions just as well as my Cuisinart Food Processor which I love, but without it being so massive.
I believe it’s worth the extra price of getting this one than a no name brand one for half the price.
At the time of this writing, Kohls is out of stock and Costco only carries the cheaper model. Amazon is the only one that carries this 2019 model for around $76.
The Ninja Blender
Although having a regular blender AND a hand held immersion blender seems like a lot to have in a simplified kitchen, having both in your kitchen will maximize your effectiveness while minimizing the effort you have to put in to your cooking.
Think of it like having a Philips screwdriver and a standard screwdriver. A handyman needs both tools for various purposes and so these blenders will help you expand your cooking versatility in much the same way.
The hand held blender, for instance, is the perfect tool for pureeing hot liquids directly inside the pot.
However, 64 oz size pitcher with the Ninja blender, is so much better at making huge batch of smoothies for the entire family or frozen cocktails for a gathering.
Each tool functions differently and therefore I use and need both for different reasons and seasons.
Features and Benefits
Although when it comes to blenders, the Vitamix is the ideal, I chose this Ninja Professional Plus Blender DUO with Auto-IQ for its practicality.
Vitamix blenders are great for those wanting to recreate Jamba Juice in their kitchen but this Ninja blender with its 1400-peak-watt motor base purees a cup of frozen mangoes and oatmilk in less than 3 minutes like it’s nothing.
Having two single-serve cups that fit into the smaller blade attachment also comes in handy for making individualized smoothies since my son prefers oatmilk smoothies and I can only drink almond milk smoothies.
Also, the 3 preset Auto-IQ programs allow me to blend and cook at the same time since it shuts off all on its own once it’s done.
What I can Make with the Ninja Blender
Besides smoothies, Ninja’s 72 oz pitcher is indispensable for making large batches of stuff like my kimchi slurry, or this Korean Pumpkin Porridge.
The sound is a bit louder than what I’m used to with my hand held blender, but it blends so quickly, I can’t complain.
As for clean up, both the blade attachment and the tumblers can go directly into the dishwasher.
Where to Purchase
I got my Ninja Professional Plus Blender DUO with Auto-iQ last year from Kohl’s on sale for $120—Amazon had already sold out by the time I’d made my mind up to get it.
Amazon sells a similar model with lesser wattage, 1100, for around $127 and Bed, Bath and Beyond sells one with a 1400 watt base for around $102 on sale. The added bonus is that this model comes with an additional 64 oz. Food Processor Bowl.
The Amazon Echo Dot
Unlike all the other appliances I’ve mentioned so far, the Echo Dot is one kitchen must have that I didn’t purchase but received as a gift.
Again, I’m not one for much for gadgets (like mother like daughter), so I didn’t even know this technology existed until my savvy sister-in-law, gifted it to me almost 3 years ago for Christmas.
And boy, has this simplified my kitchen in so many ways since then.
Features and Benefits:
Basically the Echo Dot or Alexa, as it likes to be called, is like having a robot in your kitchen without wheels.
It’s a voice activated device, sort of like Siri is on your iPhone but so much easier to use and much more practical for everyday use.
Think of Siri as a clever and sophisticated version of HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey and Alexa is like Rosie the Robot from the late 80’s kid’s cartoon show The Jetsons (now I’m really dating myself…).
Just like Rosie, the Echo Dot frees me up from getting distracted, confused or both while I’m busy cooking away in the kitchen.
For one thing, Echo’s unlimited timer function helps me keep track of how long I need to boil, simmer my various dishes cooking on the stove top and how long somethings been baking in the oven, while alerting me when I just had my groceries delivered.
I also use it to keep a running shopping list so I don’t have to stop what I’m doing to jot it down on paper and because it syncs across all my devices, I can access this list from my phone whenever I’m making a grocery run.
I also like how Alexa can convert measurements when I’m trying out a new recipe without having to use a calculator (or my brain!) or how it can amuse my son and keep him occupied and out of the kitchen with Song Quiz or Trivia Pursuit or answering his spelling questions.
The sound quality is not as great as a Bose sound system, but again if practicality is what you need, then this Echo is the sure cure.
Cook Faster, Easier, and Simpler
Now that so many of us are dining at home why not get a few kitchen appliances to help you consolidate, automate and minimize the hassles of getting dinner on the table every night.
With any of these top 5 kitchen appliances I recommend above–the Instant Pot Duo, Go Wise Air Fryer, the Cuisinart Hand Held Immersion Blender, the Ninja Blender and the Echo Dot, you’ll be taking your cooking to the next level—or at the very least making it much more simplified.
Happy cooking and have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!