Kitchen Gadgets and Tools you actually use? [General]

2010 Sep 28
If you are anything like us, you are just like a magpie in a kitchen store, especially the gadget section. Pineapple slicers, melon ballers, pizza scissors, and egg separators all seem like great ideas in the moment. Items that serve one purpose tend to end up spending years at the back of your kitchen junk drawer before they are pawned off on somebody at your next garage sale. We have learned to ask ourselves at the moment impulse strikes, “Can I see myself rooting through a drawer for this item when I’m covered in flour or chicken juice, my guests arrive in twenty minutes, I haven’t showered, and the cat is just waiting for me to turn my back on her?”

What are your favourites that you actually use, rather than just like the idea of having them?

Ours are at our latest Happy Mouth Posting:

Rob and Maureen

2010 Sep 28
My favourites that I actually use

Kyocera® Ceramic Grater: very handy if you use ginger and garlic often

High Temperature Resistant Silicone Spatula: a million dollar tool.

2010 Sep 28
I use a bamboo spatula... for everything!

2010 Sep 28
Microplane grater. It zests! It rasps! It nutmegs!

2010 Sep 28
Pressure cooker - for cooking soybeans to make natto. I had it for years and never used it. Then I started making natto and now I need it every couple of months. Unfortunately when I took it out of storage I cleaned it with a stainless scouring pad. I worked good on the inside, so then I used it on the outside and now the surface is scratched (obviously !), but it still works great.

2010 Sep 29
Was using my mandolin to slice stuff almost every day..until someone here threw out the blades when I was out one day :(

-A lee valley tools apple and patato slicer, this metal thing that peels a apple or tater in like 30 seconds.

-my slicicone lids-they fit on any pan and are also oven safe.
I wish some place still stocked those, they are awesome and I want 3 more.

My tea ball, I have a lot of loose tea and make my own iced tea.

2010 Sep 29
Mom got me The Star Peeler. I already had a vegetable peeler I really liked and thought she was nuts for raving about this one. I now understand, agree and it gets used all the time at our place. You only need a light downward pressure, to glide it along the entire length of the vegetable. (Using it is a bit of a different technique than I was used to but switching it up is worth it.)
Never thought I could use a peeler on harder things like turnips and squash.
I use it for peeling and thinly slicing things. I make Parmesan cheese shavings for garnish, super thin toppings for pizza, use it if I want a long skinny cut type of coleslaw,

I agree with Happy Mouth Blog and use my Citrus Press a great deal. Yes, the fork technique works BUT when you're using a great deal of citrus its a pain. I often press a small bottle's worth of juice and have it on hand in the fridge to add to water. Also make a lovely palate cleansing Lime Sorbet.

Someone in our household kept killing (using too much pressure and squishing down the teeth on) the large wide Microplane and we ended up getting wrasp instead. Its more durable and works quite well.

2010 Sep 29
Zyliss garlic press from Switzerland.

Old style only. I tried the new design and it looks sleeker/cooler/trendier but it does not work as well and cloggs up easily.

Why do manufatures try to improve a good design and mess up in the process ?

2010 Sep 29
Unicorn Magnum Pepper Mill

Without question the best mill anywhere. 9" high, hugh storage capacity, large side filling hole, large output and amazing grind selection.

They also make a smaller version in white with a ceramic grinding mechanism for salt.

2010 Sep 29
MBS - your pepper mill sounds like, and has features, that most other 9" battery operated "devices" have... err... is it a coincidence that it's black?

2010 Sep 29
It uses no batteries and it produces much more ground pepper than any battery operated grinder that I have seen. It is really fast.

Customer support is also excellent. I have had mine for about 7 years and I recently emailed them about a problem I was having with the grinding adjustment not holding its position. They replied within an hour and sent me a new cross bar and adjustment screw at no charge.

2010 Sep 29
I have a vegetable peeler similar to the one above - from Ikea - and find it way better than a conventional one too. Something about having the blade at a 90 degree angle just makes it leaps and bounds better.

2010 Sep 29
MBS - I know it grinds, but does it vibrate? With a name like 'Unicorn Magnum' I'm not expecting the words 'pepper mill' to follow.

2010 Sep 29

But ...

Pepper is a noble spice which to do it justice requires as nearly mystical power to unlease it's intoxicating flavours. Will you trust a mill going by the name of a common prime minister?

2010 Sep 29
I use a pestle and mortar for pepper - find it way better than a mill

2010 Sep 29
Zym, thats even sexier :)

2010 Sep 29
My teacher use a metal meat hummer (flat side)to smash peppercorn!

I will try Ikea peeler. It sounds good.

2010 Sep 30
I bought this old box coffee grinder at the Stittsville Flea Market for $8 ages ago - grinds copious amounts of pepper in a few seconds :-)

2010 Sep 30
I love my immersion blender! Great when you're making big batches of soup or guacamole.

Also love my girlfriend’s kitchen aid stand mixer, its just soooo cool!

2010 Oct 1
I got rid of ALOT of gadgets a few years ago since I kept collecting things I thought I would use then didn't. Even though I use what I kept I still feel like I have too many gadgets... My favourites though would be my utility knife, my microplane, my immersion blender, my cheese grater, and my tongs.

2010 Oct 8
For small gadgets love my zester, immersion blender and double sided mallet...Large gadgets include food processor and stand mixer (including accessories...)

2011 Jan 2
The Star Frit scale is on sale at crappy tire again for 10 bucks

2011 Jan 3
I love my lemon reamer and my remote meat thermometer that lets you read the temperature without opening the oven door.

2011 Jan 3

2011 Jan 3
Picked up a magnum peppermill a few weeks ago. Awesome unit. It really makes easy work of milling. Much, much, 10000x better than the Peugeot set I bought a couple years ago. Anyone interested in them? :)

Also love the thermapen and good set of tongs.

2011 Jan 4
MMmmmm... bacon flipped by mini tongs.

2011 Jan 4
Okay, remote thermometer is on my want list. As is the silicone spatula. I just haven't seen one with a decent enough edge. I'm still looking.

I love my square egg maker. It's a little clear plastic press that forms a whole, peeled, boiled egg into a square shape. Then you can slice it up much easier. Plus, it's cool.

I got a rabbit-ear wine opener from my mother because she couldn't figure it out. Once I showed her how easy it was to use she rushed out and bought herself another one.

We have tried to stay away from single-use kitchen gadgets because we never had the room for them.

I bought a Braun yogurt maker at a garage sale and it works really well, but then I figured that I could make a lot more of it at the same time in the oven without having to wash out all those stupid little jars so ... that was it for the Braun.

Oh, speaking of Braun ... does our espresso maker count? Yes, the little glass carafe broke early on, but after substituting a stainless one of similar size it works just as well.

Braun immersion blender does wonders in our kitchen.

Hey! I certainly buy a lot of Braun! Even the 12-cup coffee maker (and backup 12-cup coffee maker) are of the same make.

Rooting around in the drawer I found an old grapefruit spoon that gets a lot of use for different things, a couple of candy thermometers for making yogurt, a meat thermometer, a few backup wine bottle openers ("Be prepared, son. That's my motto."), a foot long beer bottle opener for decent leverage, surface scraper, marble rolling surfaces, silicone muffin trays, double-layer insulated cookie trays. A lot of this stuff is pretty standard.

Any time we happen to run across a good, deep glass pie pan of 10" or so we will immediately snap up. That's more of a fetish now than a need as we have several.

I bought an old stainless toaster a few months ago. I guess that qualifies. You know, the one that automatically lowers and raises the bread. It worked for a while and then it didn't. So, we're back to the multi-function toaster oven. Still, the toaster looks pretty up on its shelf and off my counter.

zymurgist is using ice tongs there on his bacon and that's a pretty good use for them. I have only one set of tongs and could probably do with two or three more of differing material and configuration. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't mind getting a set of those bamboo ones for doing the same.

Our electric waffle maker definitely qualifies. We use it infrequently at most.

2011 Jan 4
Along with several gadgets already mentioned by other Foodies, I also love my very old, hand held ice crusher made in Italy. My Grandmother gave it to me from her NB kitchen over 30 years ago and although it only crushes one ice cube at at time, it does it quickly and efficiently. When a family member is ill, it comes in very handy for ice chips in a glass for the sicky. Takes up very little space in my gadget drawer which is a bonus.

2011 Jan 4
I am inseparable from the Lee Valley Tolls spurtle. I almost use it daily, to stir oatmeal, boiling pasta, stirring soups, sauces...pretty much anything. I received it as a gift and didn't think much of it, but now I am sold!

2011 Jan 4
Those mini tongs are great! I have wooden ones which are excellent for fishing toast out of the toaster-;)

2011 Jan 4
Between people's spurtles and magnums, I'm starting to see a trend... throw those tongs into the mix and that's getting a bit kinky.

2011 Jan 4
I love that citrus juicer that Happy Mouth Blog originally posted. I also use this sharpener that I got from C.A. Paradis. Well actually mine looks a little different but same idea.

2011 Jan 4
i'm on the hunt for a Hot Diggity Dogger which could prove to be one of my funkiest kitchen gadgets.

spare the jokes, Chimichimi

2011 Jan 5
If they only made hot dogs in the same shape as a slice of bread ... HEY! WAIT A MINUTE! Let's just redesign the toaster to our needs!

Yeah, I thought those were hilarious when I first saw one, but if it's what you want then who am I to laugh? Oh, I can laugh. I sure can. I'm not laughing at you, though. Honest.


2011 Jan 5
Chimi; EWWWWW Freakazoid! I will never look at my Spurtle the same way now! lol

2011 Jan 5
This is a bread dough spoon.
I have used it for about 10 years.
It took me about a year to find one and have it mail ordered from the States. The company wouldn't mail to Canada.
Just after arrangements had been made I saw one for sale at ma cuisine.
I love it for making bread. (not very high tech)

2011 Jan 5
I used my potato ricer and mandolin several times over the holidays--must haves but if you don't have a mandolin make sure you buy one with a guard. It is probably the most dangerous kitchen tool.

2011 Jan 11
Monty - I had one of those hot diggity dogs for years!
i got rid of it about 2 years ago, it was still sitting unopened and untouched ( i got it as a joke gift)

2011 Jan 12
W.C. - I liked my mandolin before and even with a guard I managed to cut myself from time to time 'helping it out" here and there. I bought a glove to wear and now LOVE my mandolin more. Got mine at C.A. Paridis only cause they were bought for me. I felt like I was being condescendingly patted on the head by my shopping companion. But after using it a bunch I am thankful and am really glad for having them. It helps me feel more confident using it, and because of it, I tend to use the mandolin more often. I am able to go down to nothing with whatever is being cut without fear of being hurt. I highly recommend finding the cut resistant gloves for it for those who prefer to be hands on but want the safer factor.

2011 Jan 12
Hrm. I have a butcher's glove but for the life of me, never thought of using it with the mandoline! Dummy.

2011 Jan 14
I am buying one of those butcher gloves next time I am on Bank St.
I bleed very very very badly from the smallest finger cuts and have to use special bandaids that stop bleeding...really :(

But I hardly ever cut myself cooking and I used to work in a restaurant prepping a lot of foods w sharp knives!

I actually cut my finger taking the blades out of my crap mandoline!

2011 Jan 16
ditto on the potato ricer, and I LOVE my percolator. I switched from a drip machine back to a cuisinart percolator about 15 years ago. I find that the coffee tastes better (if you get the correct grind) and it stays much hotter after brewing than in a drip machine. Plus it's nice in the morning to hear the sound of the perking and to see it bubble in that little clear glass knob at the top. I have been scouring flea markets for an old Farberware percolator for years, as perked coffee addicts tell me it's the best.

2011 Jan 17
I had pointed out a newish percolator the other day to the Dragonlady and she smiled a bit, but didn't say any more. I think we all have fond memories of that happy burbling, but don't think our memory will live up to reality.

What grind am I looking for? Coarse, obviously. Probably more coarse than drip.

I'll keep my eye out. It may be worth a look. Either that or it'll sit beside the old stainless toaster I bought.

2011 Jan 17
Rizak: Coarse yes. Someone on here showed an old cuisinart burr type coffee grinder, and I use that, or if I'm using the coffee right away there is usually an electric perk setting on the grocery store bean grinders. A fellow foodie got an ancient aluminum percolator at a garage sale and now she is a convert as well. It does take a bit of trial and error until you know exactly how much coffee to use in your particular pot.

2011 Mar 24
II know most of us are trying to pear down and not buy things but in case you found any items on this thread inspiring and want to try them out, Check this out:

Groupon - The Daily Deal for Ottawa
Thursday, March 24, 2011

$20 for $40 Worth of Cookware and More or $169 for a J.A. Henckels Six-Piece Knife-Block Set ($399 Value) at The Cookware Centre (220 Bank St.)

Choose between two options:
- For $20, you get $40 worth of cookware and more in-store.
- For $169, you get a J.A. Henckels six-piece knife block set with an 8" carving knife (a $399 value).

See the link for more details:

2011 Mar 25
Immersion blender for soups, fuzzy logic rice cooker, vegetable steamer (for edamame), aeropress for coffee, can opener that cuts from the side, potato peeler (you should always use on because most of the vitamins are close to the skin and the peeler cuts closer to the skin than a knife).

2012 Jan 2

2012 Aug 11
Okay, I finally found the perfect spatulas. They are OXO brand. I found them at Home Outfitters, but also saw one of the two at C.A. Paradis. It has a thin metal core, covered by a semi-transparent grey silicone. It is exactly what I've been looking for for years. I got a medium and a large one, but they also have a tiny one and a fish flipper in the same style.

2012 Aug 11
I wouldn't be without my Slap Chop. For garlic, ginger, chilli and anything else you don't want to have impregnating your fingers, it's awesome.

2012 Aug 14
hello all :)

would anyone be kind enough to share their recommendation for a pressure cooker? i cannot find one at walmart, zellers, sears or the bay. I found one last year at a specialty electronics store but it was over $200!!

Feedback is greatly appreciated.

2012 Aug 14
Canadian Tires always has them and often enough on sale. Kijiji might be worth a check as well.

2012 Aug 14
thanks bobby, i will check canadian tire. i just saw a post on instantpot at T&T - does anyone know how much they are selling for?

2012 Aug 14
I bought an Instantpot last year and it quickly became one of the most important gadget that I use. I bought mine at CA Paradis for about $150.

2012 Aug 14
Preston hardware has the best selection in town but they can get an awful lot more expensive than $200 :-)

2012 Aug 14
zymurgist - yes, I just realized that after searching pressure cookers on amazon (over $300 for some!!)

I also saw the great reviews for instantpot on I think its official - I will definitely purchase an instantpot. Thanks for the recommendation food buddy! I had never heard of ca paradis and Im really excited to see what other interesting stuff is there.

On a separate note, to answer the forum's question: at this time, one of my favorite gadgets is my fish grilling basket. put some olive oil and salt on a whole mackerel, place in the basket and secure the clamp, grill, squeeze some lemon and add some red onions and tomatoes and enjoy :) yumm

2012 Aug 15
Fissler's Blue Point pressure cookers are awesome. A few different online shops in Canada sell them.

Preston Hardware sells the All American brand which are very nice as well.

Anyone knows who sells the Rubbermaid Commercial spatulas in town?

2012 Aug 16
Looks like you've already got yours picked out, but I'll ask anyway: how large a cooker were you looking for? The one that we have couldn't possibly have cost $200, and it holds everything we'd ever want to...

2012 Aug 16
I guess large enough for a stew that will make 4 pretty large. and Yes I have adamantly decided to becoming an instantpot lady very soon! im very excited :) thanks for all your help and recommendations.

2012 Aug 19
Well, upon further research I've discovered that ours (Premiere brand) was a gift, and it came from a non-descript importer's shop in Markham. It probably cost $60-$80, but I think it's only 4L or so so it may not be big enough for entire stews. (We use ours primarily to par-cook meat before adding it to curries.)

Looking forward to hearing about how the Instantpot works out!

2012 Aug 21
All-Clad 12" brushed stainless steel frying pan from Ma Cuisine. Not cheap but I honestly don't know I cooked before buying this.

2012 Aug 21
hey I finally bought the Instant Pot for $139+tax at CA Paradis yesterday. It's 10+litres and really simple to use even for a rookie like me! So I think its great value for the money. I used it today for a Caribbean fish and shrimp soup and after a few tweaks it turned out great. It will be a bit of a learning curve and probably take me another trial to get used to, but I know the instant pot will be a huge time saver in the end.

Thanks again for the reco!!

2012 Aug 23
Olive/cherry pitter. Immersion blender. Wire pan for BBQ.

2012 Aug 23
My microplane, hands-down. Good knives (including a great round-tip serrated knife that cuts any bread bread so easily), thick bottom pots/pans, silicone spatulas, and a kitchen scale also make the list.

2013 Jan 21
Never did get my Hot Diggity Dogger but I did pickup a Unicorn Magnum. Thing is a pepper grinding machine - it's definitely taken the top spot of favourite gadget/tool in the kitchen!

2013 Jan 21
Henkels Vegetable Peeler, Silicone spatulas, heavy duty garlic press, Braun immersion blender, wooden lemmon juicer, AND
A wooden stir stick (shaped like a paint stirrer but 1/2" thick. Sold 40 years ago branded "The Galloping Gourmet"!!!

My grandmothers bread board, My first edition Cuisinart Food Processer....

2013 Jan 22
Agree with what many other posters have noted. I use the following items all the time: my ceramic lemon juicer (similar to the one in the original post) microplane zester, silicone spatulas and tongs, garlic press, potato ricer, tiny kitchen scale, meat thermometer and immersion blender.

Also can't do without my Lodge cast iron frying pan, 7-quart dutch oven, French press, little mortar and pestle and those Euro scrubby cleaning pads available at Ma Cuisine and other kitchen supply stores. They look like they'd be abrasive, but they're somehow not. I keep at least two different ones on hand at all times. One is used for scrubbing fruits and veg clean if they're not getting peeled and the other for my aforementioned dutch oven.

I like my mini whisk for tiny jobs like salad dressing. We also use our adjustable lid opener a lot. The common sense of the thing really pleases me (adjustable to whatever size lid you have), although it sometimes drives me a bit crazy because the rubber band is always coming off in the drawer. It looks kind of like this:

I like having a vaccuum sealer around, but hate using it myself and usually ask my husband to put away extra fish, steak, etc. when we come home from a Costco shop. We got ours years ago and it isn't fancy but does the trick.

Boy, this would be a great thread for someone about to sign up for a wedding registry. I know so many people who signed up for all sorts of dumb gadgets that they never ended up using....

2013 Jan 22
Ooo.. I just remembered my super inexpensive ginger grater. Love it. :)