24 amazing gadgets for your kitchen

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By in Food & Drink, Shopping. Updated September 2016.

Fancy yourself as the next Mary Berry or Paul Hollywood? Or perhaps you just want to know how to make beans on toast without causing the apocalypse…
mary berryEvery cook, good or not so good, needs the right tools and gadgets to make the magic happen. They don’t have to be costly or complicated, but you’ll flounder like a dead fish without them.

This list reveals some of the best-kept kitchen secrets and is all about making your life easier.

If your gadget budget is running a bit short this month? Check out our sections on making and saving money.

24 kitchen gadgets

  1. Silicone tongs

    Silicone TongsIt’s pretty obvious when you think about it, but cooking does make your food kinda hot and picking it up with your fingers is a surefire avenue to Burn Central.

    Fiddling about with standard cutlery is likely to end the same way, with the added bonus of dropping your delights onto the floor. Stop the problems before they start with these George Home Large Kitchen tongs (£3.50 from George).

    They’re the best value we can find, featuring must-have silicone to avoid any slip-ups.

  2. Food processor

    foodprocessorWe’re in the 21st century people! So why sweat over chopping a carrot when you can get a machine to do it for you? And why would you want to make pastry by hand when all it takes is the whizz of a button? And no, it doesn’t count as cheating.

    At £34.99 this Kenwood Compact food processor is a bit of an investment (or birthday gift), but for what it does it’s a real steal. Just think, you’ll never have to whisk, grate, chop or slice ever again!

    Oh, and now you can actually complete one of Jamie’s 30 minute meals in under an hour…

  3. Aeropress coffee maker

    Aeropress Coffee MakerIf you like and value your morning coffee, it’s time to stop drinking that instant stuff.

    The Aeropress coffee maker (£26.50 from Amazon) is the latest must-have gadget in coffee drinking and we love it. Easy to use, easy to clean and the result is just as good as coffee from a £5,000 coffee machine, every time.

    Check out the outstanding reviews on Amazon if you’re still not sold.

  4. 2 in 1 pepper and salt mill

    saltpepperYou know when you’re at Pizza Express and they offer you some “freshly ground black pepper” and it’s so much tastier and cooler than the sachets you stole from the university café?

    Well, there’s something behind that.

    It’s a certifiable fact that salt and pepper you grind up yourself not only tastes better, costs roughly the same and makes you look like a pro cook, but the bigger grinder also means that you’re less likely to lose the seasoning pots at crucial moments.

    And this 2-in-1 Salt and Pepper Mill from Lakeland just goes one better!

    It makes your house look like a ‘well proper’ lived in home and all you have to do is swoosh it one way for salt and then swoosh the other way for pepper. Plus it’s only £13.99, which won’t break the bank.

  5. Pyrex measuring jug

    pyrexmugIt’s all very well knowing how much everything weighs when you’re following instructions, but sadly the same rules don’t apply to liquids.

    Allow us to present to you the wonders of the Pyrex 0.5 Litre Classic measuring jug (just £4 from Sainsbury’s).

    Being Pyrex (heat-resistant glass), you can shove it in the microwave or oven to heat things up without it melting or the marks fading away as with plastic jugs.

  6. Folding chopping board

    Folding Chopping BoardIt’s hard to find a chopping board that could pass as a kitchen gadget but we reckon we’ve come pretty close here.

    This foldable chopping board from Joseph Joseph acts just like a normal one but uniquely allows you to squeeze the handle to form a lovely slide for your food to whizz down into the pan. No more spillages on the stove top.

    It only costs around £14 over on Amazon.

  7. Salad spinner

    spinnerYeah, we know. This sounds like the most boring and ridiculous thing ever invented,  but you’ve clearly not experienced the abomination that is soggy (or dirty) lettuce.

    The solution is only £16.

    Yep, you heard us right. Grab this top of the range Sainsbury’s Salad Spinner for less than it costs to buy a posh cocktail at the bar (and you nab some Nectar points in the process).

  8. Pit Stop pizza slicer

    cutterEven if you’re the most basic of “shove it in the oven and hope for the best” cooks, chances are you’ll probably have encountered a ready-made pizza at some point.

    There’s nothing more frustrating than cooking the perfect pizza, then having to maul it into submission with a blunt knife, or worse still, scissors.

    Sure, you could just pick up a standard slicer for about £3, or you could be the coolest kid on the block with this Pit Stop car slicer (a snip at just £18).

    It even comes with two wheels for different types of pizza! And best of all, you have the license to yell “vrooooooom” every time you dish up.

  9. Five piece knife block

    knivesIf ever there’s an invention just crying out to be made, it’s a one-knife-for-every-task-in-the-kitchen knife.

    Sadly, the multi-purpose knife has yet to materialise (read: get on it and cash in) so it’s up to us to tell you that you can’t cut bread with a vegetable knife.

    No, really, you can’t. The type of blade a knife has, serrated or smooth for example, makes a big difference when you’re chopping up various food types.

    This Kitchen Craft Five Piece Knife Set can be bagged from Tesco for around £40. While this might sound like a lot, the sturdy handles and stainless steel blade make breakages a lot less likely.

  10. Hot Chelsea butter dish

    butterdishNothing says “GET YOUR FILTHY HANDS OFF MY DAIRY PRODUCTS” better than a nice butter dish. This alone guarantees it as a sound investment.

    As with this pretty little Hotel Chelsea Collection number from Dunelm Mill (just £3.99), butter dishes also come with a range of other benefits, such as no more mangled butter packets and the ability to keep your butter out of the fridge for days at a time. Who knew?!

  11. Digital meat thermometer

    Meat ThermometerDry chicken and overcooked beef are both up there with the many serious atrocities in the world. But to be honest, if you’re anything like us, overcooking meat is sometimes the only way to make sure you don’t catch a nasty bout of food poisoning.

    Not anymore!

    A digital meat thermometer from Amazon costs less than £7 and will transform your cooking forever.

    If you don’t know what the optimum temperature for whatever you’re cooking is then a quick search on Google will help you out.

  12. Speciell soup ladle

    ladleSoups, sauces and other liquidy type food can be very tricky to get from pan to bowl without some serious spillages.

    Not to panic, that’s where this groovy Speciell soup ladle from IKEA (40p!) comes in, with a non-stick coating that means you won’t end up destroying all your pans.

    It’s also bright green.

  13. Philips Airfryer

    Philips Airfryer

    Everyone loves chips, right? There are three problems, however:

    1. They’re well overpriced at the chippy
    2. They’re really hard to make at home
    3. They’re usually a little unhealthy.

    (By the way, please don’t buy a standard deep fat fryer if you or your housemates don’t like kitchen fires.)

    This Airfryer from Philips (£99) effortlessly produces incredible chips with 80% less fat and without oil. And trust us (since we have one), the chips taste just as good as better than the ones from the local kebab joint.

    To ease the pain of cutting up potatoes, we recommend getting this stainless steel potato chipper (£16) too. Finally, remember to add some seasoning (eg. salt/pepper/paprika/chicken salt).

  14. Pyrex dish set

    pyrexYou’ve got the Pyrex jug, but why stop there? Keep making your life easier with these special dishes that can handle extreme heat. They’re perfect for things like lasagnas, pasta dishes and casseroles.

    We like this Pyrex 3 piece dish set (around £15 from Argos), which includes a range of sizes and lids (which also double as dishes for smaller culinary exploits!).

  15. Breville sandwich toaster

    sandwich
    It may at first sound like a frivolous expense, but if you can spare £29.99 we know you definitely will not regret investing in this Breville sandwich toaster. It looks like it’s walked straight out of a fancy café!

    Spice up boring lunches with more adventurous combinations such as paninis or ciabatta. And thanks to its flat surface, this toaster doubles as an extra place to fry stuff.

    A lot better than the plasticy ones that everyone brings to uni halls when they first arrive anyway…

  16. Tefal Uno blender

    liquidFeeling healthy? Feeling lazy? Either mood can be easily satisfied if you arm yourself with a liquidiser. Whether you want to whip up some soup or a smoothie, all you need to do is chuck some ingredients in and press the on button.

    Blenders also make an amazing addition to house parties, where you can magic some truly show-stopping cocktails and firmly cement your position as party ruler supreme.

    Durable and easy to clean, we like this Tefal Uno Blender which you can pick up from Debenhams for around £20. It also comes with a removable cap for adding things mid-way through that you totally forgot were supposed to go in.

  17. Morphy Richards slow cooker

    slowcookerHow many times have you got home from a long day – or a short one for that matter – and thought that you just couldn’t be bothered to cook a thing despite being hungry?

    While takeaway might seem like a tempting offer, with a slow cooker you can just throw raw ingredients in a pot in the morning, leave it for the day and enjoy a yummy, healthy and cheap meal on your return. Minimal effort guaranteed.

    We like this Morphy Richards Sear and Stew slow cooker (just £34.99 at John Lewis), as it has loads of different settings so you can cook whatever you fancy and the glass lid lets you check for any mishaps!

    For lots of great slow cooker recipes, check out this cookbook which contains 200 for £3.99.

  18. Living frying pan

    CASTIRONPANIf we’re making a list of essentials to have in a student kitchen, which it appears we kind of are, it simply wouldn’t be complete without a decent frying pan.

    Whether you’re cooking a slap up meal, or just a hangover fry up, this Tefal Non-stick frying pan is sure to do the trick at just £18.

    Sometime the simple classics work the best. Plus it’s non stick so really easy to clean.

  19. Freezable containers

    foodfreezeIn the spirit of efficiency, saving money and being healthy, it’s well worth picking up some of these reusable food containers from Wilko for £1.

    Double up on your portions to save some dollar and whack the rest in the fridge/freezer for a day when you just can’t be bothered to do anything. Easy peasy.

  20. Serving spoons

    spoonsSharing is caring, and it works out so much cheaper for y’all if you take it in turns cooking for each other. So you shouldn’t mind the measly £6 it costs for these Ripley stainless steel serving spoons.

    Whether you’re aiming for a fully fledged roast dinner or a bit of pasta with cheese sauce, life will suddenly become so much easier when you’ve got some super-size spoons to help you dish up.

  21. Weighing scales

    scalesWe would certainly recommend picking up these Red Salter Orb Scales from Amazon for £8.50.

    No more wild guessing as to what 5 ounces of flour looks like! This bit of kit gives you a much better chance of producing something magical, or even just edible.

  22. Garlic press

    garlicpressIt might look like something that’s fallen off the Starship Enterprise, but this Koncis garlic press (£2.25) from IKEA does actually serve a valid kitchen purpose.

    Garlic is a student go-to kitchen staple; it adds great flavour, lasts for ages and costs hardly anything. But trying to crush or cut it into tiny pieces with a kitchen knife can feel like climbing Mount Everest (and it makes your fingers smell).

    This garlic press solves the problem, and neatly comes apart so you can wash it. And generally looks super cool.

  23. Everyday Value sieve

    sieveHere at Save the Student we’ve been avidly behind the “sieves are different to colanders” education campaign for the last few years, and we can definitely assert you will need both.

    If you’re looking to strain peas or rice, you’ll find it goes straight through a colander as the holes are bigger. It’s also a lifesaver when you end up with lumpy gravy. And don’t even get us started on flour for cakes.

    Luckily though, this is an easy problem to fix. A simple Tesco Everyday Value sieve costs a mere £4.50. So no excuses, ya hear us?

  24. Double-handed oven gloves

    ovengloveWith burn avoidance in mind, we present you with this groovy John Lewis double oven glove (£5).

    Everything, and we mean everything, in the kitchen is out to get you at various times, so make sure to take precautions and cover up your mitts.

    You can stop using tea towels to remove things from the oven now.

There are literally hundreds of awesome items that could have made this list but we chose our top picks based on previous experience in terms of what most student kitchens are missing, great value and general usefulness in making life easier. But please do share with us any of your own suggestions in the comments below!

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