It's easy to fill up any size kitchen with gadget and gizmos and "tools" that may make the actual task of food prep harder than it has to be.
While a quick lesson in proper knife skills can eliminate the need for pretty much every special chopping device, there are some kitchen gadgets that really cannot be replaced. Lots of tools are unnecessary; these are must haves:
I was dubious about the zucchini noodle (e.g. zoodle) craze, but having a spiralizer legitimately changed my cooking life. Use your spiralizer to quickly spiralize zucchini to add to pasta (you don't have to go full-on zoodle!), cucumbers, carrots and beets for an easy salad, potatoes to look fancy and pretty much anything else you can fit in your spiralizer. Beyond being easy to use, it's also simple to clean.
Try: Twist Handheld Spiralizer by Chef'n, $24
2. Collapsible Vegetable Steamer
This gadget takes up pretty much zero room in cabinets and can be used for everyday cooking, two important factors in a kitchen appliance. To use, just place the steamer over a steaming pot of water (or soup or whatever you have already cooking), and steam vegetables (frozen is fine) until they're cooked enough to eat. It's impossibly easy to use and a healthy way of cooking.
Try: Amco Collapsible Steamer, $7
3. Popsicle Mold
Totally necessary. First of all, you can use this to make a healthy breakfast, like yogurt or juice pops, which is a major perk for those who want a grab-and-go morning meal. With a popsicle mold, frozen dessert lovers can also invent their own creations and have ultimate control over what is in their popsicles, i.e. no gross additives. Plus, popsicle molds are a great place to save leftover wine...
Try: Onyx Stainless Steel Popsicle Mold, $50
The only way to grate cheese is by hand. Don't try a machine, don't try hacking at a block of Asiago with a knife. Just grate it properly. And yes, it's much better this way than a package of pre-shredded cheese. Graters are also useful for fruits and vegetables and can add more texture to your cooking.
Try: Williams-Sonoma 6-sided Grater, $25
5. Kitchen Scale
The only thing separating you from a professional pastry chef is a an accurate kitchen scale. Skip the dry measuring cups and start weighing your flour and sugar instead. You'll see.
6. Stand Mixer
In many ways the original kitchen gadget, the stand mixer can do all the stirring and kneading that you can't. Show off your excellent culinary skills (or successful wedding registry) by prominently displaying one in your kitchen. Various attachments for making pasta, bread, grinding meat and more make this a versatile tool no matter what you like to cook.
Try: KitchenAid Stand Mixer, $399
No amount of chopping and whipping can replace what a blender can do. From smoothies to soups to margaritas to baby food and homemade dog food (why not?), a blender is your best friend in the kitchen.
Try: Ninja Professional Blender, $80
8. Immersion Blender
And for the few things your standing blender can't do, there's the equally necessary immersion blender. Put it directly in soups, sauces and purees without transferring the hot contents to another blending container. It's also a great tool to hide vegetables in any dish, from kids or just from yourself, by disguising them as unrecognizable mush.
9. Chef's Knife
A good chef's knife is the key to cooking any good meal. You can use it for pretty much anything and everything you cook — the key is to keep it sharp! To use your chef's knife to the fullest, try a free online knife skills course.
Try: Wüsthof® Gourmet Chef's Knife, $60 & up