We know, we know: A *real* chef wouldn’t be caught dead with a single-use appliance in their kitchen, and normally we’re opposed too. But what about those unconventional purchases that you didn’t know you needed in your life until they were sitting on your countertop…and now you use them all the time? From fondue pots to citrus juicers, here are nine random-but-useful kitchen appliances that will change your cooking game forever. Promise.
9 Random-But-Useful Kitchen Appliances You Didn’t Know You Needed in Your Life, According to a Food Editor
You can’t impress your dinner guests with a pro-level crème brûlée if you don’t have a kitchen torch to make that signature crackly, caramelized top. Luckily, you can easily justify your purchase of this culinary torch, since it’s versatile for browning casseroles, toasting meringues, crisping roast chickens and more. It features an adjustable flame, an instant start-up and shut-off, and a safety lock to prevent accidental ignition. (Don’t forget to pick up some butane fuel cartridges, too.)
True story: We were gifted a countertop milk frother and thought we’d never use it…until we realized it can steam milk, make cold and hot foam, warm up a mug of apple cider and yield the creamiest hot cocoa (not to mention allow us to savor the sheer joy of a homemade latte). Whether you’re a whole milk drinker or prefer oat, this frother promises whisper-quiet milk frothing, has a stay-cool handle and a simple, user-friendly interface.
This six-capacity oeuf cooker is a must for any egghead. It can churn out eggs that are soft, medium or hard boiled, poached, scrambled or folded into an omelet at the press of a button. For anyone with mouths to feed, a busy schedule or simply a lazy mindset (hello, who wants to watch water boil?), this appliance is surprisingly useful.
OK, maybe you’re not an egghead. But are you a rice lover? If so, you need a rice cooker, which can make a perfectly steamed batch of any type of rice with almost no effort. (In fact, it’s ideal for anyone who thinks pilafs are painful and dreads the task of making rice, since it will never burn your side dish to the bottom of the pot or yield crunchy, undercooked grains.) This one-liter electric rice cooker even has a delay timer, plus a retractable cord for easy storage.
Things we love: margaritas made with fresh lime juice, freshly squeezed O.J. Things we don’t love: the amount of brute force required to juice a thousand limes or oranges for said beverages. This automatic citrus juicer efficiently squeezes the juice from the smallest limes to the most voluptuous grapefruits with no sweat on your part, plus it allows you to adjust the amount of pulp that ends up in the liquid.
In our wildest dreams, we host swanky parties in our sunken living room à la Megan Draper in Mad Men. In reality, the closest we’ll probably get is this electric fondue pot, which can melt chocolate, cheese, broth or even oil for a ’70s-inspired dipping fête. It has a nonstick interior, is dishwasher safe and includes eight fondue forks—just spare us any double-dipping, please!
If you’re not hip to the benefits of an electric kettle, you’ve just never had the chance to marvel at an appliance that can heat up water faster than you can say “Earl Grey.” And while you could get any old version for, like, $20, we’re enamored with this wi-fi enabled stunner that can schedule a boil, control the temperature to the degree and even adjust how long the water stays hot. It’s the Rolls Royce of kettles, and it also happens to make an amazing gift.
This three-cup cutie can make quick work of chopping onions, mincing garlic and even making small-batch dressings and sauces, plus it doesn’t require clearing a ton of space for storage (or hauling it out of a cabinet every time you want to use it). Bonus: The bowl, lid and removable blades are all dishwasher safe.
Gone are the days when we’d reach for a single-use plastic straw from our cabinet. Instead, we prefer to sip from reusable straws, like this glass one that comes in multiple lengths and diameters for drinking smoothies, shakes, iced coffees and more. PureWow’s editorial assistant, Delia Curtis, agrees—they scoped out this cute option with a hand-painted rainbow motif. Plus, the glass material is friendlier to sensitive teeth, unlike metal straws, which can get painfully cold.
Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City restaurants. She used to sling sugary desserts in a pastry kitchen, but now she’s an avid home cook and fanatic baker.