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14 Things That'll Solve All Your Kitchen Problems

Here's the stuff we loved this year.

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1. A collapsible (and dishwasher-safe) microwave popcorn popper that makes perfect popcorn in 90 seconds.

amazon.com

"This thing is so easy to use: You just put a tablespoon of kernels in the container, place the lid on top, then microwave it. After about a minute and half, you get perfectly popped kernels ready to be customized with the works.

The genius of this design is in the top — which is just wide enough to cover the kernels, but loose-fitting enough to let the steam out as the popcorn pops. You could technically use your own combination of microwave-safe bowl and vented cover, but personally, I don't own the latter. Also, this thing is collapsible (and easily washable), which in my teeny NYC kitchen is always a win." — Michelle No

Get the Lekue microwave popcorn maker from Amazon for $20 or Jet for $19.99.

2. An oven-ready sizzle platter that can cook just about anything.

"I spent years cooking in restaurants, and I learned early on to stop fussing round with giant sheet trays. Instead, it's better to use a sizzle platter. Any proper kitchen will have stacks of these magic aluminum pans — and they're perfect for roasting veggies, broiling meat, and toasting nuts. (Check out all the ways to use them here.)" —Jesse SzewczykGet an 11-inch aluminum sizzle platter from Amazon for $10.40.
Instagram: @soigneyo

"I spent years cooking in restaurants, and I learned early on to stop fussing round with giant sheet trays. Instead, it's better to use a sizzle platter. Any proper kitchen will have stacks of these magic aluminum pans — and they're perfect for roasting veggies, broiling meat, and toasting nuts. (Check out all the ways to use them here.)" —Jesse Szewczyk

Get an 11-inch aluminum sizzle platter from Amazon for $10.40.

3. A space-saving one-touch blender that'll make your morning routine a little easier.

"My favorite breakfast is a smoothie, so this year, I bought a blender so I could start making my own more often. This Oster one caught my eye because it of its affordable price point, positive reviews, and ~sleek look.~ Functionally, it's dishwasher-safe, and it's super easy to use. Making the perfect smoothie takes about 45 seconds. (My go-to is almond milk + banana + peanut butter + honey.) Once you're done blending, you can remove the blade cap, fasten on the sports bottle cap, and take it to go. I'll drink mine on my morning commute to work." —Hannah LoewentheilGet the Oster My Blend blender with travel sport bottle from Amazon starting at $15.99. Available in 7 different colors.
Hannah Loewentheil / BuzzFeed

"My favorite breakfast is a smoothie, so this year, I bought a blender so I could start making my own more often. This Oster one caught my eye because it of its affordable price point, positive reviews, and ~sleek look.~

Functionally, it's dishwasher-safe, and it's super easy to use. Making the perfect smoothie takes about 45 seconds. (My go-to is almond milk + banana + peanut butter + honey.) Once you're done blending, you can remove the blade cap, fasten on the sports bottle cap, and take it to go. I'll drink mine on my morning commute to work." —Hannah Loewentheil

Get the Oster My Blend blender with travel sport bottle from Amazon starting at $15.99. Available in 7 different colors.

4. These flexible cutting boards that streamline prep-to-pan transport.

"These are perfect for quick prep jobs (like cutting fruits or vegetables) because when you're done, you just curl the board and use it as a funnel to get your prepped items directly into wherever they need to go: pots, pans, storage containers, etc. They're also great because although they're durable, they're also really thin/non-bulky — so you can easily slip them into even the fullest of dishwashers or cabinets." —Melissa HarrisonGet a set of three mats on Amazon for $5.48.
Amazon

"These are perfect for quick prep jobs (like cutting fruits or vegetables) because when you're done, you just curl the board and use it as a funnel to get your prepped items directly into wherever they need to go: pots, pans, storage containers, etc. They're also great because although they're durable, they're also really thin/non-bulky — so you can easily slip them into even the fullest of dishwashers or cabinets." —Melissa Harrison

Get a set of three mats on Amazon for $5.48.

5. A easy-to-use cookbook that'll guide newbies and experts alike through essential home recipes.

"I have a bit of a cookbook problem. As in, I own way too many of them and treat them like my children. But my favorite one over the past year — and the one I've cooked from the most — has been Small Victories by Julia Turshen.Every recipe I've tried — from fried eggs, to chicken soup, to curried lentils — has been a hit. Her style is thoroughly relatable and approachable, her recipes are never intimidating, and the most involved ones are truly worth the effort. She also offers variations on each of her recipes so you feel empowered to stray from the original and use what you've learned from her to get creative in the kitchen. All in all, a great investment and the kind of book you'll keep for a long, long time." —Marie TellingGet it from Amazon for $9.80+, Barnes & Noble for $16.49+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.
Marie Telling / BuzzFeed

"I have a bit of a cookbook problem. As in, I own way too many of them and treat them like my children. But my favorite one over the past year — and the one I've cooked from the most — has been Small Victories by Julia Turshen.

Every recipe I've tried — from fried eggs, to chicken soup, to curried lentils — has been a hit. Her style is thoroughly relatable and approachable, her recipes are never intimidating, and the most involved ones are truly worth the effort. She also offers variations on each of her recipes so you feel empowered to stray from the original and use what you've learned from her to get creative in the kitchen. All in all, a great investment and the kind of book you'll keep for a long, long time." —Marie Telling

Get it from Amazon for $9.80+, Barnes & Noble for $16.49+, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

6. A cheap peeler that works better than the expensive ones.

"Years ago I bought a fancy AF ceramic peeler from Japan but quickly realized that every chef has the same exact peeler — and there's a reason for it. These cheap, Y-shaped peelers are the only peelers worth buying. They're sturdy, cheap, and gentle enough to peel delicate veggies like baby carrots without ruining them." —Jesse SzewczykGet a Kuhn Rikon Y-shaped peeler from Amazon for $6.50, or a set of three for $9.33. Available in several colors.
amazon.com

"Years ago I bought a fancy AF ceramic peeler from Japan but quickly realized that every chef has the same exact peeler — and there's a reason for it. These cheap, Y-shaped peelers are the only peelers worth buying. They're sturdy, cheap, and gentle enough to peel delicate veggies like baby carrots without ruining them." —Jesse Szewczyk

Get a Kuhn Rikon Y-shaped peeler from Amazon for $6.50, or a set of three for $9.33. Available in several colors.

7. This flexible strainer that catches all the little food bits before they clog your sink.

"Clogged sink and bathtub drains are the absolute worst — but you can prevent the former with this handy strainer. The outer part is stainless steel so it can take lots of wear and tear, and the middle part is silicone — so you can pop it inside out to easily remove the junk inside. When it's time for a deep clean, just toss it in the dishwasher." —Melissa HarrisonGet it from Amazon for $7.99 or Jet for $9.99.
Amazon

"Clogged sink and bathtub drains are the absolute worst — but you can prevent the former with this handy strainer. The outer part is stainless steel so it can take lots of wear and tear, and the middle part is silicone — so you can pop it inside out to easily remove the junk inside. When it's time for a deep clean, just toss it in the dishwasher." —Melissa Harrison

Get it from Amazon for $7.99 or Jet for $9.99.

8. These efficient lidded containers that'll help you organize your kitchen cabinets for good.

"Every time I test a recipe at home, I end up buying a different spice or exotic ingredient. At one point, my kitchen became a literal war zone of specialty foods. Three types of cinnamon, six types of pepper, and an entire shelf dedicated to flours filled my kitchen and my stress levels to the brim. One weekend I decided to tackle the clutter and invested in a label maker and deli containers. It was time to transform my kitchen.I transferred all of my spices and pantry items into the deli containers and have never looked back. Just like in restaurants, this way of organizing helps me take a quick look at everything that's in my kitchen to make sure I'm not buying doubles. I used the little ones to keep spices in, the medium ones for things like chocolate chips, and the large ones for all my grains. It has truly made cooking in my kitchen easier and more enjoyable. Gordon Ramsay and Marie Kondo would be proud." —Jesse SzewczykGet a 36-pack from Amazon for $20.95.
Jesse Szewczyk / BuzzFeed

"Every time I test a recipe at home, I end up buying a different spice or exotic ingredient. At one point, my kitchen became a literal war zone of specialty foods. Three types of cinnamon, six types of pepper, and an entire shelf dedicated to flours filled my kitchen and my stress levels to the brim. One weekend I decided to tackle the clutter and invested in a label maker and deli containers. It was time to transform my kitchen.

I transferred all of my spices and pantry items into the deli containers and have never looked back. Just like in restaurants, this way of organizing helps me take a quick look at everything that's in my kitchen to make sure I'm not buying doubles. I used the little ones to keep spices in, the medium ones for things like chocolate chips, and the large ones for all my grains. It has truly made cooking in my kitchen easier and more enjoyable. Gordon Ramsay and Marie Kondo would be proud." —Jesse Szewczyk

Get a 36-pack from Amazon for $20.95.

9. A multi-use fine mesh strainer to rinse quinoa, sift flour and cereal crumbs, and rinse fruit and beans.

"I was late to the game on strainers. I didn't grow up in a house with one, so I'd never used one until this year. And guys, it's a bit of a life-changer. Need to rinse some quinoa? No more lining my colander with a paper towel and awkwardly making it work. At the bottom of a box of cereal, but hate the dusty crumbs? Hold it over the sink, and dump the cereal in, then easily transfer your breakfast to your bowl. Does a recipe call for sifted flour? Turns out you don't need a special "flour sifter," just your trusty old strainer. Gotta rinse fresh berries or some canned beans? Grab the strainer! This thing works on just about everything." —Natalie BrownGet a set of three stainless steel mesh strainers from Amazon $10.99.
Natalie Brown / BuzzFeed

"I was late to the game on strainers. I didn't grow up in a house with one, so I'd never used one until this year. And guys, it's a bit of a life-changer. Need to rinse some quinoa? No more lining my colander with a paper towel and awkwardly making it work. At the bottom of a box of cereal, but hate the dusty crumbs? Hold it over the sink, and dump the cereal in, then easily transfer your breakfast to your bowl. Does a recipe call for sifted flour? Turns out you don't need a special "flour sifter," just your trusty old strainer. Gotta rinse fresh berries or some canned beans? Grab the strainer! This thing works on just about everything." —Natalie Brown

Get a set of three stainless steel mesh strainers from Amazon $10.99.

10. A sous vide precision cooker that's actually easier (and less intimidating) to use than you might think.

"This year, I'd noticed the trend of sous vide — or ~precision cooking~ — floating around on Pinterest more and more. So one day over summer when I had no intention of turning on my oven, I snagged one and decided to see what all the fuss was about. And despite the fancy-sounding name, it was actually a lot easier to use than I thought.How it works: You attach the sous vide to a pot filled with water. The gadget heats the water to the optimal temperature for whatever you're cooking — and cooks it low and slow. (I used mine to make everything from egg cups, to veggie sides, to carnitas. Read my full review here.) The most convenient thing? Similar to a slow cooker, sous vide meals pretty much cook themselves. You can leave the kitchen to do other things, knowing that the sous vide is doing all the heavy lifting for dinner." —Hannah LoewentheilGet the Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker from Amazon for $99.
Hannah Loewentheil / BuzzFeed

"This year, I'd noticed the trend of sous vide — or ~precision cooking~ — floating around on Pinterest more and more. So one day over summer when I had no intention of turning on my oven, I snagged one and decided to see what all the fuss was about. And despite the fancy-sounding name, it was actually a lot easier to use than I thought.

How it works: You attach the sous vide to a pot filled with water. The gadget heats the water to the optimal temperature for whatever you're cooking — and cooks it low and slow. (I used mine to make everything from egg cups, to veggie sides, to carnitas. Read my full review here.) The most convenient thing? Similar to a slow cooker, sous vide meals pretty much cook themselves. You can leave the kitchen to do other things, knowing that the sous vide is doing all the heavy lifting for dinner."Hannah Loewentheil

Get the Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker from Amazon for $99.

11. An ultra-thin and flexible fish spatula that'll prevent delicate seafood from falling apart.

"If you're regularly making fish at home, definitely get yourself a fish spatula. It allows you to easily flip proteins without tearing them. In professional kitchens, line cooks use them to flip fish, scallops, and delicate veggies without destroying them." —Jesse SzewczykGet a 6.5-inch blade fish spatula from Amazon for $5.45.
Instagram: @stone_gt

"If you're regularly making fish at home, definitely get yourself a fish spatula. It allows you to easily flip proteins without tearing them. In professional kitchens, line cooks use them to flip fish, scallops, and delicate veggies without destroying them." —Jesse Szewczyk

Get a 6.5-inch blade fish spatula from Amazon for $5.45.

12. A compact veggie spiralizer that helps make meal prep a breeze.

Hannah Loewentheil / BuzzFeed

"Unlike some other bulky spiralizers that take up counter space, the Veggetti is super small and doesn't take up any extra room in my teeny-tiny kitchen. It's also really easy to use: With just the turn of your hand, you can turn veggies — like sweet potatoes, zucchini, beets, and turnips — into spaghetti-like "noodles." (It also has two blades so that you can choose thicker or thinner strands.) Since I've started using it, I totally see why this thing has such a cult following." —Hannah Loewentheil

Get the Veggetti from Amazon for $8.59, or Walmart for $9.98.

13. An Airfryer that does a bang up job of frying foods — especially frozen ones — with less oil than regular methods.

"Lots of Amazon commenters say that the Airfryer is great at frying frozen foods, so after getting one of these, that was the first thing I tried. My verdict? The commenters were right. Chicken strips, frozen dumplings, and frozen fries all came out 💯 in this thing — and I was impressed at the Airfryer's ability to replicate a deep-fried taste and texture. Some healthier options were hit or miss for me (read my full review here), but overall, the Airfryer definitely delivered on its promise to fry things with less oil or fat than most other cooking methods." —Michelle NoGet the Philips Airfryer from Amazon for $159.95.
Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

"Lots of Amazon commenters say that the Airfryer is great at frying frozen foods, so after getting one of these, that was the first thing I tried. My verdict? The commenters were right. Chicken strips, frozen dumplings, and frozen fries all came out 💯 in this thing — and I was impressed at the Airfryer's ability to replicate a deep-fried taste and texture. Some healthier options were hit or miss for me (read my full review here), but overall, the Airfryer definitely delivered on its promise to fry things with less oil or fat than most other cooking methods." —Michelle No

Get the Philips Airfryer from Amazon for $159.95.

14. And a stainless steel drainable holder that keeps sink supplies in easy order. (And that won't fall down.)

"This is isn't the cheapest kitchen sink caddy out there, but I've tried a few others under $5, and all of them had suction cups that stopped sticking a few weeks or months. So I recommend spending the few extra bucks to get a sturdier version that hooks over the sink — rather than sticks to the wall of it. (Reviewers point out you can also hook this one over bathtub bars to organize shower stuff.) —Melissa HarrisonGet the Aiduy stainless steel sink caddy on Amazon for $12.99 or Walmart for $11.28.
Amazon

"This is isn't the cheapest kitchen sink caddy out there, but I've tried a few others under $5, and all of them had suction cups that stopped sticking a few weeks or months. So I recommend spending the few extra bucks to get a sturdier version that hooks over the sink — rather than sticks to the wall of it. (Reviewers point out you can also hook this one over bathtub bars to organize shower stuff.) —Melissa Harrison

Get the Aiduy stainless steel sink caddy on Amazon for $12.99 or Walmart for $11.28.

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