Hi guys! I'm Michelle from BuzzFeed's Food team, and I love to cook.
But TBH, some days I just want to EAT.
Whether it's because I'm low on energy, time, or motivation, there are times when I simply want to make food as easily and quickly as possible.
For the sake of these nights, I tested seven popular kitchen tools designed to cut cleanup or cooking time, or both!
Here's how they all stacked up:
1. This microwavable popcorn popper that's dishwasher safe and says it'll pop popcorn perfectly in two minutes or less.
HOW DOES IT WORK? Put a tablespoon of kernels in the container, place the loose-fitting lid on top, and microwave for about a minute and a half.
2. This aluminum defrosting tray that's supposed to thaw frozen poultry, fish, and vegetables in half the time that it usually takes.
HOW DOES IT WORK? Place frozen meats, vegetables, and other ingredients on top of tray. The tray's metal surface will draw the cold out and start to thaw the food.
DID IT WORK? Lol, not for me.
THE RESULTS: I started by placing an equal serving of frozen salmon, chicken, and broccoli on both a defrosting tray and a plain plate, and left them out at room temperature. Once two hours had passed, I checked the defrosting tray and found it FRIGID, which I initially thought spoke to the tray's magical cold-absorbing powers. But then I checked the plate and found it to be equally cold. Cutting up the food also made zero difference.
If I really wanted a similar product to expedite the defrosting, I think I could just use a cast-iron skillet — or just defrost in the microwave. Though if we're being completely honest, even on my non-lazy days, I'll never have enough foresight to start thawing a meal hours in advance.
(Also worth noting? This thing had a ton of positive reviews on Amazon. So maybeee it's user error or I just got a defective tray? IDK. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
Get it from Amazon for $15.50.
3. This pasta boat that lets you cook pasta in the microwave and has a built-in drainer.
HOW DOES IT WORK? Put uncooked pasta in the boat, cover with water (there are serving lines so you know exactly how much water to use), and microwave for about 20 minutes. Drain pasta through the strainer.
DID IT WORK? Yes. *Lowers head in shame*
RESULTS: As objective as I strive to be, I'll admit I kinda wanted to hate on this thing as soon as I heard the words "pasta boat" — a word pairing as cringeworthy as "spaghetti donut" (why does the world keep trying to change something already so perfect?!). But, guys, this WORKED. It's pretty simple to use too. You'll have to microwave the boat for a whole 20 minutes, but the great part is that you don't have to worry about water bubbling over, pasta overcooking, or babysitting your pot of water. Maybe I have ~civilian taste~, but TBH this tasted just as good as something I'd make over a stovetop. For the lazy, easily distracted, or hungry cooks without a stovetop, this is a recommended buy.
Get it from Amazon for $14.99.
4. This plastic pan that lets you cook omelets right in your microwave.
HOW DOES IT WORK? Pour a mixture of beaten eggs and water/milk into both halves of the omelet pan. After microwaving for two minutes, place toppings on each half. Finish by microwaving for another 1.5 minutes and folding the pan in half to form a complete omelet.
5. This microwave ramen cooker that's dishwasher safe and lets you cook a noodle packet without a stove.
HOW DOES IT WORK? Place a square of instant ramen in the container, fill up to indicated line with water, and microwave for three minutes.
6. This device that says it'll make perfect soft-boiled, hard-boiled, or poached eggs and omelets — and automatically shut off when finished.
7. This vegetable steamer and oven roaster made out of food-grade silicone that lets you steam foods in the microwave or roast them in the oven.
HOW DOES IT WORK? To use the pod to steam food, place your ingredients in the pod, add a tablespoon of water, close it (using the handy tab), and microwave it for 1 to 3 minutes. To roast food, similarly place ingredients in the oven-safe pod, close it, place in oven, and open the pod toward the end of the cooking process to brown the top.