The very best kitchen gadgets do more than just get the job done—they wow you. They change the way you organize, or the way you cook. They free up time for other activities, or make pure delight out of what used to be mundane. They change the game.
It's the finding them part that can be a chore, so we've rounded up 24 of the most ingenious kitchen tools we could find to help with your new year, new kitchen routine—mostly from our Shop, but with a few standouts from elsewhere we couldn't help but mention. Some are flashier than others, but all are ingenious—and we don't use that term lightly!—and here to make cooking easier in an unexpected way (exhibit a: this extremely simple, exceedingly clever device that makes it possible to stack your pans without scratching them.)
for your everyday
From the aforementioned Lid Master (that's the name of the super cool pan-stacker) to a very, very smart oven that does the thinking for you, these kitchen tools make your day-to-day easier.
Lid Master: You know what's not fun? Pan storage. Until now! Flip up the feet on this Lid Master and use it to prop up a little space between your pans, so they tower sturdily and never scratch. (It'll also prop up a double boiler, or act as a trivet, and we have them in sets of 4, 6, and 8, depending on how tall your cabinets go.)
Stockholm Salt & Pepper Grinder: With adjustable settings, your salt, pepper, and spices can be ground to your desired coarseness. Plus, this grinder has a no-spill feature, which means there's less salt and pepper on your table and more in your food.
Zwilling Stainless Steel Kitchen Shears: If you've ever tried to spatchcock a chicken with regular ol' scissors or even snip herbs with ease, you know why you need a good pair of kitchen shears around. And this one also pries open jars and pops bottle with ease.
Spider: For lifting dumplings, noodles, just-blanched vegetables and more from a pot of bubbling water with ease, a spider is a little steel basket at the end of a wooden or bamboo stick that you'll wonder how you ever cooked without.
Double Oven Mitt: Protect your hands AND arms. (Plus, if you've ever lost an oven mitt, it's maddening. Avoid this by looping this fella over the oven handle, never to be lost again.)
Margrethe Nested Mixing Bowls & Specialty Lids: Grating, slicing, and immersion blending (without any splash back!) directly in a bowl will change you. Meaning, it will make you never, ever want to grate wayward strands of cheese on a cutting board or transfer this and that to a blender.
Spurtle: Scottish in origin and handy for mixing one thing into another in nearly any circumstances, the spurtle is clever in its simplicity. Some are flatter at the end, more a cross between a spoon and a sptatula, while some look like what might happen if a pestle ran away with a spoon. All are delightfully, surprisingly useful where a wooden spoon would be (and at getting into the nooks and crannies of your favorite pot).
Food52 x Mosser Chelsea Glass Juicer: Collect every last drop of citrus juice by simply twisting it on the knob and pouring out the juice—the old school way. Because yes, things should be that easy sometimes.
Felted Pan Handle Covers: Cover up your hot pan handles, save your hands from accidentally grabbing something that's hot-hot-hot, thank yourself a million times.
Cookbook & Tablet Stand: Trying to find a recipe mid-cooking while your hands are covered with tomato sauce/seasoning raw chicken/tangled up in a bunch of kale is not fun. This stand keeps your page open and your cookbook free of spills and stains.
June Oven: An oven that actually does the thinking for you, really! It even knows what you're cooking and tells you when your dinner's ready.
Miyabi Chef's Knife: Miyabi knives are manufactured in Japan, and are as sharp as they are stunning. Each blade goes through a 4-step hardening process to ensure they stay super-sharp through all of your slicing, mincing, and chopping (if you get a little lazy about sharpening—but you don't, do you?). This model is a favorite of our test kitchen chef Josh—as soon as he picked the Miyabi up, it became his go-to knife in the kitchen.
The "I use it once in a while, but when I do, whoa!"
While you may not use these tools every day, when you do, you'll find them indispensable—from ensuring your pie dough's the right size (no wonky crusts!) to giving you crispy, crackly pizza right from your home oven.
Brotform Bread Rising Baskets: Molds that help bread rise the right way—giving them a uniform shape (and those pretty, boulangerie-esque lines!).
Tortilla Warmer: There are lots of ways to keep tortillas warm—a towel, a haphazard wrapping of foil. This is the easiest. Buy it once and use it for countless tortillas, tacos, and burritos.
Nonstick Pie Kit by Rose Levy Beranbaum: Do you know what a 1/8-inch, pie tin-ready pie crust looks like just by looking at it? Not many people do! Rolling it out on this mat takes the guesswork out it, so all you have to worry about is filling and baking that baby.
Offset Spatula: The tool that makes for perfectly swoopy cake frosting is also handy on the regular: Use it to flip those first little roasting vegetables that get toasty first, and for spreading just about anything on toast (or in a tart shell) with ease.
Storing food can be a pain. There's the Tupperware containers with missing lids, the cheese nubs that go dry, and the precarious opened bottles of this and that. These tools are here to help: Whether it's a stackable metal lunchbox or a wax wrapper that actually keeps food fresh.
Food52 x Bee's Wrap Windowpane Print: Wrap the end of a baguette, a wedge of cheese, or the top of the bowl—whatever it is, this wax wrap keeps it fresh (your hands warm the wax and, once it cools, it becomes a seal).
Linen & Cotton Bowl Covers: We're saying no to plastic—and saying yes to these reusable fabric covers that fit snuggly over bowls thanks to elastic bands (and wash up easy with your laundry).
Reusable Storage Bags: Made of extra-durable silicone, these bags can store sandwiches, apple slices, cheese, whatever you have, over and over again. The best part? They can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
Stainless Steel Tiffins: Pack your lunch in separate layers and everything will stay exactly how it's supposed to be—no salads making soggy sandwiches or hummus-entrenched carrots.
What ingenious kitchen tools will you be gifting this season? Let us know in the comments!
This article originally ran in January of 2017, but we brought it back because our kitchen lives could always use to get a little easier!