Favorite Gadget?

I'm wondering what everyone's favorite (or most frequently used) kitchen gadget would be? Not a basic tool, but a one task wonder you have come to rely on regularly.
For me, it's a Citrus Trumpet. That stainless steel tube you insert into a citrus to extract juice without seeds. I use mine all the time.
It got me curious about other cooks likes...

  • Posted by: allans
  • May 7, 2012


WannabeBaker May 18, 2012
My can opener. Sadly, I can't remember what brand it is, but A)it's got a soft turner thingy and B) it cuts on the side of the can, not on top, so that you're not desperately trying to keep the lid from falling into the can. Heaven!
SKK May 13, 2012
Was reading all the answers and no one said a wine opener - so I will add it. Who can live without a wine opener?
SKK May 13, 2012
I am with drbabs - using my daughters microplane cut a chunk out of my hand. It is cut resistant gloves all the way, now.
Kendall S. May 13, 2012
I really loved my mandolin until i took a massive chunk out of my hand and had to go to the ER on Thanksgiving with 22 people coming to dinner. My mother-in-law gave me a hand guard as a joke for Christmas. Is this microplane the same thing? Is it safe?
drbabs May 13, 2012
I'm a klutz, so I use cut resistant gloves when I use my mandoline. No joke. The microplane grater is not nearly as dangerous.
anaefdz May 9, 2012
For me it is the Marble mortar and pestle. It has become my "always tool", this is definitively the best way to extract full flavor from herbs...to make pestos, dressings, ... everything will taste different if you mix and crush your herbs here before they are cooked.
I got both pieces of marble, and it is much better than wood and marble.
hrosdail May 8, 2012
Zyliss locking can opener. I gave them away one year to everyone for Christmas and still hear how much they love them. I will never use any other.
allans May 8, 2012
This is the model I have - Norpro #5021 for $5
Allans, would you please upload a picture of this trumpet? Good question
bigpan May 8, 2012
When does a gadget become a tool? I think after you use it and it becomes part of your kitchen routine it is now a tool, not a gadget. However, although I agree with the microplane, for me it is a tool as I have used it for soooo many years. What I do like today is my pastry scraper. (I do not do pastry). I use it to scrape up the chopped onions or carrots or whatever instead of using the edge of my chef's knife (that we have all been doing for so many years wondering why the blade continually dulls). Gadget? Tool? I like it.
As for a real "gadget", I like my pickle stabber that I use to get the olives out of the jar for my 5pm martini !
AntoniaJames May 8, 2012
So much interesting information here! Allans, I had never heard of the citrus trumpet. I just looked it up and am really intrigued. I wonder how it does with the finer skinned Meyers . . . . and do you have a brand that you recommend? It seems that there are two price points, with a Norpro at the bottom and a French version for about $20 more. ;o)
allans May 8, 2012
Mine is a very basic stainless steel model. Very inexpensive as I recall. I like it because I can squeeze a bit of juice and refrigerate the citrus and remaining juice with the trumpet for another use. I use a bit of lemon in many things and find this tool very helpful.
Pegeen May 8, 2012
Absolutely the microplane grater, Thermapen, cherry pitter, silicone tools, manual food mill. And I'd be hard pressed without my grandmother's steel potato masher - great for mashing lots of things without pulverizing them.
X May 8, 2012
I agree with all of the previous suggestions, but would like to put forth the Chef's Quad-Timer by American Innovative which allows one to track up to four different tasks at one time. Brilliant for the busy cook and a lifesaver during any holiday season. It's also very easy to use. I think I may have read about it on Food52, but cannot find the reference.
Esther P. May 8, 2012
It's not a gadget, it's a basic standard nowadays, but my silicone spatula spoon is a thing of wonder, and use it daily... For everything! The micro plane grater invention is lovely too, I have two of them, and they're fab.
Author Comment
I guess my stick blender isn't technically indispensable, since I could use the food processor instead, but it's so handy, and so much easier to clean. I use it to puree cooked veggies or beans into sauces and soups to thicken them; this adds flavor without fat.
petitbleu May 8, 2012
Along with a microplane (genius), I love my Thermapen. It's not just for large cuts of meat. I use it for candy making, cooked frostings, tempering chocolate, cheese making, and many other tasks where temperature matters. It's so much easier to use than a candy thermometer--you don't need 2 inches of liquid to get an accurate temp reading, and you're not constantly messing with the flimsy clip you're supposed to use to attach the thermometer to the side of the pan. It's pricey, but so, so worth it if you do much cooking at all.
pierino May 8, 2012
Yes, the Thermapen is right in there. Indispensable.
Benny May 8, 2012
I don't have a favorite gadget. All of my tools are there for a purpose. I don't own anything that wastes space. But, I'll add my food mill to the list because nothing else will get me the creamy smooth consistency I desire in my mashed potatoes. Also works magic for many other veggies.
drbabs May 8, 2012
Mine is a serrated peeler. I bought it a couple of years ago when Merrill recommended it for peeling plums. I use it all the time. The serrated edges make peeling all fruits and vegetables quick and easy.
SKK May 8, 2012
Number one is the meat tenderizer/pounder. It is stainless steel and reversible, on one side is the flat and by flipping the round head, the other is the tenderizer. It is wonderful for smashing garlic and shallots and nuts and whatever is needed. Love, love, love this thing. Number two is the simple glass juicer from Grandma.
BoulderGalinTokyo May 15, 2012
ChefOno, pierino, thank you for your answers. Off to get a cherry pitter!
ChefOno May 8, 2012

Very few single-purpose tools in my kitchens but among what I'd consider indispensible are:

Cherry pitter -- I'm not doing that job with a knife

Surgical hemostat -- for pulling pin bones from fish fillets

And this gem which no doubt seems silly unless you've ever burned your hand on a Liege waffle

Does a cherry pitter work on pit-in-olives? That's a job I'd like to get rid of...
ChefOno May 8, 2012
Indeed it will. Results may vary as some olives have particularly stubborn pits.
pierino May 9, 2012
Cherry pitter's work for large olives like say big fat Sicilian ones. For smaller olives like picholines you need something smaller like this
Sam1148 May 7, 2012
Even tho we only through a jar of natural peanut butter every 2-3 month. This thing is my favorite one shot 'uni-tasker'. A peanut butter stirrer. Why? Because no matter how careful I am I tend to make a mess stirring in oil with a fork/knife with natural PB. As for microplanes--The hardware store.
paseo May 7, 2012
So right, Pierino. I am another big fan of the microplane. Bought my first one from Lee Valley too many years ago.........probably use it daily.
paseo May 7, 2012
So right, Pierino. I am another big fan of the microplane. Bought my first one from Lee Valley too many years ago.........probably use it daily.
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 7, 2012
My alligator chopper for dicing onions, carrots, celery, etc for uniform pieces.
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 9, 2012
My silicon basting brush has been a revelation. So easy to clean and sanitary!
ChefOno May 9, 2012
Ain't that the truth!

Voted the Best Reply!

pierino May 7, 2012
For me it's the invention of the Microplane grater. It was like somebody reinvented the wheel.
vanbinh May 10, 2012
Microplaner is actually a woodworking tool. People use it now in the kitchen as well, but it wasn't invented for that.
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