13 kitchen gadgets that earn their drawer space

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Having the right tools in the kitchen can make all the difference when it comes to effortless and efficient cooking. That said, most of us only have a certain amount of drawer space to dedicate to the cause. If you’re looking for the best small kitchen gadgets worth the space they take up, here’s our vetted list.

A kitchen with utensils hanging on a rack.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Kitchen gadgets vs. small appliances

Before we jump into the best kitchen gadgets, let’s define what they are first. Kitchen gadgets are fun and convenient items that none of us need, but many want. They make everyday cooking tasks faster. Small appliances are things like electric kettles and even air fryers. If you’re looking for those types of suggestions, we have it too.

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Garlic press

Garlic is a mainstay in almost any recipe worth its weight. Certainly, you can use a chef’s knife to chop or mash garlic cloves finely, but if you’re looking for speed and a way to avoid your fingers smelling like garlic for days, the press is an incredible convenience that will come in handy. Plus, we’ve found the flavor to be more pronounced coming from a press rather than a fine chop, which can make all the difference in your favorite pasta dish.

Premium Garlic Press
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03/11/2024 04:41 pm GMT

Bench scraper

Think of this kitchen gadget as the jack of all trades. This tool can do a ton of work, from picking up chopped vegetables on the cutting board and transferring them to the pan to separating sections of dough when baking. If you’re into sourdough bread making, you know the importance of having this item in your drawer.

Stainless Steel Scraper
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03/11/2024 05:16 pm GMT

Cherry pitter

This is the tool you don’t need until you do. For me, that was making a sour cherry crisp from scratch for 10 people over the summer and being forced to use a metal straw to pop out cherry pits individually. This cherry pitter was in my Amazon cart the next day, and I have zero regrets. Neither does my poor kitchen, which looked like a crime scene after that ordeal.

Cherry & Olive Pitter
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03/11/2024 05:22 pm GMT

Handheld frother

If you’re a coffee lover and want to make fancy foams at home, a battery-powered handheld frother is the way to go. These impressive little gadgets can whip up milk in seconds to give you a barista-quality concoction right in your kitchen. It’s great for both cold foam and hot foam.

Zulay Powerful Milk Frother
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03/11/2024 07:26 pm GMT
A person is pouring milk into a glass using kitchen gadgets.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.


Have you ever tried to refill your spice jars from a bulk bag and ended up with a mess all over the counter? Or worse, pour liquid from a bowl without a pouring spout into a smaller container? An inexpensive kitchen funnel is the answer to both those nightmares, and you’ll wonder how and why you ever lived without it once you realize the convenience of this small kitchen gadget. We love this collapsable one to minimize the space it takes up.

Collapsible Kitchen Funnel
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03/11/2024 05:27 pm GMT

Digital meat thermometer

If you’ve ever read a good meat recipe, the directions will tell you to cook until a temperature, not an amount of minutes. This is because each oven and cut of meat is different, and there’s no way you can guarantee consistent results without measuring internal temperature. I’d go so far as to say meat thermometers are not even a convenient wish list item; they’re a must-have for anyone serious about cooking their meat properly.

“I use a meat thermometer to cook meat perfectly and safely every time. Using one ensures that the meat hits the exact level of doneness I’m looking for, whether it be for medium-rare steaks or fully cooked poultry or pork, without drying out.”

— Sara Nelson, Real Balanced
Digital Meat Thermometer
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03/11/2024 05:31 pm GMT

Cookie scoop

Sure, you can use a tablespoon and try to roll the dough into a perfect ball using your hands, but who wants to deal with the time and mess? Cookie scoops ensure all your cookies are the same size, and you get that great mounded height to each one. Plus, there are many uses for a cookie scoop beyond baking. It’s perfect for making meatballs, too.

Citrus juicer

I’ll admit, I held out on this one for a long time, thinking my trusty wooden citrus reamer was good enough. That was until I got so fed up with picking lemon seeds out of the fresh juice I was squeezing and caved. This inexpensive citrus juicer makes a world of difference for your patience when it comes to anything using fresh lemons or limes. It’s a true godsend for homemade salad dressing.

Handheld Lemon Juicer Squeezer
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03/11/2024 05:41 pm GMT

Salad spinner

As the largest kitchen gadget on the list, we had to think long and hard about its worthiness since it’s a bit of a space hog. However, once you’ve lived with the convenience of a salad spinner, you’ll wonder how you ever managed before. It quickly cleans any greens and especially shines with ones like escarole that hold a ton of dirt in their leaves. Every time I use it to make this Utica greens recipe, I see a garden’s worth of dirt at the bottom of the spinner, which reaffirms its place in the kitchen.

Large Salad Spinner
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03/11/2024 05:46 pm GMT
A person using a vegetable slicer on a cutting board.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.


Here’s a kitchen gadget worth having, but don’t waste your money on the expensive ones. For some strange reason, mandoline slicers can cost as much as $75 and higher. I suppose they may be a bit sturdier than the $15 handheld plastic ones, but this is one time when it doesn’t pay to invest in quality. Mandoline slicers make quick work of anything you want thinly sliced, whether it be potatoes to make chips, cabbage for coleslaw or onions to caramelize. They work just as well at the lesser price point as they do at the higher one.

Handheld Mandoline Slicer
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03/11/2024 05:51 pm GMT

Y peeler 

I’ve had an Oxo Y peeler my entire adult life. It wasn’t until a three-month stint in a rental house that I realized how awful a bad vegetable peeler can make the cooking experience. Y peelers are great because they clean much more easily than traditional peelers. They’re also suitable for righties and lefties, making quick work of any potato or vegetable peeling. This gadget is a game-changer if you’re still using a knife for peeling.

OXO Good Grips Y-Peeler
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03/12/2024 06:26 am GMT


The microplane may seem redundant if you have a box grater or a regular handheld cheese grater. However, once you’ve zested a lemon, grated fresh nutmeg or finely grated parmesan on a microplane, you’ll realize it’s worth the narrow space it takes up in your kitchen drawer.

Melon baller

The melon baller may look like another unitasker not worth having, but it’s quite the workhorse. Its uses go far beyond just melons and extend to many other fruits, such as making those perfect dragon fruit balls you see in fancy smoothie bowls. You can also use it on many vegetables like soft-fleshed zucchini, and it works excellently for coring apples, pears and more. Most melon ballers come with two size options, making them a versatile addition to your kitchen.

OXO Good Grips Melon Baller
Buy Now
03/11/2024 06:06 pm GMT

Our final thoughts

No one has unlimited space for every small kitchen gadget on the market. With the right ones in your arsenal, however, your time in the kitchen can be maximized to the fullest, and you might even have a bit more fun. 

Gina Matsoukas is the writer, photographer and recipe creator of Running to the Kitchen. Focusing on healthy, seasonal, whole-food recipes, her work has been featured in various online and print publications including Food Network, Prevention Magazine and Women’s Health. Gina lives in central New York, where she enjoys an active outdoor life.

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