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When scrolling through Instagram or TikTok, I very quickly feel like my kitchen is never as equipped as anyone else’s. There is always a new appliance that I “need” or “must buy now!!!” Even for someone who has spent a majority of the past three years in her kitchen creating content and developing recipes, it can be incredibly overwhelming to try and decide what appliances are worth it — and which ones aren’t.
So I can only imagine how daunting it can feel for someone who is just learning how to cook or trying to get comfortable in the kitchen. That is why, after trying many kitchen appliances, I’m here to recommend my top picks for your apartment. Whenever I am cooking, I’m looking for the fastest and most efficient ways to make my meals, so I’ve chosen appliances that will make cooking easier for you, not harder.
A good quality knife set
Let’s start with the very basics: For anyone who is just getting started in the kitchen, a sharp knife set is essential. I realize that when you hear the word “sharp” you may immediately fear for your fingertips and begin to envision some kitchen injuries, but it’s actually quite the opposite. A properly sharp knife requires less force to cut through food than a dull knife and provides less opportunity for error. This initial investment in good quality and sharp chef’s knives will pay off in the long run, allowing you to chop your food way faster and safer than you could with the dull knives you’re probably used to using.
Shop: Misen Chef’s Knife, $65
Shop: Wüsthof Classic Chef’s Knife, $159.95
A top-notch cast iron skillet
Now that we’ve got you comfortable dicing, cutting and chopping, it’s time to put those ingredients to work. Moving over to the stovetop, I cannot recommend a cast iron skillet enough. This heavy-duty skillet, which is incredibly durable and allows for cooking at extremely high temperatures, will change your cooking more than you can imagine. If you’re someone who feels like everything you cook on the stovetop is always a bit soggy and sad, you need a cast iron skillet to up your game and give you the crispiness that everyone desires with their cooking. Whether it is sautéing vegetables, cooking meats (like this lemon garlic brick chicken) or even frying eggs, the cast iron skillet can be used for any meal of the day.
Shop: Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, $17.90
A trendy (but top-performing) air fryer
Everyone’s favorite appliance over the past few years (for good reason) is the air fryer, which is essentially a countertop convection oven on steroids. If you’re someone who is always looking for that extra crunch or a speedier cooking time, the air fryer is for you. Quite honestly, you can cook just about anything in it. Think vegetables with an extra crunchy exterior, chicken with the crispy skin we all crave, leftovers reheated to perfection and even frozen prepared dishes like pizzas! One of my favorite dishes to make with an air fryer are my chicken fingers and french fries, which are loaded with extra crunch in every bite.
Shop: Ninja Air Fryer, $99.99
An often-overlooked toaster oven
In line with the multi-purpose use of a device that cuts down on cooking time, I am a full-blown fanatic over my toaster oven. Personally, I don’t think this appliance gets the love or praise it deserves from the cooking community. Not only can I use it as a simple toaster for my breads and bagels, but I can also use it to roast my vegetables, broil my seafood, bake my baked goods and much more. One of the main reasons I love it is for its size: Not only is it compact enough to fit on a countertop, but because it is smaller than a typical oven, it preheats within minutes and properly cooks my food in shorter time. Again, I am all about efficiency! Curious what you can make with yours? Check out this broiled salmon and roasted veggies recipe that I make for dinner almost weekly.
Shop: Breville Mini Smart Oven, $159.99
An unparalleled multi-pot
Now, if you’re really looking for an appliance to cut down on time and do the cooking for you, a multi-pot is for you. While the slow cooker was the go-to appliance for cooking in the late 1900s, a multi-pot (also called an Instant Pot after the top brand in the space) has quickly taken its place as everyone’s favorite device to “dump and ditch” when it comes to making meals. Truly, it is freaking life changing. The time saved by being able to toss everything into an appliance, hit start and walk away while it cooks is unparalleled. I use my multi-pot to make all sorts of soups and stews and also some more elaborate meals, like my beef and vegetable stew.
Shop: Mealthy MultiPot, $159.99
With your kitchen is fully equipped with my favorite appliances, your time in the kitchen will be much easier and more efficient — it’s time to get cooking!
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