Composite image by MUNCHIES staff.

The Kitchen Gadgets We're Glad We Got This Year

All the things we're happy we made room for in our cabinets in 2018.

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Dec 17 2018, 10:45pm

Composite image by MUNCHIES staff.

Most of us here at MUNCHIES live in big cities with tiny apartments with even tinier kitchens and little-to-no storage space. So when we make an addition to our collection of kitchen gadgets, we’re acutely aware of how much shelf or cupboard real estate this new object might take up. We shop wisely. We pare down and get rid of the excess regularly. (If you want to know what we suggest is absolutely essential and what you can totally do without when you’re stocking up your kitchen for the first time, you can find that sage advice over here.) Suffice it to say that if we bought any new appliances, pots, pans, knives, or utensils of any sort this year, we did so with the utmost intention, after rigorous research and much forethought. Here are the best things the MUNCHIES staff bought for our kitchens in 2018, if you happen to be looking for a truly useful holiday gift for the home cook or baker in your life.

Benriner Japanese Vegetable Slicer

I eat a lot of salad. Like, a lot a lot. You wanna change the game on your salad? Stop staring at a bowl of balsamic-drenched spinach and avocado and feeling such fuckin' ennui, man? Get yourself a good mandoline. I finally grabbed a Benriner this year and now I eat beautiful piles of paper-thin fennel and stacks of crunchy cucumber slices every day. I flick some coins of watermelon radish on mâche rosettes like it's nothing and feel like the fanciest person alive. Best $35 a veggie-lover can drop. — Hilary Pollack, Senior Editor

Chef Gray Kunz Sauce Plating Spoons

Two words: Kunz spoons. — John Martin, Publisher

Good Grips OXO One-Stop-Chop Manual Food Processor

Makes for easy cleanup, minces/chops/purees with a simple twist, no plug or electricity needed. Dishwasher-safe and easy to store. — Amanda Catrini, Test Kitchen Director

KitchenAid 3.5 Cup Food Chopper

My dad makes pesto every Saturday. Every. Single. Saturday. For years now, the tradition has been the same: Grocery shop at Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market, then come home and use some of those groceries to make a weekly batch of pesto in the heavy Cuisinart that has been blending pesto (and, less frequently, pie crust) since before I was born. The pesto is so perpetual that it’s possible the plastic Tupperware that we store it in has never been empty (or washed, come to think of it...). For the past six years of living in tiny New York apartments, I have tried to recreate our family pesto without a food processor. At first I used a blender, which, while useful for making milkshakes, produced a sorry pesto. I upgraded a little when I acquired an immersion blender but remain convinced that an actual food processor was simply too cumbersome for my essentially kitchen-less one-bedroom. Until, this year, in a stroke of inspired and yet entirely obvious gifting, my mother-in-law gave me a MINI food processor by KitchenAid (it's so cheap and comes in fun colors!). Duh, you might say. Hallelujah, my husband said. I’ve not quite gotten into the weekly tradition just yet but now I can make *real* Keyser pesto anytime I want. — Hannah Keyser, Associate Editor

Gourmia GMJ9970 Large Citrus Juicer

I got my dad a manual citrus juicer for his birthday and it’s the best. It’s cheap-ish, simple to use and clean and the OJ always has the perfect amount of pulp. Just make sure you're using Valencia oranges! — Ike Rofe, Associate Producer

Breville Bakery Chef Mixer

Ok, we got a new stand mixer this year for the test kitchen and couldn't love it more! It's from Breville, and has a light when it mixes so you can see into the bowl, a countdown timer (for maximum precision), 12 speeds, two bowls, and a partridge in a pear tree. — Farideh Sadeghin, Culinary Director

Dr. Meter High Accuracy pH Meter

I do a lot of home preserving. Tomatoes, tomato sauce, jam, pickles, applesauce, sauerkraut, stock, fruit leather, dried mushrooms and herbs—name the seasonal produce, I probably have it canned, frozen or dried somewhere in my kitchen. Yeah, I don’t know what apocalypse I’m stocking up for either, but when the fallout shelter’s full WE’LL JUST SEE WHO’LL BE LAUGHING THEN, HUH? Anyway, I can a lot of shit. And I’m pretty good at it at this point, but I’m still scared that I might not be doing it right. So when my partner and I decided to ferment hot sauce, we sprung for a fancy pH tester so we would know for sure if we’d gotten our stuff to a safe level of acidity to kill off all the bacteria to be able to give it to our friends and not worry we’d give them food poisoning. Saves me a lot of anxiety better spent on the current state of the world! — Danielle Wayda, Editorial Assistant

Pavoni Macaron Silicone Baking Mat

Oh, also, in a fit of familial affection, I agreed to do the entire dessert spread for my sister-in-law’s 70-person baby shower earlier this year, and the one special request she had was macarons. I, a large adult idiot who has never once made macarons in her goddamn life, said, “I can totally do that!” Cut to: me, in the aisles of Kerekes in Flatbush, thanking several deities that they had these magical silicone baking sheets with pre-drawn macaron circles so I wouldn’t screw them up. Plus, it’s useful for all of your other non-macaron related baking needs, too. — Danielle Wayda, Editorial Assistant

Smart Oven Pizzaiolo Pizza Oven

This is the best kitchen gadget I’ve seen used, but I need someone to buy it for me because it’s so expensive. But I swear it’s the best. In a former life, I hosted a gadget review show on the internet, where I came across everything from mac and cheese makers, and my favorite gadget of last year—a pancake robot. Those sound impractical and they admittedly are, and my pick this year may seem impractical to some as well, but the idea of getting wood-fired-pizza-oven-quality results on a countertop stove in the time it actually takes to make a real wood-fired pizza had my interest from the start. (My ever-skeptical interest.) To me, the best part of a gadget is when at first glance, you think, “No way,” and then you see it in action and the gadget responds with “way.” And after testing countless gadgets in aforementioned previous life, I had every preconceived doubt put to rest with the the Smart Oven Pizzaiolo Pizza Oven in a recent demo at the MUNCHIES test kitchen. It makes Neapolitan pizza in two to three minutes flat. Seriously. It’s real. It’s here and it fits on your countertop. Someone Santa this my way please, because it’s $800. — Clifford Endo Gulibert, Director of Video

Lloyd Pans Detroit Style Pizza Pan

After working on the Pizza Show episode about Detroit, I wanted to make Detroit-style deep dish. This pan does wonders. Because its walls are so high, I can add lots of toppings and cheese without anything spilling over the edge, plus the slight splay in the pan’s walls adds a caramelized cheese crust all around the outside of the pie. — Brad Barrett, Video Editor

Eddingtons Lemon Squeezer

I really love this lemon squeezer that I bought after Meriel Armitage of Club Mexicana recommended it to me on a shoot. She was turned onto hers when she saw a chef in Mexico City using one to squeeze fresh lime and lemon over huge bowls of guacamole. And they were right! It is just so insanely satisfying to jam half a lemon in there and press it down so that all the zingy, citrus-y juices gush out. Keep your Nutribullets and Vitamixes, I'm happy over here with my extremely analog lemon squisher. — Phoebe Hurst, UK Editor

Eggmaster Hand-Free Automatic Electric Vertical Nonstick Egg Cooker

I’m not necessarily sure this is the best, but it’s definitely the freakiest addition to our kitchen this year. As a matter of fact, I didn’t think this thing was real until I finally got around to ordering one via the Danish equivalent of eBay. Technically speaking, it’s a type of omelette machine, but it looks more like that scene from Alien when the beast starts growing out of John Hurt’s belly. The eggs cook inside a deep cylinder, and after a few minutes, a perfectly round omelette-stick rises out of the hole. I recommend whisking and seasoning the eggs before you drop it in the hole, if you want to avoid the slight note of burned rubber that intensifies the longer it takes to cook the eggs. — Lars Hinnerskov Eriksen, Editor, MUNCHIES Denmark

Old Stone Rectangular Pizza Stone

It’s great. I use it to make pizza from scratch, I use it for leftover pizza, I use it for frozen pizza when I can’t be bothered by the outside world, and it’s simple and inexpensive. — Cole Carbone, Video Editor

Brilliant Evolution Wireless LED Light Bar with Remote Control

You can’t cook with this gadget, but it’s definitely the best purchase I made for my kitchen this year. It's so nice to be able to see clearly when chopping, mixing, pouring, and measuring on the countertop right under my cabinets. And it makes your kitchen feel and look better. It's one of those things that I didn't know I needed. Just stick some of these under the cabinet and thank me later. — Peter Courtien, Associate Producer

F. Dick Pro-Dynamic Offset 7” Bread and Utility Knife

I realized a couple months ago that the serrated knife I've been loyally using and loving since culinary school had gotten beyond being sharpenable, and it was finally time to replace it. When I'm not being a baller about my knives, I like this German brand F. Dick, because it's affordable and reliable and also I'm a child (and it means "fat" in German, step off), but a similar brand if you're not down with the D is Victorinox. The little offset on the blade makes it easy to slice tomatoes or anything fussy without slamming your knuckles into the counter, and the sweet lil' teeth make quick work of crispy crusts or domed cake tops. — Rupa Bhattacharya, Editor-in-Chief

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