Kitchen Appliances: Which ones are right for you?

October 19, 2011 § 15 Comments

Goodness, there must be a million kitchen appliances!  Williams Sonoma is the kiss of death for buying appliances because you walk out feeling like you need everything under the sun from panini presses to juicers.  The thing is, determining which appliances are worth your investment really depends on what kind of cook you are.  So even though I have some deep seated feelings about which ones you should and shouldn’t buy, instead I’m going to walk through the major ones and help you determine whether they’re right for your kitchen. Here goes!

Food Processors Aaaah food processors, the star of turning arduous kitchen jobs into effortless tasks.  The possibilities are endless with this machine- it creates sauces, dips, and spreads, brings together pastry dough in seconds, and of course, chops like mad.  Regardless of how or what you cook, I believe it’s worth investing in one of these machine because it makes a countless number of recipes 100 times more approachable. That said, I’ve been using the miniature one for over 5 years and have never felt the need to go for the bigger model.  This sometimes means puréeing things in batches, but this little guy is much more affordable and takes up a lot less space in my kitchen.

Stand Mixers The KitchenAid stand mixer was one of those appliances I lusted for, but truly viewed as a wedding registry type deal.  Meaning- I didn’t plan on buying one until I got married, at which point it would be the first item on my registry. Thus, you can imagine my delight when a certain someone surprised me with one for no particular reason a few years back (I actually hugged the box). I adore this machine and use it often.  That said, if you’re not an avid baker (meaning you bake multiple times a week!), you can perform most jobs with a hand mixer.  This machine is only worth the investment if you’re very sure you’ll use it frequently.

Blenders Forget regular blenders ever existed, and let’s focus on the Immersion Blender. The immersion blender is a handheld stick blender, that does everything regular blenders do- but just in an easier way. Yes it can whip up smoothies, sauces, batters, but the most amazing aspect of this tool comes into play when making soup. No more transferring boiling liquids into a blender to be puréed, the immersion blender lets you do it right in the pot. If you make soup frequently, this tool is worth its weight in gold.  Luckily, with a price tag of only $30, it’s very affordable.  Furthermore, it takes up much less space than a regular blender.  I mean, do you really need one sitting on your counter at all times? I’m doubtful…

I hope that was helpful!  I’d love to hear your thoughts- which appliances do you think are really worth the money?

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§ 15 Responses to Kitchen Appliances: Which ones are right for you?

  • Jessica says:

    I love my immersion blender too! so true about the soups 🙂 Do you recommend the mini processor you have? I’ve never been able to take the plunge with a full sized one but am inspired by your post.

    • Clara says:

      Hi Jessica! Yes, I highly recommend the one I have. Like I said have had it for years and it still works beautifully. My mom’s had a mini one even longer (and a big one for like 20 years!) and hers still works well too. Glad you share my sentiment on the immersion blender!

  • I have all those items. I still have yet to use the stand mixer though. And yes, it was registry gift from our wedding.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I’m pretty sure I have an immersion blender, I just never though to use it as a regular one. Do you think margaritas would still come out the same?

    Everything else is going on my wishlist.

    • Clara says:

      Liiiiiz- are you really making that many margaritas? And yes, I think they would. If you have an immersion blender, it should come with instructions (I can glance at mine if you need me to).

      Ps: wishlist= registry. Yay!

  • melissie says:

    This is a weird one but I would be lost without my vacuum food saver (I call it my suck-sealer)!. I’m a big cheese person and the amount I’ve saved on cheese not getting moldy (when it shouldn’t) has paid for the machine many times over. But I use it on so many more things as well: buying food in bulk and freezing it; vacuum-packing things I don’t use often (a special type of rice, brown sugar, etc.); even storing stuff for camping. Great machine … but it does have a big footprint. Luckily my kitchen has just the right place for it.

    • nikkianne says:

      I love my vacuum food saver too! I use it a lot for when meat is on sale, but I also will grate up a ton of cheese and put it in a vacuum tupperware container. It makes me happy because grating cheese makes me grumpy and I’m too cheap to buy pre-grated!

  • Leanne says:

    I think a KitchenAid standing mixer is almost a must for most regular home cooks, because they are so versatile (attachments!), tough (they work and last for decades), and KitchenAid guarantees them for life (just in case). So even though they’re pricey, up front, that price evens out over the course of a lifetime … of course, at least $250+/appliance is admittedly a luxury. I use mine weekly (and owning one is what encouraged me to bake more), but if I weren’t in the kitchen often, I doubt I would want one.

    And hooray for food processors. I’ve also heard a scale is necessary, but haven’t made the switch yet.

  • Lots of Lotz says:

    I love, love my Kitchen Aid–the best present from my mom-in-law ever! I use it daily. I might have to see about an immersion blender, too. Thanks for the ideas!

  • I agree with your recommendations, Clara. I also like using an electric griddle for pancakes. I used to make them in a frying pan, but the griddle makes it easier to maneuver the flip and I can cook them in larger batches; speeding up the process.

  • Clara says:

    Wow, guys! I’m loving all these comments, they’re so helpful.

    Melissie: I have always wanted one of those! I used to watch the infomercials for them aaalll the time. I think I would use one most for freezing meat, and helping prevent freezer burn.

    Leanne: Very true, KitchenAids have so many capabilities beyond baking and they do really make of for their cost with the lifetime guarantee! I can’t imagine living without mine. And yes, a scale. That’s been on my mind too. Do you know if you have to spend extra to get a really accurate one?

    Lots of Lotz: I’m so impressed you use your KitchenAid daily!

    Karen: Funny you mention that, I have always had a thing for those griddles! We had family friends who used one growing up and they made the absolute best pancakes. Perhaps I’ll get one when I have more space…

  • nikkianne says:

    Melissie: I love my vacuum food saver too! I use it a lot for when meat is on sale, but I also will grate up a ton of cheese and put it in a vacuum tupperware container. It makes me happy because grating cheese makes me grumpy and I’m too cheap to buy pre-grated!

    Also, does anyone have a suggestion on a brand of food processor? Mine is on the verge of biting the bullet. I’ve been using a mini version for the past few years, but would be okay with a mini or full size version

  • snowflakes says:

    I just have a basic blender and I chop all my veggies by hand, and I am thinking of buying a mini FP after reading your post. I mostly cook indian cuisine, wonder whether an FP can easy my efforts.

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