One of the most frequent complaints of cooking enthusiasts today is having a small kitchen at home for food preparation. Many cooks living in apartments, condos and even homes constantly face the dilemma of how to cook appealing, tasty meals in a minimalist kitchen. Although you can expand your food prepping area somewhat by adding a roll-away kitchen island that doubles as a food server and tossing out any unnecessary items or clutter, lack of cooking space can put a damper on your home-chef ambitions.
Many home cooks agree that what can help most is gathering a kitchen tool collection to serve your major culinary needs while consuming the least amount of space. The items chosen for your collection are up to you, but a good idea is to include some mini-appliances, cooking vessels and utensils that can perform multiple food prepping and cooking functions. Begin by selecting some reliable, basic kitchen aids along with newer, creative cooking tools that offer advanced features and options. Then you can start creating culinary delights in your small home kitchen with ease, style, innovation and pizzazz.
Choose Modern Compact Tools and Mini-Appliances with Advanced Features
By selecting small-size, streamlined kitchen tools and appliances with useful, advanced features and functions, you can make life in your small kitchen much easier and decidedly more enjoyable. This will also support innovative cooking experiments, modern food prepping methods and delicious traditional recipes. It can be helpful to make a list of mini-appliances you find attractive for kitchen use and then eliminate them, one by one, until you have the few ideal appliances to enhance time spent preparing foods and cooking.
1. Food Steamer
For example, some good options for the latest in updated, compact and easy-to-use mini-equipment for your kitchen are items like a good, versatile food steamer. The Aroma® Professional 9-Quart Food Steamer ($39.99) or the Hamilton Beach® Digital Simplicity™ Rice Cooker and Steamer ($49.99) are both good choices. The Aroma steamer is triple-tiered, making it possible to steam several different foods or food combinations at the same time. With this great kitchen aid, you can prepare an entire meal, yet each dish is cooked separately rather than by the all-in-one style of traditional food steamers. This modern device starts steaming in less than one minute and has conveniently timed, auto-turnoff capability, so no worries about over-cooking foods or burning the bottom of the steamer. With this cooker, you get nine quart food capacity along with two handy steam trays and a drip tray.
The attractive Hamilton Beach steamer is also a digital rice cooker. You can also cook beans and all types of vegetables as well as whole grains and pasta in this cooker. Its nonstick aluminum container is removable and offers cooking capacity for 4 to 20 cups of rice. This advanced cooking aid also provides a steaming basket for healthy combined heating of vegetables, dumplings and many other foods.
For our favorites, check out our picks for top food steamers for the money.
2. Food Processor
Even when eliminating all unnecessary items of equipment in your small kitchen, a food processor is still of major value. The Cuisinart Elite Collection 12-Cup model offers a 1,000-watt, peak-power motor to chop, dice, shred and blend raw vegetables, fruits and meats to perfection. It is also a superior machine for creating finely textured sauces, soups and purées. This processor comes with adjustable slicing and shredding discs as well as chopping and mixing blades. A convenient dough blade is also included along with a large and small bowl, both with pouring spouts. Check out our food processor reviews.
3. Mini-Roaster Oven or Griddler
Especially when cooking for family gatherings, guests or holiday parties, having a miniature roaster or griddler can be a lifesaver for preparing multiple roasted or grilled dishes at the same time. You can also save on electricity usage by using a small cooking device rather than your large oven when fixing meals for yourself or for you and your spouse, partner or significant other. A good choice among mini-roasters on the market today is the Proctor Silex® 18-Quart Roaster Oven ($49.99). This small, high-powered roaster oven has a surprisingly spacious interior for baking, roasting and warming foods. It also doubles as a compact, but very effective buffet service device for hot foods. This roaster has enough interior space for an 18-pound turkey, and its removable pan and oven rack aid you in easily placing and removing foods. This small oven makes it possible to bake or roast a wide choice of recipes whenever your full-size oven, stovetop burners and microwave are all in use.
You may prefer the Cuisinart® Griddler® Deluxe ($159.99), a convenient, full-featured small griddler that needs very little counter or storage space. With this versatile, modern mini-grill, you have six different cooking choices. It also offers reversible grill and griddle plates and convenient dual-zone controls to regulate grilling temperature. Providing exceptionally large grilling space of 240 square inches, this griddler is perfect for preparing meals for the entire family. It includes six different cooking selections—contact grill, full griddle, panini press, half griddle, half grill and top melt. Check out our roaster oven reviews for help on picking one of these for your kitchen.
Select Versatile, Easily Stored Pots, Pans and Other Cooking Vessels
To enhance functionality in a small kitchen, pots, pans and other cooking vessels must be large enough to accommodate required ingredients for varied cooking and baking projects. They should also be streamlined in design to facilitate easy stacking for storage in kitchen cabinets or on additional shelf space. Make your own list of quality choices, then select your favorites to enhance your small kitchen cooking experience.
1. Induction Cookware Pot or Pan
Handy induction cookware is designed for fast, thorough and uniform heating and cooking of foods. A great choice is the Fundix by Castey Nonstick Cast Aluminium Induction Stock Pot/Deep Casserole ($92.51). This durable cooking pot has a dependable, nonstick, eco-friendly coating and a tempered glass lid, providing evenly distributed cooking heat. It also has a unique induction base and vacuum design to ensure fast, uniform cooking. This cooking vessel is scratch-resistant and easily cleaned. For your convenience, it is also both oven and dishwasher safe.
Another much needed item is a sturdy, induction saucepan like the Fundix Nonstick Cast Aluminium Induction Saucepan/Lid with Removable Red Handle ($69.99). This durable, modern saucepan has a long-lasting, ecological surface that prevents foods from sticking or staining. Easy to maintain, it includes a unique induction base for rapid, even and thorough cooking. Its tempered glass lid has a protective rim and top knob of stainless steel. This cooking device is safe for oven use and for cleaning in the dishwasher, and by purchasing this saucepan in sizes of your choice—small, medium or large, you will have all the variety you need.
2. Frying Pan or Skillet Set
Every kitchen, regardless of size, needs at least two frying pans or skillets of different capacities. With a Tramontina Deluxe Cookware Fryer Set or Lodge Cast-Iron Skillet Set ($51.99 per piece), all your frying vessel needs will be met. The handsome Tramontina set has a durable black porcelain enamel exterior with an interior surface of heavy-gauge aluminum. The cookware handles are ergonomically structured, and all lids are tempered glass, resistant to cracking or shattering. This product was made in Italy. It offers healthy, even cooking of foods, easy interior cleaning and exceptional degrees of durability. This set includes an 8-inch frying pan, a 10-inch frying pan and an 11-inch deep skillet with lid.
The Lodge Skillet Set of durable cast iron distributes heat evenly and retains it well. Skillets of 12 or 10 inches come ready for use, having been pre-seasoned. Also included with each fryer is a hot handle holder of red silicone.
3. Bakeware Pans
Most home-chefs like to bake, especially for birthdays or other special occasions and during holiday seasons. To complete your supply of essential kitchen pots and pans, why not add a streamlined, stackable bakeware set? A good choice is the Simply Calphalon Nonstick 6-Piece Bakeware Set ($25.49). This attractive, toffee-colored bakeware with a nonstick coating will not warp. It ensures even heating so cookies, cakes and pies will brown smoothly. The set includes round cake pans, a rectangular cake pan, a cookie sheet, a loaf pan and a muffin pan. All items are dishwasher-safe. You can purchase the entire bakeware set or each piece separately to suit your needs. Each piece is designed with nonstick layers to ensure fast, even release of cakes and other baked items after baking, preventing crumbling, cracking or tearing of baked goods.
Gather Functional, Durable and Fun-to-Use Cooking Utensils and Accessories
There are myriad varieties, brands and styles of cooking utensils on the consumer market today. You can find a convenient solution to all your cooking accessory needs by shopping in online kitchen product marketplaces and offline in kitchen supply stores, home design boutiques and culinary arts accessory departments in malls and superstores. Choose items you know you will use often.
1. Mixing Bowls
Glass mixing bowls like the Cuisinart Mixing Bowls with Lids, Set of 3 ($40.00), size small, medium and large are ideal for mixing all your ingredients when baking. Their durable plastic lids make them suitable for food storage containers as well. This set includes a 5-quart bowl, one with 3-quart capacity and a third 1-1/2-quart bowl. This set supplies you with the perfect bowl combination for mixing all ingredients for most baking projects. The large bowl is ideal for mixing salad greens as well, and the medium-size and small bowls are good for beating eggs and mixing sauce ingredients.
2. Measuring Spoons
Good quality measuring spoons are the Cuisipro Stainless Steel Measuring Spoon Set ($11.30). These nesting spoons of different sizes are essential for measuring small amounts of baking recipe ingredients, first mixing wet and dry ingredients separately. They are designed with clear markings to prevent errors in quantities for recipes. Spoon sizes included in this set are 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 and 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon. These spoons are much more durable than plastic models and are suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher.
3. Measuring Cups for Dry Ingredients
A set of stainless steel measuring cups of sizes 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 3/4 and 1 cup like the MIU France 7-piece Measuring Cup Set ($35.19) is essential for ensuring your measurements of dry ingredient amounts for baking and cooking recipes are correct. These durable cups are manufactured of stainless steel and will not corrode, rust or stain with use. Each cup is straight-sided to facilitate easy, accurate measuring, and the long, flat handles are designed for easy gripping.
4. Measuring Cups for Liquid Ingredients
Glass measuring cups such as the Pyrex Prepware 1-Cup Measuring Cup and 1-Quart Measuring Cup ($7.76 and $8.59) are perfect for measuring liquid ingredients for cooking recipes. In fact, they are carefully calibrated for use in measuring liquids. These quality measuring aids have convenient pouring spouts, clear measuring amount markings and durable handles that are ergonomically structured. Pyrex glass is known for its non-porous strength and will not break easily. It also does not absorb food stains, odors or flavors as some plastic measuring cups do. These Pyrex measuring cups are a must as a food prep aid in any kitchen.
5. Cooking Utensils
A quality set of cooking utensils is a basic necessity in all kitchens. This 6-piece set of Chefs Bamboo Cooking Utensils ($14.95) includes an assortment of spoons, forks and spatulas, some with holes for draining. All made of beautifully grained natural bamboo, they add grace and beauty to your kitchen and serving area. Spoons can also double as buffet table servers and as salad servers on your dining table. These wooden utensils will last a lifetime if you keep them clean and oiled to preserve the bamboo. When washed in hot water and mild dishwashing detergent, they will be free of bacteria and ready for preparing your next snack or meal.
6. Chef’s Knife
For all your chopping-by-hand projects in the kitchen, a good quality, sharp chef’s knife like the Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Chef’s Knife ($40.09) is a must. This model has a stainless steel, high-carbon blade to ensure lasting edge sharpness. This product is manufactured in Switzerland. The quality knife’s blade is conically ground both across and vertically to provide the least possible cutting resistance. It has undergone laser testing to prove its top-form cutting power. The knife handle is textured to improve sureness of grip.
7. Paring Knife
A good grade, sharp paring knife is necessary for all types of food preparation. By including a quality item like the Wusthof Classic 3-1/2-Inch Paring Knife ($39.95) in your kitchen cooking tools, you will have a winner. This razor-sharp, stainless steel blade is forged high-carbon for fine efficiency and durability. Its small, precise point makes it perfect for peeling vegetables with even the toughest, hardest to dislodge skins. This classic knife has a triple-riveted composition handle for highest levels of performance and strength. It is completely dishwasher safe and durable, providing long-term use.
8. Cutting Board
A durable cutting board made of fine quality wood like the TruBamboo Bermuda Cutting Board ($11.95) will outlast many hours of cutting, chopping, slicing and dicing. This attractive bamboo cutting board is safe for use with all types of knives. It keeps sharp blade edges from becoming dull and is durable enough to support heavy chopping jobs. This cutting board should be oiled periodically with lemon, lime, coconut or mineral oil to preserve its natural luster and wood moisture levels. It can also be used as a serving board for cheeses, breads or vegetable appetizers for casual get-togethers at your recreation room bar or casual den buffet table.
9. Vegetable and Fruit Peeler
A dependable vegetable and fruit peeler such as the Kuhn Rikon Piranha Swivel Peeler ($7.99) is an excellent choice for heavy-duty vegetable peeling, maintaining its sharp precision peeling and efficiency through many hours of duty. The vertical blade of this peeler removes skins of vegetables and fruits swiftly and smoothly, while the stainless steel, serrated blade penetrates tight or fuzzy skins, shaving them off in smooth, even strips. The curved plastic handle of this peeler is ergonomically shaped for easy use.
A sturdy vegetable and spice grater like the Microplane Classic Series Premium Grater ($9.95) is much simpler to handle than the larger, boxy design graters once used in nearly every kitchen. This model does a fine job of grating nutmeg, ginger, vegetables, fruits and hard cheeses. This grater’s surgical quality blade of stainless steel is made to last, and its soft plastic handle is designed for easy, secure gripping. This superior grater comes with a protective cover and offers a grating surface of 4-7/8 inches by 7/16 inch.
A handy colander like the ExcelSteel Stainless Steel Colander ($11.91) is still the best for rinsing and draining vegetables, fruits, pasta and many other foods before preparing them for cooking, chopping, slicing or eating. This mirror-polished colander is designed for steady use and durability. It has large handles that are easy to grip and it is simple to clean and maintain.
A durable kitchen strainer like the HIC ‘Brands that Cook Essentials’ Stainless Steel Mesh Strainer ($7.89) is ideal for draining such foods as rinsed berries or angel hair pasta that can slip through the holes in colanders. This strainer has a 6-inch diameter and offers fine quality, high functionality and excellent value for its modest price. Its double handle ensures steady gripping and is convenient for hanging in storage cabinets.
13. Ramekin Set
A set of ramekins such as the Norpro 6 Piece Porcelain Ramekin Set ($14.71) is a great help to cooks, especially in small kitchens. These small, open porcelain containers help you get and stay organized, with all recipe ingredients measured and set in place (“mise en place”) for use. Each ramekin has a 0.5 cup/4 ounce capacity and is safe for use in refrigerators, ovens and microwaves. These ramekins are ideal for baking small, individual size soufflés or custards as well as for serving condiments.
14. Kitchen Scale
A good quality kitchen scale like the Salter Aquatronic Glass Electronic Kitchen Scale ($37.08) is important for cooking. This innovative electronic scale for the kitchen can weigh solids of 11 pounds or less or liquids equaling 175 fluid ounces or less. Its handsome glass weighing platform is supported by a sturdy base of stainless steel. This model features push-button settings and an LCD display. The scale’s glass platform is easy to clean and long-lasting. Foods can be placed directly on the platform or in bowls for weighing. Weights are accurate and quickly measured.
15. Can Opener
A durable can opener such as the OXO Steel Can Opener ($18.99) is a kitchen necessity. This sturdy can opener with durable cutting wheel edge can open even the toughest metal food containers quickly and efficiently, saving you time when assembling recipe ingredients. It has large cushioned handles and an extra-large turning knob. This device also includes an attached bottle cap opener. This item is not dishwasher-proof and should be hand washed to ensure its longevity.
Sturdy kitchen tongs like the OXO Good Grips Locking Tongs ($12.99) are a great tool for food preparation. These dependable tongs are easily maneuvered around hot bottles for lifting or moving them. They are also of great help in turning food pieces when grilling or broiling beef, chicken, lamb, fish or vegetables. These tongs have non-slip, cushioned handles and convenient thumb rests. They also include a loop for hanging in storage cabinets and are dishwasher-proof for easy maintenance. These tongs are also handy for reaching small boxes, cans or bottles down from upper kitchen shelves.
17. Spatula Spoon
A handy spatula spoon like the Large Le Creuset Silicone Spatula Spoon ($11.95) is perfect for stirring, mixing or scooping ingredients during baking or cooking preparations as well as scraping ingredients from the sides of mixing bowls. This sizable spatula spoon has an extra-large silicone head. It resists warping and staining and can actually resist damage from heat as high as 482 degrees F. Its head can be removed and safely washed in the dishwasher.
Well Equipped and Skillfully Run Small Kitchens Produce Highest Quality Cuisine
When you have a small kitchen equipped with quality modern mini-appliances to complement your full-size stove, range and microwave, you can prepare an entire holiday meal for family and guests without extra worry, confusion or fuss. When everything is organized and in its place, from recipes and their ingredients to kitchen tools, utensils and other kitchen aids, cooking becomes a true adventure and delight. It is both a scientific and creative learning experience and an activity of enjoyable inspiration and enlightenment. With the best small-scale, streamlined tools and cooking aids in your small kitchen, you will find yourself achieving the most exceptional culinary feats and delicious recipe results of your dreams.