Do you remember life before cell phones? You’d waste time searching for pay phones, digging for change, and worrying about your kids because you couldn’t contact them? Chances are, you have no interest in going back to the old way of doing things. I feel the same way in my kitchen.
As I’ve started eating healthier, it’s meant more meals at home and less foods from a box or a bag. At first, the extra cooking was time consuming and frustrating, but over time I’ve discovered tools that make cooking faster, easier, and way more fun. I can’t imagine life without them, so I’ve decided to share these precious gadgets with you. Each of these items will save you at least 15 minutes in prep time—and some will save you as much as 10 hours (thank you, pressure cooker!).
Did you know you can actually cook rice without a stove? You just need a rice cooker. Generally, it heats up faster, which saves you time and energy. Plus, it’s really simple. Just add rice and water, set the timer, and move on to your next project.
Time Saved: 10-30 minutes, depending on the kind of rice used.
How to use a rice cooker: If you’ve never used a rice cooker before, watch this video.
Price range: $30 - $100+
I recommend this model: Aroma 20-cup Stainless Steel Digital Rice Cooker
When you’re pressed for time, a slow cooker can be a lifesaver. There are a variety of one-pot dishes you can cook entirely in the slow cooker also known as a Crock Pot. All you have to do is throw in the ingredients, set the timer, and dish out your breakfast, lunch, or dinner when you’re ready to eat.
Time saved: 30 minutes
Price Range: $15 - $100+
I recommend this model: Crock-Pot Programmable Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker
This awesome kitchen gadget may win the award for biggest time saver. If you’re cooking dry beans and you don’t have time to soak them a pressure cooker can bail you out. Among its many other talents, this tool can take cooking dry beans from a 10-hour ordeal to a 25-minute simmer time, depending on your pressure cooker. How’s that for a time saver?
Time saved: Vegetables - 15 minutes. Grains - 10 minutes. Beans - 60+ minutes.
How to use a pressure cooker: If you’ve never used a pressure cooker before, watch this video.
Price Range: $23 - $200+
I recommend this model: Presto 6-qt Aluminum Pressure Cooker
Let’s face it, most of the time we see one of these babies in the lunchroom at work. And they always look like something blew up in them, so it’s easy to miss their hidden worth.
The benefits of a toaster oven were truly revealed to me when I realized my mother could finish cooking some foods faster in the toaster oven than it took me to preheat my oven! This gadget is truly an asset if you only need to cook for one or two people. The small space means the oven heats quickly and evenly which gets dinner on the table in record time.
Time Saved: 12-15 minutes for something like a black bean burger
Recipes: Portobello Pesto Burgers
Price Range: $25 - $250+
I recommend this model: Black & Decker Stainless Steel Countertop Convection Oven
When I first started Full Plate Living, my answer to getting a lot of fiber at once was a smoothie. I made so many smoothies, I actually broke two blenders at the beginning of my journey. Needless to say, I’ve learned a quality blender really is key. As is moderation.
Time saved: Up to 5 minutes depending on the type of blender/mixer used.
Price Range: $17 - $600+
I recommend this model: Oster Rapid Blend 8-Speed Blender
If you hate slicing, dicing and chopping, consider a food processor. You can shred cabbage, lettuce, kale, and other veggies in seconds, instead of spending tedious minutes doing it by hand. This takes the dread out of prepping healthy salads and entrees.
While a traditional food processor may have more options for sizes, the Salad Shooter only shreds or slices - but those two options go a long way. The small footprint makes fitting it in the dishwasher easy, and is storage a no-brainer. Plus, the price is budget-friendly.
Time Saved: Varies, depending on the task. 10 minutes shredding cabbage, lettuce, or other veggies. 5 minutes slicing and chopping veggies.
How to use a salad shooter: If you’ve never used a salad shooter before, watch this video.
Recipes: French Grated Carrot Salad
I recommend this model: Presto Salad Shooter Electric Slicer
At first glance, immersion blenders look like fancy tools only the most experienced cooks would dare try. Let me tell you right now how wrong that assumption is.
This awesome little gadget saves you a tremendous amount of time by allowing you to mix ingredients inside almost any kind of dish without the mess of transferring the contents to a traditional blender, which is a huge mess waiting to happen.
An immersion blender can also save you from getting burned by soup accidentally splattering out of a stand blender.
Time Saved: 7 - 10 minutes
How to use an immersion blender: If you’ve never used an immersion blender, watch this video.
Recipes: Creamy Black Bean Soup
Price Range: $15 - $170+
I recommend this model: Conair Cuisinart Smart Stick 2 Speed Hand Blender
There’s no gadget that can add more time to your day, but these tools are the next best thing. So let the rice cooker take care of the rice, while you take care of everything else on your to-do list.