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For those of you who adore the wiz-bot gadgetry of shows like MasterChef, you’ll know that there are kitchen gadgets that can help elevate your cooking from prosaic to professional. But which are the best bits of kit to turn a home kitchen into a professional-grade one?
Our experts have tested and curated the best tools to help elevate your cooking so that Gregg and John themselves would be singing your praises.
Ever coveted a sous vide machine, or watched Nigella hand-roll pasta and wanted to match her culinary prowess? We have you covered.
These products have been independently reviewed by our team of experts. We’ve done our best to ensure that there’s nothing too faddish included, though as with most things, these gadgets are only useful if you continue to use them. In each case, we think it’s worth the outlay.
Best for: condensing flavour and increasing food longevity
Dehydrators are very handy tool for creating healthier snacks and prolonging the life of foodstuffs by drying it out. From jerky, to vegetable chips, fruit leather to dried mushrooms, they’re a brilliant investment for both the creation of snack food and for locking a deeper, more intensified flavour into food.
While many dehydrators are expensive and sizeable, the Lakeland offering is comparatively affordable, works well, and takes up little bench space. With four adjustable four-drying trays, and a 12-hour timer, its a practical little number, allowing you to dehydrate multiple batches of food (and different types) overnight.
Best for: keeping your knives sharp
It is something of a struggle to avoid hyperbole when describing the AnySharp Knife Sharpener, an appliance that did revolutionise our experience of cooking. Odds are high you may not be aware how blunt your kitchen knives are. Sharpen them with this sharpener (no skill required) and you’ll be delighted by how freshly capable and razor-sharp your knives now our.
The super-sucker secures it to your work surface, then simply pull your blades through the Tungsten carbide sharpening tool. Terribly satisfying.
Best for: perfectly tender food
Sous vide, meaning “under vacuum” in French, refers to the process of vacuum-sealing food in a bag, then cooking it to a very precise temperature in a water bath. The results are both more tender and more reliable than conventional cooking methods.
If you’ve watched Master Chef, odds are you’re familiar with this method of cooking, which was previously the preserve of the culinary elite, and now is available to be done at home.
The Anova Precision Cooker sous vide has two actions - first, it vacuum packs your food into a plastic bag, then, it turns any cooking pot into a water bath
It works by heating and circulating water in a pot or pan until it reaches the correct temperature for cooking your chosen food. From there you simply cooked your vacuum packed food according to the app’s instruction.
The results are impressive - it’s great for turning cheaper cuts into tender marvels, and the accompanying app provides fool=proof instructions. Unlike most sous vide machines, too, this is small enough to slot easily into cupboards when not in use.
Best for: silky, sensuous home-made pasta
Marcato are the market leaders in the pasta maker industry (with 80 years of experience). If you’re after a pasta machine, this is the premium offering.
It turns the work of making homemade pasta into an absolute doddle - we were impressed with the ease of ease - and while we were originally uncertain it would be worth the effort, we found the noodles crafted in our Marcato to be more tender, silky, and absorbent than store-bought pasta, soaking up the flavours of our sauce gorgeously. It’s well worth it if you want to create Italian dishes a Nonna would be proud.
Another point that sets the Marcato aside from other pasta machines we trialled - the roller combs on the machine are removable, making this easily the simplest machine we used to clean-up.
Best for: easy potato peeling
This is not a necessity, no. But, if, as we do, you seem to be cooking potatoes in some iteration every second evening, then it will make your cooking endeavours much more pleasant. Instead of hours over a sink with a potato peeler, simply pop your tatties in the rumbler, switch on, and it will peel them for you - up to a kilo in just one minute.
If roast potatoes, shepherd’s pie or mash are in your regular cooking rotation, you’ll be delighted by the time this nifty machine saves you.
Best for: awaking to the smell of freshly baked bread
If you’ve seen enough freshly baked sourdough loaves on social media to last a life time - but still melt at the scent of a freshly baked loaf of bread - this Morphy Richards bread-maker will set you up.
With 14 pre-sets to utilise, making bread is as simple as placing ingredients into it, and pressing a button. You’ll be rewarded with flavourful, well-risen bread, with impressive crusts. The timer means you can leave it to do its work over night and wake up to a still-warm loaf.
It does a great job of pizza dough, too. We’re converted - we use it every day.
Best for: intensifying the flavour of your food
We again have strayed into the arena of extravagance here - but if deep, intense flavour is what you seek, you’ll adore this handheld smoking gun.
While hot-smoking consumes space, time, and can be rather aromatic (we adore the scent, we confess, but it is rather consuming), this gun is small, hand-held, and transforms the flavour of your food in minutes. By cold-smoking, it imparts a rich, smoky flavour to whatever you fancy, but will not affect texture at all (and requires no woodchips).
We adore it - indeed, we’ve been going mad trialling it on everything - it works well, we’ve found, on cheese, butter, to seafood, beef, and - delightfully - martinis.
Best for: perfect ice cream and gelato in any flavour you fancy
The expert review: You can always rely on British kitchenware brand Lakeland to produce excellent products that are reliable and simple to use, and the Lakeland Digital Ice Cream Maker 1.5L is no exception.
It was the easiest to use of all the machines we tested: all we needed to do was freeze the bowl in advance, while all the other bits and pieces were incredibly simple to slot together.
For an ice cream maker on the more affordable side of the spectrum, we were also impressed by its digital display complete with a timer, and its generously sized bowl, perfect for making ice cream for the whole family - plus friends!
It comes with recipes too - and most importantly, it makes a truly tasty frozen treat.
Best for: healthy, crisp food
The expert review: This retro-styled fryer looks great on the countertop and you can match it to other multi-coloured kitchen accessories from Swan such as toasters and kettles.
So it looks good, but does it do the job well? Short answer: yes. The wind up timer and sliding temperature knobs are basic, but we’ve found with all our models that you’ll usually want to go back mid-cook to check on progress, so it’s easy enough to boost or reduce cooking time at any stage.
The non-stick basket insert on this fryer was easy to clean and a real hit with junior cooks in the family who found it easy to use (under supervision of course; like all models here, the casing got hot with prolonged use.)
Best for: blitzing up food in a moment
Our expert review: The KitchenAid hand blender’s price tag may be high compared to other brands, but you will only need to use it once, and you will be smitten.
The ergonomically designed hand blender is super-powerful with all the benefits of being cordless, so no dangerous cords are trailing around the space. Once charged, it will keep going for hours.
There are seven speeds, and the four-pronged blade will just about tackle any food you want to quickly purée, liquefy or safely whip such as cream or egg whites.
The blender breaks down into two pieces for easy washing up and storage. The charging unit is just a lead and plug, so takes no room at all. There’s a small plastic pan guard to fit over the blades to protect pans and bowls from scratches —a handy piece of kit for any kitchen, especially a compact one.
Best for: the best multi-cooker on the market
Our expert review: There’s a full range of functions you’ll love on the Foodi. Not only will this powerful multi cooker use pressure cooking to slash cooking times, there’s no need to transfer food to the oven or grill to crisp it up – just remove the sealed pressure cooker top and lower the hinged lid to roast, grill or air fry the ingredients.
The instructions on this model are pretty intuitive, and it didn’t take long at all to master one-pot roasts and weekday dinners.
When our tester got cooking that meant crispy chicken skin on a succulent bird, a delicious, charred finish on fall-off-the-bone ribs and bubbling cheese on fast potatoes gratin.
Great results all round, but we found it was rather large to store away when not in use.
Best for: delicious fresh juice in an instant
Our expert review: This powerful machine produces a glass of fresh juice in just 15 seconds.
Whole apples slide down its wide chute, before a 900w motor blasts the juice from hard and soft fruits alike.
It has an anti-drip and anti-splash spout to keep your kitchen clean and the 1.25-litre jug has a foam separator for the smoothest possible juice. It’s noisy and fairly bulky, but a breeze to clean.
The removable parts are dishwasher-safe and a cleaning brush is included for de-pulping the mesh filter. Overall, it’s an efficient, trusty juicer.