A top-tier chef can whip up a memorable meal using little more than a good knife and a decent set of pans. For the rest of us, there's no shame in getting some help.
Technology has been a dominant part of the kitchen for years. From the blender and food processor to regular advances in familiar appliances, we've been relying on gadgets to help us prepare our meals for most—if not all—of our lives. And just as it has in other fields, technology is not showing any signs of slowing in the kitchen.
Looking to lift your cooking a notch, but don't have time to attend a culinary institute? Or maybe you're just looking to make preparing the evening meal a bit less time-intensive? Or streamlining upcoming trips the grocery store? No matter, there's a gadget for all of that.
Anova Sous Vide ( Buy here )
Sous Vide, the practice of cooking food in a plastic pouch and placing it in hot water or steamer, has seen its popularity explode in the past couple of years. And no sous vide machine has been as widely praised as Anova's. The $149 device heats a pot of water to a pre-set temperature so that you can cook food that's vacuum-sealed in a plastic pouch. (Meats are generally seared quickly to get a crust once they finish in the bath.) The result is a perfect steak, lobster or pretty much any other dish every time.
Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo ( Buy here—$100 at the moment )
Slow cookers have been a favorite tool of families for years. But the addition of WeMo technology has made them even more convenient. Running late or going to be home a lot earlier than expected? Now, with this $149 device, you can turn the temperature up or down (or even turn the device off) remotely with your smartphone. You can also monitor the progress of your meal and let people know when it's ready, even if you're not there. It has a six quart capacity, meaning there's plenty of room to cook just about any dish.
Philips Airfryer ( Buy here )
We may love the taste of fried foods, but our waistlines (and our hearts) aren't so crazy about them. Philips takes some of the guilt out of the process with this $250 gadget that replicates a deep fryer using just a teaspoon of actual oil and a whole lot of hot air. It cooks food quickly and evenly and will give you that crunch you crave, without the extra fat and calories.
Samsung FamilyHub Smart Fridge
Samsung’s new line of refrigerators, which cost $5,800 to $6,000, have a lot of bells and whistles, but what’s remarkable is they don’t seem to be pointless additions. The embedded camera that takes a picture of the refrigerator's contents every time the door is closed? That can come in handy when you’re at the store. Alerts when a food item has been in there long enough to go bad? Fantastic. And the built-in touchscreen offers recipe suggestions, streams music, and will let you automatically reorder food thanks to a partnership with MasterCard. It’s a strong argument for the Internet of things and the smart home.
PancakeBot ( Buy here—$299 at the moment )
Want to be a super parent the morning after your kid has a sleep over? This $363 food printer will draw a perfectly customized pancake that will make you the talk of the neighborhood. Enter the picture/design you want (which can range from a character to an animal to a logo), pour the batter in the bottle and watch it go to work. Yeah, it might be a luxury item, but it will make your social circle eager to come over for brunch.
Maverick ET-735 Wireless Thermometer ( Buy here—$79 at the moment )
The best barbecue is made low and slow. The trick is cooking it to the correct temperature—but opening the grill to check its readiness lets the heat out, slowing the cooking process, and sometimes resulting in tough meat. The $90 ET-735 is a top-rated wireless thermometer that lets you monitor the temperature of your ribs, chicken or brisket from up to 160 feet away. It comes with two probes, but you can buy more, letting you monitor up to four foods at once.
Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System ( Buy here—$122 at the moment )
It might look like a fancy CrockPot from the outside, but Ninja takes things a bit further. While it does have slow cooker functionality, this $130 device can also roast and bake your food, using steam infusion and direct heat. (It also sears and sautés.) If your kitchen is small, this could become your go-to tool for making all sorts of dishes.
We’ve included affiliate links in this article. Click here to learn what those are.