Because small is really beautiful, particularly when sheltering at home.

By Stacey Ballis
May 12, 2020
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Find yourself browsing online catalogs of gleaming appliances and kitchen upgrades? We hear you. With home cooking a day-in-day-out necessity, a new tool to make our lives easier makes a whole lot of sense. But we're also storing more food than we're used to, making storage and counter space a real premium. The answer? Small appliances! Consider these 7 beautiful little ways to elevate your game and make your life easier.

Electric Kettle

Courtesy Williams Sonoma

Having an electric kettle for boiling water is enormously useful. For one, it boils water much faster than doing it on the stovetop, and you can actually use it for far more than coffee and tea. I use it as a way to blanch delicate vegetables, for peeling tomatoes or peaches, adding warm water to a water bath for baking or to make fast couscous and instant noodles.

Buy it: Breville Soft Top Pure Tea Kettle ($79.95),

Mini Food Processor

Courtesy Williams-Sonoma

The big 14-cup food processor certainly gets a workout in my kitchen with reasonable regularity, but to be honest, the one that really works overtime? The mini version. It grates small amounts of cheese; makes homemade breadcrumbs; chops herbs, garlic, and ginger; and whips up pesto and salsa verde. And clean up is a snap. 

Buy it: Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus Food Processor, 3-Cup (currently $39.95, usually $75),

Immersion Blender

Courtesy Williams Sonoma

Not every sauce, salad dressing, or soup needs you to bust out the big guns. I love my immersion blender for making fast work of small projects or letting me puree things right in their pots. Faster cleanup, more control, and it fits in a drawer… what’s not to love?

Buy it: All-Clad Immersion Blender (currently $99.95, usually $130),

Hand Mixer

Courtesy Sur La Table

You don’t always want to lug out the big stand mixer for a small project, and doing things by hand can be time consuming and difficult. The hand mixer is the perfect middle ground. Great for quick batters, cookies, and whipping cream or egg whites, it is a powerhouse of a small appliance.

Buy it: Cuisinart Power Advantage 7-Speed Hand Mixer (currently $59.95, usually $110),


Courtesy Williams Sonoma

I avoided the electric pressure cooker/Instant Pot trend for a long time, which I told you about here. But color me converted: Now, I am all in on this convenient appliance. It makes fast work of usually slow-cooked dishes, makes cheesecakes and custards and flans ultra-creamy, and speeds up weeknight meals. I recently found a company called Tiller & Hatch that makes frozen entrees for the Instant Pot: Just add water and you’ve got coconut curry chicken or farfalle with turkey Bolognese for four, in about 16 minutes! That alone is worth buying this appliance, and this smaller version is ideal for smaller kitchens (and families).

Buy it: Instant Pot Duo Plus Mini 9-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, 3-Qt. (currently $99.95, usually $200),

Precision Sous Vide Cooker

Courtesy Williams Sonoma

Sous vide cooking is all the rage today and the new immersion circulator units pack a ton of function into an appliance that fits right in your drawer! You can attach it to any large pot or heat-safe food container, so you aren’t limited by the size or shape. Need to make a dozen eggs? You can do it right in a three-quart pot. Want to try a whole leg of lamb? Attach it to your largest stock pot. Endlessly versatile, and very easy to use, the appliance utilizes Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity so you can monitor and adjust cooking from wherever you are.

Buy it: Anova Precision Sous Vide Cooker ($149.95 for a limited time, usually $199.95),

Slow Cooker

Courtesy Sur La Table

You all know how much I love a slow cooker, for all sorts of reasons. From long-simmering my soups and stews, to keeping things warm for entertaining, I am a total slow-cooker evangelist. If you don’t have one already, this 4-quart version of All-Clad’s excellent product is an ideal way to get started with a smaller footprint.

Buy it: All-Clad Slow Cooker, 4 Quart (currently $149, suggested price $230),