Basically no counter space? No Problem.
Stocking a first-time kitchen with reliable, long-lasting appliances can be tough, but for home cooks looking to get the job done in less-than-roomy spaces, it’s important to make the most of your limited cooking space and budget. These small but mighty appliances will help you kick off the kitchen of your dreams without taking up too much of your countertop—or putting a giant dent in your bank account.
The key to this appliance is its multi-functionality, with the ability to switch between a blender able to whip up your morning smoothie and a food processor that can get the job done at dinnertime. After all, why crowd your countertop or cabinet with three different appliances when you could go all-in with one versatile machine? For about $15 more, you can upgrade to a slightly larger version for those who plan to work with bigger loads.
2. Black+Decker 6-Speed Hand Mixer ($19.94)
While your kitchen inspo Pinterest board is likely filled with images of shiny stand mixers perfectly poised on the marble countertops of your dreams, in reality these mixers are heavy, expensive, and take up a significant amount of space. Instead, for your starter kitchen opt for a handheld mixer that can fulfill your whipping and beating needs while taking up minimal shelf space at the end of the day. And for just $20, this version will allow you to save up for a fancy, photo-worthy standing mixer down the line.
Another versatile appliance, this combo toaster and toaster oven is a great space-saving solution, particularly for those who have limited microwave or oven access and need an alternative quick heating source. With this combination appliance, you can have your toast and eat it too. With the press of a button, this two-in-one device can be used as a traditional pop-up toaster or a countertop oven, all in one compact machine. If you’d rather just stick to either one appliance or the other, check out our guide to Toasters vs. Toaster Ovens.
4. Stariver Cordless Electric Kettle ($15.99)
Electric kettles can be a great time-saver when prepping tea, pour-over coffee, instant noodles, and more. This super-affordable version won’t break the bank, but will provide easy access to hot water without having to schlep a heavy teapot onto the stove.
5. Durabold Countertop Cast-Iron Single Burner ($32.99)
In the case your apartment or dorm is a stovetop-free zone, this compact and easily storable single burner will fulfill your heating needs without the bulk of a traditional hot plate. Perfect for those preparing smaller quantities, this affordable kitchen tool is a great solution for tight spaces with limited appliance access.
6. Aroma Housewares 3-in-1 Super Pot ($31.61)
As an alternative to a traditional burner, this “Super Pot” with a grill plate acts as a burner and pan in one, saving you on even more space and equipment. With a built-in 3-quart pot, this compact appliance is capable of grilling, steaming, slow cooking, and simmering, and all in one affordable and versatile package.
7. Oster Double-Tiered Steamer ($18.73)
For a healthier method of countertop cooking, a steamer with the ability to heat your veggies, fish, and meat simultaneously could be the way to go. As a bonus, this steamer saves on space with two stacked levels, allowing you to cook two different kinds of food at once without having to take up extra counter space with multiple appliances. As a bonus, the two steamer bowls are able to nest inside each other, making for more compact storage.
8. Instant Pot 6-in-1 pressure cooker ($59.92)
Even if you’ve never used an Instant Pot, you’ve probably heard of one—after all, it's pretty much the hottest thing in cooking right now. And while slightly pricier, this multifaceted appliance can perform the task of a number of other devices—including a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, and steamer—making it worth the extra cash. While the 3-quart version should be more than enough for 1-2 people, if you’re planning on cooking for a more sizeable crowd, 6-quart and 8-quart options are also available. Once you’ve picked the right size for you, make sure to check out our Best Instant Pot Recipes and get cooking.