The 3 Biggest Trends for Kitchen Tools in 2019 Are Exactly What You Need

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Jennifer Cascino)

Tuesday just marked the fourth and final day of the Housewares show. Officially known as the International Home + Housewares show, it’s a huge annual convention in Chicago. Major kitchen brands (like OXO, All-Clad, Keurig, and KitchenAid) along with newer and smaller companies come to show off their latest and upcoming products and win (they hope) space on retailers’ shelves.

I saw nearly every single spatula, toaster oven, and water bottle on display. After just a few hours of walking the aisles, I saw three very clear trends emerge. Not only are they three trends we know you guys are going to be into, but they’re also three things very close to the heart of all us here at Kitchn.

The 3 Biggest Trends for Kitchen Tools in 2019

1. Healthy eating is still number one.

As in past years, there continues to be a huge spotlight on healthy eating. Everywhere I looked, there was a new spiralizer, or veggie-specific tools to inspire us to try new vegetables, or kits for DIY nut milks. It seemed like at least half of the brands I visited had someone demo-ing an avocado masher, a grape tomato slicer, or a zoodle machine. This is nothing new (see our 2017 trend report here), but it’s interesting to see the focus on healthy eating at home only intensify.

2. Meal prep moves from Instagram to retail.

Beyond all the tools and gadgets, we noticed an emphasis on everything you’d possibly need for meal prep — especially food storage containers. Of course, we’ve been talking about meal prep (including the difference between meal prep and meal planning, how to get it all done for the week in just one hour, your favorite containers, and more) since Kitchn first launched, and it’s interesting to see how this intense and often very Instagram-driven trend is being picked up quickly by the people who make our stuff.

3. Space-saving tools urge us to keep buying (don’t worry — it will all fit!)

Do you really need more tools or cookware? Don’t worry; this isn’t clutter, the show this year seemed to say: look how well these pans stack! Overall organizing and space-saving was a huge trend at the show. (Call it the Marie Kondo Effect?) Pots and pans now stack neatly to fit easily into one cabinet, tools have more than one use to save space in your drawer, and organizers are smarter than ever.

The Coolest New Kitchen Finds at Housewares 2019

You just want to see what I’m talking about? OK, here we go! These are the top cool finds I spotted at the show — many of these play to the points above.

(Image credit: Lisa Freedman)

Air Fryers, Now in Toaster Oven Form

If air fryers were the trendiest show item last year (they were!), air fryer toaster ovens were this year’s. Practically every small appliance brand had an air fryer toaster — essentially just a toaster oven with a convection setting and a wire basket. And honestly, we’re excited about it. While some other air fryers fail to cook food evenly (because food gets jumbled up in a basket), this toaster oven situation helps to correct that. And you can use these toaster ovens for other things — not just air frying. Cuisinart has a few models coming out, and this Cuisinart Digital Airfryer Toaster Oven can hold up to three pounds of food at once.

More on Air Fryers

(Image credit: Lisa Freedman)

The Prettiest Cauliflower Gadget

Again, a huge theme of the show was vegetable gadgets. There were tools to help you clean them, slice them, spiralize them, and even rice them. With cauliflower rice being so popular, it makes sense there’d be some dedicated tools. This Lékué Cauliflower Ricer is as gorgeous as it is functional. Just pull out that top green piece, put your cauliflower in, put the lid back on and rotate it around. Little spikes in the two pieces will pulverize the veggie in no time. And you don’t have to get out your food processor.

Our directions from way back in 2014: How To Make Cauliflower Rice or Couscous

(Image credit: Lisa Freedman)

A Surprisingly Quiet Blender

I’ve seen lots of individual blenders enter the market over the years, and this year was no exception. This Hamilton Beach PowerBlend Blender stood out to me, though, because it has a side-hinge sound shield that really does muffle the sound of the motor and the whirling ingredients. So it can help you make a healthy smoothie and it’s good for the mental health of everyone else in your home! It will retail for $50 and comes with a 20-ounce to-go blender cup.

(Image credit: Lisa Freedman)

The Perfect Freezer Portion System for Meal Prep

Don’t be so fast to write these PrepWorks Freezer Portion Pods off as run-of-the-mill ice cube trays. They’re not! For starters, they come in various sizes (like 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons). And they’re meant for your meal prepped foods — not water. Fill the cavities with mac and cheese, chili, pesto, and so on. Then, seal the lid and freeze. You can label the trays and leave your food in them or you can pop out the frozen blocks and store them in a container. The molds will leave a little engraving on your frozen food, so you can see the portion size at a glance.

Honestly, as small and maybe even a little silly as these seem, these were one of my favorite standouts of the entire show. Super practical.

(Image credit: Lisa Freedman)

A Multitasking Cutting Mat

There was a shocking degree of cutting board innovation at the show. There were disposable boards meant for camping or hurried weeknight dinners, new sets that store on the side of your kitchen cabinets (see trend number 3!), and even an Instant Pot-centric board with a little cheat sheet printed on it. But this Kuhn Rikon Magic Mat, as simple as it looks, really stuck with me. See those little holes and nubs? They’re meant to help you transform the board. Connect them all and you’ve got a colander to rinse produce in. Connect just two together and you’ve got a funnel of sorts. Or leave the board flat and you’ve got a simple self-healing cutting board.

(Image credit: Lisa Freedman)

A Beautiful (and Practical) Lunch Pot

Clearly banking on more and more people meal prepping, lots of companies were showing new compartmentalized containers. (There was even one company that’s known for something else that’s getting into food storage — but we were sworn to secrecy for now.) Rubbermaid was there with our favorite containers, Pyrex had all sorts of new patterns and designs, and Rosti Mepal (the maker of the prettiest mixing bowls in the world) was there with new shapes and sizes. This Lunch Pot has two separate containers that screw together (something other companies are also doing) and there’s a soon-to-be-released berry container that’s got a built-in colander and fork.

(Image credit: Lisa Freedman)

Smart Nested Pots and Pans

Moving onto space-saving products, pots and pans that are meant to be nested were stacked up all over the convention center. Many of these have been designed so that the handles interlock and hold the cookware up so that it won’t scratch the piece below it. This $400 SmartStack set from Anolon (one of Kitchn’s favorite brands) nests to a stack that’s just 13 inches tall. And even the lids stack separately. Look for it in the fall.

(Image credit: Lisa Freedman)

A Smart Cabinet Organizer (with Bonus Drawer)

I have always wondered why no one’s made a tiered cabinet organizer that takes advantage of the space under the shelves. The folks at Joseph Joseph must have wondered the same thing, because they’ve finally done it. This Joseph Joseph Cupboard Store has a drawer for little bags, packets, and more. Joseph Joseph had a few smart organizers (including a mini shelf that sticks to the side of your cabinets and holds lids to pots and pans). And some other companies wowed me too — especially YouCopia, which is launching these in-drawer spice holders in a roll format so that you cut down custom lengths to fit your needs.

(Image credit: Lisa Freedman)

A Grill Pan with a Folding Handle

Staub will be launching these grill pans with folding handles (in a few different shapes and sizes) for even more stacking in your cabinets. I also saw an air fryer with a fold-in handle. Anything to save that precious cabinet space!