The future is now! Or at least, it will be. (Because that's how time works!) With 2019 fast approaching, we can't help but think about all the advancements and changes that are happening in American kitchens. Gadgets are getting better, smarter, and less expensive. And that's good because us home cooks are getting more demanding.
Feeling impatient for the future, we decided to round up 10 new products that we think are totally essential for next year. Get one for a loved one who you'd like to continue to hangout with in 2019 — and beyond.
1. Echo Show, $230
Alexa-enabled devices just keep getting better and better. The new, second-generation Echo plays recipe videos, takes voice commands to set timers, can be told to add items to a shopping list, and more. Get this for the tech-loving nerd in your family who also might like to listen to music or watch some TV while in the kitchen.
2. Instant Pot Max, $200 at Williams Sonoma
The Instant Pot Max came out a few months ago and does even more than the previous models. Specifically, this one also has canning capabilities. If you know someone who's been curious to try out the Instant Pot but doesn't have one just yet, why not get her the latest and greatest? If you think the newest bells and whistles are less important to her, we recommend the 6-Quart Duo.
3. AmazonBasics Dutch Oven, $45
No longer just limited to Le Creuset and Staub, there are now a bunch of companies making Dutch ovens that look just like those more expensive classics. This hefty option, from one of Amazon's private-label brands, is less than $50 and still comes in some of those bright, fun colors we've all grown to expect. The biggest takeaway we've learned when talking about stocking a kitchen for 2019: Private-label and generic brands are just as good as those bigger names. Sometimes even better, thanks to low, low prices.
4. Amazon Smart Plug, $25
Amazon launched this little gadget earlier this year and we've been wondering what took so long. It works with Alexa to add voice control to any outlet. Think: "Alexa, turn on the coffee maker." (Only you have to say it, you can't just think it. She's not a mind-reader!) Get this for anyone you know who loves talking to Alexa. Bonus if these people have a tough time in the mornings.
5. OXO Conical Burr Coffee Grinder, $100
OXO, one of our favorite kitchen gadget brands, has been putting a lot of resources into upping its coffee game. This new burr grinder came out earlier this year and quickly became a total must-have. It has a mess-free hopper with a UV-protective tint, which means lots of beans (up to 12 cups) can sit there until it's time to grind them up. And the grinding mechanism has 15 settings (plus micro settings), so it's sure to make ideal grounds for everyone.
We don't want to say that air fryers are the new Instant Pot (because they came out around the same time and the IP is still pretty darn crucial), but the fact that we're tempted to say that should give you an idea of how popular these things are. Instead of a giant vessel of oil, these machines "fry" foods with just a few tablespoons of oil and hot, hot air. This model is less expensive than some of the higher-end ones and creates similar results.
7. Amazon Prime Subscription, $119 for 12 months
As Amazon takes over more and more of the world, having a Prime subscription just makes sense. Get this for your parents who haven't managed to hop on the bandwagon just yet but could benefit from ordering certain kitchen essentials online (versus having to schlep them home from the store themselves).
8. Rubbermaid Brilliance Containers, $25 for a 14-piece set
Next year is the year that everyone should start meal prepping. It's really one of our goals to get the whole country on board! (Or at least a larger fraction of the country!) Help your loved ones get ready with these Rubbermaid containers. They're seriously our favorites because they're stackable, clear, and 100 precent leakproof. Worried that food containers are a weird gift? We have experiential proof that they are not!
9. Surf and Turf Kit, $148 at Made In
Over the last few years, direct-to-consumer cookware companies have really stated to take off. The idea across the board is the same: By cutting out the middle man, makers can put more money into the product and customers get a good-quality item for less. One of our favorite new-ish brands is Made In. We love it because the cookware is pretty, heats evenly, is well-made, and more. Plus, they make this cheeky set, featuring 10-inch stainless steel and nonstick frying pans — two of the pans that are necessary for every kitchen.
10. Vitamix Explorian, $350
The Explorian blender is considerably cheaper than other Vitamix models and still super powerful. We keep waiting for a company to come out with a cheaper blender that's just as good as the Vitamix and it keeps not happening. And we can't imagine a scenario anywhere in the future where we fall out of love with this small appliance.