When we were kids, the best presents under the tree required batteries and made all sorts of sounds that drove our parents up the wall. Now that we're all adults (or adult-ish), the best gifts are still electronic, but they plug into the wall and are meant for the kitchen — not the den. And instead of making siren noises and silly sounds, they help us make dinner.
We're obviously talking about small appliances. Luckily, 2018 was a banner year for all sorts of new kitchen electrics. These are the 10 coolest small appliances we saw this year — all of which are bound to put a smile on any grown-up's face.
1. Instant Pot Ace Cooking Blender, $99 at Walmart
The folks over at Instant Pot surprised everyone earlier this year when they launched a blender. And not just any kind of blender — a special blender that rivals the coveted Vitamix. It's a fraction of the price and has many of the same functions (including the ability to make hot soup). Associate Food Editor Kelli Foster tried one out and we'll have her full report coming up soon. In the meantime, here's a spoiler: She loved it!
2. Pioneer Woman Instant Pot, $99 at Walmart
In even more surprising news from Instant Pot, the company teamed up with the Pioneer Woman to create this very Ree-like special model. It came out in September and became such an instant hit (get it?) that it inspired an over-the-top Halloween costume! Available in two different floral patterns, this gift is perfect for the PW fanatic who's been wanting to try the Instant Pot.
3. George Foreman Twist 'N Crisp, $100 at Target
Air fryers couldn't be more popular these days. We got a sneak peak of this one back in March at a trade show and had to pick our jaws up off the floor. See, it works just like all the other air fryers out there, only the basket inside rotates to help ensure even crisping.
4. Limited Edition Heritage Artisan KitchenAid, $500 at Williams Sonoma
KitchenAid celebrated its 100th anniversary earlier this by releasing this gorgeous limited-edition stand mixer. We swooned so hard but we couldn't decide if it was because of the retro Misty Blue color, the old time-y logo, or that ceramic hobnail bowl. (Perhaps the combination of all three?) Remember, it's a limited edition, which means it might not be available much longer.
5. SMEG 4-Slice Toaster, $200 at Williams Sonoma
SMEG has expanded beyond refrigerators and we couldn't be happier. Have you ever seen a more adorable toaster? It comes in eight colors, features two extra-wide slots, and has six browning levels to get toast just right. While we're talking about SMEG, this seems like the time to point out that the brand also teamed up Dolce and Gabbana to make a two- and four-slice toaster — and a few other small appliances.
6. Breville Pizzaiolo, $800 at Williams Sonoma
Our friends at Breville teamed up with Williams Sonoma a few weeks ago to release this exclusive and oh-so-impressive piece of machinery. We know, it's expensive. But we had pizza out of it during an early holiday event and we couldn't get over how good it was. It tasted like it was fresh out of a wood-fired oven! Get your entire family to chip in on this and you'll have the most thoughtful gift for your pizza-loving sister-in-law.
7. Keurig Mini Single Serve, $80 at Target
The ideal gift for an under-caffeinated college student or small-space dweller, this tiny coffee maker is less than five inches wide. It brews just the right amount (anything between six and 12 ounces) and does so quickly. So your loved one can be out the door — coffee in hand — in a matter of minutes.
8. Dash My Pint Ice Cream Maker, $20 at Bed Bath & Beyond
This little guy was all the buzz during that trade show in March. It makes 1.6 cups of ice cream (yes, the name is a little misleading) in just 30 minutes. And it's tiny. Get this for anyone who loves ice cream or experimenting with flavors.
9. MOOKA Vacuum Sealer, $53
Got a Costco member in your family? They definitely need this vacuum sealer, as it allows them to buy those majorly discounted packs of chicken thighs and steaks and preserve them without sacrificing any sort of quality. Oh, and even if you're not shopping for a Costco fanatic, this just makes sense. Because any time meat gets frozen, it really should be vacuum sealed first!
10. Russell Hobbs Kettle, $80
This British brand made its American debut earlier this year. While the company makes all sorts of things (like toasters and coffee makers), it only felt right to feature the tea kettle. It can heat up to 1.7 liters of water and has a dial indicator so tea-lovers can get the temp just right. Available in four other colors, this kettle is a looker, too.