11 of the Most Useful Gadgets You Didn’t Even Realize You Needed

updated Jul 9, 2021
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(Image credit: Sylvie Li)

We’re often quick to tell you that you don’t need to waste your money (or precious storage space) on certain kitchen gadgets. For example, we strongly believe that you don’t need a burger press (just use your hands!). But there are plenty you do need — we’re talking about surprising gadgets that go way beyond spatulas and whisks.

We gathered up 11 of the most useful gadgets you didn’t know you needed. You might not have even known that some of these existed!

1. ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Universal Lid

The thing about cookware lids is that they’re incredibly difficult to store. Good news, though — this universal lid can stand in for a few if you wanted to pare down your collection. It securely fits most pots and pans (between six and 12 inches in diameter) and reduces clutter in your kitchen. And who among us doesn’t need to reduce clutter?

2. Jokari Hands-Free Baggy Rack Clip Food Storage Bag Holder

If you’re going to freeze sauce, soup, gravy, or even ground beef, we strongly recommend freezing the bag flat, so that it’s easier to store. But if you’ve ever tried to fill a floppy bag without an extra set of hands in the kitchen, you know it’s easier said than done. That’s where these bag holders come in. They keep the bags open and upright, so you can fill them with ease.

3. Dreamfarm 12-Inch Clongs

The smartest set of tongs on the market, these are designed to sit elevated off your countertop when you put them down. (No mess!) You can open or unlock them with just one hand, and the silicone tips make them safe to use on any pot or pan. They make ordinary tongs seem so, well, ordinary. We also think you’ll love the BBQ Clongs.

4. Joseph Joseph 3-in-1 Peeler

Why waste space in your drawer on three tools when you can get them combined in one? This peeler features a rotating head containing three stainless-steel blades: straight, julienne, and serrated.

5. Microplane Herb Grinder and Leaf Stripper

Not the fastest when it comes to mincing herbs? Get this gadget from Microplane! It has a built-in herb stripper, which removes leaves from stems. The holder catches the herbs as you strip them and then, once you close it up, you just twist the pieces and freshly chopped herbs some sprinkling out. Picture a pepper mill — only with herbs.

6. Norpro Batter Dispenser

Perhaps you’ve seen those squeeze bottle dispensers? This version is even less messy, thanks to its drip-free shut-off valve. It can be used with pancake batter, cupcake batter, crêpe batter, and more.

7. Chef’n Cob Corn Stripper

Corn season will return. Eventually. Be ready with this cob stripper! It has a circular stainless steel blade, which cuts off each kernel as it slides down an ear of corn. It’s much easier — and way faster than using a knife.

Sure, this looks like a gimmicky gadget, but it really does work! Just twist the pump into a lemon and you’ve got an instant spray “bottle” to mist lemon juice onto salads, veggies, fish, and more.

9. Chef’s Planet Clip and Drain

Way smaller than a colander, this gadget clips onto the side of nearly any pot and stays in place to drain out water while keeping your pasta (or fruit or veggies or whatever) in the pot. And unlike those screens that you have to hold in place, this frees up your other hand and keeps it away from the steam.

10. Microplane Blade Butter Spreader

This may just be the best thing to happen to sliced bread since, well, sliced bread. The tiny holes in the blade turn a cold stick of butter into spreadable curls. You’ll never rip up a piece of toast again.

11. ZYLISS Garlic Peeler

If you don’t know where we stand on garlic presses, allow us to fill you in: We’re 100 percent for them! We’re also for this little garlic peeler, which is really handy when you need a bunch of garlic. You just put the cloves in this silicone tube and roll it around. Like magic, the paper skins fall right off!

Got anything else to add to this list? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!