You know you’re officially an adult when you feel a deep-rooted hatred for anything that disturbs your sleep schedule, Home Depot is your new Disney World, and listicles detailing the newest and coolest kitchen gadgets excite you like nothing else. Give us grown-ups a list of the best kitchen gadgets under a certain price point, and we’re happier than a bird with a French fry. (Especially if said bird expertly cooked said French fry in oil heated to the perfect temperature, because said bird used his Laser Infrared Thermometer.)
I specifically remember when places like Pier 1 and Bed Bath and Beyond were only borderline tolerable if I was equipped with my Gameboy, but now, I can’t get enough of them. I’m enamored with pretty cooking utensils and innovative kitchen gadgets, and even if I only use something four times a year, I’m way more inspired to cook fresh meals at home when I know I have the right tools in my kitchen. If you’re on the hunt for random kitchen gadgets you’ve never seen before under $40, but arguably can’t live without after now knowing they exist, you’ve come to the right place, my adult friend.
1. Make Vegetable Noodles For Nutritious Meal Plans
Zoodle Slicer, $11, Amazon
The best-selling Zoodle Slicer is a must-have for anyone on a gluten free or paleo diet. It lets you turn carrots, zucchini, cucumber, turnips, or sweet potatoes into spaghetti-like shapes in one simple turning motion (like you’re sharpening a pencil), and this one also comes with a peeler and a specially-designed cleaning brush.
2. Display Your Measuring Cups Out In The Open
Nesting Mason Jar Measuring Cups, $19, Amazon
Measuring cups tend to clutter up drawers and get lost, but these nesting mason jar measuring cups make for an adorable space-savvy decoration on your counter or kitchen shelf. It can be used for both liquids and solids, and it has one cup, half cup, one third cup, and one fourth cup measurements. Best of all, because it’s ceramic, it can go straight into the dishwasher.
3. No More Plastic Wrap, Ever
Bizanzzio Top On Flat Silicone Lids, $28, Amazon
These Bizanzzio flat silicone lids make plastic wrap entirely obsolete in your kitchen. They’re made from 100 percent food-grade silicon, and they come in five different shapes to fit any bowl, pan, or plate. Since they immediately adhere to your kitchenware using suction, there’s no mess and things stay fresh.
4. Prepare Garlic Without Any Hassle Or Mess
Oye Stainless Steel Garlic Press, $13, Amazon
I’m half Italian. We cut a lot of garlic in my house, and it’s a time-consuming process. This Oye stainless steel garlic press peels and minces fresh garlic in seconds with hardly any effort at all. It’s made from durable stainless steel, and it can go in the dishwasher for easy clean up.
5. Clip Your Dips Right Onto Your Plate
Assorted Dip Clips, $7, Amazon
For hands-free dressings and dips, these assorted dip clips work with most plates, including paper ones. Simply fill them up with your favorite salsa, guacamole, or salad dressing and secure them onto their accompanying dish. Reviewers say they’re sturdy, well-designed, and especially great for backyard entertaining.
6. Draw To Your Heart’s Content, And Then Eat It
Tovolo Pancake Pen, $6, Amazon
When it comes to drip-free and perfectly circular pancakes (as well as detailed writing and drawings for the artist in you), few things are as useful as the Tovolo pancake pen. The bottle is easy to grip and easy to control, and because it makes preparation and clean up a breeze, there will be far more pancake mornings in your future. Here’s a dude making Elsa for your entertainment.
7. Stir Your Sauce Without Any Hands
Automatic Hands Free Sauce Stirrer, $34, Amazon
There will be no more slaving over a hot stove with this automatic sauce stirrer. It’s a battery-operated and pan-safe gadget that automatically stirs your sauces, stews, and soups with three different motion settings. Think of it like your own little droid creeping around your sauce pan, keeping things from burning or overflowing.
8. Rub Away Garlic And Onion Smells On Your Hands
Amco Rub Away Bar, $8, Amazon
This Amco rub away bar might just look like a sleek hunk of metal, but it actually removes all unwanted scents and smells from your hands after cooking. The smelly compounds in garlic, onions, and spices adhere to the stainless steel bar, leaving your hands smelling clean and fresh, and reviewers say this little gadget lasts pretty much forever.
9. Never Lose Your Ladle Again
Wishstone Nessie Soup Ladles, $13, Amazon
I’m in love with these adorable Wishstone Nessie soup ladles, which not only poke their cute heads out from whatever you’re cooking, but they’re made to stand up straight in your food, so you don’t lose the handle below the surface. They’re made from heat-resistant and non-toxic material, and this set comes with two multicolored Nessies for all your ladling needs.
10. Turn Any Bag Into A Fresh-Sealed Dispenser
Silicone Bag Sealing Caps, $13, Amazon
For chips, nuts, cereals, and just about everything else that comes in a bag, these silicone bag sealing caps clip right on to keep your food fresh and easy to dispense. This set of three various sizes turns every package into the easy-pour version of a Ziplock bag, and they’re freezer- and dishwasher-safe, too.
11. Check The Temperature Without Touching
Etekcity Lasergrip Infrared Thermometer, $13, Amazon
This Etekcity Lasergrip infrared thermometer is a number one best seller because it instantly and accurately reads the temperature of anything without making contact with it directly. The built-in infrared laser can tell you how hot your meats, soups, or oils are, so you can follow a recipe to a T or serve things up when they’re expertly cooked.
12. Soak Up Spills, Clean Messes, Or Dry Dishes
Brooklyn Bamboo Kitchen Dish Hand Towels, $19, Amazon
These Brooklyn Bamboo kitchen dish hand towels are less of a gadget and more of an “I’m astounded they finally got such a simple concept right.” Unlike cotton dishtowels, which just move the water around, these towels are made from 100 percent bamboo, which is super absorbent, quick-drying, and extra soft. I got them for my dad for Father’s Day, and he hasn’t used anything else since.
13. Butter Anything Without Waste Or Hassle
Butter Bot, $13, Amazon
This Butter Bot is a mess-free way to butter your corn, but it also works on toast and pancakes, too. Simply slip a stick of butter into his adorable little abdomen, flip it, and spread the butter without need for utensils.
14. For All The Strawberry Lovers Out There
Chef'n StemGem Strawberry Huller, $5, Amazon
For all those avid strawberry eaters, there’s the Chef'n StemGem strawberry huller. It quickly and effectively pulls out the stem, leaving a hallow inside that’s just begging for a chocolate or sugar filling. It’s also great for seeding other soft fruits (like cherries or tomatoes) and reviewers are totally flipping out over this simple little tool.
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Images: Fotolia (1); Amazon (14)