Top kitchen appliances
It's so easy to go wild with appliances. Rice cookers, slow cookers, one-pots, stand mixers, toasters, pressure cookers, air-fryers, and sous-vide, the list can go on and on. There's an appliance for almost every possible cooking method or dish out there.
Although there are merits for many of these appliances, if we're trying to stay minimal or if we're just starting out, then these three appliances are the ones we find the most useful.
If you see something you like and you purchase it using the links on this site, Pick Up Limes receives a very small commission. We only recommend products we believe in, so we hope you enjoy them too.
We did our best to link to the exact product if we could, but there are some tools and items that have been discontinued or are now unavailable. For those, we have linked to the closest alternative we could find.
*This video and blog post is not sponsored. All items were purchased by PUL and the thoughts and opinions are our own.
1. High powered blender
When it comes to blenders, at one end of the spectrum, there are super powerful and high-quality ones, but they usually also come at a steep price. At the other end of the spectrum, you've got more affordable ones, but then you're sacrificing on power or capacity.
There are two important things worth mentioning regarding blenders, or all appliances in general:
- The higher the wattage the better, because it means it'll be more powerful to blend things like nuts and seeds.
- Invest in a good one once, because you'll be using it for years. It'll make our lives in the kitchen so much more enjoyable and easy.
At the studio, we use a Vitamix. It's a blender that is consistently rated at the top of its field because:
- Power: it crushes ice with ease, and leaves you with uniform consistency. No chunks anywhere.
- Large capacity: it can blend up to 2L of liquid.
At home, we use the Ninja Blender. The reason we chose this blender for the house is multifold:
- Compact: it hardly takes up any room on the counter.
- Affordable: it's very reasonably priced considering a food processor is included.
- Portability: we can replace the blades with a drinking lid and take it to go!
It's worth noting, it's not as powerful as the Vitamix so sometimes chunks remain. The volume it can blend is also smaller.
All-in-all, a blender is one of the most crucial kitchen appliances for us, and we highly recommend it.
2. A high powered food processor
One of the most frequently asked questions we get is:
"Can I use a blender instead of a food processor?"
The blender and food processor look similar: they have blades, they blend up food, but they serve totally different purposes. The blender is meant to blend things that are liquid, while the food processor blends things that are more semi-solid. These are things like almond butter, tahini and creamy dips like hummus. With a food processor, we can make energy balls, falafel, date, and nut-based desserts like brownies or the base to bars. We can even use a food processor to knead dough. It's a really versatile machine.
Why we love our Magimix:
- Powerful: we can make almond butter in no time.
- Quiet: especially when compared to other food processors.
- Compartments: with three separate compartments, we can blend depending on the volume we need.
- Accessories: accessory components let you quickly shred things like carrots, beets or cabbage. Need evenly cut potatoes? Put them through the slicer!
The Magimix also has different models that come at differing price ranges, depending on what we're looking for.
For something more compact, we can recommend the food processor we use at home: the Ninja Food Processor. On the upside, it's compact and affordable; on the downside, it's smaller and not as powerful as the Magimix.
We'd highly recommend a food processor (maybe even more than the blender) especially given how versatile it is!
3. Hand blender
The studio hand blender comes with three parts. One is the immersion blender, which we namely use to puree soups. One is a whisk, which we use to make coconut whip or meringues. Finally, our favourite is the mini food processor. We use this compartment to make small volumes of dressings, pestos or creamy guacamoles. The benefits to this thing are:
- All-in-one: with these three features, it's super useful across the board!
- Compact: it's small and hardly takes up any room.
- Easy to clean: it's super easy to clean, especially if we don't want to clean a big food processor when we're only making a small amount of something.
- Affordable: the whole set tends to be quite affordable, no matter where we find it.
Kitchen Tool and Equipment Essentials
Appliances aside, there are two other key equipment essentials that we use almost daily.
4. A pot to last a lifetime
The Le Creuset Dutch Oven was a birthday gift from Robin. We've been using it for 2 years already and it's our favourite pot to cook with. Here are a few reasons why:
- Versatile: we use it to make curries, pasta, soups, or just about anything! Also, it can be used on both the stovetop and in the oven.
- Non-stick: the non-stick base just makes cooking and cleaning so much easier!
- Light colour: it's a light colour on the inside, so it's easy to tell if things are browning too quickly.
- Induction: it works on induction, which is great because it's what we use at the studio.
- Holds in heat: and given its cast-iron it holds heat in really well.
- Lifetime warranty: it's one of those kitchen pieces we'll be using for years and years.
It's worth noting, the pot is heavy and the handles can get hot; that combination can make it difficult to handle sometimes. The handles are wide, though, so it's easy to carry if we slip on some oven mitts.
5. Sharp knives
There are two knives we use for pretty much everything: the chef's knife for cutting vegetables and nuts, and the paring knife for cutting fruits. A bread knife is nice to have, but a sharp chef's knife can also do that job.
Consider getting a really good knife sharpener too because sharp knives make all the difference when we're cutting veggies, especially things like sweet potatoes or squashes. It's also more dangerous to be cutting with a dull knife.
The list of 5 items above: blender, food processor, hand blender, a cast iron pot, and knives, are the basic 5 we'd recommend to anyone just starting out. These are tools that we use the most often and have made cooking in the kitchen so much more effortless and enjoyable.
Aside from these 5, a few other kitchen items deserve honourable mentions:
Despite what the title suggests, we don't use our coffee grinder to grind coffee. We use it to grind flax seeds. High in omega fats and fibre, flaxseeds are best blended in small batches to enjoy over the next few weeks. Once the flaxseed is ground, it can go rancid or bad faster, so it's best to blend only a small amount at a time. The coffee grinder does this job really well. We also use the coffee grinder to grind whole spices into ground ones, like coriander seeds or cumin. This machine isn't a necessary one, because you can always buy these things pre-ground, but we think the freshness is much more enjoyable when ground fresh.
Minced garlic and crushed garlic add a different flavour profile to recipes. Being able to crush garlic with ease is super handy. We can also batch crush garlic and freeze it to add to meals quickly when we're in a rush. We can mince garlic with a chef's knife, but sometimes we just want to get the job done quickly with a garlic crusher.
Wooden spoons and silicone spatulas
Wooden spoons don't heat up and they don't scratch the inside of your cookware. Having a few is handy for when more than one pot going at a time.
Silicone spatulas really help to clean out the inside of the food processor when we're wanting to get out every last bit of food. It also really helps when we're spreading a sticky mixture out, like our 5-ingredient brownies. The mixture doesn't stick to the silicone spatula, but it would definitely stick if we used a spoon instead.
We use little spice jars for all our spices, both at home and at the studio. They're transparent so it's easy to see what's inside, and we just write on the bottom what's in each jar. They are also really easy to refill.
Mason jars are great for storing little things that aren't spices. We use small ones for nuts, seeds and dried fruits, and bigger ones for our grains and dry legumes. One pro tip, especially when it comes to nuts and seeds, is to buy in bulk and keep some in jars for regular use. The rest can then be stored in the freezer. Nuts and seeds can go rancid or bad quickly, and freezing them slows down the process. We can refill the little jars as needed.
Measuring cups and spoons
We know a lot of countries weigh their food as opposed to measuring using cups and spoons, but it's really handy to have some measuring cups and spoons on hand. Especially when following recipes from North American bloggers or cookbook authors.
We use air-tight containers to store leftover food, ingredients that we've prepped, or to store things in the freezer. It's also a great lunch container for when we're bringing lunch to work or school. The fact that they're air-tight keeps the food fresh for longer and prevents spills.
Although we can boil water in a pot on the stove, having a kettle is quick. We don't need to babysit it, as most turn off when the water boils. Also, using a kettle to pre-boil water helps to cut down on cooking time for recipes that require boiled water, such as pasta.
Pots and pans
Alongside the Le Creuset, we also use these pots and pans. We use a wide-base pan for our stir-fries or anything that needs pan-frying, like our pancakes, BBQ tempeh, or tofu scramble. We also have one smaller pot that we use for small-batch cooking, like reheating a serving or two of soup, cooking rice or making stewed berries.
We hope this list will help with deciding what tools, equipment, or appliances to explore! We recommend a blender, food processor, hand blender, a cast iron pot, and quality knives as five worthy purchases to anyone getting more interested in cooking.