Must-have kitchen tools that make prepping any dish a breeze

Last Updated August 2020

To many, food is by far the best part of the holiday season, but preparation can be an overwhelming task — unless you have the proper kitchen tools.

Because you’ll likely be preparing food in large amounts, holiday cooking is a bigger undertaking than a typical weekday dinner. But the last thing you want is to be stuck in the kitchen because the longer you spend cooking the less time you get to spend with family and friends.

So if you’re looking to make this holiday season delicious and stress-free, here are the best kitchen devices that will make your holiday cooking a breeze.

Make vegetable prep a snap

$149.95 at Amazon

It sounds painfully obvious, but real home-chefs know how time consuming cutting can be. A high-quality, well-sharpened knife is a must-have in any kitchen. It makes cooking preparation simpler; you’ll effortlessly dice, mince, and chop vegetables. Cutting slices of meat of any width will be a breeze. 

The blade on a chef’s knife has a thin, sharp edge that can cut through ingredients with ease. It will come in handy throughout all of your holiday cooking, as well as for the rest of the year.

The cook's best friend

$29.99 at Macy's

Anything that doesn’t need to be sliced or diced in a particular way can be thrown into a food processor, which will cut down preparation time exponentially — even more so than cutting things with your chef’s knife.

Around the holidays, we use our food processor for potatoes: perfectly smooth mashed potatoes, sweet potato pie filling, shredded potatoes for latkes. It’s also useful for making stuffing and any other chopping task that doesn’t have to be precise. You can even grind meat if you’ll be preparing holiday burgers.

Go from stovetop to oven

$14.88 at Amazon

This is possibly one of the most useful kitchen tools, and it’s a durable implement that will last for many holidays to come. Cast iron skillets heat evenly on the stovetop, and they’re oven-safe, so you can use them to cook a lot of different dishes.

During the holidays, we love using our cast iron to bake cornbread and buttermilk biscuits, and to fry latkes and vegetables like brussels sprouts and green beans.

Make meat perfect and ready for a crowd

$99 at Amazon

If you’re curious about this French appliance, trust us: It’s the best way to make holiday turkey (or whatever type of holiday meat you prefer). That’s because a sous vide’s precise temperature control makes it possible to cook large amounts of meat consistently.

You can set it for a long, slow cook if you prefer, and the meat will come out tender because everything cooked via a sous vide is put into a vacuum-sealed bag, containing all liquid. That also means there’s very little cleanup afterward. You can also prepare perfectly hard-boiled deviled eggs.

Another major benefit of the sous vide around the holidays: Using it frees up a burner or space in the oven.

If you don't have one already, now's the time

from $79.95 at Amazon

While there are a lot of kitchen tools that help you cut down on preparation time, there’s often not much you can do to adjust cooking time. However, an Instant Pot is one of the only appliances that can cook things faster without compromising taste, and it’s a lifesaver around the holidays.

We use our Instant Pot for everything we can. Cranberry sauce, gravy, mulled wine, spiced apple cider, soup, baked potatoes, even mac and cheese — it’s easy to make all of these holiday staples and more. And since everything will be ready so quickly, you can use the Instant Pot to make multiple dishes in a row.

The learning curve on it is extremely short, too, which means if you get one now, you’ll have more than enough time to figure out how to use it in time for the big cookout. 

A powerful mixer that lasts a lifetime

$279.99 at Amazon

If you’re among those who like to make holiday cookies, breads, and pies, it’s worth your while to invest in a KitchenAid stand mixer. A KitchenAid is a multipurpose kitchen tool that can be used for almost anything if you have the right attachment, but we love it most for preparing large batches of baked goods.

No matter how much we use our KitchenAid mixer during the holidays, it continues to work just as well as when we first bought it. There’s no better way to beat eggs and knead dough. Not only will your pastry-making be more efficient than if you used a hand mixer, but your outcome will also taste better. You’ll impress your friends and neighbors with your extraordinary baked goods this holiday.