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Through all of life’s ups and downs, one thing remains constant: People need to eat. Cooking at home can be great for so many reasons — it can be budget-friendly, provide fun memories, and help you sharpen your skills. But if you have kids, you know that cooking for the family can get, well, messy.

Fortunately, the days of elaborate 20-step Martha Stewart cakes and Bobby Flay flambés are pretty much behind us. Juggling newborns or taming rambunctious toddlers can complicate even the simplest of recipes. And don’t even get us started on picky eaters.

But, while it can feel like chaos in the kitchen, products exist to make whipping up a meal a little bit easier. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of helpful (and sometimes fun!) kitchen gadgets and tools that simplify mealtime. Plus, a few that might even get the kids involved.

We rounded up some of the most useful and fun kitchen gadgets on the market by reading reviews, looking at ratings, and taking recommendations from Healthline Parenthood editors.

As always, we focused on products that are made with safe materials for you and your family. Each product on our list has been vetted to ensure it aligns with Healthline’s business standards and approach to well-being. Read more about our vetting process.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $20
  • $$ = $20–$50
  • $$$ = $50–$100
  • $$$$ = over $100

Best small gadgets

Kitchy Pizza Cutter Wheel

  • Price: $
  • Why we like it: includes a blade guard, dishwasher-safe

Pizza cutters can be… scary. They’re super sharp, especially when you’re reaching blindly into a drawer. That’s why we like this one from Kitchy. It’s handleless with an easy-grip covering, and it’s designed to cut right through (no more losing toppings).

This pizza cutter also comes apart for easy cleanup and has a blade guard that snaps on to prevent cuts when not in use. Pro tip: If you use the dishwasher, just be sure to place it in the top rack to prevent cracking in the plastic.


  • dishwasher safe and can be disassembled for a thorough cleaning
  • includes a blade guard
  • handleless design means it takes up less space in a drawer


  • some users say it’s easy to cut yourself while taking it apart for cleaning
  • some users don’t like being so close to the blade without a handle

Mueller Multi-Blade Adjustable Mandoline

  • Price: $$
  • Why we like it: takes the place of multiple tools in your kitchen

Prepping vegetables may quickly become your favorite kitchen task with the help of this tool. Whether you need to shred carrots or slice cucumber, this tool should get it done quickly and easily. As an added bonus, if you’re short on kitchen storage space, it can even take the place of your vegetable peeler as well as your onion and garlic chopper.

It comes with five interchangeable blades for slicing, julienning, and grating. The wavy blade is great if you want to make vegetable chips! It also has unlimited thickness settings between 1 and 9 millimeters that can be adjusted with its thumb dial control.


  • comes with five interchangeable blades
  • multiple thickness settings between 1 and 9 mm


  • several reviewers say they managed to seriously cut themselves using this
  • numerous customers say they felt the blades were too dull

Kuhn Rikon Easy Clean Garlic Press

  • Price: $$
  • Why we like it: easy to clean

If you’re still peeling and chopping garlic, the only question is…why? With a garlic press, you just pop a clove of garlic into the press, squeeze, and get peeled, chopped garlic into whatever you’re cooking. The sieve even pops out for an easy clean.

One reviewer says, “I paid an astonishing sum for a Kuhn Rikon stainless steel press over 10 years ago, and NEVER regretted it. That thing is amazing: You can insert more than one (unpeeled) clove at a time, the handles are comfortable and require less exertion than any other I’ve ever used.”


  • no need to peel cloves
  • easy to clean (dishwasher safe and sieve pops out)
  • fun color


  • somewhat pricey
  • some users say the handles are too flexible

Microplane Premium Classic Series Zester

  • Price: $
  • Why we like it: has tons of uses

There’s something about adding fresh zest from a lemon that can really take a dish to the next level. With the help of this microplane, it doesn’t have to be that hard to do, either!

While the blades on this tool are specifically designed for zesting citrus fruit, they can also be used to grate fresh ginger and garlic. If you like fresh spices, you can also use it to grind down cinnamon sticks or whole nutmeg. It can even be used to shave corks to fit back in bottles or remove the burnt edges off cookies.

The stainless steel parts are magnetic (which means it can hang on your magnetic knife strip), it’s dishwasher safe, and it’s even made in the United States. As an added bonus, it’s available in a range of colors, so you can match your other kitchen tools or just choose a shade that makes you smile.


  • can be used to zest, grind, shave, and grate
  • comes in a variety of colors
  • dishwasher safe


  • can be easy to cut yourself on it
  • some reviewers say water can get into the handle during cleaning

Best for getting kids involved

Takeaway Dice

  • Price: $
  • Why we like it: easy way to solve the age old fight of what’s for dinner

Even if you’re not ordering takeout, this is a fun way to let the kids determine what’s for dinner.

Sure, at first glance the options might not seem the most nutritious. But if you’re cooking at home, you’re in charge of what the symbols mean — the bowl with chopsticks might be a veggie-filled stir fry, homemade pizza can be made with nutrient-dense toppings, and with tacos, well, the possibilities are endless.

One Amazon reviewer says, “Bought this as a joke gift for the other half, however this lovely little cube ends up solving many arguments and burning debates about what we eat on a Friday.”


  • affordable and fun
  • inexpensive


  • shows limited options
  • may not include your personal favorites

Zulay Kids Knife Set

  • Price: $
  • Why we like it: affordable, safe way to practice cutting with a knife

Cooking as a family makes dinnertime so much fun, but there are only so many kid-safe activities in the kitchen. Healthline Editor Saralyn Ward is one of the lucky moms whose kids actually love to help her cook, so she lets them have a hand in the prep work with these starter knives from Zulay.

Made from durable nylon with a no-slip rubber handle, these kid-safe knives have a blunt tip and are only sharp enough to cut through softer fruits and veggies, leafy greens, cheese, or bread.


  • offers a safe way to let kids practice knife skills
  • affordable (comes with three knives, too!)
  • dishwasher safe


  • dull blades tend to shred more than slice
  • may be too big for some children with smaller hands

MAMMUT Children’s Table from IKEA

  • Price: $$
  • Why we like it: just the right height for your little chef-in-training

Healthline Editor Sara McTigue considered bringing a stool into the kitchen so her three small kids could reach the counter — then she imagined them “pulling a Lion King” and throwing each other off the edge, quickly deciding against it.

Instead, she incorporated a small kids’ table, like this one from Ikea, into the kitchen space so there was plenty of room for all three of them to help (just at a safer height).


  • easy to assemble and clean
  • affordable
  • can be used for other uses besides just cooking


  • not as sturdy as a wooden table
  • white color can show stains

Miu Silicone Baking Mats

  • Price: $
  • Why we like it: helps cut down on aluminum foil and parchment paper waste

Nonstick silicone baking mats, like these from Miu, are a great, eco-friendly replacement for aluminum foil or parchment paper. Whether you’re baking veggies, cookies, or meat, once popped onto a baking sheet, they can withstand up to 480°F (249°C) in the oven. They’re also dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

This is another recommendation from McTigue, who likes that these come in a pack of three and include ruler edges and a circular layout (which seems to be intended for macarons) so the kids know exactly where to drop a dollop of cookie dough.


  • dishwasher safe
  • eco-friendly alternative to aluminum foil or parchment paper
  • ruler edges and circular layout make it easy to know where to place dough


  • some customer reviews note that the mats stain quickly
  • won’t fit all pan sizes

ezpz Mini Play Mat

  • Price: $$
  • Why we like it: many sections make it easy to keep a variety of foods (or paint colors) separate

This is another recommendation from Ward, who uses these cool silicone mats with compartments (in a flower shape) for build-your-own-taco night. The placemat suctions to the table to eliminate slippage, while the small silicone compartments are great for storing different toppings.

The Mini Play Mat is dishwasher safe, so whether you’re using it for taco night or a finger painting project, it’s a breeze to clean.


  • several compartments keep food or craft supplies separate
  • dishwasher safe
  • BPA-, BPS-, PVC-, latex- and phthalate-free


  • some reviewers don’t love the suction or say it only suctioned well on certain surfaces
  • some reviewers say the compartments are too small

Best appliances

Ninja Foodi 9-in-1

  • Price: $$$$
  • Why we like it: speeds up cooking times and can take the place of numerous kitchen devices

At the risk of sounding like a late-night infomercial, this could possibly be the last kitchen device you’ll ever need (for at least quite a while, hopefully). With this air fryer from Ninja, ingredients can be cooked with the speed of a pressure cooker (that’s about half normal cooking time) and then crisped, leaving you with “fried” foods containing substantially lower levels of fat.

And this thing does more than just make homemade french fries. The pressure-cooking setting can evenly cook frozen foods, and the dehydrator can shrivel strawberries as a fun afternoon project with the kids. You can also use this to bake casseroles and cookies, sear/sauté, slow cook, and even make yogurt — yeah, it’s kind of wild.

Another pro: The parts are dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. Cons include a hefty price tag and that it takes up a good amount of kitchen real estate. Still, one reviewer claims, “This really does do everything. Delivers on its promises, worth the space on my counter.”


  • parts are dishwasher safe
  • can be used to pressure cook, air fry, and slow cook (to name just a few of its potential uses)


  • expensive
  • takes up a fair amount of precious space in the kitchen

Vitamix Ascent Series A3500 Blender

  • Price: $$$$
  • Why we like it: can crush seemingly anything and then go straight into the dishwasher for easy cleanup

A lot has been said about how pricey Vitamix blenders are (and yes, they are expensive), but those who have them swear by them.

More than just a blender, the Vitamix blends, chops, crushes ice, grinds, juices, kneads, liquefies, mixes, purées, whips, and emulsifies. You can make fresh fruit and vegetable juices, soups, spreads and dips, or frozen desserts, then throw the container in the dishwasher to clean up.

One reviewer says, “Is it possible to be this excited about a blender? Because I am. The quality of product that it produces has already surpassed ANY other blender that I’ve bought.”


  • dishwasher safe
  • offers five program settings and a programmable timer
  • variable speed control and pulse feature allow you to customize textures


  • expensive
  • can be very loud

KitchenAid Pro Line Hand Blender

  • Price: $$-$$$
  • Why we like it: doesn’t take up much space, easy to clean

KitchenAid might be best known for their stand mixers, but their Pro Line Hand Blender is also a worthy addition to any kitchen. A handy container with a lid is even included with your purchase.

Available in a variety of colors, this stick/immersion blender has plenty of power to blend soups, mix frostings, and create the perfect smoothie. The best part though may be the fast clean up after the job is done. Because the handle and blender separate, it’s easy to tuck this away in a kitchen drawer between uses, too.

It’s true that you’ll need to keep your finger on the button for as long as you want it to blend, but most users found that to be a minor inconvenience.


  • blender separates from the handle for easy cleanup
  • comes in a variety of colors
  • high-quality brand


  • You have to keep your finger on the button in order for it to keep blending
  • doesn’t stand by itself unless in the cup that comes with the blender

Best for storing leftovers

Walfos Silicone Lid Set

  • Price: $$
  • Why we like it: reusable and oven-, microwave-, and dishwasher-safe

Plastic wrap or aluminum foil are tough on the environment and your budget. This set of reusable lids fit almost anything circular, from soup in the microwave to sauces on the stovetop, and are made of colorful silicone that’s free of bisphenol A (BPA).

Included in the pack are lids that are 12, 10, 8, 6, and 4 inches. They’re oven-safe up to 500°F (260°C), and they’re dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. They’re also heat resistant (great for little hands learning to cook).

Most reviewers say these do a great job of covering pots or bowls and like them for storing leftovers in the fridge. But a few reviewers claim they retain the smell of some foods for a while, even after washing.


  • dishwasher and microwave safe
  • made of BPA-free, heat-resistant silicone that’s oven safe up to 500°F (260°C)
  • comes in a range of sizes


  • can retain the smell of some foods
  • several reviewers say the 12-inch size lid is too small to actually cover a 12-inch pot

Stasher Reusable Silicone Bags

  • Price: $
  • Why we like it: eco-friendly and dishwasher-, microwave-, and oven-safe to 400°F (204.44°C)

While we’re on the subject of ridding the pantry of single-use plastic, check out these bags from Stasher. They’re made from BPA-free silicone and are safe to go in the microwave, dishwasher, boiling water, and the freezer. We’re not sure why you’d put one in the oven, but you can up to 400°F (204.44°C).

Stasher bags are expensive for a sandwich bag, but former Healthline Editor Jamey Powell says they’re totally worth it. Between the cool colors and the magically effective zip-style seal, these baggies should make storing leftovers a breeze. Mother Nature will thank you, too.


  • reusable, eco-friendly option
  • available in a variety of sizes and colors
  • dishwasher-, microwave-, and oven-safe to 400°F (204.44°C)


  • can be difficult to open
  • some reviewers noted that these can stain and retain smells easily

Le Creuset Dutch Oven

  • Price: $$$$
  • Why we like it: versatile, easy to clean, and built to last for generations

Lots of foodies have a Le Creuset obsession — the French company makes heavy-duty enamel coated cast iron cookware that comes in a rainbow of colors. It’s ideal for braising, roasting, stewing, and even baking bread. It’s also famously easy to clean, so you can pop the entire dish into the fridge knowing you won’t be left scraping congealed pasta off the sides the next day.

Le Creuset has a generous replacement policy and lasts for decades, making it the type of item that gets handed down in families. Is it expensive? You bet. One Amazon reviewer calls it the “Bentley of cookware.” Worth the money? We think yes.


  • built to last
  • easy to clean
  • comes in a range of colors


  • expensive
  • handles can get very hot, so you’ll need to watch out for burns

Best for dessert

OXO Baker’s Dusting Wand

  • Price: $
  • Why we like it: less mess

It’s hard to not feel like a fairy princess or magical wizard when wielding this baker’s wand. Pop some powdered sugar or cinnamon into the sphere-shaped dispenser and let your little one dust brownies, snickerdoodles, or whatever recipe you’ve whipped up together.

Reviewers have nothing but good things to say about this little gadget, and claim that it’s easy to use and evenly distributes flour, powdered sugar, and more onto surfaces and baked goods like it’s supposed to.


  • dishwasher safe
  • safe (and fun) for kids to use


  • doesn’t hold enough if you need to flour a counter for rolling out dough, etc.
  • some users say it arrived dented or had problems with the screw

Yaylabs Softshell Ice Cream Ball

  • Price: $$
  • Why we like it: it’s fun

We really want to love this product. The concept is that you add cream, sugar, and vanilla into one side of the ball and ice and rock salt to the other and shake, roll and kick it around until you have dessert — how fun is that?

It’s made from durable, food-safe, BPA-free, dishwasher-safe plastic and claims to make ice cream in 30 minutes in the backyard. But reviews are totally mixed on this one — some people seem to have had their expectations managed and found it entertaining and yummy, while others complain that the cream and sugar mixture leaked out while kicking or the ice cream was tough to scoop.

We say, if you’re feeling up to a $35 experiment, it could be fun. Just read a few more reviews before making a decision.


  • dishwasher safe
  • encourages physical activity
  • includes a recipe booklet for inspiration


  • customer reviews are mixed
  • 30 minutes can be a long time to wait if you just want dessert

Zoku Classic Pops Mold

  • Price: $
  • Why we like it: offers a yummy way to get the whole family involved

A little more reliable than the ice cream ball and definitely still fun, these ice pop molds from Zoku are a fan-favorite. With six easy-release silicone compartments, you can mix and match the kind of popsicles you and the fam want to make. The plastic handles even have a drip guard to catch juices before they end up down your little one’s arm.

Folks say that these are easy to clean and easy to use, but warn that they need to run under hot water briefly to loosen up. A few people also say they take up a lot of space in the freezer.


  • sticks include a drip guard to help keep messes down
  • BPA- and phthalate-free
  • kid-friendly


  • not dishwasher safe
  • may need to run under warm water to release the popsicle

Best for cleanup

Dorai Dish Pad

  • Price: $$$
  • Why we like it: makes bacteria and mold a thing of the past

Powell says this is one of those things you never knew you needed until you have it. It’s a dish drying pad made from silicone and diatomaceous earth (we had to look it up, too), which fights the growth of bacteria and mold by eliminating moisture on contact.

So, if thinking about the amount of times you place your squeaky clean dishes on a soggy, slightly discolored dish towel grosses you out (just us?), this product might be the fix you’re looking for.

Her one complaint is that, while the pad itself doesn’t need to be washed, the lighter color of the surface shows stains from coffee and oil residue. The company suggests cleaning it with a little hydrogen peroxide will do the trick.


  • collapsible, so it’ll take up less space
  • eliminates moisture on contact, preventing mold, mildew, and bacteria growth


  • can become discolored and show stains
  • on the more expensive side

Homemade meals don’t (always) have to be a lot of work! There are a variety of tools available to make cooking easier and faster. Some of them are even fun to use as you teach your kids how to whip up their favorite foods.

If you’re stumped on what items might make dinnertime more enjoyable, consider checking out some of the gadgets included on our list. With a little help you might just discover that you’ve got some Bobby Flay or Martha Stewart in you!