No matter how much you love to cook, chances are, there’s a task or two that you find to be just SO BORING. We’re talking about the chores that are such mundane snooze-fests, you just want them to be over so that you can move on to the fun stuff. You know the jobs we’re talking about—those cloves of garlic that aren’t going to mince themselves, kale leaves that have to be ripped off their too-tough stems, and that pile of strawberries that need hulling. Bor-ring! That’s where kitchen tools come in. While there are a lot of tools out there that seem unnecessary, there are also a lot of really brilliant ones that will save you time and help you get back to the best parts of cooking. These are our favorite gadgets that’ll help with the most mundane parts of cooking.
Remove the tough stems from kale and herbs, in no time with this stripper. It has eight holes in graduated sizes, which fit everything from large kale leaves to slender sprigs of oregano. Pull the stem through the appropriate hole and you’re left with the leaves that are all ready to go. It’s fast and it’s oddly satisfying to use!
For other herbs without woody stems—like chives, scallions, and basil—there’s this pair of four-bladed scissors. Work right over a pot and it’ll cut up evenly sliced pieces. No need to dirty a cutting board or worry about getting too precious with your knife skills!
3. OXO Garlic Press, $20
If you’re going to make just one exception for a unitasking kitchen tool, a garlic press has to be it. You’ll save so much time mincing garlic and it’ll keep your fingers from smelling of the stuff for days after. This press, from OXO, can handle multiple cloves at a time and you don’t even have to peel the paper off before you pop them in.
Tired of wasting time blowing your nose and blotting your eyes every time you need to dice an onion? This chopper will do the work for you and put an end to all the tears. Get creative with it, too—it’ll dice up carrots, celery, and more.
5. OXO Chef’s Steel Mandoline, $100
Even professional chefs with super sharp knife skills swear by mandolines. Using one is the only way to (quickly!) make uniformly paper-thin cuts. This stainless steel device also makes julienne strips or waffle cuts (it has 21 settings!) and is as sturdy as these tools come.
Stop juicing lemons and limes by hand! It’s just not efficient and you’re probably leaving some juice behind, anyway. This juicer looks different than other ones out there (it looks more like a ricer) because it is different. Instead of the usual squeezing action, the two-piece design uses an easier twisting motion, which is much more ergonomic and comfortable for hands of all sizes.
7. Chef’n Strawberry Huller, $8
Summer is coming again. Which means so is strawberry and tomato season! This strawberry huller removes leaves and stems while leaving as much fruit as possible—and it can core tomatoes. With this huller, you’d be able to tackle a whole basket in the time you’d have been able to do just a handful, were you using a paring knife.
8. Microplane Multi-Slicer, $20
If you’re sensing a theme here, it’s because we hear from customers again and again that chopping is one of their biggest time sucks in the kitchen. So here’s one more solution: the Microplane Multi-Slicer, which uniformly slices a bunch of little things at once. Just load it up with cherry tomatoes, grapes, or mushrooms and push the top down.
9. 6-Quart Instant Pot Duo Plus, $120
We couldn’t talk about time-saving gadgets and NOT mention the Instant Pot. It’s solely responsible for saving Americans millions of hours in the kitchen. This year alone (probably). It cooks dishes in a fraction of the time it’d take using conventional methods and its got a cult-like following, which very few appliance companies can say. Cut down on cooking time so you can spend more time eating!