Our Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

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1. Serrated Peeler

Occasionally, a life-changing kitchen utensil lands on my counter. No, I’m not talking about the food processor, but the humble vegetable peeler with a serrated blade. I’ve been using my $4.95 one for 10 years, and it makes quick work of paring soft fruits like peaches, kiwis and grapes. And I no longer have to boil a pot of water to peel a ripe tomato.FLORENCE FABRICANT

2. Kitchen Scale

Pastry chefs love kitchen scales for their precision; using weight instead of volume gives you more exact measurements and more consistent results. But the real reason I love my kitchen scale is its convenience. Using the scale and one bowl to hold what I’m weighing instead of a stack of measuring cups and spoons means eliminating the trail of white dust left behind when transferring flour, sugar and salt from cup or spoon to bowl. MELISSA CLARK

3. Tongs

Stainless steel spring-loaded tongs will become your second set of hands in the kitchen. An inexpensive, utilitarian pair — no need to get fancy — can help you turn meat without piercing it, pull spaghetti from a pot or toss a salad. Size is up to you, though it is nice to have a short pair and a long pair. Silicone tips offer a gentle solution when grabbing delicate food, but they can also be unwieldy and slippery when greasy. KIM SEVERSON

4. Pasta Pot

I use weighty Dutch ovens for most stovetop cooking, but they are a monumental drag for pasta. A gallon of water takes forever to come to a boil in the heavy pots, and the final stage of wrestling the cooked pasta and scalding water over to the sink feels like a life-or-death experience. In Bialetti’s thin aluminum five-quart pot, the heat transfers rapidly to the water. The full weight of a cooked pound of pasta is far more manageable in this lightweight pot. And the lockable strainer top is a bonus. JULIA MOSKIN

5. Kitchen Shears

I would like a dollar for every minute I’ve spent looking around my kitchen for these shears when they were not put back into the drawer where they belong. I am usually the culprit, but it shows how often I turn to my Joyce Chen Shears. They are elegant and light, and make fast work of snipping chives or cutting parchment for a baking pan, and have enough muscle for disjointing a whole chicken. FLORENCE FABRICANT

6. Strainer

So you’ve got a big colander for draining pasta. A sturdy stainless steel mesh strainer with a long handle can do much more. You can strain seeds when squeezing a lemon over vegetables. You can scoop broccoli or a boiled egg out of hot water, rinse a cup of rice, strain stock or sift dry ingredients. Quality matters here. Those with flimsy handles will bend under a little weight. Buy one that is about six or seven inches in diameter, though larger and smaller sizes are nice to have, too. KIM SEVERSON

7. Wooden Spatula

Wooden spoons get (and deserve) a lot of love from today’s cooks, but if I had to choose, I’d take the wooden spatula. The wide, flat spatula efficiently stirs everything from thick stews and soups to scrambled eggs and risotto, keeping all the ingredients moving and preventing scorching. When browning ground beef or sausage or sliced onions, the edge of the spatula is ideal for separating and spreading ingredients evenly around the pan. And to scrape the bottom of a pan after deglazing — especially a nonstick one — the flat, honed edge of a wooden spatula is just right. JULIA MOSKIN

8. Nonwarping Baking Sheet

A sheet pan with sides is a staple for baking, roasting and warming. And while professional-quality tools may not be required for every job at home, this is one item that demands quality. Heavy-duty professional baking sheets, with wire reinforcing the rimmed edges, do not twist and warp in the heat of the oven. They used to be found only in restaurant supply stores but are now widely available. FLORENCE FABRICANT

9. Offset Spatula

A butter knife used to be my preferred tool to smooth the top of cake batter, frost cookies and cupcakes, carry small baked goods from baking sheet to cooling rack and pry brownies and bar cookies out of pans. Then I spent some time working with a pastry chef, and she set me straight. An offset spatula, with its bent tang, can do everything I asked of that butter knife, but better. I got mine for under $5. You can even use the spatula to butter your toast. MELISSA CLARK


10. Citrus Juicer

When I need lime juice for a big batch of margaritas or ceviche, I dig my electric juicer out of the closet. I also own a powerful German-engineered citrus press that is so heavy I can barely lift it. But for smaller jobs, I always find myself reaching for the simple nonmechanical citrus reamer: compact, inexpensive and much less likely to make a huge sticky mess on the counter. Use the pointed tip to nudge the seeds out of the fruit. There are plastic and melamine versions, but wood is the most comfortable material and will last forever as long as you keep it out of the dishwasher