A big complaint I hear when people say they don’t want to meal prep or cook at home is that it takes too much time. Well I hate wasting time, so pretty much every task I take on I look for ways to improve its efficiency. Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking and spending time developing recipes, but it’s still nice to save time doing it when I can.
I’m sharing my 5 favorite tools that I use for efficiency when I cook. Not only do these tools save time, but they have other benefits as well!
Quality Nonstick pans
Obviously everyone uses knives when they cook, but unfortunately not many people keep them sharp. This is one of the least expensive, easiest things you can do to improve kitchen efficiency. A sharp knife just glides through food so much more easily so you can slice, chop, and dice so much more quickly and cleanly. Having dull knives is also a safety hazard because they can slip so much more easily and cut you.
I have a knife sharpener that came with my knife set. I also have a Kitchen IQ sharpener which is super easy to use. Sharpen your knives after every few uses. Once you get used to a sharp knife you’ll really be able to notice when you’re using a dull one. I experienced that when I was trying to cook at my sister’s house and there was no knife sharpener in sight. It took me twice as long to chop veggies.
Having a knife set is nice, but you don’t need to splurge. Just a few knives and a sharpener will do.
Quality Nonstick Pans:
The reason I say ‘quality’ is because it’s really easy to get cheap nonstick pans, but they don’t stay nonstick for long. If you spend a little more on a good pan, when it comes time to do dishes you’ll be thanking yourself.
I had a Bobby Flay pan that lasted me 6 years before the nonstick stopped working and that was the one being used frequently. The Bobby Flay pan I use only once or twice a week is going on 8 years strong. Unfortunately it's a discontinued model, but do your research and you can find a good brand.
Dishes are THE WORST part of cooking. When I’m ready to sit down and eat, the last thing I want to do is scrub a pan. Get a good nonstick and your troubles will be over.
There are several different brands of food choppers. I thought about buying one for years and I’m so glad I finally pulled the trigger. I bought a Crofton brand chopper at Aldi that comes with two dicing sizes, a spiralizer, and a ribboner. I use the dicing inserts most frequently. It works great with nearly all vegetables. (Here's a link to something similar).
Not only is it super fast and easy, but all of the pieces come out uniform. This is great for even cooking and presentation. They can be a little more tedious to clean, but the time saved on chopping makes it worth it.
I love my Instant Pot. I bought it about three years ago and I’d never go back. Compared to a crockpot, it’s much quicker. You can cook a pot roast in 2 hours, frozen chicken in 40 minutes, and a spaghetti squash in 5 minutes. You can make a whole soup in the pot because it has saute and boil features so each stage of the recipe is covered.
I've already posted several blog recipes that I used the instant pot for including spaghetti squash and yogurt. I also use it to make bone broth in 2 hours versus the normal 24-48. There are endless recipes to be made in an Instant Pot and you’ll have your meal on your plate in record time.
In college I had a tiny, cheap food processor that could pretty much only be used to make pesto. It broke when I tried to rice cauliflower and I’m thankful that I did. Because I got an upgrade to a higher quality, larger food processor that works on everything.
A good food processor can replace kitchen tools like a nut chopper, a mortar and pestle, a blender, etc. It can also allow you to make foods you may not have been able to before.
This is one of those kitchen tools, where if you’re going to by one, don’t just go for the cheapest because it’s not worth it. With a good food processor I can easily rice cauliflower and make those raw desserts with soaked cashews and actually get a smooth texture. I use it to make smoothie bowls, grind up nuts, blend soups, and more.
These are some of the tools that I really think can help you be more efficient and save time. Do your research before choosing a brand so that you know you are getting the right quality and price for your needs.
Do you have any great time saving kitchen tools? Let me know in the comments!