Slicing and dicing fruits and vegetables is a key part of preparing a fresh home-cooked meal. It’s also inconvenient, time-consuming, and potentially painful. We’ve checked out the best kitchen gadgets for saving you time, effort, and knicked fingers.
A lot of recipes involve a ton of prep work. You can’t just toss in a whole onion, right? You need to cut it up into tasty chunks that cook evenly. That’s where cutting things up efficiently so they all conform to the same size is crucial, and a bit time consuming to do quickly and precisely.
There’s also the issue of your mobility and potential ergonomic issues. Not everyone’s hands work as well as one would like them to. If you suffer from any conditions that impair your grip strength or hand steadiness, it’s tricky to hold and cut cleanly (and safely).
Whether you’re in actual need of a slicing and dicing gadget, or you simply want to save time, we’ve got a gadget for you. Each of these kitchen tools is great for a specific job (and sometimes other tasks too), and sure to, through ease of use, increase the number of tasty fresh dishes you cook.
A Spiralizer: Spiralizer Ultimate 7-Blade Vegetable Slicer ($30)
A spiralizer is a great tool for a bunch of reasons. One of the most popular reasons of late is that you can use one to make pasta noodles out of vegetables like zucchini or squash. The Spiralizer Ultimate 7-Blade Vegetable Slicer makes the process super easy with plenty of different blades for forming different shapes.
You don’t have to stop with pasta noodles either. The spiralizer also works great for making thin potato chips, adding strings of carrot and other veggies to your salads, and pretty much anything else you can come up with. It’s so much easier than doing it manually. Our pick here durable, sturdy, and all the different blade cartridges are stored convinently in the base.
Mini Chopper: Hamilton Beach Mini Chopper ($19)
A food processor is great for chopping, dicing, mashing and pretty much anything else you could want to do with your food. If you’ve got the space (and the budget) for a full-size workhorse of a food process, then we recommend the Cuisinart DFP-14BCNYAMZ Custom 14 Food Processor. It’s powerful and great for everything from mixing up some baking ingredients to obliterating some hardy vegetables. However, sometimes you want something that’s easier to store and handle (and easier on your budget). That’s where a mini chopper is perfect.
The Hamilton Beach Mini Chopper is a good bet. It’s small, easy to clean thanks to its dishwasher safe bowl, and quick to put together. A 350 watt motor will easily dice up onions, peppers, or any other vegetable you want chopped up fast. It’s particularly great for quickly mashing up some herbs or mixing up a pasta sauce. It won’t take up much room on your kitchen counter either.
Portable Chopper: Mueller Austria Vegetable Chopper ($23)
Not every gadget needs to be electric in order to be useful. The Mueller Austria Vegetable Chopper saves a lot of time and effort compared to manually chopping up vegetables, but it requires your ability to press down on the device to dice the food item.
So, it’s no good if you have a disability, but it’s perfect if you want a more hands-on approach to food prep, or you have limited power outlets in your kitchen. There’s the added bonus that if you’re camping, it’s a neat tool for speeding up cooking, thanks to portable packaging and light carry weight.
Fruit Corer: Orblue Apple Corer ($9)
Removing the core from apples and other fruit or vegetable is a nuisance but it’s a useful way of preparing your food. A dedicated fruit corer is the perfect way to speed up this tedious (and potentially risky) task, with the Orblue Apple Corer being the best of the bunch.
It has an ultra-sharp serrated tip that makes it easy to push the corer into the center of the item. The head is made from stainless steel so it won’t rust and it’s good to toss into the dishwasher once you’re done. The large handle offers a nice wide grip surface for everyone but is especially useful for people suffering from arthritis and other issues hand and grip-related issues.
Grater: Sondiko Rotary Drum Grater ($20)
In my cheese loving experience, grating cheese is one of the most tedious tasks in cooking. You can use vertical cheese graters to move the cheese up and down but it’s still a fairly inefficient way of doing things. A far better option is the Sondiko Rotary Drum Grater. Simply cut up a block of cheese, place it in the drum, and start turning. Three different drums are available of different sizes, depending on the effect you’re trying to achieve.
Whichever drum you pick, you get evenly cut cheese in a fraction of the time that it would take to use a regular cheese grater. It’s far easier to clean and far more finger-friendly, too.
Mandoline: LiBa Mandoline Slicer ($15)
Nothing quite beats a delicious potato or vegetable gratin. Those tasty thin slices of vegetables all lined up in a dish. It’s awkward to achieve such a thin cut every time though, so buy a mandoline to save you time and effort.
The LiBa Mandoline Slicer is a great bet. It has five different stainless steel blades that are easy to slot into the machine. In seconds, you can enjoy paper-thin potato slices or perfectly julienne carrots. There’s a slice guard too so you won’t have to worry about accidentally cutting your finger.
Zester: Chef’n Palm Zester/Citrus Zester Grater ($10)
The Chef’n Palm Zester/Citrus Zester Grater can work as a hand grater, as well as zester, but we’re focusing on its zesting ability. Zesting a lemon, lime, or any other fruit is a key way of adding flavor to your recipes but it’s pretty much impossible to do without a zester. Most zesters are shaped roughly like a bread knife with the whole length of the “blade” covered in microblades. This zester molds into the palm of your hand, however, so it’s really easy to hold and maneuver, even if you have mobility issues. A soft rubber grip means it’s not just easy to hold but comfortable too.
The stainless steel blade makes short work of the fruit you’re zesting, with a storage unit under the blade conveniently containing all that wonderful flavor.