7 Kitchen Appliances I Really Don’t Want to Live Without

All that talk two weeks ago about quality vs. cost on a new bread machine got me thinking about the kitchen appliances I have – and love. The ones that, if they broke tomorrow, I’d be out the very next day to replace – or just as soon as I could save up the cash.

I wish I could be a minimalist in the kitchen and whip up a mouth-watering feast with nothing more than a pot, a cutting board and a good knife.

But, alas, I have to admit that there are some kitchen appliances that I would just rather not live without. Fridge and stove aside, here are my personal must-have’s:

1. Immersion Hand Blender

I love these for making blended soups. But after melting my plastic-bottomed one in a pot of hot soup, I’ve switched over to the stainless steel kind. If you don’t already have one, the Cuisinart SmartStick Immersion Hand Blender in Brushed Chrome is still on sale at Amazon, now just $22.73 – a savings of 59%.

2. Cuisinart Food Processor

I’ve done without a food processor for many years, and it’s definitely possible to shred or dice by hand. But, man, is it easier with a food processor! Two years ago, I received a Cuisinart food processor as a Chanukah gift from my parents and it’s definitely one of my favorite presents! They bought mine from Costco, but here’s the same 9-cup Cuisinart model on Amazon. It’s on sale right now 57% off, for just $126. I believe my parents paid $19 more two years ago, so if you’re in the market, that’s a great price.

3. Toaster

Not a toaster oven, but an actual push-down-the-bread-and-wait-for-it-to-pop-up toaster. I think I paid $5 for ours at Big Lots. It may not seem like that critical of an appliance, but as my husband reminded me, at our house, toaster = breakfast most mornings. Sigh. We still haven’t gotten ourselves organized enough to have a proper sit-down breakfast most mornings, so the kiddos get handed a toaster waffle on their way out the door.

4. KitchenAid

I never had a KitchenAid in Israel. I wanted one. I really wanted one. But at over $650 (thank you import taxes), they just weren’t in the budget. Needless to say, this baby was #1 on my want-to-buy list when we moved back to the States.

I have not been disappointed! Our 5.5-quart bowl is a real work horse – but it’s pretty, too. Pretty enough that I am happy to leave it out on my counter all the time. We completely ditched the hand-held mixer and have never looked back!

5. Bread Machine

As you guys probably already know, we love our bread machine for making challah. Well, technically for mixing, kneading and letting our challah dough rise. Since challot cost more than $5 each at the grocery store here, our bread machine has definitely paid for itself in 2.5 years of use.

Our model is a dinosaur, but you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a basic one for under $60, like this Sunbeam 2-Pound Programmable Breadmaker for $56.37 on Amazon right now.

6. Coffee Maker

I don’t even drink coffee, and yet, I’m putting this appliance on my list. We had a majorly cheap (less than $5), scratch-and-dent machine for almost three years, but then Gevalia rescued us with their free stainless steel, programmable coffee maker.

Having that coffee brewed and ready to go in the morning is a major pick-me-up for my husband – and, what can I say?, I like the way all that stainless steel looks!

7. Crock Pot(s)

Yes, crockpotS. Plural. We have two – one for meat and one for pareve. We make cholent at least a couple of times a month in the winter; and two weeks ago, I forayed into crock pot chicken soup, which I think is a great hot Shabbat lunch option as well. (Find more non-cholent options for Shabbat in my Crock Pot Recipe Exchange.)

A few months ago, I bought a second crockpot on sale at Target for less than $20, which I use regularly to cook up tomato sauce, beans and chickpeas. I save a lot by making my own and freezing them in 2-cup portions, so I’m pretty sure that this $20 machine has more than paid for itself already.

I know everyone’s list will be different — and I’m sure some of you are probably far more minimalistic than I am. So tell me: What are your favorite kitchen appliances? Which ones can’t you live without? And which ones will never see the light of day in your kitchen?




  1. I love your list and agree with everything on it. I own two crockpots too, but they are both for meat because my family can’t agree on chulent. The kids like a heavy traditional meat cholent, and I like one with turkey or chicken, or even vegetarian. I love the idea of having a pareve one for tomato sauce, soups and beans. I think I’m going to invest in a third!!! Do you recommend a particular one?
    I’m also thinking of getting a food processor for Pesach. I have never had one, and it seems like a lot of money for once a year, but BOY would it make my work easier!!! I’ll check out the one you linked to.

    • A food processor for Pesach is SO worth it! I used to have a tiny one for Pesach, but then a couple of years ago invested in a full size one. It has made so much difference in my food prep.

      • BH
        I agree, a FP for Pesach is a must, given the amount of potatoes and other veggies we need to prepare for those days.

  2. Chavelamomela says:

    Although it’s not a “must have” I appreciate the following small appliances in my kitchen (the ones not on your list):

    Toaster OVEN – yes, the full oven variety. Because in addition to toast, it also does a good job with reheating small batches of pizza bagels, blintzes, veggie pancakes (like the Dr. Prager’s kind), and the essential “grilled cheese” (instead of the frying pan). And in the summer when you don’t want to heat up your whole kitchen to bake a hot meal, that’s a really nice thing to have. Plus, the toaster oven can toast thicker bagels, which an old-fashioned toaster just doesn’t do.

    Rice Maker – I keep mine pareve, and its the most fool-proof way to make rice. It cooks it with less water, the grains aren’t sticky, and its a great way to make rice or other grains without fuss – it has an automatic shutoff, so you’ll never overcook the grains. (I make my own sushi sometimes, and this is great then too).

  3. Kathy Lipkin says:

    My new Zojirushi rice cooker. Yes, it is very expensive. It is also changing my life. Steel cut oats and water in bowl in evening, punch a button, and voila! steaming, perfect hot oatmeal in the a.m. for whole family. All I do is dish it up. Rice is made at a touch of a switch. But the oatmeal!!!!!!! Ahhhh. Now, I am a Mom Who Cooks a Hot Breakfast!

  4. Last year, my Pesach splurge was a Ninja blender–on sale, of course. I used it as a food processor to turn matzah into all the matzah meal I’d need for the entire year. (Here in Chicago, the grocery stores sell 5lb packages of matzah for $2–what a great loss leader…and what great savings for the rest of the year.)

    Mara, I know you use the co-op, but maybe a trip to Chicago is in order… stores will be stocked one week *before* Purim.

  5. I would have to say my toaster oven. We do use it for toast and waffles, but mostly I use it for my dairy baking/cooking! Since my regular oven is pareve, this is an easy way to make lasagna (and other cheesy pasta), pizza, dairy shepherd’s pie, or anything else dairy. (I sometimes buy very cheap *dairy* cookie and cake mixes, or refrigerated cookie dough, and this is a great way to get the kids cooking, the toaster oven doesn’t seem as dangerous as the real oven.) I’m actually on the lookout for a replacement, since although the oven itself still works, the door broke and we have to rig something up to keep it closed.

    Other than that, we also use our crockpot a lot. A few months ago I bought a second one to use for dairy. I’ve been using it on the days that I work all day, so that we come home to a fully cooked meal.

    • Can’t believe I forgot the bread machine! We’ve put it through a lot. i use it to make challah sometimes, but mostly dinner rolls, pizza dough and breadsticks, and just plain bread (which I bake in the oven in a loaf pan). I usually just use the dough setting. Sometimes I’ll make a real loaf of bread in it or sweet bread.

  6. I try to have as many non-electric appliances as possible, although I have all of your 7 musts except the toaster. We use a toaster oven which is handy as an oven for quick heat-ups that you don’t want to do in the microwave. I guess I’d also put the microwave on the list. One appliance I’ll never have is an electric can opener. I got one once from my mom for Christmas :-(. What a waste of electricity! I guess I should never say never, though. I’ve talked to people with arthritic fingers and, for them, it’s one of the musts.

  7. One exciting non-appliance: Pampered Chef is releasing a manual food processor on March 1. My friend and I (both consultants) are looking into whether it’s usable on Shabbat/Yom Tov…

  8. My new favorite is my electric tea kettle. My good friend, Jan, got me addicted to Teavana last year and I’ve been drinking a TON of loose leaf tea. The electric kettle heats water faster than the microwave and for some reason the water is more evenly heated. It sits on my counter – next to my cuisinart coffee pot and cuisinart food processor. :)

  9. Another one I forgot – the pressure cooker. Mine is pareve and I basically use it to cook beans, which we eat weekly. It is great to have beans ready in less than an hour. If I had another one to make fleishig or milchig, I would use it to cook meat or soup. I’m sure I would use it a lot for that.

  10. We love our electric teapot!!! Otherwise we have very few appliances. We do have a food processor (and a second cheap one for Pesach). Where we have splurged is in three pricey sets of knives.

  11. I totally can’t live without my kitchen aid, and i’m dying to get a second one for milchigs. I use the microwave A LOT as well as the toaster oven. I had a bread machine that i inherited and never used, so i gave it away. Definitely the immersion blender and food processor are must haves. And one more that i can’t live without? my cocomotion! I had borrowed one from a friend and decided i did not need it, then another friend gave me one for a bday present, and i decided God was telling me something. I do dring Hot Chocolate a lot, and this makes it so much faster and easier! (I am not a coffee drinker, so this is it for me).

  12. I love my crock pot and kitchen aid! I just bought an electric griddle using swagbucks- it sounds silly but I am looking forward to being able to make eight pancakes at once (my family loves pancakes on weekends but it takes forever and uses so many pans for five people and that is without guests) and homemade crumpets/english muffins.
    I am saving for an immersion blender and an ice cream maker. My stepson likes ice cream cakes for his birthday and we all like ice cream a little too much in the summer so being able to control what goes in it would be lovely. After that I will replace our blender with something that will actually crush ice.
    I don’t know that I think anything is truly a waste of space if it gets used. That said, I try to have multipurpose gadgets so I will never have an asparagus pot.

  13. of course I could never live without my crockpots. I have one fleishig and one milchig and use both swveral times a month. I make everything in them!

  14. I love the electric kettle, ours just broke, and it is really missed…

    But my most loved item is the Bosch Universal Mixer. I got rid of my KitchenAid and I never use the bread maker. The Bosch can knead up to 5lbs of whole wheat flour without skipping a beat. I love it so much, I make doubles of pizza dough, pita, soft pretzels, of course challah, and bagels. I can’t say enough good things about this machine. It is a little more expensive than the kitchenaid, but I think it is totally worth every penny. I wish someone had told me about it when I got married and I wouldn’t have wasted years on the Kitchenaid.

  15. Oddly enough, my most beloved appliance is a waffle iron. I make waffles for my kids all the time using the Krusteaz whole wheat pancake mix and water. I can make the exact amount that I need. My kids are probably the only ones told, “No, you can’t have cold cereal for breakfast–there is no time. Here, have a homemade waffle instead.”

  16. My rice cooker is incredible. I specifically got the Zojirushi one from Amazon b/c it does a good job on brown rice. Will keep warm and fresh for 3 days (great for yom tovim!). Also make steel cut oats with cinnamon in rice cooker every morning — add more water to make it creamier. You can also make it the night before and it goes to warm status. Just open and serve in the morning! Better than anything I’ve used to make grains — millet, quinoa, etc.

    Now actually looking to get a Persian one as well to make tahdig!

  17. Kitchen Appliances says:

    Love my crock pot! I use it at least twice a week, so convenient for making large meals without having to stand over the stove for hours.

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