It may be awkward to point this out during these tough times…but cooking is having a moment.
All this extra time spent at home is sparking thousands to do what they've always wished they had time to do before: get in the kitchen and craft tasty meals with their own two hands.
From Amy Schumer hosting her own cooking show to famous brands revealing their secret recipes, there's never been a more opportune moment to ignite a love for cooking yourself. And it just so happens we've assembled 23 appliances, cooking utensils and meal aids that can help make all those culinary dreams come true.
We can't promise everything you make is going to work out, but it sure will be fun trying. And we could all use a little more fun right now.
It's the most important meal of the day — so whether you want to stay healthy with a smoothie or get decadent mixing up some pancake batter, the Personal 20-Oz Electric Blender ($22.99; originally $29.99) has you covered. Of course, if you're going the smoothie route, this high-powered, innovative 400W blender also comes with a 20-ounce sports bottle to blend your drink and take it with you anywhere.
Any breakfast needs a quality frying pan for those eggs, so the Swiss Diamond HD Classic 7" Nonstick Fry Pan ($33.99; originally $39.95) serves it up. Perfect for frying, sautéing, or browning ingredients for your favorite small meals and side dishes, it's oven-safe up to 500°F and perfectly sized for small apartments and dorm rooms.
Gotta get your breads on the breakfast plate as well — so the 14" Countertop Oven Toaster ($39.99; originally $49.99) lets you toast golden brown bread slices. With bake, broil, toast and warming settings, this space-saving oven can take care of a bunch of your basic cooking tasks without firing up the big conventional oven.
To wash down your tasty breakfast, the Artisan Citrus Juicer ($81; originally $90) dismisses those electric juicers in favor of an old-world craftsman-like approach to hand-squeezed juices. The jaws extract every drop of juice while the strainer catches seeds and pulp, leaving you with freshly-made juices to complement your meal or flavor up your dishes.
Lunch and treats
A hot panini is a perfect lunch, so the J-Jati Sandwich Maker Griddle ($13.99; originally $19.99) makes it easy to create meals in 5 minutes or less. Sandwiches come out perfectly browned and sealed with a diagonal indentation so they can be easily sliced in half without your ingredients spilling out.
Speaking of frying, the J-Jati Deep Fryer with 3L Oil Capacity ($37.99; originally $48.99) is a powerful 1700-watt fryer that can cook up 2 pounds of your favorite foods, enough for the entire house. The adjustable thermostat lets you set just the right temperature for crispy perfection, while its exclusive oil-filtration system automatically drains and filters the remaining oil into a large plastic container below for easy cleanup and storage.
Of course, air frying is all the rage right now — and the PowerXL 10-in-1 Pro XLT 6QT Air Fryer Oven with Rotisserie (Factory Remanufactured) ($59.99; originally $120.99) delivers crunchy fries, fishsticks, chicken and more while using little to no oil. With 10 cooking presets and a 6-quart capacity, it's a healthy alternative to greasy, oily food prep.
If you love chips, salsa and guacamole, you might as well make it all yourself. This Verve Culture Tortilla Press Kit Red Cast Iron with Servietta ($40.99; originally $45) is fire engine red, was made in Mexico from recycled Singer sewing machines — and makes brilliant chip-sized tortillas with a homemade flavor that store-bought can't touch. And in case you're a fan of the bigger tortillas as well, the XL Aluminum Tortilla Press ($54; originally $60) serves up equally tasty 8-to-9 inch varieties.
As for the other half of the menu, this Molcajete with Tortilla Basket ($54; originally $60) is just like the mortar and pestle used by Mexican cooks for a century. It's made entirely of volcanic stone, ideal for grinding and releasing flavorful oils from vegetables and spices to whip up brilliant salsa, guacamole, queso, mole, and more.
And to wash it all down, the Cantaritos Cocktail Kit ($31.99; originally $35) includes two terracotta clay cups that maintain a cocktail's cold temperature. Traditionally meant to be refilled during the night at street fairs, their handmade nature evokes memories of generations worth of fun — and the included hand juicer, paper straws and chili salt help keep the party going.
Grilling always starts with the right tools — and the Myron Mixon 3-in-1 Pitmaster Grill Tool ($21.99; originally $50) is the BBQ expert's weapon of choice. Developed and tested for easily cutting and flipping all your proteins on the grill, the 8-inch chef knife size blade and 7-inch cut and patented flipper hook should do the trick. As for the bottle opener…well, you'll figure out a use for that.
The super-healthy Marinade Express Pro Tabletop Marinade Machine ($199.99; originally $249) not only vacuum tumbles meats and vegetables with specially-formulated marinades to lower sodium, improve tenderness and cut fat by up to 30 percent, but also eliminates up to 99. 5 percent of bacteria that causes spoilage and food-borne illness.
Of course, you don't always want to go through the hassle of firing up the big outdoor grill, so the Party Grill Raclette Tabletop Grill ($69.99; originally $99.99) is a perfect indoor option. Everybody can gather around to easily grill meats, veggies and melt cheeses for up to six to eight people at once.
Meanwhile, the Gold Chef Grill and Rotisserie ($299; originally $399) is an indoor-outdoor grill that's super compact, yet fires up to 1,500°F within two minutes. The grill basket system allows steaks to get a delicious caramelized crust on the outside while its center stays juicy and tender. And it's also engineered for a quick and simple cleanup.
No matter what you're making, having premium cutlery is always essential. While it isn't exactly a knife, the Pro-Series Multi-Function Kitchen Shears with Magnet Holder ($13.99; originally $40) are still food prep staples, featuring a bone cutter, wire notch, vegetable peeler, fish descaler, bottle opener, nut/lobster cracker, screwdriver, and a lid lifter in addition to its multi-purpose 3.4-inch shearing blades.
Altomino blades are all hand-forged by professional blacksmiths — and whether you choose the sharp and narrow Fixed Blade Knife ($66.99; originally $155.98); the extremely strong and durable Tungsten Steel Slicing Knife ($75.99; originally $179.98); or the perfectly balanced manganese blade of the multi-use Chef Knife ($76.99; originally $179.98), you get effortlessly smooth performance that makes cutting meats and vegetables supremely easy.
The SHINZUI 8" 67-Layer Damascus Chef Knife ($99; originally $250) also offers long-lasting sharpness and extreme durability in a newly developed Japanese Super Steel blade designed for precise slicing through all types of food products.
Finally, you can fill out your entire set of cutting needs with the Crimson 15-Piece G10 Knife Block Set ($359; originally $749.99). Equipped with every major knife variety a chef could want, these high-quality precision sharp German X50 steel blades will last a lifetime in your kitchen with simple care.
A solid set of cookware keep you ready to tackle any kitchen task — and the Inspired Home 5-Piece Enameled Cast Iron Cookware and Bakeware Set ($99.99; originally $299.99) feature a pie pan, round grill pan, skillet and 3 quart Dutch oven that each heat evenly to seal in moisture. The limited-edition Pure White series also gives the set a look that matches the high-end functionality of this premium cookware.
But if all those pots and pans threaten to overrun your kitchen the Select by Calphalon Space-Saving Nonstick 7-Pc Starter Cookware Set ($145.99; originally $189.99) have a unique design and innovative alignment features to stack and store the set while saving up to 30 percent more cabinet space.