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When the dinner doldrums set in and you’re feeling bored with the same repetitive options for yet another meal, a cool new kitchen gadget can be just the thing to reinvigorate your love for cooking and bring back your dinner-making mojo. Whether they set you off on a quest to perfect a single dish, like pizza, or open you up to an entirely new skill, like sous vide, new kitchen tools can be exciting while also helping you become a more adept home cook.

Knowing the difference the right tool can make, we’ve rounded up 13 diverse picks to drive your sense of adventure. Some are single-purpose, so you can conquer a particular preparation, and others can be used in a variety of ways. Whether you’re interested in making your own yogurt, grinding your own spices, mixing up cocktails like a pro, or even hosting a 70’s-esque fondue party, we have plenty of options that are sure to pique your enthusiasm.

A Cocktail Smoker

Breville The Smoking Gun Pro

Breville PolyScience The Smoking Gun Pro


If you’ve ever had a smoked cocktail, you know what a delight it is. My love for a Cowboy Killer led me to purchase my own cocktail smoker, and now it livens up everything from drinks to desserts. The Smoking Gun Pro is a great choice thanks to how versatile it is — meaning if you’re on the fence about whether you’ll really use this tool, it has enough functions to help convince you.

Professional grade, its nozzle is long enough to fit anywhere — from a full bottle to a plate with a cloche over it — so you can smoke much more than just cocktails. Less expensive models won’t offer any ability to customize the level of smoke, but this one has a fan that enables you to get just the right concentration right where you want it.

A Spice Grinder

Cuisinart Electric Spice and Nut Grinder

Amazon Cuisinart Electric Spice and Nut Grinder


A staple in numerous cuisines around the world, freshly ground spices (or the lack thereof) could be one reason your own homemade creations might not taste as elevated as those you eat in a restaurant. Rinku Bhattacharya, author of Spices and Seasons, loves this Cuisinart spice grinder for its large capacity, effectiveness, and ability to handle a plethora of spices. “The way it locks the cup securely and also is easy to open is a plus,” she says. “Sometimes [with other grinders] there is a struggle, and this is uncomfortable and also creates the possibility that some of the spice will spill.”

We also love that the blades are extremely sharp and the bowl is dishwasher safe. But if you already have a coffee grinder and you’re thinking it would work equally well — think again. “There is a difference in the way the blades work,” says Bhattacharya. “While a coffee grinder will do in a pinch, you are more likely to get a finer texture using a spice grinder.”

Cake Decorating Tools

Taiker Cake Decorating Kit

Taiker Cake Decorating Kit


The Taiker Cake Decorating Kit has everything you need to get started in baking, even if you don’t own so much as a measuring spoon set. With a whopping 493 pieces, it includes tools like cake pans, silicone molds, spatulas, whisks, and muffin cups. Focusing on turning you into a skilled decorator, it also has a cake turntable, level, and piping bags. There are dozens of different tips for the bags so you can practice virtually any shape and style of piping, and it even includes two injectors for filling individual goods like cupcakes.

Thanks to the large assortment of additional tools like tongs and plate cleaners, you’ll also be better equipped for other cooking needs. It may not be the most high-end set you’ll ever use, but it’s perfect for trying out a new skill.

A Yogurt Maker

Euro Cuisine Automatic Digital Yogurt Maker

Euro Cuisine YMX650 Automatic Digital Yogurt Maker


They’re fairly simple machines, but yogurt makers have come a long way since their early days. (I recall the one my mom used being a bit of a guessing game.) The Euro Cuisine digital maker lets you make yogurt in individual jars, saving you from the hassle of dividing it up after the fact. We love that it takes only 7-10 hours to complete a full batch, and the machine shuts off automatically after 15 hours. Plus, it lets you make fewer jars at once if you don’t need a big batch. 

But if you err on the side of wanting lots of yogurt at once, additional racks are also available for purchase separately. Requiring little more than some milk and starter cultures, you can begin the day holding a glass of milk and end it with a cup of yogurt in its place.

A Raclette Grill

Swissmar Classic 8-Person Raclette

Swissmar KF-77040 Classic 8-Person Raclette with Reversible Cast Iron Grill Plate


Fondue is fabulous, but the world of melted cheese doesn’t end there. Enter raclette, which refers both to a type of cheese and the dish you craft purely by melting it. This Swissmar grill is large enough for a party, with accouterments for up to eight people. Those include both single-person spatulas and dishes, which make it so that everyone can sit around the grill as a centerpiece while tending to their own plates.

The cast iron grill top is reversible with a smooth side as well, so it can also be used for other applications if desired and can even be transferred to a barbecue grill or the oven. While you melt your cheese, you can use that extra space to toast your bread, grill meat, or crisp up veggies.

A Spiralizer

Oxo Good Grips Tabletop Spiralizer

Oxo Good Grips Tabletop Spiralizer


The zoodles trend didn’t so much pass as it got amalgamated into pasta culture. And in recent years, it’s become progressively more common to mix spiralized veggies in with your conventional pasta, if not replace it entirely. Handheld spiralizers can render that task a total beast, quickly tiring out your hands. However, the OXO tabletop version works more like a traditional apple peeler and corer, sitting flush with a table so you can crank it by hand.

Like all of this brand’s products, it’s ergonomically designed for ease of use and comfort. Suction cups on the bottom of the tool prevent any movement, and the three blades — spaghetti, fettuccine, and ribbon — give you numerous choices for shape.

An Ice Cream Maker

Ninja Creami Deluxe XL Ice Cream Maker

Ninja Creami Deluxe 11-in-1 XL Ice Cream Maker


To say that the Ninja Creami Deluxe became my summer love last year might sound dramatic, but I promise it isn’t. I’ve owned ice cream makers for the entirety of my adult life, and I have never been so in love with one. It functions entirely differently than standard makers, having you pre-freeze your recipes and then blend them up when you’re ready to eat them. And while the ice cream itself is very good, I was blown away by what I could do with its other functions. 

Topping my list are smoothie bowls that taste and feel like ice cream but are made purely with ice and alcoholic beverages that are as good, if not better than, any I’ve ever had in a bar. We recommend buying an extra set of their dishwasher-safe jars because you’ll want to keep plenty of options on hand for summer enjoyment.

A Sous Vide Cooker

Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker

Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker


Made by the brand that put sous vide on the map for home usage, we love the Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker for its ease of use and consistent results. Unlike other wifi models, it doesn’t require the usage of a separate app, which adds a convenience factor, and it’s easy to use even for those who are just beginning their sous vide adventures.

It heats water quickly and holds it at the exact temperature you need for your dish, alerting you if the water level ever gets too low, and you can use it for nearly any type of protein or vegetable. And if you should want to use the app, it’s a great resource with its thousands of free recipes.

A Pizza Oven

Gozney Roccbox

Gozney Roccbox Pizza Oven


When I attended a press dinner for the release of this portable pizza oven, I was shocked by how easy to use the Gozney seemed to be. Months later, when someone gifted my girlfriend one, I was humbled: Pizza ovens take a little practice. Once you’ve put in that work, though, the quality of pizza you can create at home is amazing.

Easier to transport than other pizza ovens, the Roccbox can be placed nearly anywhere outside. And while it’s not light, it isn’t too hard to pop it into your car for an outdoor pizza party. It is a little slower than some other pizza ovens, but that can actually be considered a bonus, given how fast hotter ones can otherwise burn your pie.

A Fondue Pot

Cuisinart Electric Fondue Pot

Cuisinart Electric Fondue Pot


Having owned this fondue pot for about 15 years, its ability to hold up over time and with considerable usage is incredible, especially for its moderate price point. Though I’m not generally a fan of nonstick coatings, that feature on this fondue pot is a dream, as it lets me swap out a melted cheese concoction main dish for a chocolate dessert in mere seconds. (It generally takes longer for my guests to change out their plates and dip-ables.)

Guests also always love the insert that lets them hang their singularly colored forks on the side of the pot for in-between moments. Provided you turn the heat down a notch once everything is the temperature you want, whatever you put inside will stay at the perfect temperature for hours.

An Indoor Garden

AeroGarden Bounty Basic Indoor Gardening

AeroGarden Bounty Basic Indoor Garden


Just like freshly ground spices, the usage of fresh herbs can elevate recipes immensely. Having large quantities on hand also lets you craft sauces like pesto and chimichurri. The AeroGarden is perfect for indoor spaces that don’t have large window ledges, as it has its own lighting system. It also features an automatic watering system, as well as a timer for the lights. 

That means that even people with minimal gardening skills can have their fresh herbs flourish inside. And because it comes with nine pods and grow domes, you won’t need to begin your gardening journey with a separate purchase of seeds; it includes basil, two types of parsley, dill, and more.

A Tofu Press

Tofuture Tofu Press

Tofu Press


Get expertly pressed tofu every time, with no awkward tower of cans and plates, thanks to the Tofuture. This press does all the work for you: Just add the tofu, select your level of pressing, and let it do its thing. You can use any style of tofu, from silken to extra firm, and it will press it in as little as 20 minutes.

This press is as easy to clean as it is to use, and the expertly pressed tofu made with it will yield crispier results when you saute, pan fry, or air fry it afterward. To empty it after use, just dump out the water that has accumulated in the basin underneath.

A Steamer Basket

KitchenAid Universal Steamer Basket

KitchenAid Universal Steamer Basket


Long derided due to the tasteless steamed vegetables that were popular decades ago, steamer baskets have so much more to offer — and what you make in them can actually be downright delicious! With some changes to how you steam, such as adding aromatics to the water underneath, steamed foods can have amazing flavor and texture.

This KitchenAid basket enables you to get the most out of steaming possible: It’s adjustable in size, allowing it to fit seamlessly into pots and pans of assorted sizes, and it’s as useful for dumplings as it is for fish. It will even fit nicely in a pressure cooker, and thanks to its durable construction, it will last well for years.

Our Expertise

Contributor Ariane Resnick is a special diet chef, certified nutritionist, and bestselling author. She has written for platforms such as Simply Recipes, The Spruce Eats, Allrecipes, Huffington Post, and Health. For this piece, Ariane drew on her decades of professional cooking experience and the tools she enjoys using endlessly in her own kitchen, including a few of Food & Wine’s tested favorites.

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