Below is a list of the top ten kitchen tools that helped me in cooking the recipes in my debut cookbook, Best Holiday Dishes for the Vegans in Your Life. Note that you do not have to buy any of them to make the recipes in the cookbook. I’ve designed them so the recipes work fine without extra tools. However, these tools do make things a bit easier and faster.
For convenience, I’ve included hyperlinks here (click on the colored text and a new tab will come up with the item) so you don’t have to search any of these tools out. You can simply click on the links but please do your own research. Everyone has different needs, expectations, and budgets. I’m not endorsing any product, just sharing what works well for me.
1. Cast-Iron Skillet
I love my cast-iron skillet and use it at least three times a week. It’s great for toasting, grilling, stir-frying and sautéing. It can also make a great weapon. Just kidding but be careful with it.
2. Silicone Molds
I use molds to make chocolates and my own vegan butter. For the chocolates, I purchased heart molds for Valentine’s Day but they could also be used for anniversaries, weddings, baby showers. I’m sure you can think of other ideas. I picked them up at IKEA. For the vegan butter, I used these really cool artisan ice molds originally designed to freeze ice for whiskey and you can still use them for this purpose. After all, you’ll have some leftover Irish whiskey after making up a batch of the Whiskey Truffles from the cookbook. But they also work great as molds for butter. You can pick up both types of molds at kitchen stores, IKEA (yes, IKEA) or online on Amazon.
3. Immersion Blender (also known as a stick blender)
My husband and I have been using the same immersion blender for many years. Originally, he purchased the blender to mix up protein shakes back when they were a bit grainy otherwise. Now we use it to puree, cream, whisk and whip. It’s great to make shakes, blend pancake batter, puree soups and pesto, whip up fresh coconut cream, and even blend homemade mayonnaise and salad dressings. The one linked above comes with whisk and frother attachments
4. Stand Mixer
This one is usually pretty expensive so be sure to do your research before you make the investment. It took me a long time of researching and budgeting before I finally splurged on a Kitchen Aid brand stand mixer and I’ve had it for a long time. I use it mostly for breads and holiday baking but I’ve gotten several attachments I use with it as well. It’s a huge help when I need to juice several lemons or oranges. I purchased mine during a department store sale just after the holidays, which is a great time to buy.
5. Cookie Scoops
If you have a cookie monster in the house (or several), this is a huge help. I’m a rather frugal person so it took me a few years to make the purchase but I’m glad I did. I use my scoops to make cookies, meatballs, truffles, and whatever else needs to be ball-shaped. They also make great vegan ice cream scoops. I purchased a set of three sizes on Amazon but you can also find them at kitchen, baking, and home goods stores.
6. 6-Quart Slow Cooker
This is a favorite tool of mine in the kitchen. You can prep everything ahead of time, turn it on, and walk away. When you return, it’s done. Easy-peasy.
7. Silicone Baking Mats
I have two silicone baking mats and purchased them on Amazon. They are very popular which means you should be able to pick them up anywhere. They are a reusable resource that replaces parchment paper and helps you stay healthy by allowing you to bake without the use of extra oil. Worth every penny and the avoidance of extra calories.
8. Hand Mixer
You probably already have a hand mixer. It’s great to have if you don’t want to get out the heavy stand mixer that takes up precious counter space. If you don’t have one yet, you can pick them up at most stores, even discount stores have them.
9. Icing Kit
I’m no icing expert and if you are, I’m sure you have an opinion on this one. I used to use a very simple squeeze bottle but my hand would constantly cramp so I broke down and bought a cake decorating kit with silicone icing bags that are easier to squeeze and tips that work well with royal icing. Yay!
10. High-Speed Blender
I’m still struggling with making the commitment to purchase a VitaMix. Instead, I use a NutriBullet blender and it does just fine. I use it to make the vegan butter recipe in my cookbook, along with vegan cheeses, smoothies, and green juices. It ensures everything is smooth and blended very well. I may buy a VitaMix in the future, but right now, this bullet-type blender does the job and comes with travel cups. Less clean up!
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