It can be scary when you finally decide to take cooking seriously, especially if you’re more of a ramen-noodles-and-pizza-rolls type of chef. Fortunately, companies have made products that have made cooking more approachable by getting rid of some of the guesswork, addressing safety concerns and giving you some step-by-step instructions.
Here are seven small appliances we reviewed this year that will give you a hand in the kitchen. Some of these products are pricey, so make sure you’re ready to make the investment in your cooking skills.
If you have a hard time mastering a boiled eggs, start with the $20 Dash Rapid Egg Cooker. This tiny countertop cooker offers an affordable way to poach, boil and steam eggs without much effort. It’s easy to use, clean and doesn’t make a mess.
The $500 Hestan Cue uses Bluetooth to connect a pan, a countertop induction burner and an app to walk you through recipes and regulate your cooking temperature. The app’s recipes are delicious, and the accompanying instructional videos make it easy to improve your cooking skills.
Are you forgetful when it comes to leaving things on the stove? The $495 iGuardStove Intelligent is designed to help prevent kitchen fires. Once it’s enabled, it automatically shuts off your electric stove if you leave your cooking unattended, whether you’re using the oven or the cooktop. The iGuardStove Intelligent’s built-in Wi-Fi keeps you updated about how often the system has to shut down off your stove and send you alerts if it’s happening a little too often.
The $69 Meater wireless temperature probe is a good way to get over any anxiety you might have about whether your meat is throughly cooked. Meater measures internal temperature of meat at its pointed end and ambient temperature at its wider end. It connects via Bluetooth to your device, so you can easily track the internal temperature of your food while it cooks.
The $400 Mellow is a Wi-Fi-enabled countertop sous vide machine that creates a temperature-controlled water bath in which you cook food that’s been vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag. But unlike similar appliances, the Mellow will also chill your water bath until you’re ready for it to heat your meal. So you can throw your food in a bag, schedule when you want it to be ready and go about your day without having to worry about overcooking.
Tovala Smart Oven
The $400 Tovala Smart Oven is one of a growing number of smart countertop ovens we’ve seen. You scan the bar code from Tovala’s prepackaged, refrigerated meals on the the oven and the appliance automatically cooks them. The Tovala meals are a gigantic leap ahead of the TV dinners you’re familiar with, and you do enough prep work as well as finishing that you feel like you’ve had a hand in producing a tasty meal.
The $170 Wallflower is like a pared-down version of the iGuardStove Intelligent. You insert the smart plug into your wall outlet and plug your electric stove into the Wallflower. You can use the Wallflower’s app to check your stove’s status, and it will send you an alert if it detects that you’re away from home while the stove is still on.