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  • Writer's pictureMelisha Meredith

Small Appliances I Use and Recommend for a Real Food Kitchen

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

Melisha smiles while holding her Instant Pot Appliance
Me with my beloved Instant Pot!

Eating healthier, means eating real food (vs. industrial food) and that means you're going to be in your kitchen more. Thankfully, we have lots of tools and appliances available to us that make cooking and prepping food easier and faster.

Despite their convenience, they can be bulky and take up a lot of space so I think long and hard before I add one to my kitchen!

I’m going to share about the small appliances I use in my home - organized by what I use on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. I’ll provide some links if you want to look into these a little more. And I’d love to hear what you think I should add!

On a Daily Basis

Instant Pot

My mom purchased this for us as a Christmas gift several years ago. Honestly, it sat on the shelf for a few months. I was intimidated by it and I didn’t know how to use it! I felt like I needed to take a class and have a certification before I touched those buttons. But I asked for advice and I gradually started using it. I hard boiled eggs, I cooked rice, I cooked chicken and then I was off! I use this every day and I am tempted to get a second.

The model I have is very basic and very “loved”. But it works great! I use it for a lot of prep cooking! I prep meat, dry beans, broth, rice, eggs, yogurt, potatoes and much more. I also use it for meals - especially soups and curries! (I almost burned the house down once with a pot of beans on the stove, so the fact that this cooks my beans is superb!)

The one we have (6 quart, basic)

Vitamix Blender

When they say “you get what you pay for”, it’s true for this product. We were on a really tight budget when we bought this blender 10 years ago - we saved up for it! But it’s still going strong today and we use it daily.

We LOVE it for making smoothies. We almost always put greens in our smoothies and this blends the greens so well, giving the drink a wonderful texture.

We also love it for making batter. Pancake batter and waffle batter are especially good in it. Just dump in all your ingredients and blend!

Once in a while it gets used for making nut butters.

We bought ours with two “containers”: a wet and dry container. The wet we use for the above mentioned. And the dry we use for grinding our own grain. I really liked this feature because it kept me from having to get a grain mill. I mostly do wheat and oat groats.

The one we have (closest I can find) is 28% off right now!

On a Weekly Basis

Slow Cooker

I have a large slow cooker and a medium slow cooker. My favorite one is by Pampered Chef. The container is a “Rockcrok” and you can take it from the slow cooker to the stove top to the oven to the fridge and to the dishwasher! It’s awesome.

We use the slow cooker for roast and potatoes, for soups and just to keep food warm for parties or get-togethers.

I used to make my bone broth and yogurt in this, but now I do the Instant Pot for those since it’s so much faster.

Stand Mixer

What a marvelous machine! I love the large bowl on mine - I am always doubling the recipe! Muffins, pizza dough, cinnamon roll dough, cookies, whipped cream, sometimes pancakes, breakfast bakes… they all get their start in the stand mixer.

I feel like this is an appliance that (along with the Instant Pot) saves me significant time. I can start mixing at the beginning of the recipe then let it mix while I walk away for a minute and gather the other ingredients. Or I can set a ball of dough in and let it do the kneading!

You’ll want one with a decent motor for thick batters and like I said, go for the large bowl!

The one we have is 13% off right now!

Food Processor

I recently upgraded to a larger food processor, and it’s made me use it more! I used to get annoyed with my small one. (First world problems, right?)

My processor has a lot of different discs, so I can slice and grate as well as chop and mix.

I find myself using this tool in the summer more because I can process produce in it, such as making pesto from fresh basil!

But year round, I use it when I need to grate a lot of something - like potatoes, cheese or zucchini. I also use the pastry paddle that it has to mix together a pie crust!

It’s nice to use for making salad dressing if the dressing has produce like onion, herbs or garlic.

Double Belgian Waffle Maker

This is a fun one! My husband has mastered the waffle recipe and makes homemade oat waffles for us about once a week.

When we had more than one kid, I stopped making waffles because it took so stinkin’ long to make enough for everyone. We didn’t even have a waffle maker for years!

Then we found out about this double Belgian waffle maker and it brought waffles back into our lives. I only eat them at home because the restaurant ones are white flour and lots of sugar. So, this is a healthy treat that my hubby makes for us - double bonus!

The one we have (closest I could find)

On a Monthly Basis

Even though I’m not using these as frequently, they are valuable enough to keep around!

Immersion Blender

These things are brilliant! We use this in the winter more than the summer because I tend to use it for soups - it blends up our butternut squash, tomato and other soups beautifully! The immersion blender is handy because I can blend things right where they are instead of transferring to the blender and getting that dirty as well.

Ours came with a whisk attachment as well, so we sometimes grab this tool to make homemade whipped cream. I think this small appliance is one you could do without but if you have room, it is pretty inexpensive and comes in very handy sometimes!

(Kind of in the same category - I also have a handheld mixer, but it doesn’t get used very often because we use our stand mixer that we use instead.)

The one we have (closest I could find)

Electric Knife Sharpener

This one is a game changer! It feels like we are constantly chopping and slicing in this kitchen. We need sharp knives. I was never good at doing it by hand, so I love having the electric one. It is fast and my knives turn out way better than when I was trying to sharpen manually.

The one we have is 19% off right now!

Mandolin Slicer

Not sure if this would be considered an “appliance”. But I decided to mention it. I have a story about mandolins. I had one in our early married days, more than 15 years ago. I almost sliced the entire layer of skin off my knuckle with that thing and it took forever to heal. Needless to say, I was scared to use one again for a long time. I got rid of my original one - the design was not safe. And I have a new one now, that I got about 12 years after that incident. I decided to give it another go and it’s been great!

My son LOVES using it, much preferred to hand slicing for him. I love the uniform size it gives to what I’m working on. It makes for a nice presentation! And also appreciate the quick work it makes of slicing - we use it mostly for potatoes!

Since the newer models have a lot more safety features, I feel like I can recommend these now!

The one we have is $11 off right now!


This is something we use a lot in the summer when we need to preserve produce. It’s a great way to preserve because it retains the nutritional content of the food. Ours gets used for things like dehydrating apples and bananas and drying herbs.

It’s really a wonderful appliance. I should do a lot more with it than I do!

You can get them in all sizes and price ranges. Look for one with even airflow and adjustable thermostat.

The one we have is 30% off right now!

Appliances I Do NOT Have

Air Fryer

I think I would love this if I cooked for a smaller crowd. Cooking for six, I just imagine the air fryer being a pain because I would have to do multiple batches of things. Am I right about that?

If you want one, look for one WITHOUT Teflon!


I have had them in the past and love fresh juice, I just don’t have one right now. I plan to buy a new one this year though and can’t wait to have one in the kitchen again!

I can’t wait to hear what you are loving and would recommend for me!

Note: Some of the links, not all, are affiliate links. That means I earn a small commission when you use them. It doesn’t cost you any extra. I wanted to thank you for supporting my small business this way!

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