December 2, 2020


Home Improvement

31 Kitchen Gadgets Under $50 To Elevate Quarantine Food

Turns out if you have the right tools, the Venn diagram of “make cooking easier” and “make it super delicious” can actually be a circle.

We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.


A beloved microwave pasta cooker to make cooking pasta so easy, you’ll be eating like restaurant royalty seven days a week. Truly all you have to do is put water and dry noodles in it, hit the microwave buttons, and strain it right out of the container. Noodles on noodles, y’all.


Promising review: “I don’t want to get all gushy over a pasta maker, but man…I really love this gizmo! I try to limit my monthly food expenditures and the Fasta Pasta helps me work in at least one inexpensive pasta meal every week. If not more. First of all, I like spaghetti — either with normal Prego-type sauce or sometimes just with butter and Romano cheese sprinkled on. But I’m lazy and impatient and don’t like things that take a long time to make, with a bunch of steps, and a big clean up afterwards. The Fasta Pasta is perfect for me. I get the exact amount of correctly-measured spaghetti; it’s faster than boiling water in a big pot then having to watch and stir the pasta; the pasta comes out perfectly cooked every time; and the cleanup is a snap. No big pot; no colander; no spaghetti fork to lift out the pasta. Just the easy to clean Fasta Pasta, and a pot to heat up the sauce. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!” —Smilin Sam

Get it from Amazon for $16.99.


A beginner-friendly fermenting kit complete with everything you need to “set it and forget it,” so you can serve yourself lil’ sides of pickled things with your dishes like a fancy farm-to-table restaurant.

Each kit comes with three fermenting lids with airlock valves, date setters, and an easy release tab, as well as an oxygen extractor. The lids are compatible with most wide mouth mason jars (you can snag four Ball mason jars on Amazon for $17.95).

Promising review: “I have now been using my Easy Fermenter for several months. I continue to be delighted with the results. My favorite recipes are a cabbage/carrot sauerkraut, and a blend of fermented peppers (some sweet, some hot). I have recommended these fermenting lids to many of my friends because they make fermenting foods so incredibly easy! You will NOT be disappointed.” —K. Dixon

Get it from Amazon for $25.99.


A *super* compact eight-in-one spiralizer that also grates cheese, juices fruits, and cuts ribbons, and more. All you have to do is change out one of the interlocking caps for a new function. Fresh squeezed OJ? Zoodles in the air fryer? Grated parmesan on your pasta? Done, done, and done. (And you never have to say “when”!!)

Emma Lord/BuzzFeed, Amazon

I recently purchased this because it was my cheapest option for making zoodles, and also because my apartment is the size of a shoebox and there was no room for anything bigger. I LOVE how easy it is to swap out the caps to do other things, too — I’ve started grating my own cheeses and feel very fancy. But mostly I just love that it’s very safe to use (it comes with a finger guard!), super easy to figure out, very compact, and even has measurements on the inside of the cup if you’re ever portioning things out for a recipe.

Promising review: “LOVE THIS. I absolutely love this. So far I’ve used the thicker spiralizer, two of the grater things, and then the juicer. I love how easy this makes keeping everything together. And it’s sharp so it actually cuts through things without you needing to work super hard to do it. The only thing I don’t love is that the spiralizers are a bit hard to clean, but I guess that’s with all of them? Not sure, this is the first I’ve owned. But, overall I’d recommend it :)” —Amazon Customer

Get it from Amazon for $12.97.


A trio lasagna pan designed so all of your edges are so perfectly crisped it will taste like Remy from Ratatouille cut them with his own discerning, bougie eyes.

FYI, you can 6,000% use these for brownies, blondies, and bread too. This is also great for making several kinds of lasagna at once, if you and other fam members have different preferences!

Promising review: “There’s nothing but good coming from this pan! Yummy crunchy edges on every piece! I made three different kinds of lasagna in this pan and all I can say is that there were already plans for the next batch before this one was gone! This pan is heavy duty, has an awesome nonstick coating, and will definitely stand up to much use. The recipe called for spraying the pan with nonstick spray but it was completely unnecessary. Have already suggested this pan to others.” —srenee

Get it from Amazon for $19.99.


An electric potato peeler that whoops, just got a permanent spot on your counter. Not only does it effortlessly peel potatoes, but it can handle pretty much any peeled produce you throw at it, from apples to kiwis to oranges to tomatoes. (To be clear, though, your highest priority should *always* be mashed potato-ing.),

Promising review: “Love it! It’s light and easy to use. When I use a potato peeler I was always peeling too much potato with the peel. This blade is fine and only gets the skin, in seconds. Except for the ‘poles’ of the potato but I don’t mind. It’s easy to clean if you have a sprayer to just rinse off the spikes where you insert your potatoes. Small enough and doesn’t take up much room.” —yestfl

Get it from Amazon for $17.98.


A set of three dough presses in different sizes perfect for hand pies, dumplings, ravioli, calzones, empanadas, and truly any delicious thing you can think of that you want tucked into a pillow of warm carbs.,

Promising review: “This was a great purchase for the price. I was making empanadas and folding them by hand, which didn’t look too good. This set helps me cut them easily into circles and then easily presses them close. Consistent look each time! I like that there are three sizes in the set so I can make them according to my mood. Easy to wash and use. Would highly recommend for the price and functionality!” —Sox

Get a set of three from Amazon for $7.93.


A produce-saver storage container designed to keep your fruits and veggies fresh way longer, so you can take your sweet time planning your weekly menus knowing that you won’t have to race to eat certain things up faster.

Promising review: “I’ve been using this container for a number of months and decided it’s finally time to write a review. We eat a lot of broccoli and I used to find myself running to the grocery store every few days to get another head of broccoli. With the safer-at-home guidelines in place I’ve had to reduce my grocery store visits to once every seven to 10 days. I am sure glad I have this container because I can put two, sometimes three, heads of broccoli inside and they last the entire time between shopping trips. Previously they wouldn’t last that long.” —Amazon Customer

Read BuzzFeed’s review of these “miracle” produce containers for more deets.

Get it from Amazon for $12.35 (available in various sizes and sets).1


An stainless-steel slicer to get you *chef’s KISS* levels of perfectly sliced cheeses, whether they’re the thick “I’m putting you on a Ritz cracker immediately” kind or the paper thin “mayhaps I will top my pasta with Parmesan” variety.


You can adjust the wire in the slicer to get your desired thickness (and it even comes with an extra wire in case the first wears out).

Promising review: “Cheese is considered a major food group in our house, so replacing our broken slicer was an absolute necessity. This slicer is an absolute dream. It’s very sturdy (without being too heavy) and it cuts extra sharp cheddar as if it were room temperature butter! Don’t waste your time and money on a cheap slicer — this one will probably last for years.” —StillontheEdge

Get it from Amazon for $10.


A tiny milk frother so you can start concocting your own cozy café drinks so delicious that you might just start a new TikTok trend.


It’s also teensy for storing and cleans with a quick stream of hot running water, and works on cold *and* hot beverages.

Promising review:This is seriously my best quarantine purchase and I have made a lot! No need for Starbucks anymore. My craving has been fulfilled. I make at least one fancy drink every morning. To make the cold foam similar to Starbucks salted honey you use a little milk (I use almond), a sprinkle of salt, and some honey then use the frother. It makes so much from a small amount and the taste is delicious!! This will be your new morning best friend. I am so happy!” —Amazon Customer

Get it from Amazon for $13.95 (available in 10 colors).


A two-stage electric knife-sharpener, because those blades you bought back in the day?? They’re probably super dull by now, even if you haven’t noticed since it’s happened over time. But sharper knives = faster, safer cooking, so you can ~refresh~ them this this.


Promising review: “Wow, this little gadget is pretty amazing! I have some old (expensive) non-serrated knives that are supposed to never need sharpening but unfortunately, lost their sharp edge long ago. I saw this gadget and decided to try it. I set the bottom of this gadget on the edge of the counter and ran one of the knives through the side labeled ‘Coarse’ about 10 times, then ran it through the side labeled ‘Fine’ another 8-10 times. Bingo! The knife was transformed back to its former high-dollar cutlery glory. I could hardly believe how effectively it had sharpened the knife, which I had been ready to throw away a week before. I’ve been happily sharpening all our knives and trying to add up in my head how much money I’ve saved by NOT having to buy another set of expensive knives. I don’t know where else you can spend $6 and get this return for the money. Great score!” —Schelly L. Wagoner

Read our full review of the KitchenIQ knife sharpener for more deets.

Get it from Amazon for $5.99 (available in three colors).


A snap-on pasta strainer to free your pasta from its hot juices straight from the pot, and spare you storage space boot (is it just me or are colanders always in the business of being exactly in the way of whatever it is you need?). Psst — these are also a game-changer for washing your fruit, too!


Promising review: “I’ve owned this for about six months, and I couldn’t imagine cooking without it. I hate strainers. They are bulky and fill up the dishwasher, I’m lazy, whatever. This strainer is a lifesaver. Clip it on your pan, strain, and voila! And it is so easy to clean. A little hot water and it’s good to go for the next round. I highly recommend this gadget, it will retire your current strainer.” —Viola Evens

Get it from Amazon for $14.99 (available in four colors).


A small crushed ice machine to make a *ton* of restaurant dupes — people mention using it for homemade Sno Cones, Frappuccinos, or even just as a quick fix for anyone who loves crushed ice from the gas station or fast food restaurants they might not to get to very often now.

Promising review: “I really like crushed (read: Sonic) ice, but I’ve not been getting soft drinks there since the pandemic started up. So, I decided to try this. For the price, I was surprised how good this gadget is. My half-moon ice cubes from my ice maker fit well, I can do about eight cubes at a time. The cranking is not hard, just make sure it’s on a surface that the rubber feet can grip. I like the ice texture.” —CJG

Get it from Amazon for $19.99.


A magnetic hanging utensil set that includes (*DEEP BREATH*) a slotted spatula, spaghetti server, slotted spoon, solid spoon, and a ladle, all designed to nest into each other so you’ll have them at the tip of your fingers whenever you get ambitious in the kitchen.


Someone gifted me one of these many moons ago, and the utensils have held up for over four years! They’re still as perfectly magnetized and functional as they were when they first arrived, and I barely ever notice them even though my counter space is approximately that of a lunch tray (wish I were kidding!!!).

Promising review: “We travel full-time and move every three months so everything has to be compact and packable. These replaced five other kitchen utensils that did not nest in each other. They sit on the counter ready to use. They are sturdy and have been used in nonstick ceramic and cast-iron pans. Very happy with this set.” —Justice Talbot

Get a set from Amazon for $28 (available in three other color varieties).


Or a “Uni-tool,” a show-off of a gadget that functions as slotted spoon, a turner, a solid spoon, a spatula, *and* a cutting tool, so you can go full MasterChef in your kitchen.


Promising review: “I love this Uni-tool. I use it for sautéing veggies, scraping bowls, browning meats, tasting soup, testing macaroni for doneness, etc. I like that I can taste test with the spoon side and keep working with the other side. I randomly told my husband I wanted one for Christmas, and I am so glad I did. It’s a useful kitchen gadget to have.” —Lori Price

Get it from Amazon for $7.99.


A silicone pan that can be used for homemade bagels and donuts so fresh and fragrant you’ll be like, “Ah, yes, it’s time to leave my old life behind and open a limited batch bakery out of my back porch.”,

Psst — here’s an extremely easy-to-follow Greek yogurt bagel recipe you can add your own spices and ingredients to (plus a lot of reviewers mention using this for keto bagels, if that lights your fire). Brb, slathering everything in cheese and garlic salt and living the dream.

Promising review: “This silicone pan is great! I had been wanting to try making baked donuts and didn’t realize how easy it is! Pan is easy to use, clean and the donuts came out of pan easily and without breaking/sticking to the pan.” —Tyler

Get it from Amazon for $7.49.


A panini press to make you crispy Panera-level sandwiches with that deeply satisfying crrrunnnchhh to them that make all of your taste buds sigh in delight.


Word to the wise — it’ll also cook pizza and open-faced sandwiches. Infinite cheese toast = infinite possibilities.

Promising review: “I am very happy with this panini press. I was a little leery because of the low price but my worry was unfounded. The packaging was easy to open and easy to remove the press. The plates heat up fast and are easy to wipe off. I was feeling lazy one day do I used this to cook burgers. It worked very well. I think I’ll even try a steak on it! Very happy I made this purchase!” —Iowagal4

Get it from Amazon for $34.99+ (available in three colors).


A rapid egg cooker that I am warning you right now is going to become your only personality trait. It can make soft, medium, *and* hard-boiled eggs in addition to poaching, scrambling, and making omelettes out of them. This gizmo is like, a thousand potential brunches in one.


I’ve owned one of these babies and have faithfully used it every week for upward of two years, and especially love it during quarantine — it simplifies breakfast because I know no matter what weird assortment of groceries I’m working with, there are precooked eggs to add some protein to it (I like mine medium-boiled 🍳). If my dinner is boring or seems like it needs a little extra “oomph” to it, I’ll throw in an egg from this too. Some reviews note that the alarm on it is a little loud, but the new models have significantly decreased the volume and sing a little song instead!

Promising review: “You know those objects that are totally unnecessary, but you see them and fall in love and live forever in happiness with your random kitschy thing? This is that thing. I saw this egg cooker on a BuzzFeed list and, even though I am a fully functioning adult who has never had trouble cooking eggs before in my life, I knew I had to have it. I have not been disappointed. It makes especially lovely, perfectly round omelets with minimal cleanup required. Hard and soft boiled eggs cook evenly and taste great. The poached eggs are tender and melt in your mouth over toast.” —Sonnet A. Fitzgerald

Get it from Amazon for $17.90+ (available in five colors).


An automatic pan stirrer so you don’t have to spend the full half hour before every meal babysitting the stove. For dishes on a low simmer, you can set the timer on this and go back to watching Netflix the way nature intended.


Promising review: “Honestly I laughed at myself for buying this. I stopped laughing the first time I used it! What a help! It freed me up to do other things while it stirred the sauce that needed constant attention. Bought another one! Not laughing now!” —Luvdvm

Get it from UncommonGoods for $25.


A breakfast sandwich maker that may be small but can cook an egg, toast bread, warm precooked meat, and melt cheese into the perfect sammie all at once. Dunkin’ whomst??


Promising review: “I bought the double-size cause even though the cycle is only about five minutes, it is good to have two finished by then. It works well and is easy to clean. I’m careful to cut the cheese and meat to a proper size so there is very little mess. I have not needed to run the parts through the dishwasher yet. We use it fairly often now with the virus keeping us at home and it works well.” —Mr. Wayne S. Mergott Jr.

Get it from Amazon for $28.15.


A sleek electric kettle you can use as a ~short cut~ if you’re making something that calls for boiled water. A watched pot may never boil, but this handy kettle will have it ready for you in minutes.


Promising review: “I’ve been wanting an electric kettle for a while but had always just pushed it off until this quarantine. I must say, I’m SO IMPRESSED!!!!! The water heats up in mere minutes, boiling and perfect for anything you’d need hot water for. I cannot recommend this product enough — definitely worth the purchase.” —Mel

Get it from Amazon for $25.97.


A personal-sized NutriBullet to make you the master of your own smoothie destiny — its powerful motor can blend nuts, berries, and spinach alike, so you can get that fancy Whole Foods vibe right from your own kitchen counter.


Psst — you can drink right out of the blending cup, which is also dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup!

Promising review: “I love this thing!!! I have never been a smoothie drinker. I have been having so much fun making smoothies now, though! I simply put in the liquid, toss in some veggies and/or fruit, some ice cubes and in less than a minute I have a yummy little drink. I like to add a handful of baby carrots to any fruit smoothie and this little machine has no problem whipping those up. I also rinse the blades off right after I’m done so I haven’t experienced any issues with it being hard to clean. I throw everything into the dishwasher when done and it cleans up great. I really love it and didn’t know how much I needed this until I got it! I would suggest getting an extra set of cups also! Very handy.” —Curlygirl

Get it from Amazon for $49.88.


A pineapple cutter that will peel, core, and slice up your fruit in a matter of seconds, so you can stop ~pining~ for your pineapple and start adding it to your dishes for an unexpected tangy twist.

Promising review: “We can buy pre-sliced pineapple from our grocery store, but in these days of Covid, knowing no one is breathing on my food, well, it’s reassuring. Very easy to use. Just cut the top off the pineapple, center the slicer and twist the slicer it pulls itself down through the meat of the pineapple leaving the center (pulpier) core and outside shell. Couple of minutes and it’s done!” —Ron M.

Get it from Amazon for $13.93.


A digital food thermometer to prevent any meat mishaps — this compact, lightweight model easily cuts through meat to give you a temp reading in three to five seconds, so you can have perfectly tender, Instagram-worthy meat every time.


It’s also backlit for use outdoors or in dark ovens, and can read temps in Fahrenheit *or* Celsius.

Promising review: “This digital meat thermometer is the best I’ve ever had. I own others, but they are either too bulky to fit in the drawer or too hard to read. This one is small and lightweight; it’s easy to pull out the probe and very easy to read the temperature. I purchased several as stocking stuffers for Christmas. They make a gift that will be appreciated for its size and ease of use, but most importantly, it will be a gift that gets used instead of put away in the closet.” —Yardleydoc

Get it from Amazon for $13.99.


A compact electric hand mixer that will easily whip your creams, mix your doughs, and meringue your egg whites without causing a whole two-act-with-intermission production like its larger counterparts.


This beater has three speeds, and storage is a cinch — you can unhook the beaters and pop them on a storage clip on the side of the mixer, then slide it right back into a drawer.

Promising review: “I needed to get a new hand mixer after I lost one of the whisk parts on my super old one. I live in a pretty small house, with limited storage so I wanted something that wasn’t going to take up too much space. I also wanted a solution to the lone whisk that I seemed to always lose. This was it! It is cute but also I love that the whisks attach to the body and the cord can be easily wrapped around it. I use it a lot and haven’t had a problem in almost a year. I do wish that it had more speeds on it, but besides that I have no complaints.” —Amazon Customer

Get it from Amazon for $29.99 (available in three other colors).


An 8-quart, family-friendly Crock-Pot to minimize effort and maximize deliciousness. All you have to do is toss in your ingredients at the beginning of the day, then look forward to the warm, slow-cooked bliss of perfectly moist chicken, flavorful chili, or mashed potatoes so smooth you’ll wanna swim in them.


The lid and the inside pot are also dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.

Promising review: “Love this slow cooker. Crock-Pot is the original. I read so many different reviews before finally getting this one because I prefer ‘manual’ so there’s less to go wrong; I like the glass, dishwasher safe lid and removable crock. Mostly I love the large size. I can cook anything in this. I’ve used it about eight times in the past five months. Every meal has been successful. Easy clean up too — no little nooks and crannies that can’t be easily cleaned.” –VegasCamZ

Get it from Amazon for $47.97.


A mini waffle maker that’ll churn out adorably-sized, perfectly cooked-through waffles so quickly it’ll put IHOP to shame — not to mention hash browns, paninis, biscuits, and even (gasp) PIZZA.


Here’s a whole slew of inspo from an article on surprising things you can make in a waffle maker (waffled tomato grilled cheese, y’all) if you need some boredom busters to get you started.

Promising review: “YES! Tiny Eggo-sized waffles! Put anything into it — hash browns, tater tots, waffle mix, canned biscuits! Add nuts and berries and things! It even comes with a little recipe booklet! It fits in the palm of your hand, you could literally stuff it in the back of a drawer, but you won’t, because as soon as you get it everyone wants mini waffles for every meal. It heats up super fast and is a breeze to clean. If you’re making a whole mess of waffles, be sure to give it a quick spritz of nonstick spray every couple waffles or so, so it doesn’t rend your delicious waffles asunder. Excellent value.” —Bryce Pierce

Get it from Amazon for $10+ (available in nine other non-heart-shaped colors).


A pair of shredder claws to carve all your meats up faster than Wolverine can blink, sparing you and your measly fork from getting in a lengthy tug-of-war.

Promising review: “My pork shoulder always tastes good, but I’m too lazy to pull or chop it properly. These claws really made short, pretty easy work of that job. I used them just as described: I put the meat on and took it off, cut off a portion, dug in, and started pulling. You can make your pieces as big or small as you like. Much easier than with a fork or knife. They just work. I think, after writing this, I’m going to go put a shoulder on right now.” —Edwin C. Kebschull

Get it from Amazon for $12.99.


A small but effective rice cooker that will make eight cups of rice, and neatly pop into the dishwasher when you’re done. It also comes with a built-in steamer, so if you’re like, “Get this bread! But also these veggies!!” you can prep them at the same time.

Promising review: “I’d like to say I’m a decent cook and pretty good baker. I can make recipes from scratch and they turn out very well. I love baking more than anything. With that being said, I can NOT make rice on the stove for the life of me. Probably not a bad thing since I dislike rice, but I’m trying to get use to it. This rice cooker is a godsend when it comes to cooking rice. Add water, add rice, add some flavorings if need be and BAM! Press a button and walk away.” —Baby Stego

Get it from Amazon for $28.87.


A small three-tier cooling rack for when you want to cook or bake a bazillion things at once, but don’t *quite* have the counter space for it. This will ensure that you can have a delicious main course *and* all the sides and desserts your heart desires too.


Promising review: “I really like the clever and functional design of this cooling rack, especially for limited counter space kitchens as mine. I use this for lightweight baked goods such as cookies and croissants. I have not tried it yet for heavier items such as pies, but for those, just attach the racks on both sides for support. What I love most is this rack folds up for storage — a clever space-saver when stored too. All around, great product design with good quality construction. Highly recommend for lightweight baked goods.” —myreview

Get it from Amazon for $20.99.


A set of stackable glass meal prep containers that are safe in the oven and the microwave, meaning you can cook, reheat, and eat out of ’em without ever bothering to go find a plate. Your homemade leftovers just got lit 🔥.


Promising review: “I ordered these food containers to replace the original (cheap) containers that came with the lunch box I had ordered from Amazon as well. The glass contains seem very solid and sturdy. Obviously, they are heavier than plastic containers which people should have in mind if they buy them to put their kids’ lunch in heavy glass containers into the already heavy backpack. The containers are easy to stack and even easier to clean, for lazy people like me, they are even dishwasher-safe. If you stack them, I wouldn’t stack more than three just to be safe. They have the perfect size to fit your lunch in and since it is glass, you can directly prep your lunch in the oven in those containers or freeze if you prep more than a week at once. My porridge has not leaked in my backpack yet, so I’d say they are leak-proof.” —Sharon N.

Get a set of five from Amazon for $30.99.


A pancake batter dispenser to make pancakes so easy that they miiiight just replace every meal. This not only saves you extra cleanup by letting you mix the ingredients directly in it, it also squeezes out perfectly round pancakes straight from the nozzle.


Promising review: “Super glad I purchased this. So much easier and faster making pancakes. Much cleaner filling cupcakes. Easy to clean. Super easy to use. No issues with leaking. Has held up fine in the top rack of the dishwasher. Being that I’m lazy and hate dirtying extra dishes, I mix my batter directly in the dispenser.” —Ams

Get it from Amazon for $14.29.

You treating yourself to delicious homemade dinner every night:

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Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Looking for more great Amazon finds? Check out some of our favorite cheap things to buy on Amazon, some of the weirdest things on Amazon you might actually want, or read through all the rest of our incredible Amazon product recommendations.

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