Fancy, hard-to-master kitchen gear won’t help you cook great meals—but a few of the right tools will. These essentials will wean you off the microwave forever.
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1. The Personal Juice Bar
Busy guys who spend a lot of time shuttling between work and the gym need a blender that can keep up. The Kitchen Aid Magnetic Drive Torrent Blender has a 1.8-horsepower motor and four presets—juice, soup, milk shake, and smoothie. The money you’ll save on morning smoothies and overpriced juices alone will pay for it in a matter of months.
A food processor can be overkill when cooking for just one or two. The Swissmar Borner VPower Mandoline has German surgical-steel blades that can shred, julienne, and slice vegetables and fruits to just about any shape and size with a single swipe. The uniform cut helps food steam, sauté, or roast evenly, and halves the time it takes to throw a salad together.
Slow cookers may remind you of Grandma, but tossing your favorite meats and vegetables in one pot and walking away has undeniable appeal. The space-saving countertop Breville Fast Slow Cooker sautés veggies, sears proteins, and slow-cooks stews, and the pressure-cook function makes fast work of tenderizing meats and beans.
A cast-iron skillet is cheap and durable, and nothing conducts heat quite like it—it’s the tool for putting a food-porn-worthy sear on steaks. Lodge’s 10.25-inch pan will fit a couple of New York strips or work as a nest for a roast chicken. Cast-iron needs a little love, a process known as “seasoning,” but the Lodge comes pretreated for immediate use.
Simplify everything from burgers to paninis to egg-and-bacon fry-ups with the Cuisinart Griddler‚ which doubles as a stovetop and requires almost zero cleanup. The stainless steel unit is a stylish upgrade on the George Foreman grill of your dorm days—just attach the appropriate nonstick cooking plate and you’re ready to take on just about any dish.
A decent knife should be every man’s first kitchen investment. While bargain knives dull quickly, a proper chef’s knife stays sharper for longer, speeding up food prep. The Shun Reserve Hollow-Ground six-inch blade (two inches shorter than normal) is easy to wield, and side dimples keep food from sticking. Plus, the blade is forged by hand in Japan—a nod to samurai sword-making techniques—for an angled edge that’s ultrathin but superstrong.