On a recent trip to HomeGoods I found myself, once again, with a cart full of cutesy kitchen gadgets that I’ll probably never use. You know, the avocado slicer, herb scissor, yolk separator, and strawberry cutter — basically the stuff you buy thinking, “Wow what a great invention,” then bring it home, shove it in a drawer, and forget you ever bought it. Well, this time I decided instead to take stock in how useful these gadgets actually would be and if actually really needed them. After all, the strawberry slicer I was about to purchase for $5.99 looked strangely similar to the egg slicer I already owned, minus the strawberry shape, of course.
The truth is, many common utensils can do double duty in the kitchen. It’s just about how you look at it. Although that avocado pitter was absolutely adorable, in reality, it was just a glorified spoon. And, did I really need that yolk separator? That was actually just a mini turkey baster. Plus, will these gadgets really make my life that much easier? Probably not. Finding new uses for what you already own is way easier, saves money, and doesn’t clutter up your space, like these 20 pointless kitchen gadgets.
Check out the list below for some great ideas on multi-uses for kitchen gadgets you already own. Of course, sometimes there is a need to invest in a specialty kitchen items, like these 37 products that will change your life. But in the meantime, find other uses for what you already own. For more cooking advice and kitchen how-tos to streamline your meal prep, subscribe to the Eat This, Not That! magazine. You’ll get 50 percent off the cover price for a limited time!
Use Tongs to Squeeze Lemon or Lime
When you juice a lemon or lime by hand chances are you won’t get all the juice out. Instead of buying a lemon juicer, use the top of a pair of tongs and squeeze down really hard. The tongs also do a pretty good job of keeping the pits from falling out, too.
A Slotted Spoon Can Separate Egg Yolks
There’s nothing more annoying than pouring the yolk of a cracked egg back and forth in the shell until all the white has fallen through. It’s a tedious process and oftentimes pierces the yolk and ruins what was supposed to be a beautiful bowl of egg whites. Well, a slotted spoon easily solves this problem. Crack your egg into a bowl and then scoop out the yolk with the spoon, all the white will magically fall through the slots.
Cookie Cutters Make Great Napkin Holders
Napkin holders aren’t necessarily a useless kitchen buy, especially if you entertain often. But for all those of us who find themselves unexpectedly hosting their boss for dinner, there’s no need to go out and buy a set. Cookie cutters do the trick! Metal or plastic, they’ll add a cute flair to your table.
A Straw Removes Strawberry Stems
Strawberry stems can be frustrating to deal with and cutting off half the top to remove them just leaves you with less strawberry. The solution… use a straw. Poke the straw through the bottom point of the strawberry and push it through. It should poke out right at the stem. Now, you’ve de-stemmed your fruit and saved half of your strawberry.
Egg Slicers Can Cut More than Just Egg
Egg slicers are so multi-purpose they should just be called food slicers. From blocks of mozzarella to mushrooms to a cooked hot dog, this little gadget is like a jack of all trades in the kitchen.
Use a Rolling Pin as a Mallet
Kitchen mallets are one of those things that you probably would use often if you had it, but there are so many simple substitutes for it that you probably already own, it seems silly to buy. A rolling pin or even an actual hammer, can crush nuts, tenderize meat, or crumble graham crackers just as well.
Use a Turkey Baster to Pour Pancake Batter
Make uniform pancake shapes with a turkey baster. Instead of just pouring your batter onto a skillet and hoping for the best, the baster will give you more control of where the batter falls. You may even be able to make some fun shapes.
Plastic Bags Can Be Used for Piping Frosting
Instead of spending money on frosting bags, use a plastic bag. Cut one of the tips, scoop your frosting into the bag and frost away. You can even put a tip through the hole of the bag to make a pretty design.
A Colander Makes the Perfect Splatter Guard
Next time you’re frying with oil or sautéing vegetables on the stove, cover the pan with a colander or sieve to avoid oil spatter all over your counters. People actually buy pot guards for this exact reason, but why?
Ice Cream Scooper to Remove Seeds
Pulling out squash and melon seeds can be quit the task, especially with a spoon that has dull edges. That’s why an ice cream scooper is the perfect tool for the task. Its edges are sharper which will help de-seed a hard squash or melon.
Use a Lettuce Spinner as a Berry Bowl
Berry bowls, what is the point? A lettuce spinner is exactly that but on a larger scale. Use the strainer and bowl from your spinner, soak your berries, and then let them dry in the strainer when they’re done.
An Immersion Blender Can Blend Smoothies
If you’re just making a one cup smoothie, then a big blender isn’t necessary. A handheld immersion blender does the trick. Place all your ingredients in a large cup, and mix together with the immersion blender. Just remember to leave enough room at the top of your cup, otherwise, everything will splatter.
Make Oatmeal in a Rice Cooker
If you’re a big rice eater, then a rice cooker is probably a worthy investment. But that thing still takes up a lot of space. So, put your cooker to work by using it for other things, like oatmeal, baked apples, or hard boil eggs.
Use a Bundt Pan to Roast Chicken
The idea behind a chicken roasting pan is that you can place the chicken upright and it cooks evenly on all sides. Well, a bundt pan will do the same thing. Place your chicken over the protruding center of the Bundt and there’s your roasting pan. All of your vegetables and gravy will still fit around the sides.
Make Zoodles with a Peeler
If you’re a casual zoodler or carrot noodle eater, investing a spiralizer may be unnecessary. But it’s hard to get that thin spaghetti shape with just a knife, so use a peeler. Peel down the entire vegetable so you are left with wide pieces, then slice with a sharp knife.
Use an Apple Slicer for Onions
The next time you try to create a homemade bloomin’ onion, use an apple slicer to get that perfect flower shape. Besides for taste, apples and onions have a similar consistency and size, so it should work perfectly.
Scramble Eggs in a Cocktail Shaker
Although scrambling eggs isn’t exactly the hardest job around, you can make it a little bit more fun by throwing all your eggs and spices into a cocktail shaker and scrambling them that way.
Coffee or Dry Beans can be used as Pie Weights
Pie weights are one of those things you absolutely don’t need until you need them. But chances are you’ve got a bag of coffee beans or dried beans that will do the trick just fine. Lay them on top of a piece of parchment paper so you don’t bake them into the pie crust.
A Waffle Iron Can be a Sandwich Press
Waffle irons, grill cheese makers, and sandwich presses are really one in the same. Although you can’t really make waffles in the latter two, you can do anything in a waffle press if you don’t mind the checkerboard marks.
Pizza Wheel to Slice Herbs
Slice herbs nice and small with a pizza wheel instead of just using a knife. You’ll be able to cut them quicker and in smaller pieces. This method may even be more efficient than an actual herb cutter.