It seems like every day there are new kitchen gadgets on store shelves.
These kitchen gadgets promise convenience. They promise to save you time. They promise to save you money. And some of those gadgets do stick to their promises. But many don’t.
And a lot of those kitchen gadgets will cost you a pretty penny.
I’ve found that the old adage “make do or do without” goes a long way in helping you curb that desire to clog your countertops and cupboards with every kitchen gadget that catches your eye. Most of the most popular kitchen gadgets can be easily replaced with a much cheaper alternative and a little time and effort.
For example, check out these cheap alternatives to popular kitchen gadgets:
Food processor. A sharp chef’s knife and a bit of practice is all it takes to be slicing and dicing in no time.
Salad spinner. A quick rinse under cold water, a good shake in a colander, and a pat with some paper towels or a clean dish towel are all you really need to handle your lettuce. And if you’re buying lettuce the expensive way (pre-washed and bagged), you really don’t need a salad spinner at all.
Rice cooker. Now, I will not lie. I love my rice cooker. But if you don’t have one, you can cook it on the stove, in the microwave, or even in your oven. You can steam veggies in a regular pot with a small metal vegetable steamer insert you can pick up for a few bucks at any department store.
Electric can opener. Unless you have trouble using your hands, a manual can opener will get the job done more cheaply and more quietly. And it doesn’t take up any counter space.
Popcorn popper. You don’t need a fancy air popper to make popcorn. You can make it in a pan on the stove or in a paper bag in the microwave.
Electric fry pan. Sure you can cook a lot of things at once in it, but they’re usually a pain to wash. Just use a skillet on the stove.
Stand Mixer. The Cadillac of kitchen appliances – this gadget is one that many foodies can’t live without. But you can make do with a a good spoon, a sturdy whisk, or a small handheld mixer for most mixing jobs. If you’re not an avid baker, you may be able to skip this expensive purchase altogether.
Fondue pot. If you already have a slow cooker, you have all you need to make fondue!
Bread machine. They’re nice to have, but you can make do with a good wooden spoon and your bare hands to knead the dough. Then just bake the loaf in the oven. If you have a stand mixer, they also work well for kneading bread and pizza dough.
Keurig machine. True coffee lovers rarely drink just one cup of coffee, so skip the super expensive Keurig pods and excess trash they create and stick to a much cheaper four-cup or larger basic coffee maker, and bulk buy your coffee at a significantly lower price.
Food dehydrator. You can use your oven on a low setting to dehydrate fruits, veggies, herbs and meats, and skip the need for this bulky kitchen gadget.
And of course, there are all the little gadgets that add up:
Strawberry huller. Use a clean drinking straw to remove strawberry hulls.
Ice cream scoop. Just use a sturdy spoon.
Pizza cutter. Use a knife.
Pastry bags. Just put your frosting into a plastic food storage bag and cut one corner to pipe away.
Cookie scoop. Just use a spoon.
Electric Knife. A good sharp serrated knife will work just fine.
Pastry Cutter. Just use a fork to blend instead. Use a glass to cut out circle shapes in your pastry.
Apple peeler, corer and slicer. Use a vegetable peeler and a good sharp knife.
Now I know some of you will argue that there are items on this list that you simply cannot live without, and that’s okay. As long as you are comfortable with the money you spend on it, the space you need to store it, and the time it takes to properly care for it, go right ahead. I have a few of these items myself.
Just know that you don’t need all those gadgets, and of course, you certainly don’t have to pay full price for kitchen gadgets. There is always a more frugal option when it comes to your kitchen.
What are some alternatives you’ve found to high priced kitchen gadgets?