When living in a small space, I find it important to have only the essential items. I enjoy keeping my inventory minimal, versatile, and effective. From living in a motorhome and now living in our 400 sq ft off grid cabin in the woods, I feel like I have a pretty good idea as to which tools are super useful and the tools that are a waste of space.
When I bring anything into my kitchen, it has to check a few boxes. First, power consumption. Our off grid cabin is only powered by our solar setup or our generator. So I have to be mindful of how much energy I use daily, especially in the kitchen. To give an example, a crock pot, that goes low and slow all day, is a huge draw on our batteries. Versus an instant pot, that takes a quick surge of power for about 30 minutes and depending on the sun, I can typically run it off of solar or run the generator if we haven’t gotten sun, like in the winter months. So power consumption is top priority.
If I need a crock pot setup, I have 2 options. To run off of power, I can run my instant pot first thing in the morning, say around 9am for about 30 minutes, turn it off . Then I do not remove the lid until dinner time around 6pm. At that point the meat will be cooked in a low and slow fashion using residual heat and turn the meat perfectly tender.
The second option is to use a cast iron Dutch oven on the wood stove. Again, start in the morning. Around 8 am. put it on the wood stove in the winter months, then revisit the dish around dinner time.
Either option yields similarly delicious results just depends on if it’s run off of power or totally off grid and cooked using the wood stove.
The second thing I need to keep in mind when selecting kitchen gadgets, and really anything else in our home, is it has to have multiple purposes. Can it be used interchangeably along different cooking mediums. Such as baking, sautéing, or even fermenting. The more multi purpose the better.
And lastly, SIZE. I cannot stress enough the importance of the size of the items that are inside my home. Living tiny, you have tiny things. If the items aren’t tiny, they need to collapse or nest into another item. I use open cabinetry in my kitchen and basically display all of my kitchen tools. So it has to look nice and be small enough to fit on shelves.
So on that note, I have narrowed down my list of Kitchen gadgets that I think every home chef should have no matter the size of your house. I have separated them into two categories. Essential everyday tools and specialty gadgets
Essential everyday tools
I can not live without my ninja. The versatility is out of this world. It takes very little solar and makes my life super easy. Yes, it’s big and bulky but it works in so many different applications. The base lives on my counter and I store away the food processor, blender, and smoothie attachment in a basket under the sink. I use this just about every day, multiple times in spring, summer, and fall (when our solar is thriving) and in the winter I use it probably 4 times a week. Whether I need to grind coffee in the smoothie attachment, make banana walnut muffins in the food processor, or make a smoothie in the blender, I swear by this thing and honestly could not live without it. When we lived in our conventional home and moved off grid into a tiny space, this thing has always been a non negotiable for me.
An off grid, solar necessity for cooking! Turn a frozen roast into yummy dinner using just the pressure cook setting for 30 minutes, first thing in the morning, then shut off and don’t open the lid until 6pm. Works like a crockpot and turns any meat into tender fall apart goodness. If you know, you know! I have the instant pot mini and couldn’t recommend it enough. It’s perfect for those hot summer months too when you don’t want to heat up the whole house when cooking.
Cast iron Dutch oven
Can be used for anything that needs a “crock pot” cooking application. Such as a roast, tougher meat like venison roasts, bone broth, but also incredible for making bread in. And beautiful enough to leave displayed on your kitchen shelves.
I use this way more than I ever thought I could. Did you know it’s cheaper to buy cheese in a block and just shred it yourself? Also, pre shredded cheese has a coating on it to keep the cheese from clumping. Shredding your own cheese will not only be good for your wallet but your body too! Use your box grater to shred cheese for pizza, grating ginger for tea, shredding carrots for slaw, butter for biscuits, or even zest of a lemon,
This is such an underrated gadget. I’ve had my immersion blender for almost 4 years now and it always come in handy. It fits perfectly in a wide mouth mason jar so you can make so many things with it such as smoothies, whipped cream, mayonnaise, salad dressing, sauces, or use right in a pot to cream together a soup. The immersion blender has two attachments. One is whisk and the other is a blender attachment. Super easy to clean, draws little energy, and is very compact. If you don’t have a blender, this is a great second option. I love it in the summer months to make smoothie bowls or make banana nice cream.
Manual coffee grinder
If I can’t grind our coffee beans in my ninja because our batteries are low, I will just grind them by hand. You know, the old fashion way.
We did the cowboy coffee thing for a while, but not we are French press lovers and will never go back.
This is a must for any off-grid person! So many wonderful uses for a frother you didn’t even know you needed. Not just for frothing milk, it’s great in so many applications. I don’t know about you but I make drinks that always have a bunch of stuff in it such as collagen, mushroom powders, cacao, syrup, honey, ect. I hate when all the add-ins get stuck on the bottom. So I’ll just grab my frother and it thoroughly combines all the ingredients in just a couple seconds. You can also make a small batch of whipped cream or scramble up some eggs ! The best part, it’s rechargeable! So when we have a sunny day, I’ll charge up the battery and it will be good for weeks.
Don’t have a microwave? This little guy is perfect for the quick heat up! Great for melting butter for brownies, coconut oil for chocolate chip cookies, reheating a bowl of soup, warming up some tea that got cold when you went to nurse your baby, or making a little late night hot chocolate. You’ll find yourself grabbing this more than you think.
I first got my thermometer when I got into water Kiefer. Now I use it when I’m making yogurt or need to check the temp of meat. It takes the guess work out of recipes that require exact cooking temperatures.
If you get nothing else in this list, this is the knife you need. 9 times out of 10, this is my go-to knife. This is technically a utility knife and we have different variations of this knife in our camping bins and fishing tackle box. But this little guy has been my go to kitchen knife for almost 5 years. I use this knife to slice a everything that doesn’t require chopping such as tomato, cheese, avocado, English muffins, lemon, steak, hard boiled eggs and so many other foods. Also great for cutting into brownies, pies, or cakes. But don’t stop there, you can open packages with it, whittle something by the campfire, trim meat, or cut off some bark for kindling. This blade is truly indestructible. I sharpen it regularly and time and time again this knife always impresses me.
I never knew how much of a difference sharpening your knives made until I met my husband and he would sharpen my knives for me. Then He found me this little gadget and now I use it all the time. Especially when I need to cut something with precision such as trimming meat, cutting a tomato, or cutting steak. This is super simple to use and takes a couple seconds to sharpen your knives.
Having a kitchen scale makes every baking recipe a one bowl recipe such as chocolate chip cookies or bread baking. I tend to buy my two most commonly used oils in bulk: butter and coconut oil. So when a recipe calls for “5 tablespoons of butter”, I’ll just google “how many grams is 5 tablespoons of butter” then I put the bowl on the scale, zero it out, then add the appropriate amount of butter. I find a kitchen scale to be super useful in the most unexpected times.
This is probably the cheapest item on this list because you can find them at the dollar store and the bench scraper is so helpful in the kitchen. Perfect for transferring pie dough to the pan, cutting dough, transferring your chopped veggies to the pot, transferring sugar cookies to the cookie tray or even just cleaning off the flour or dough from your kitchen counter tops. A bench scraper is a simple and affordable tool that makes your life a little easier in the kitchen.
Not a need but super helpful if your getting into fermentation. I use them all the time to make fermented garlic, sauerkraut, and salsa. Took me a while to finally pick some up and I’m very glad I did.
If your stove needs to be lit every time you use it, this is your lighter ! I’ve had mine for almost three years. It’s rechargeable and when your only lighting the stove real quick the battery will last a while. However the downfall is if you go to light a candle, the battery will last one or two uses. I’ve tried all the other different lighters and matches out there and the convenience of this lighter, makes it my favorite. It hangs on the wall right next to my stove. Also only takes about 30 minutes to recharge.
Time and time again I find myself grabbing funnels. Whether I’m filling up a mason jar with granola or sauerkraut, refilling spice jars, pouring Kiefer into bottles, I use my funnels all the time. I like to buy in bulk and funnels help me refill my jars of ingredients when I get home from the store. I grab a funnel at least once a day for the most random job. Helps maintain the mess that’s inevitable in any busy kitchen.
I randomly picked one up from the thrift store a few years ago and it’s now been an item I use on a regular basis. Everyday, I make some sort of herbed beverage or squeeze a lemon to add to a dressing or make lemonade. So I’ll toss everything into a mason jar, let it steep, then put this strainer over my mug to catch all the loose leaf herbs or lemon seeds. I’ll also hover this over a mixing bowl to squeeze a lemon straight into a recipe that calls for lemon to help catch the seeds. Then I’ll transfer the catchings straight into my compost pile, chicken scrap bowl, or into the trash.
Something you didn’t know you’d use until you got them. First got as a gift, and now will forever own chopsticks. I use them all the time. 99% of the time I use it not as actual chopsticks but is super helpful to have when you order Chinese food. Some applications i use chopsticks in are to stir my coffee, mix up soup that’s cooking in my little hand pot, stir fermented garlic, mix my sourdough starter in a mason jar, sometimes even a cake tester, and so much more. Because they are made of wood it’s super easy to stir hot things with and your finger won’t burn like it would on a long metal spoon.
I hope this list helps you find some new kitchen gadgets that makes your life a little easier.
This post contains affiliate links which means I make a small commission at no additional cost to you.