Cooking Gadgets You Really Don’t Need

Counter space is a precious commodity, so skip these unnecessary cooking gadgets.

By Reader's Digest Editors
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    Garlic Peeler

    Most experts agree, a garlic peeler is a waste of $5. The best way to remove the skin from garlic is to lightly smash it with the flat side of a knife, or cut the root off and peel from there.

    Culinary Heat Lamp

    Yes, professional kitchens use counter heaters to keep food hot, but you are not a professional chef in a professional kitchen. Do you really want to spend nearly $100 on one of these when you have a perfectly good oven to keep things toasty? We didn't think so.

    Avocado Slicers, et al.

    How lazy are you? Just follow the pit with a sharp knife and twist the two halves apart. Slice into the flesh but not through the skin and scoop out with a spoon. $10 saved! While you're at it skip strawberry slicers, egg slicers, bagel slicers, and any other slicer you can think of. You already have a more than adequate slicer in your kitchen. It's called a knife, and two or three good ones of varying sizes will cover all your needs.

    Asparagus Peeler

    This peeler is used to peel the tough ends of asparagus and snap off the woody part, but it is really only slightly different from a regular peeler, which can be used for all of your peeling needs. Instead spending time snapping all the ends off the asparagus, you can snap one and then cut the rest using the first as a guide.

    Strawberry Huller

    $8 will get you a little gadget that can take the middle out of your strawberry. So can a good paring knife, which also can do so much more. In a similar vein, while pineapple and apple corers can leave you with perfect little circles, a knife will get the job done.

    Electric Knife

    Chances are it never sees the light of day except on Thanksgiving. Skip it and just remember to sharpen your knives regularly.

    Pizza Shears

    At first glance this tool seems ingenious for cutting and removing a slice of pizza cleanly from a pie. But, there are many reasons they might not work, e.g., runny cheese, deep dish pizza, and more. Get a good pizza cutter that can also be used for cutting pie crust, brownies, and more. Any good-quality shears will more than pick up the slack. And if you're a New Yorker, cutting your pizza with scissors will result in your possibly being ridiculed for life, a la Donald Trump after eating pizza with a fork.

    Egg Separator

    These silly little gadgets run the gamut from simple to disgusting, like the Snot-a-Mug Separator (which would actually make a great gag gift.) You don't need them as the white and yolk are very easy to separate in super clean hands.

    Egg Cracker

    Grandma would not be happy with this pointless gadget. But do be sure to crack your egg on a flat surface instead of on the side of a bowl.

    Rabbit Ears Wine Opener

    We really think that it's time you learned how to open a bottle of wine with a cork screw. Plus, if the cork breaks you will most certainly need one on hand to avoid more damage. The Rabbit Ears just don't cut it. Skip all counter-mounted models as well.

    Quesadilla Maker

    While appealing in a "I-can-make-quesadillas-anytime-I-want" excitement, you will soon realize you want them far less than you thought. Plus the press oozes cheese out of the side and doesn't really work for filled quesadillas. A hot pan is all that is required here, and it works much better.

    Oil Sprayers and Dispensers

    Cooking sprays like Pam are blends of oils, alcohol, lecithin, and propellants, because oil is difficult to spray. Anyone who has tried these gadgets has seen them clog more times than not and get covered in greasy residue. A measuring spoon will do the trick.



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    Your Comments

    • Elsa

      I beg to differ on the egg separator… I sell home-made eggnog, and have to separate over 200 eggs… believe me, it´s a great help!!! besides, if you use the shell, the yolk may open and spill into the whites.

      • Farhasameer

        yes Elsa I do agree with you.For people especially in your business its a great help, but for all others, like me, who have to make an omelette or fry an egg or two, its a waste of time and money.

    • Belindarobertson

      I saw the egg cracker gadget in the store and thought some people have too much time and money on their hands.

      It would take more time to put in in the gadget than to crack the egg.

    • anonymous

      Electric knife? I’ll stick with my knife sharpener thank you. People are so lazy these days, or stupid, I’m not sure which!

    • Wilma Woodson

      I confess.  I have an egg separater. 

    • Fran

      Jennifer, I agree.  I use my electric knife quite a bit.  Its excellent for home made bread, roasts, all the things you mentioned. 

    • Frances L. Hawver

      I disagree with the garlic peeler. I use mine all the time. Keeps the garlic in 1 piece. I grate my garlic on a microplane, so it is easier to do so with a whole garlic clove. As for the others,with the exception of the electric knife, they are a waste of kitchen space.

      • Teresa

        I’ve never even heard of a garlic peeler. I use minced garlic in a jar because I DESPISE peeling garlic. I might have to go get one…even if it is considered “useless.” It would be worth the fresh garlic with no frustration.

    • Bethodges

      I disagree with the Rabbit Wine Opener.  I have one (not exactly the one shown) and it is handy. Has a foil cutter and then just squeeze, push down, pull up, and bam!

    • Patrick

      An egg cracker?  SERIOUSLY????

      • guest

        wouldn’t it take more time to use that than crack an egg? ha ha!!

    • go2themovies

      the coiled wire egg separator from Pampered Chef is the best.  It is icky to use your hands!

      • Teresa

        Use the shell. You don’t get anything on your hands, but you don’t spend money on a gadget. Just slide the egg back and forth between the 2 halves and it will separate itself.

    • Jennifer

      Disagree with the electric knife. Ours gets used on barbecue, used to filet fish, to slice homemade bread…