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13 Products That Will Cut Your Cooking Time in Half

Want to cook healthy meals in less time? These must-have gadgets can work some serious magic in your kitchen.

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Kitchen appliances on table against brick wall background. Interior element; Shutterstock ID 1106037485New Africa/Shutterstock

Cook more…while spending less time in the kitchen

When it comes to food, there’s nothing better than home-cooked meals. But who has the time to make them on the regular? Actually, we all do if we take a few smart shortcuts. That’s where these appliances and gadgets come in. No matter what level cook you are or what type of meal you’re making, these genius products can help shave minutes or even hours from prepping, cooking, and cleaning up. The only thing they can’t do is make the line shorter at the grocery store. Once you’ve stocked up on these items, check out these other kitchen gadgets you’ll wish you had years ago.

Note: Prices listed were accurate as of press time; pricing fluctuations may occur. 

air fryervia wayfair.com

Dash Air Fryer

$78.00

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Air fryers not only cook food faster—they can also reduce fat up to 80 percent because they use far less oil than traditional frying. So, what can you make faster and healthier with one of these genius gadgets? Everything from chicken fingers and pork chops to ravioli and kale chips. With a six-quart capacity that should be big enough to feed the entire family, this particular model from Dash includes a dishwasher-safe fry basket and tray, which can also save valuable minutes during clean-up time. Speaking of which, this is the right way to clean an air fryer.

carving knifevia amazon.com

Black + Decker Electric Carving Knife

$17.95

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The best part of making a turkey, chicken, or roast is eating it. So there’s nothing quite as frustrating as removing your dinner from the oven and then having to fuss with a large knife or, worse, having to stop everything to sharpen one. Even then, you still never feel like your meat is cut as thinly as you would like. This nine-inch electric carving knife can eradicate those kitchen concerns. It can slice everything from meat to bread as thin or thick as you like—in just seconds. When you’re done, just snap off the blades and clean them in the top rack of the dishwasher. By the way, this is the single best way to keep your knives sharp.

crock potvia kohls.com

Crock-Pot Express Multi-Cooker with Crisping Lid

$149.99

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You can use a Crock-Pot to cut prep time from nearly every single meal that your family eats, and this all-in-one appliance combines a pressure cooker, slow cooker, and air fryer all in one machine. A removable steaming rack and crisping lid are even included in this model. Just set it and forget it. Not sure what to make? Almost anything! You can use your Crock-Pot to whip up all kinds of soups, shredded chicken and pork (easy taco night, here you come), winter comfort favorites such as chili, and even an amazing lasagna.

toastervia amazon.com

Tovala Gen 2 Smart Steam Oven

$298.00

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This smart convection oven that sits on your countertop might not be big, but it is certainly mighty. With five modes for toasting, steaming, baking, broiling, and reheating, this smartphone-controlled appliance cooks almost everything—while you do the least amount of work possible. You can even scan the bar code of any frozen food from Trader Joe’s and the oven will cook it perfectly. Who needs directions when you can do that? You can also check on your meal’s progress as it cooks and receive a notification on your phone when it’s done. No more guessing, going back and forth to the kitchen, or overcooking your meal. Here are other smart home devices that are worth every penny.

rice cookervia amazon.com

Aroma Housewares Digital Cool-Touch Rice Grain Cooker and Food Steamer

$29.92

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Want to cook rice and steam meat, poultry, or vegetables at the same time? This multitasking appliance gets it all done—and in a fraction of the time. Holding up to eight cups of rice, the Aroma Housewares Grain Cooker and Steamer makes everything from vegetable soups to savory meals like jambalaya. But this just might be the best feature: The “Flash Rice” function can cut rice-cooking time by a whopping 50 percent. And since it has up to a 15-hour delay, you can come home to a meal that’s already been cooked.

The set also includes a non-stick inner pot, as well as a steamer tray, rice-measuring cup, and a plastic rice spatula. Ever wonder what the healthiest kind of whole grain is—wild rice, brown rice, or quinoa? We’ve got the answer!

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Black + Decker Easy Assembly Food Processor

$26.96

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Don’t waste your time cutting and chopping when a food processor can do it for you. Plus, no offense, but it will totally cut veggies in a smaller and more efficient way than you can with a knife. The Black + Decker Easy Assembly Food Processor holds up to eight cups and has two speeds and a pulse mode. With an S-shaped blade for chopping and mixing and a two-sided disc for quick slicing and shredding, it’s great for prepping veggies or even quickly shredding large blocks of cheese to top pasta dishes, meatballs, and fresh salads.

slow cookervia wayfair.com

Hamilton Beach Oval Slow Cooker

$39.99

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So, how can a slow cooker make the meal-prep process faster? It allows you to prepare your recipe in advance, leave, and not have to worry about being at home and constantly checking on it. With an eight-quart capacity, this countertop appliance from Hamilton Beach features a ceramic inner pot, which will assure that food cooks evenly. Slow cookers are particularly useful when making meats, stews, soups, and casseroles—and you can save cash because they make less expensive cuts of meat taste juicy and delicious. Check out these unexpected recipes you can make in your slow cooker.

pressure cookervia wayfair.com

PowerXL Electric Pressure Cooker

$74.99

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What’s the difference between a slow cooker and a pressure cooker? Well, with the former, you prep it, leave it, and let it cook for hours. With the other, the cooking process is on fast-forward so your meal can be ready in minutes. This comes in particularly handy when you’re running late in the morning (and didn’t have time to prep food for your slow cooker), then running late on your way home but still really want to make those short ribs or pork chops before they go bad. It can also be used for soups and stews, Asian dishes such as Moo Goo Gai Pan and Thai Peanut Chicken with Noodles, and so much more. The PowerXL, in particular, features a ceramic pot for even heating that can cook up to six quarts of food. With several programmable options, it also keeps food warm for any family members who are running even later than you were.

roasting ovenvia amazon.com

Hamilton Beach Roasting Oven

$57.42

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Roasting a turkey can take forever…unless you have this Beach electric roasting oven that lessens the time from eternity to just a few hours. You can also use this convenient little appliance to roast chicken and meats—or even to bake a cake! It can be particularly useful for those with smaller kitchens or for anyone whose oven is on the fritz. This 22-quart model even has a basting lid, so you can make a juicy turkey the entire family will be thankful for, no matter what time of year it is. By the way, if you’re planning a big family meal, this is exactly how much turkey to make per person.

juicervia amazon.com

Gourmia Large Citrus Juicer

$66.99

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Squeezing citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and grapefruits by hand is a thankless task. Between not being able to squeeze all of the juice out (what a waste!) and trying to spoon or strain out the seeds, it’s a time suck. It’s also a mess to clean up. That’s why a manual juicer, like this one from Gourmia, is a must to get the job done quickly and easily. Just slice the fruit in half, move the lever, and enjoy!

egg cookervia wayfair.com

Dash Rapid 6-Egg Cooker

$18.39

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Eggs are a great way to get protein into your diet, but depending on how you’re preparing them, they can take a while to make. But they don’t have to. Dash’s Rapid 6-Egg Cooker can make up to half a dozen soft, medium, or hard-boiled eggs in less than 12 minutes flat. You can even poach up to two eggs in its removable non-stick, BPA-free tray. No more filling up a heavy pot, lugging it to the stove, and waiting forever for the water to boil. This useful little appliance does all the hard work for you, and it even has a bell that rings once the eggs are cooked. But before you put your eggs in this basket, here’s how to tell if they’re fresh.

grill smokervia amazon.com

Traeger Pellet Grill and Smoker

$653.47

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There may be nothing better than making an amazing meal on the grill—except when you’re cooking for a large group of people and can’t fit everything on it in one go. That’s when you’ll really want this grill and smoker from Traeger. It has a jaw-dropping capacity of 572 square inches, which means there’s enough space for 24 hamburgers, four chickens, or five racks of ribs. Plus, because the temperature is adjusted digitally, you can put your food in, set it, and forget it. Translation: Instead of standing over a smoky grill for way too long, you can actually spend time with the family and friends you invited over.

This appliance can also smoke, bake, roast, and braise, in addition to barbecuing. And perhaps best of all: It’s fueled by natural hardwood pellets, so you don’t have to worry about buying charcoal or having a propane tank refilled. Looking for some new recipes? Try these delicious grill ideas for the best BBQ.

pot stirrervia amazon.com

Saki Automatic Pot Stirrer

$93.52

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It is beyond tedious to stand over a warm saucepan for half an hour and constantly stir it. But you have to do it—and be super vigilant about it—unless you want to end up with burned, baked-on sauce on the bottom of that pan. Then you need to put in the extra time and elbow grease to clean it. That’s why this dual-armed Saki Automatic Pot Stirrer is so helpful: It literally does the work for you. With a rechargeable battery that lasts up to four hours, it can be adjusted to fit securely on any pot or pan. Choose from two speeds for perfectly smooth soups, sauces, and even sweets like caramel. Next, learn how to avoid these common cooking mistakes that ruin your food.

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Amanda Lauren
A self-proclaimed "Jackie of All Trades. Marilyn of None," Amanda Lauren does everything including writing about anything lifestyle related for a number of websites as well as her blog, It's Amanda Lauren. Anything but lazy, she also has a podcast called Things We're Too Lazy To Blog About. When she isn't in front of her MacBook, she can be found on stage doing standup and sketch comedy or hosting red carpet events. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two dogs, Lulu and Milo.