These 5 kitchen tools will save you loads of time

Great cooks know there’s one critical ingredient you absolutely MUST have to make a successful meal. Can you guess what it is?

No, not salt (good try). Not water. Heat? Well, not if you’re making sushi or salad.

The answer is time.  Run out of time and your meal is going to be compromised…or ruined completely. We’ve picked out some simple, inexpensive items that can save you a LOT of time in the kitchen.

1. Rapid egg cooker

Mornings can be a mess. You’re tired, the kids aren’t cooperating, and you have to feed them before getting them to school. Cooking a hot breakfast probably seems impossible.

But maybe not: A rapid egg cooker can help you serve hot, protein-packed breakfast faster than you’d think possible.

This little machine lets you boil eggs (typically 6 at a time) in under 12 minutes–definitely faster than boiling water in a pot. Plus, since you don’t have to watch the stove, you can do other things while your eggs cook. In fact, a rapid egg cooker is so convenient you’ll love it even when you’re not in a hurry.

2. Instant meat thermometer

When you’re cooking a roast, or a ham, or a Thanksgiving turkey, there’s a lot at stake. Overcook it and you have to serve a dry, leathery lump. Undercook it and people can get sick. Either way, dinner is ruined.

The only sure-fire way to be sure your meat is cooked properly is to use a meat thermometer. But skip the old-fashioned kind that you have to leave in the meat–they’re not always accurate.

Do yourself a favor and get a digital instant meat thermometer. They give you a reading in as little as 2 seconds. Not only does this save time, but if you’re cooking something big you can test the temperature in different spots to be sure the whole roast is cooked.

3. Salad spinner

Drying lettuce is a pain. Dabbing with towels is slow and tedious. And there always seems to be water left on the leaves–which means your dressing gets runny and watered down on the salad.

Fortunately, there’s a far better way to dry lettuce. A salad spinner uses centrifugal force to literally throw the water off the leaves. And it does it way faster (and better) than you can do it with towels.

“But using a towel is free!” you say, while a good salad spinner might set you back $20 or so. But let me ask you this: What’s your time worth? How many hours will you waste this year on drying lettuce, of all things? Busy cooks have been saving time and energy with salad spinners for decades–it’s high time you joined the club.

4. Electric can opener

Opening cans with a manual can opener can be a pain–literally.

A manual opener doesn’t always grab the can correctly, so you turn and nothing happens. Once you get it to work right, the the real chore begins: crank, crank, crank (add more cranks for bigger cans). Not only is it slow going, but it can leave you with aching fingers and wrists.

Stop doing it the hard way–pick up an electric can opener and let it do all the hard work for you. You’ll pop cans open in seconds, and your fingers and wrists will thank you.

5. Immersion Blender

If you do a lot of cooking, you probably love your stand-up blender. But you probably don’t love how long it takes to set up…or how long it takes to clean.

For quicker blending jobs (and a lot faster cleanup) consider a good immersion blender–you’ll be amazed at how much time you save compared to using your traditional blender.

But saving time isn’t the only reason to use an immersion blender. It’s hand held, so you have better control and can blend much more evenly (imagine: mashed potatoes with zero lumps!) Also, because it’s small and lightweight it’s very easy to store–it takes up a lot less room in your cabinet than your full-sized bender.