Food & Drink

Kitchen Tools You'll Probably Use Once and Never Again

Kitchen tools
Oren Aks/Thrillist

Some kitchen tools are essential: knives and pans, for instance. Some kitchen tools are the equivalent of that ugly sweater your least-favorite aunt gave you on your birthday: worthless. Thank heavens Goodwill exists.

But hey, Amazon binges and wedding registries happen. Just be sure to really, really consider whether you need these kitchen tools, or if you're just investing in a really expensive paper weight.

Microplane

While an actual tiny plane would be baller as hell to have flying around your kitchen entertaining you while your food simmers in a pan, the microplane -- which can be used to add zest to a dish -- isn't worth it. Microplanes can also double as graters for cheese, which is useful, but you should buy a standalone grater if you want freshly grated cheese. And because no one I know bakes lemon meringue pies, you probably won't need to add fresh lemon zest to any dishes you make either. Save your money and get a grater.

Electric milk frother

Oh, I'm sorry, do you run an illegal, underground coffee shop operating in your home? Then by all means buy yourself a handheld milk frother. Your neighbors will appreciate it! But if you think that while you're trying to get to work on time on a Monday morning, you're going to take more than five seconds to quickly froth some milk in your coffee-filled Hydro Flask, you're wrong.

Salad spinner

Yes, it's super fun to spin anything around and shout, "Wheeee!" But you don't need to spend money on drying your lettuce in a fun way. I recommend sitting on an office chair and spinning yourself around. More fun and infinitely cheaper.

Juicer

I know this one from experience. I bought one thinking about all the fresh juice I was going to make myself every morning. I was going to feel healthier, look better, and start running marathons the second I unpacked the damn thing. The next time I went to my doctor, he'd tell me my blood was made of 50% kale and 50% spinach. And then I cleaned the juicer for the first time, which was such a painful process, it stopped me from making juice ever again. Probably not going to run that marathon anytime soon. The fact is, people who use these really use these things. And they'll probably share with the 95% of us who can barely lift ours.

Garlic peeler

There's a free version of this instrument already available in your kitchen, and it's called "smacking the back of a knife on a clove of garlic." What a horrible name that is! You can also do it without a knife, if you're fancy. Or you watched that YouTube link.

Waffle maker

Research (I just made up) shows that Americans consume waffles exactly one time a year, and that's when they find a freezer-burned Eggo behind other freezer-burned food when there's nothing else to eat in the house. Besides, you're not putting in the effort to pour batter into a waffle maker when it's everyone's 18th-favorite breakfast food.

Pressure cooker

I had such high hopes for the pressure cooker! A couple years ago, I took a cooking class and learned how versatile the pressure cooker was: I could prepare any kind of grain and/or veggie in there. The problem is that it was a pain in the ass to use, and it didn't exactly speed up the cooking process. Finding the right temperature for your pressure cooker to simmer on is more of an art than a science, and there are plenty of ways to screw up. Once I figured out exactly how my pressure cooker worked, I never wanted to use it. You'll be lucky if you use yours more than once.

Hamburger press

You know those two things hanging off the ends of your arms that you use to text people? They're also fantastic at molding raw meat into a circular shape, and they're way more useful than anything you'll find in the "As Seen on TV" section of Walgreens. This tool will become forgotten at the bottom of a drawer once you remember how easy it is to mold something with those texting-appendages instead.

Apple slicer

There is no easier way to eat an apple than by putting it up to your mouth and taking a bite. And thus, after using this slicer once, you'll go back to eating apples the way people have been for thousands of years. Why let an extra step get in between you and an apple?

Pasta maker

You know that scene in Master of None where (SPOILER ALERT) Dev whips out a pasta maker and seemingly spends the next 40 minutes of a montage making beautiful-looking pasta? The show is fictional for a reason. This is a textbook one-and-done kitchen instrument. You'll make fantastic pasta one time, and then go back to making pasta in two minutes in boiling water from that point on.

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Lee Breslouer is a senior writer for Thrillist, and has a pressure cooker for sale. Follow him to broken dreams: @LeeBreslouer.