Shortcut Gadgets for the Time-Strapped Chef

Creating the perfect meal for friends and family can be stressful. But with the right kitchen gadgets and a shortcut or two, you can make the experience a lot easier for the chefs in your life.

Ouddy 16-Inch Magnetic Knife Holder

Ouddy 16-Inch Magnetic Knife Holder photo

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It's so much easier to grab a knife off the wall than it is to dig it out of a drawer or draw it out of a knife block. This magnetic knife holder hangs on your wall and features a powerful magnet to hold all your cutlery. Made from top-quality stainless steel, the knife bar is a sleek addition to the kitchen and performs reliably. It's the ultimate in efficiency, and it keeps your countertop and drawers decluttered. The magnetic knife holder is also safe; all your sharps are in one place far away from curious, or clumsy, fingers.

Price: $35.99

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KitchenAid Shears with Soft-Grip Handles

KitchenAid Shears with Soft-Grip Handles photo

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You can do a lot with a sharp pair of kitchen shears; it's not all cutting off asparagus stalks and opening pesky packaging. But where these ramped-up scissors will really save you time is breaking down poultry—think taking down a whole chicken in under a minute—so put away your classical training and your boning knife. These shears also do everything else you would expect, from cutting the seeds out of peppers to chopping off the ends of snap peas. We like this pair in particular because they are easy to grip, stay sharp, and clean up well.

Price: $10.33

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Mueller Austria V-Pro 5 Blade Adjustable Mandoline Slicer

Mueller Austria V-Pro 5 Blade Adjustable Mandoline Slicer photo

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Warning: If you're not careful, this mandoline slicer cuts fingers as well as vegetables. But if you use caution and the included digit protector, this gadget can take the place of years of knife training. Five ultrasharp surgical-steel blades cut perfect French fries, slice beets and radishes as thin as you like, and cube any veggie your heart—or salad—desires. People go to culinary schools for years to learn how to cut like this.

Price: $59.99

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Cuisinart CSB-76W SmartStick Immersion Hand Blender

Cuisinart CSB-76W SmartStick Immersion Hand Blender photo

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Immersion blenders were all the rage a couple of years ago, and for good reason. The handy "stick" design lets you blend pretty much anything in a pot, bowl, or pitcher—and fast. So why the comeback? Affordability. This one costs around a hundred dollars. It's lightweight but powerful: The 200-watt motor drives the blade for fast, smooth blending, and the built-in splash guard keeps your apron clean. Great for quick soups and stews; absolutely necessary for hardcore bakers.

Price: $89.99

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ORBLUE Propresser Stainless-Steel Kitchen Garlic Press

ORBLUE Propresser Stainless-Steel Kitchen Garlic Press photo

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If you cook quite a bit on the stovetop, you go through a lot of garlic. Sure, your Italian grandmother taught you to slice each clove paper thin with a paring knife, but you've got Netflix to watch. Get a garlic press; there's no reason to feel guilty. And this is the garlic press to end all garlic presses. It's expensive-ish (unless you catch it on sale), but its size and durability make it worth the cash. Its extra-large chamber lets you crush multiple cloves at once, and it's precision engineered to get the best press with the least effort. Trust us. If Grandma had this back in the Old Country, she would have used it.

Price: $46.77

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OXO Good Grips Fish Turner

OXO Good Grips Fish Turner photo

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This one is a misnomer. Much more than a "fish turner," this OXO offering is probably the best spatula in the world. Stop spending time scraping your dinner out of the bottom of your skillet; this gadget will do it for you—easily and cleanly. It flips everything from omelets to hash browns, and it works particularly well with cast-iron skillets. And if you like to grill, this is a must-have tool. Flip burgers, steaks, and anything else made better by fire. Even fish. It's easy to handle, lightweight, and dishwasher-safe.

Price: $12.95

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Oster Cordless Electric Wine Bottle Opener

Oster Cordless Electric Wine Bottle Opener photo

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Don't forget the wine. Really. This Oster bottle opener doesn't have a cord, so it can sit anywhere on your counter…or your coffee table…or in your bed. We don't judge. With the ability to open around 30 bottles on a single charge, it's totally fine if you misplace the battery. This one also includes a foil cutter to easily remove those pesky seals that you usually have to go after with your teeth. Best of all, it's fast. And that's the most important thing when it's time to open a bottle.

Price: $19.99

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Smith's PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener

Smith's PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener photo

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It's great to sharpen dull knives without the hassle of a wet stone. Even worse are the big plug-in grinders that do the job but take up loads of space and rattle your windows with their ear-splitting sounds. Smith's PP1 looks like something hunters would keep in their vest pocket: It's small, rugged, and super-efficient. Like most sharpeners, it has two distinct slots—one with carbide blades for quickly setting your knife's edge, and another ceramic slot to give your knife a smooth finish. And if you want to do your cooking over an open fire, Smith's also makes ax sharpeners.

Price: $7.97

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O-Cedar Multi-Use Scrunge Scrub Sponge (Pack of 6)

O-Cedar Multi-Use Scrunge Scrub Sponge (Pack of 6) photo

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One of the first lessons you learn in culinary school is, "If you want to work fast, you've gotta work clean." You learn quickly to clean as you go. If you let the mess pile up, then you're in for a rude awakening at the end of the meal. And cleanup time counts as cooking time. These multi-use sponges feature the only patented, nonscratch scrubbing surface endorsed by Teflon, so go ahead and use them on your nonstick pans. What really sets these Scrunge Scrubs apart from other sponges is their shape—they have rippled surfaces that lift and break away grime.

Price: $9.99

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OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler

OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler photo

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Peeling potatoes is the worst. In fact, peeling anything is no fun at all, but it is necessary. To help you with these Herculean kitchen tasks, there's the Good Grips Swivel Peeler. Faster than a paring knife, this peeler has a comfortable rubber handle and two swiveling blades. And for all you meticulous cooks, there's also a built-in potato eye remover.

Price: $8.99

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