Sometimes you need a little help in the kitchen, and more tools aren't always the best choice. Until now. We rounded up the coolest kitchen gadgets that will actually make cooking easier.
Smart Microwave Hood Combination. Whirlpool's appliance is a combination oven, oven hood, and microwave, with the addition of steam cooking and an internal sensor to automatically adjust cook times. Its true convection setting helps you cook moist cakes and juicy meats, and the popcorn setting adapts cooking time using a sound sensor to measures time between pops so you don't have to worry about unpopped kernels. A nonstick interior makes clean up a cinch. $569.
iGrill. No more babysitting the meat on the BBQ. This temperature probe connects to your Apple device via Bluetooth to monitor its inner temperature to exact perfection, sounding an alarm when it's done. You can also purchase an ambient temperature probe for a smoker. The company recently added a new product line of kitchen thermometers that allow you to track oven temperatures with your mobile device, too, with a more sleek indoor-ready design. $99.
Four-Door Refrigerator and LCD Digital Display with Apps. French doors, LED lighting, and a flex drawer with four different temperature settings are just the short version of the virtues of this stainless-steel beauty. The eight-inch Wi-Fi screen comes complete with a recipe app and the ability to stream photos from your phone. It is Energy Star-rated, too. $3,499.
Escoffier Cook's Companion. This download for iPhone and iPad, ranked among the top cooking apps for seasoned chefs by Wired magazine's Gadget Lab, includes a built-in timer (you can set an unlimited number of times simultaneously), measurement converters, ingredient explanations, an equipment database that shows usage tips for hundreds of utensils, plus a glossary of culinary terms. FREE.
Prep Pad. Calorie tracker apps are cool, but it's tough to break down odd-size portions (a palm-size piece of salmon) or measure unique items (that handful of butterscotch chips you ate at midnight). Prep Pad is a true-to-your-food smart kitchen scale that connects over Bluetooth to your iPad using an app called Countertop to show your food's nutritional balance based on weight, whether it's one ingredient or an entire meal. Place anything on Prep Pad and it'll ask what it is (using a 300,000-plus food database or by scanning a bar code). Next, Prep Pad breaks down that food based on calories, fat, protein, carbs, vitamins, and nutrients, making it handy for recipes or to compare with your nutritional goals. It can be used with a container and remembers your meals and favorite foods. $149.95.
Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo. A sleek-looking slow cooker is an anomaly itself, but this smartphone-controllable appliance by Belkin uses its customizable WeMo app to give users complete remote access. From anywhere, you can turn your slow cooker on and off or change temperature or time settings, so you never come home late from work to find dinner inedible. Receive reminders and adjust or calculate cook times and processes (with a manual control option) from any WeMo app for Apple or Android. $129.99.
Compact Sensor Pump. Say your hands are all gunky from mixing meatloaf. You don't want to contaminate the soap pump, but you've got to get those mitts clean before you chop up the salad. Huzzah for the SimpleHuman soap pump, which automatically senses your hand and squirts a smidge of soap in just 0.2 seconds, leaving no germs or smudges behind. Its sleek design complements any decor, too. $40.