11 Kitchen Appliances to Have Dinner Ready in Under 20 Minutes
We've all been in this situation: You get home from work, you're exhausted, but you haven't planned or prepped anything for dinner. It's so easy to order out, but you're also tired of takeout and want to start making better eating choices, too. When feeling tired and uninspired, sometimes, all you need is a new kitchen appliance or gadget to make your life easier and get excited about cooking again!
With that in mind, we reviewed the top kitchen appliances on the market, and selected the ones that will help put dinner on the table in under 20 minutes.
Don't worry, we made sure these appliances are easy to use and make your life more convenient while you're prepping dinner. Eating healthy doesn't have to be complicated. Looking for more? We've got you covered with 9 Kitchen Tools Every Beginner Cook Needs.
Bri Bell, RD, a dietitian helping you simplify and save money in the kitchen at Frugal Minimalist Kitchen, let us know why she still uses the humble microwave.
"The microwave is a classic kitchen appliance that has helped us get dinner on the table in a hurry many nights! It makes quick work of steaming a side of veggies or reheating individually portioned frozen leftovers. Plus it's hands-free so you can just put the food in and focus your attention on cooking the rest of your meal," Bell says.
A quesadilla maker
You may not have seen this one coming, but a quesadilla maker can easily level-up dinner in less than 20 minutes. With a little cheese, beans, corn, and tomatoes, there is very little prep and you get a balanced meal in no time.
And if still unsure what to cook once your quesadilla maker arrives, we've made that easy for you too, with 13 Easy Quesadilla Recipes to Make Right Now.
The Instant Pot
"The Instant Pot is a must-have appliance for a quick and easy dinner! You can throw in uncooked ingredients such as chicken, rice, and vegetables, and have a meal ready in less than 20 minutes," reports Bethany Keith MS, RDN, LD, CNSC.
With seven different functions, you can make everything with an Instant Pot from soup to stew, steamed rice to braised beef. If you have an Instant Pot but feel like you could get to know it better, try one of these 30+ Healthy Instant Pot Recipes.
An electric food chopper
Does anyone really love chopping up their vegetables? Chopping and prepping can feel overwhelming—and sometimes be the number one reason we let our vegetables go back in the veggie drawer graveyard. Using an electric food chopper helps save you time and prevent food waste.
"Using a food chopper can greatly cut down on time spent in the kitchen! Dice an onion quickly to use in your favorite recipe. Slicers and choppers are kitchen essentials to save time," says Dietitian Amanda Lane, MS, RD, CDCES.
An immersion blender
Immersion blenders don't get enough credit. These powerhouse appliances offer plenty of versatile functions in the kitchen. Simple tasks like blending, frothing, and whisking are quickly accomplished with an immersion blender.
We especially love to use the immersion blender to blend soups and add a thicker, creamy texture. Immersion blenders work their magic best when used primarily to blend vegetable soups like the black bean soup, minestrone, or the blended butternut squash soup in this list of 25 Cozy Soup Recipes.
A Vitamix blender
The Vitamix blenders are notorious for their powerful engines. They make life easier by quickly prepping salad dressings, doughs and batters, or sauces. Vitamix has features that allow you to mince garlic, chop vegetables, or shred cheese. Cut down your prep time significantly with this all-in-one appliance.
An air fryer
Air fryers cut down on preheat time, and use hot air that circulates in a small space to quickly heat your food.
"An air fryer can cook your whole meal including the veggies, carbohydrate and protein all in one in as little as 15 minutes. It's a kitchen tool that is a big time saver to get a balanced meal on the table for the family and there's only one pot to clean up," explained Toby Smithson, RD, a diabetes expert for DiabetesEveryDay.com and author of Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition for Dummies.
Lara Clevenger MSH, RDN, CPT, also told us why she loves her air fryer. "I absolutely love using my air fryer for quick and easy dinners! Not only can you make quick recipes, but healthy recipes like this Air Fryer Chicken Breast as well," she says.
The crockpot is a tried and true appliance can't be forgotten. While your cook time may be longer using a crock pot, you will find that the prep time may be just a couple minutes.
Crockpot meals have deep flavor development due to roasting all day or night. A little prep on the front end goes a long way when dinner is ready the moment you walk in the door.
Outside of dinner time, we encourage using the crockpot for breakfast too, like in these overnight oat recipes. For something new, we are loving the Crock Pot Casserole Dish. The options seem endless in this 3.5-quart rectangular dish, but we imagine that a lasagna or chicken casserole would pair perfectly with this product.
The Instant Pot electric dutch oven
Instant Pot's latest addition to their line of products is a dutch oven. Traditionally, dutch ovens require supervision time while they hang out in the oven for hours. Instant Pot Dutch Oven allows you to braise, saute, or slow cook.
Cook your meal whenever you have the time, and then keep it on the "warming" setting until you're ready to eat! An added bonus is that this product is also dishwasher safe, too.
An indoor grill
"An indoor grill with a reversible flat cooking surface is an easy way to cook your food quickly. I love it for fajitas and burritos with tofu, tempeh, and beans," Melissa Altman-Traub MS, RDN, LDN tells Eat This, Not That!
We've categorized them for you—check out the Best Indoor Grills So You Can BBQ Whenever. When choosing the right product, consider whether or not you want a griddle, a flat top, or both!
A panini press
It doesn't get easier than a sandwich for dinner. But if you want to feel fancy, elevate your sandwich for dinner by turning it into a panini. Choose one of these 14 Healthy Old-Fashioned Sandwich Recipes and finish it off with the panini press for a crisp, caramelized flavor.
We love the Yabano Gourmet Sandwich Press because you can fit four sandwiches on its frame. Even if you don't have a panini press at home, you can make a makeshift one by heating two heavy, cast iron pans, and pressing your sandwich in between them.