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9 Products That Can Cut Your Cooking Time in Half

Want to cook your meals in less time? These must-have gadgets can work some serious magic in your kitchen.

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Different appliance side-by-sideNEW AFRICA/SHUTTERSTOCK

Cook more while spending less time in the kitchen

When it comes to food, there’s nothing better than home-cooked meals. But sometimes it takes just too long. That’s where these appliances and gadgets come in. No matter what level cook you are or what type of meal you’re making, these products can help shave minutes or even hours from prepping, cooking and cleaning up. The only thing they can’t do is make the line shorter at the grocery store. Once you’ve stocked up on these items, check out these other kitchen gadgets you’ll wish you had years ago.

Note: Prices listed were accurate as of press time; pricing fluctuations may occur. 

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Dash Air Fryer

Air fryers not only cook food faster—they can also reduce fat up to 80 percent because they use far less oil than traditional frying. So, what can you make faster and healthier with one of these genius gadgets? Everything from chicken fingers and pork chops to ravioli and kale chips. With a six-quart capacity that should be big enough to feed the entire family, this model from Dash ($100) includes a dishwasher-safe fry basket and tray, which can also save valuable minutes during clean-up time. Speaking of which, this is the right way to clean an air fryer.

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Black + Decker Electric Carving KnifeVIA AMAZON.COM

Black + Decker Electric Carving Knife

The best part of making a roast is eating it. Cut down on its carving time with this nine-inch electric carving knife ($18). It can slice everything from meat to bread as thin or thick as you like—in just seconds. When you’re done, just snap off the blades and clean them in the top rack of the dishwasher. By the way, this is the single best way to keep your knives sharp.

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Tovala Gen 2 Smart Steam OvenVIA AMAZON.COM

Tovala Gen 2 Smart Steam Oven

This smart convection oven ($296) that sits on your countertop might not be big, but it is certainly mighty. With five modes for toasting, steaming, baking, broiling and reheating, this smartphone-controlled appliance cooks almost everything—while you do the least amount of work possible. You can even scan the bar code of any frozen food from Trader Joe’s and the oven will cook it perfectly. Who needs directions when you can do that? You can also check on your meal’s progress as it cooks and receive a notification on your phone when it’s done. No more guessing, going back and forth to the kitchen or overcooking your meal. Here are other smart kitchen devices that are worth every penny.

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Aroma Housewares Digital Cool-Touch Rice Grain Cooker and Food SteamerVIA AMAZON.COM

Aroma Housewares Digital Cool-Touch Rice Grain Cooker and Food Steamer

Want to cook rice and steam vegetables at the same time? This multitasking appliance gets it all done—and in a fraction of the time. Holding up to eight cups of rice, the Aroma Housewares Grain Cooker and Steamer ($30) makes everything from vegetable soups to meals like jambalaya. But this just might be the best feature: The “Flash Rice” function can cut rice-cooking time by a whopping 50 percent. And since it has up to a 15-hour delay, you can come home to a meal that’s already been cooked. Ever wonder what the healthiest whole grain is between wild rice, brown rice and quinoa? We’ve got the answer!

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food processorvia

Cuisinart Food Processor

There’s no need for cutting and chopping when a food processor can do it for you. This Cuisinart food processor ($156) holds 14 cups, has a pulse mode, extra-large feed tube for chunky veggies and a strong 720-watt motor. With an S-shaped blade for chopping and mixing and a two-sided disc for quick slicing and shredding, it’s great for prepping almost anything you can throw at it.

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Hamilton Beach Oval Slow CookerVIA WAYFAIR.COM

Hamilton Beach Oval Slow Cooker

So, how can a slow cooker make the meal-prep process faster? It allows you to prepare your recipe in advance and not have to worry about checking on it. With an eight-quart capacity, this countertop appliance from Hamilton Beach ($47) features a ceramic inner pot to cook your food evenly. Slow cookers are particularly useful when making meats, stews, soups and casseroles—and you can save cash because they make less expensive cuts of meat taste juicy and delicious. Check out these unexpected recipes you can make in your slow cooker.

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Hamilton Beach Roasting OvenVIA AMAZON.COM

Hamilton Beach Roasting Oven

Roasting a turkey can take forever unless you have this Hamilton Beach electric roasting oven ($56) that lessens the time from half the day to just a few hours. You can also use this convenient little appliance to roast chicken and meats—or even to bake a cake! It can be particularly useful for those with smaller kitchens or for anyone whose oven is on the fritz. This 22-quart model even has a basting lid, so you can make a juicy turkey the entire family will be thankful for, no matter what time of year it is. By the way, if you’re planning a big family meal, this is exactly how much food to make per person.

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Dash Rapid 6-Egg CookerVIA WAYFAIR.COM

Dash Rapid 6-Egg Cooker

Eggs are a great way to get protein into your diet, but depending on how you’re preparing them, they can take a while to make. But they don’t have to. Dash’s Rapid 6-Egg Cooker ($20) can make up to half a dozen soft, medium or hard-boiled eggs in less than 12 minutes. You can even poach eggs in its removable non-stick, BPA-free tray. This useful little appliance does all the hard work for you, and it even has a bell that rings once the eggs are cooked. But before you put your eggs in this basket, here’s how to tell if they’re fresh.

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Saki Automatic Pot StirrerVIA AMAZON.COM

Saki Automatic Pot Stirrer

It is tedious to stand over a warm saucepan for half an hour and constantly stir it. But you have to do it—and be vigilant about it—unless you want to end up with burned, baked-on sauce on the bottom of that pan. Then you need to put in the extra time and elbow grease to clean it. That’s why this dual-armed Saki Automatic Pot Stirrer ($70) is so helpful: It literally does the work for you. With a rechargeable battery that lasts up to four hours, it can be adjusted to fit securely on any pot or pan. Choose from two speeds for perfectly smooth soups, sauces and even sweets like caramel. Next, learn how to avoid these common cooking mistakes—and how to fix them.

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Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest

Amanda Lauren
A self-proclaimed "Jackie of All Trades. Marilyn of None," Amanda Lauren does everything including writing about anything lifestyle related for a number of websites as well as her blog, It's Amanda Lauren. Anything but lazy, she also has a podcast called Things We're Too Lazy To Blog About. When she isn't in front of her MacBook, she can be found on stage doing standup and sketch comedy or hosting red carpet events. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two dogs, Lulu and Milo.