The holidays are a time for celebration with family and friends, and for many of us, that means countless hours spent in the kitchen preparing a proper holiday feast. Whether that fills you with excitement or dread (or, like me, a little bit of both), you're going to want to be sure that your kitchen is up to the challenge.
Your first step might be to check out the bounty of helpful cooking apps for bothand devices, but if you want to push things further, consider upgrading your gear, too. We've come across plenty of handy gadgets and appliances that'll add some extra firepower to your culinary arsenal -- here are six of our favorites, just in time for the holidays.
Bonavita BV 1900TS
Whether you're serving your guests, or just getting yourself kick-started before a day of manic panic in the kitchen, you'll want to be sure and have a good pot of coffee on hand for a family celebration. Our pick is the, winner of our Editors' Choice Award. At $190, it doesn't come cheap, but it does offer exceptional brew quality that's right on par with extreme high-end coffee makers like the , which costs even more.
Cuisinart CSO-300 Steam + Convection Oven
Toaster ovens might not seem like bastions of kitchen tech, but if you shop around, you'll find a few models that beg to differ. One that I'm particularly fond of is the, which adds steam-cooking versatility to an already solid countertop convection oven by way of a nifty water reservoir. Want to steam up an oyster appetizer for your guests, or whip up a quick rice pilaf side dish? This cooker can handle all of it. Plus, those steam settings will reheat holiday leftovers like a champ.
iDevices Kitchen Thermometer
There's nothing worse than an overcooked bird at the center of a holiday feast, but do you really want to spend hours hovering in the kitchen to get it right? With the, you won't have to. Simply pair the thing with your smartphone via the built-in Bluetooth, and you'll be able to monitor each of the two temperature probes remotely, or receive an alert once they've hit their target. That'll help you get out of the kitchen to spend more time with your loved ones. Don't feel like spending $80? Try the , which ditches one of the probes and the LED display, but retains the convenience factor -- and cuts the price in half.
Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System
Slow cookers can really come in handy for holiday cooking, but if you want a slow cooker that brings a little more to your kitchen counter, consider the. Aside from the usual low 'n' slow settings, you'll be able to flip over into stovetop mode and use the thing as an extra pot with burner built right in -- a terrific space saver for those times when the actual stovetop gets crowded. There's even a baking mode capable of giving you an extra oven cavity to work with. That's something you'll be thankful for as you work to juggle eight recipes at once.
Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven
There are all sorts of ways to cook, but for speeding things up and maximizing flavor, it's tough to beat the venerable pressure cooker. For an interesting spin on the method, consider the full-size turkey in less than 90 minutes. Don't believe me? Watch the video review to see the entire cook in a single time-lapse., which packs pressure-cooking functionality into a countertop toaster oven. Seal the vent on the top and clamp it shut, and you'll lock the hot air in, which increases the boiling point of water to help meats cook faster. In my tests I was able to cook a
Pure Imagination Perfect Bake
The holidays wouldn't be complete without baked goodies for dessert, and, for $70,system wants to help. With color-coded bowls and a handy scale, you can follow step-by-step instructions on your smartphone or tablet to help you nail that tricky carrot cake recipe. Best of all, the kid-friendly design is perfect for getting all of those nieces and nephews involved with a fun, holiday-centric activity.