Kitchen Items That Aren’t Worth the Hype

Useless Kitchen Items

Everyone that cooks knows there are a million different kitchen products and gadgets out there that are designed to make your life easier. While some of them do just that, many, many more do exactly the opposite.  A convincing ad tells you that this item will change your life, but in reality, it does little more than frustrate you once or twice until it just takes up space in your cabinets that could be used for something much better.

Before you fall for every cooking scam in the book, read on to see if what you’re thinking of buying is on this list. If it is, save yourself the trouble and skip it.

Silicone Measuring Cups

You may think those silicone measuring cups that flatten so easily for storage are a great find, but in reality, if you use them every day, you’ll be replacing them quickly and rather often. This is because the constant repeated motion of opening and closing them, as well as putting them in the dishwasher will wear down the silicone, causing it to crack. If you don’t measure flour and sugar often, they may be okay, but if you bake on a regular basis, do yourself a favor and buy a good set of dry metal measuring cups. You’ll have to find a place to store them, but they’ll last forever.

As Seen on TV Products

You’ve seen them. Products that promise magic all at a low price. It could be an appliance, like a rotisserie, or it could be that amazing pasta cooker. Whatever it is, it’s almost guaranteed that it won’t work as advertised. Watch the commercials. Do you really find yourself having the troubles these companies are complaining about? Probably not.

In addition to bad products, most of the time, customer service is pretty terrible as well, and shipping charges are through the roof. This is because they still want to make money even if you do happen to return the item (which, statistically, you won’t.) Do yourself a favor and skip anything you see on TV or products that have that AS SEEN ON TV logo.

Single Use Appliances and Tools

Unless you have an unlimited amount of kitchen storage space, single use items are a waste of both money and space.

Coring apples, slicing avocados, and hulling strawberries are all tasks that can be done just as well, if not better, with a good knife. Even worse are small appliances such as quesadilla makers, fondue pots, or anything else you find suddenly pops up at your favorite discount store around the holidays.

The only exception is a tool or appliance that is necessary to perform a specific job, such as a waffle iron. And even then, if you don’t make waffles a few times a month, it’s probably not worth storing it.

Remember, a good set of knives and quality cookware will get the job done in most cases.

Garlic Powder

This is the only food item on this list, but it deserves a mention because it’s just not good. Unless you are using it to season fries, it doesn’t compare to real garlic in terms of flavor.

Think those little jars of pre-chopped garlic are better? Not so much. Get used to the fact that if you want real garlic flavor, you’re going to have to get used to peeling and chopping real cloves.

Bread Machine

This is one of those appliances that home cooks everywhere swooned over when it first came out because, well, who doesn’t love fresh baked home bread?

In reality, baking bread isn’t as difficult as you might think, and you already have the most important tool in your kitchen to do it: Your oven. A bread machine takes up a lot of space on your counter, and doesn’t make a loaf that’s better than anything you can make on your own.

If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, you can put your ingredients in it and it will knead your dough for you. Then you let it rise on your counter and bake in your oven. No expensive appliances that take up too much space, and you still get perfectly baked bread.

Electric Can Opener

Unless you are opening cans all day, every day, an electric can opener is a waste of counter space, and a waste of electricity. You can buy a manual can opener for a few dollars at a kitchen supply store; it will last you years, is easy to clean, and you can store it in a drawer out of sight.


Everyone wants an easier way to chop vegetables like onions and peppers, and there are plenty of different types of choppers on the market, but nothing beats a good chef’s knife for chopping. Choppers are often expensive, don’t work on everything, and are usually difficult to clean. Learning how to use a knife properly is a much more effective way to chop your veggies.

An exception is a good quality mandolin slicer, which will slice vegetables paper thin for casseroles and au gratins.

Garlic Press

Chopping garlic is no fun. It’s time consuming, and leaves your hands smelling of garlic. A garlic press seems like the perfect solution, but in reality, the process of cleaning it makes it a pain.

Invest in a good quality chef’s knife and learn how to mince garlic yourself. It may take some getting used to, but soon you’ll be able to chop garlic exactly how you want it for your recipe. Before you know it, it won’t take but a few minutes, and your knife is much easier to clean.

Electric Kettle

If you have a stovetop, you don’t have the need for an electric kettle. It takes up space, and you’ve got to plug it in to use it. Unless you are making tea or boiling water in a space that doesn’t come equipped with an oven, get yourself an inexpensive tea kettle and keep it on your stove.

This also goes for electric items like skillets or woks. You already have a stovetop, why not invest in high quality cookware that you can use with it?

Expensive Microwave

If you’ve looked at microwave ovens at your local appliance store recently, you’ve probably noticed that most new models have dozens of different settings to cook different items. It’s no longer a matter of reheating pizza, there’s now a pizza setting, along with a setting for baked potatoes, popcorn, and hamburgers.

Unless you are actually going to do some cooking in your microwave, you don’t need to spend the money on these settings since food cooked in the microwave is rarely cooked well. Instead, use your microwave for reheating leftovers and don’t waste your money on settings and cooking levels you don’t need.


While some of these products seem like they are miracle workers when it comes to saving you time, the reality is that they are usually more trouble than they are worth.

Instead of buying useless gadgets and convenience products that don’t work, invest in high quality cookware, a good set of knives, and take the time to learn how to use them properly. You’ll be glad you did when you have plenty of cash in the bank and free space in your kitchen.

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