10 kitchen gadgets guaranteed to make your holidays less stressful

Kitchen appliances on countertop
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The holidays are here and the perfect time for family and friends to come together. If you’re hosting the annual dinner party, you’ll definitely need these 10 appliances for a hassle-free holiday.

We all know how stressful it can be when you’re slaving away in the kitchen to spatchcock a turkey or rushing around to prepare the perfect dinner setting. There just never seems to be enough time in the day to ensure everything is organized on time, to run smoothly for your guests. After all, the whole point of the holiday season is to relax and unwind, preferably with some mulled wine, crackers and Christmas movies. 

So, if you find yourself spending more time in the kitchen, and less time enjoying yourself, these top ten appliances will save you time and guarantee a hassle-free holiday.

1.  Air Fryer 

Air fryer on countertop

Air fryer on countertop (Image credit: Shutterstock)

The best air fryers are a must-have for those who want to quickly rustle up perfectly crisp foods using less oil.  Air fryers have gained popularity in many households for their convenience and ease of use. A main feature are the handy presets to cook a range of foods at the right temperature, so you’ll never have to clock-watch. From fries and vegetables to roasting a chicken, you’re bound to get the ideal crisp and texture each time. 

Out favorite air fryer overall is the Cosori Smart Wifi Air Fryer. In our tests, it consistently delivered crispy food, its digital controls were easy to use, and it was a cinch to clean.

What’s more, it’s far more healthier than using a deep fryer and easier to maintain, once you know how to clean an air fryer to keep it looking pristine. 

2.  Slow Cooker/Pressure Cooker 

Instant Pot on countertop

Instant Pot on countertop (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Slow cookers and pressure cookers are handy for creating tender meats and delicious stew dishes at the perfect temperature. In addition, once the timed process has finished, it automatically sets to ‘keep warm’ setting so you’ll never have to worry about warming up food for your guests. Multicookers such as the best Instant Pot include all of these functions in one, and offer so much more. Functions range from cooking rice, bake, steam and saute to making desserts and more, all at a touch of a button.

The Instant Pot Duo was rated our best Instant Pot overall for its consistent cooking performance, and wide range of features. In addition, it comes in multiple sizes and won't break the bank.

What’s more, you can set it to cook your favorite Instant Pot recipes, and leave it unattended while you get on with other festive tasks. You’ll even have time to relax and put your feet up to enjoy those Christmas movies.

3.  Toaster Ovens 

Toaster oven

Toaster oven (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you’re a fan of the toasted variety, the best toaster ovens can do so much more than your standard pop-up toaster. From rustling up frozen pizzas, bagels and tuna melts to roasting chicken, toaster ovens are incredibly versatile. It has a larger capacity, so you can easily cook a meal with great results. 

Our favorite is the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro. In our tests, it excelled in baking cookies to even roasting a juicy chicken. Its large capacity makes it versatile to cook just about any delicious dish. 

In addition, you’ll find many toaster ovens can act as second ovens so you can bake your festive cakes and treats in no time. 

4.  Stand Mixer 

Stand mixer

Stand mixer  (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you’re planning on a bake-off, you’ll need one of the best stand mixers for your cake treats. A powerful stand mixer can mix, whisk, knead and whip up a storm in no time, so you don’t have to put in the work. Plus, you can find mixers with different bowl capacities, speeds and features to easily mix up large cakes, smaller batches of brownies or cupcakes or even bread. Mixers such as the best KitchenAid stand mixers also come with a variety of attachments for tasks including a spiralizer, pasta cutter, meat grinder and more to save you time on those prepping chores. 

The KitchenAid Artisan 5-quart tilt-head stand mixer came top of our list for the best stand mixers. Its tilt-head makes it easier to add in your ingredients without fuss, and it has the power to quickly mix up your delicious cakes and bakes. 

5.  Bread Machine 

Bread machine

Bread machine (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you love the smell of freshly baked bread during the festive season, you’ll need one of the best bread machines. These handy machines will ensure you have an evenly mixed and browned loaf that offers tasty results to rival your bakery. What’s more, they are easy to use by simply adding your ingredients and setting your program at just a touch of a button. 

Our favorite bread machine is the Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus. In our tests, it made crusty loaves and impressed us with its sourdough setting. From gluten-free loaves and sourdough to sweet bread, you can find a great bread machine to bake your favorite best bread recipes to perfection. 

6.  Blender 

Blender with fruit inside

Blender with fruit inside (Image credit: Shutterstock)

To save time on food preparation, the best blender will do all the hard work for you. These can quickly blend your ingredients into a smooth consistency in a matter of seconds, without any food getting caught under the blades. Jug blenders are ideal for larger capacity, while the personal or handheld blenders are ideal for those smaller tasks. 

We rated the Vitamix Professional Series 750 Blender as the best overall blender. While pricey, it was powerful enough to create velvety soups turn chickpeas into hummus, and peanuts into butter. 

7.  Food processor

Food processor

Food processor (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Similar to the best blenders, the best food processors can chop, dice and slice consistently, saving you precious time. In addition, food processors are versatile as they can chop through just about anything including meat, dough and nuts. These convenient and handy appliances are ideal for those who don’t want to spend time chopping ingredients by hand. 

Our favorite is the Magimix Food Processor 14 Cup, which we rated as the best processor overall. Not only were we impressed with its performance, but its 14-cup capacity is ideal for larger food preparation jobs.

8.  Meat thermometer

Meat thermometer

Meat thermometer (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Once you’ve mastered how to season a turkey, and are ready to cook it to perfection, you’ll need one of the best meat thermometers to help. A meat thermometer will ensure your poultry and meat are cooked thoroughly at the correct temperature, leaving it succulent and tasty. 

These days, meat thermometers can do much more than just read the temperature. There are thermometers with multiple probes so you can check more than one dish at a time to smart-enabled thermometers that you can control from the touch of your smartphone. 

Our favorite is the ThermoWorks Thermapen One. We liked the handy features it offers, including a display that automatically rotates in four directions so the temperature is always face-up. It's also an ideal size and ergonomic shape for anybody to handle.

9.  Espresso machine 

Espresso machine

Espresso machine (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you want to impress your guests with barista-style coffee to rival your local coffee shop, you’ll need one of the best espresso machines. Not only will they do all the work for you at the press of a button, but they will be versatile and offer variety for coffee fans.  The best espresso machines combine all the benefits of the best coffee makers to provide top quality, and delicious coffee each time. Ranging from rich cremas to the milky variety of cappuccino and lattes, the best espresso machine will cater for every need. 

Our favorite is the Breville Bambino Plus for making consistently, good tasting espresso. It heats up in no time and it has an automatic milk frother if you prefer the milky variety. What’s more, it can make up to two cups at a time, and allow you to customize your preferences, which will save precious time for those after dinner coffee orders.

10.  Robot vacuum  

Robot vacuum on floor

Robot vacuum on floor (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Once the party is over, you're faced with the aftermath of food crumbs, wrapping paper and any other mess.  Cue the best robot vacuums to do the cleaning for you. They're powerful enough to tackle any surface and the smarter ones have handy apps which lets you control them from your sofa. In addition, robot vacuums come with all sorts of features including no-go zones, scheduling and a self-emptying charging base, so you’ll never have to lift a finger. 

We chose the Roborock S4 Max as our favorite robot vacuum. This came top of our list for its excellent pick-up performance, handy features and affordable price.

Robot vacuums do come in all shapes, sizes and costs but you can get one of the best cheap robot vacuums if you’re on a budget. Can’t get much better than that this holiday season!

Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!