23 Mini Kitchen Tools That Are As Useful As They Are Adorable
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23 Mini Kitchen Tools That Are As Useful As They Are Adorable

Apr 13, 2023

By Alaina Chou

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Despite being an above-average-height fully grown adult, I have a deep affinity for anything and everything mini. When I visit my parents, they know to set a small salad fork at my place at the dinner table; I love to eat snacks out of tiny ceramic bowls and sip coffee out of tiny mugs; and yes, I did go through a phase of obsessing over baking and decorating perfect mini layer cakes.

Whether or not you share my love for tiny things, it turns out that the miniature versions of some of your most-used cooking tools are good for things beyond just looking cute—in fact, there are some jobs for which they truly are the best tools. Only a mini spatula can scrape that last bit of tahini from the bottom of the jar. A mini measuring cup can take the place of both your measuring spoons and your cocktail jiggers. And have you ever dragged your bulky full-size food processor out of the cupboard to blitz together a small batch of pesto or nut butter, only to find that the quantity of ingredients is too small to be effectively chopped by the blade? It's time to invest in a mini food processor.

Read on for more about our favorite cute-but-practical mini cooking tools, including handheld whisks and offset spatulas. Plus: find pint-size versions of the appliances you know and love.

I use my mini silicone spatulas (yes, I have multiple) more than maybe any other kitchen tool. I prefer them over spoons for mixing small amounts of tzatziki or half batches of pancake batter, but their use cases don't end there: Mini spatulas are essential for scraping the dregs out of that jar of peanut butter, portioning spreads and sauces into ramekins, or smoothing the tops of your cupcakes and muffins.

Whether you’re making a single-serve mug cake, simmering a pot of hot cocoa for one, or emulsifying oil and acid for a salad dressing, a mini whisk can and should be your best friend. Buy one on its own, or opt for one that's part of a set along with the aforementioned spatulas. The set below from GIR is patterned like confetti cake batter (is it marketed for children? Yes. Did I buy it for myself anyway? Also yes).​

Like their larger counterparts, mini offset spatulas are great for two main things: spreading things out and moving food from one place to another. Use them to spread cake batter into an even layer in even the smallest of baking tins, or to achieve that perfect swoosh of frosting on your next cupcake. Coax delicate, thinly rolled pastry dough off your countertop, or lift fragile just-baked cookies from sheet pan to cooling rack.

Invest $7 in a mini measuring cup and you can kiss your cocktail jiggers goodbye—you’ll never need them again. This version from Oxo is essentially a tiny (4-ounce) version of our favorite liquid measuring cup, and it's perfect for doling out vinegar and oil for marinades and dressings, as well as amaro for that pre-dinner drink.

In our most recent round of air fryer testing, we put mini air fryers head-to-head to figure out which was the best pick for those who are looking to hop on the air fryer bandwagon without sacrificing precious counter or storage space. The compact model from Cosori came out on top—consider it your ticket to shatteringly crisp single servings of fries, juicy and browned skin-on chicken thighs, and golden slices of zucchini.

While I love the idea of making a huge batch of waffles for a crowd on a lazy Sunday morning, the reality is that I rarely have a crowd to feed, and I certainly don't have the space for a full-size four-square waffle maker like the All-Clad that won our product testing. Investing $13 in this easy-to-use mini waffle maker from Dash means I can make waffles on a whim, for me, myself, and I—what a luxury. If you lack space and people to feed, or you just really like the sound of eating piles of miniature breakfast foods, this is the gadget for you.

Even if you already have a standard-size food processor, a mini version deserves a spot in your kitchen appliance lineup. It’ll do a better job than the big guy of whizzing up one-can batches of hummus or small quantities of herbs for pesto, and its compact size means you can easily stash it away in a cupboard when it's not in use. Here at Epi we love this appliance so much that we ran a whole product test to find the best mini food processor on the market.

I love a set-it-and-forget-it-type recipe as much as the next person. But most of them—we’re talking pork shoulder, coq au vin—make enough to feed an army, and I live in a household of two. This mini slow cooker can do everything a full-size one can, but it allows you to scale down the recipe so that you’re not stuck eating the same thing all week.

Epi contributor Genevieve Yam loves to use tiny stainless-steel sauce (or mise) cups to help streamline her weeknight cooking process. While I appreciate a giant mixing bowl for making big batches of pancake batter or tossing salads for a crowd, owning a set of mini bowls means you can portion out ingredients like red pepper flakes, spices, oil, and herbs. Opt for metal cups like Genevieve, go for a set of mini glass prep bowls, or pick up an array of colorful ceramic pinch bowls—they’ll all have you cooking with pro-level efficiency in no time.

Peer over the counter at any coffee shop and you’ll probably see a couple stainless-steel milk frothing pitchers sitting beside the espresso machine. I’ll let you in on a little secret: You don't need to own a fancy espresso machine (or a coffee machine at all, really) to own a mini pitcher, and these tiny vessels are actually useful for far more than just frothing milk. Associate commerce director Emily Johnson likes to use hers for warming butter or maple syrup on the stove or making chile oil.

I recently became an official Mandoline Person after testing a handful of them for an update to our product review, and while I love my trusty Benriner slicer, I’ve got my sights set on this mini mandoline that's beloved by commerce writer Wilder Davies. It's so small, it could slip easily into any of the drawers in my tiny apartment kitchen. And it's versatile! It's got three attachments that all stow away nicely into a compact plastic container that doubles as a receptacle for your sliced radishes, shaved carrots, and grated cheese. It's a solo cook's dream.

A food stylist I once worked with swore by using a small salad spinner to wash and dry herbs—a genius tip, if you ask me. Gone are the days of trying to pat dry soggy bunches of parsley.

If you often cook for just yourself, you need a mini roasting dish. If you often host elaborate seated dinners for groups of four, six, eight…you also need mini roasting dishes. They’re the ideal vessels for single-serving casseroles and mac and cheese, and they make an elegant addition to a dinner party. Serve your guests their own individual crème brûlées in one of these things and you’ll be the talk of the town. Promise.