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5 small appliances that make food prep a snap

Get dinner on the table faster with these little helpers

Published: January 06, 2014 01:15 PM

When Consumer Reports surveyed 3,435 of its subscribers about their experiences cooking weeknight meals, almost half said they wished the task took less time. So the experts in our labs got to work testing kitchen equipment with time-saving features. They found products (Speed cookers) and strategies (Save time in the kitchen) to help make meal prep less laborious. And they discovered five top-rated small appliances that can be big time-savers.

Panasonic FlashXpress NB-G110P toaster oven, $150. The quartz and ceramic heating elements in the FlashXpress eliminate the 5-minute preheat time required with other toaster ovens. In our toaster oven tests, corn muffins and pizza came out very nicely.

Cuisinart Smart Stick CSB-75 immersion blender, $35. These stick blenders save time by letting you blend soups, sauces, and such right in the pot. In our blender tests, this model from Cuisinart combined solid performance with an outstanding price.

Vitamix Professional Series blender, $650. In our blender tests, this Vitamix whipped up superb smoothies, frozen drinks, and even hot soup, plus it’s short enough to slide under upper cabinets when it’s not in use, freeing up countertop work space.

Breville BFP800XL/A food processor, $400. Whiz through meal prep with the top food processor from our tests. Chopping, slicing, shredding, and grating were all superb, and the 16-cup container lets you process large batches.

DeLonghi Nescafé Dolce Gusto Genio EDG455T single-serve coffeemaker, $130. It was tops in our coffeemaker tests at brewing a single cup quickly and consistently. If you prefer a drip coffeemaker, choose a model that can be set to turn on by itself in the morning.   

—Daniel DiClerico

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