Cooking is both an art and a science, but getting assistance from the right kind of gadget makes the whole process effortless and fun. With a sturdy vegetable chopper and a reliable food processor, there’s no need to master delicate knife skills—the tools will do the work in less than half the time it would take you to julienne all those carrots. Whether you cook from home every day or identify as a more casual cook, here are nine culinary tools to help you excel in your vegan kitchen.
1. High-quality blender
Vegans make more than smoothies with a blender, so it’s essential to purchase one with a lot of horsepower. Blendtec and Vitamix are the leading brands, and while they aren’t cheap, they are built to last—and they will save you from frustrating burnouts with other blenders as you try to pulverize cashews for a vegan cheesecake. Once you realize the potential of a high-powered blender, you’ll use it every day to make soups, sauces, vegan cheeses, desserts, and even smoothies, too.
Use it to make: Cherry Swirl Cheesecake by Rachel Carr
Tired of spending $7+ for your daily juice? Make your own. You’ll want a juicer that is easy to clean and does not clog up on hard fibers. To find your perfect fit—and for juicing tips—check out our Ultimate Guide To Juicing.
Use it to make: 8 Easy Juicing Recipes to Get You Started by Wholefully
If chopping, dicing, julienning, and slicing sounds like a chore, a decent chopper will significantly cut down your laborious tasks in the kitchen. This tool can also reduce the risk of cutting yourself if your knife skills aren’t up to speed. Check out this comprehensive chopper review to find the one that best fits your needs.
Use it to make: Vegan Sweet Potato Chili by Carol Hee Barnett
4. Food processor
In addition to a blender, you’ll find it helpful to have a food processor for tasks such as grinding and chopping. While we wish one device could do it all, a blender is just too powerful for applications such as making salsa, preparing pie crusts, grinding nuts, puréeing pesto, or finely chopping vegetables. Unlike the blender, you don’t need to pony up for the Ferrari equivalent of a food processor. A mini-sized version works just fine for most single or two-person households—unless you’re into batch cooking, in which case it’s time to go big.
Use it to make: Detox Salad by Oh She Glows
5. Pressure cooker (aka Instant Pot)
Even if you’re working from home, few have the time or patience to dedicate to slow-cooking lentils, beans, stews, or grains. This tool makes homecooking virtually foolproof—just dump ingredients in, set the timer, and in about 20 minutes something magical happens and dinner is ready.
Use it to make: 7 Instant Pot Recipes You Need to Make This Instant by Hope Nelson
This classic gadget is for more than just vegetables—it opens up your world to wontons, dumplings, tamales, and more. Traditional bamboo steamer baskets are the Swiss Army knife of steamers, but electric ones work well if you’re sticking with veggies. Pro tip: if you’re not steaming kabocha squash or eggplant, you need to give it a try. While oven-roasting can often be hit-or-miss with these veggies, steaming makes them perfectly tender every time.
Use it to make: How to Make the Best Vegan Tamales by Sweet Simple Vegan
7. Cast iron skillet
Don’t be intimidated—this hefty pan that could double as a weapon will soon become your most treasured kitchen appliance. You’ll use it for everything from pan pizza to pancakes. Like the blender, when you take care of this tool, it will last a lifetime, so it’s worth an investment. Look for a heavy, pre-seasoned pan with two handles so you can safely pick up the skillet—these things are heavy.
Use it to make: Hash Brown-Crusted Vegan Frittata by Jackie Sobon
8. Air fryer
You may be skeptical of this seemingly superfluous kitchen technology. Use it once, and you’ll understand why it’s worthy of your precious counter space. Not only can you cook a wide variety of foods with an air fryer, you can dramatically cut down the cook time. While sweet potato wedges take upwards of 45 minutes in the oven, an air fryer can crisp them up in 20. It’s also an essential tool for the oil-averse because your food won’t come out dry if you skip it. This machine can transform tofu, flash-fry potatoes, and even bake desserts (hello, chocolate cake and churros).
Use it to make: 7 Vegan Air Fryer Recipes by Tanya Flink
9. Sharp chef’s knife
A sharp knife is a safe knife. It may sound like an oxymoron, but a sharp knife makes for a clean cut and less slippage. A solid, six-inch chef’s knife is invaluable in the kitchen. If you cook every day, you’ll use it every day. Keep it sharp and stored in a safe place. Pro tip: always handwash your knives. The dishwasher will make them dull, and, consequently, a kitchen hazard.
Use it to make: Vegan Chimichurri Sweet Potato Bowl by Gena Hamshaw
Ligia Lugo runs The Daring Kitchen blog and loves experiencing new cultures through foods and travels.