The holiday season is the perfect time of year for getting cosy indoors – but it’s also a time for eating and drinking our bodyweight in delicious, homemade offerings. Whether you’re trying to stay healthy this festive period, or allowing yourself time to really indulge, these are the must-have small kitchen appliances that you need in your life.

Air Fryers

This is one gadget that it’s worth making room on your countertop for! Essentially, it does the job of an oven, but in a fraction of the time – and the job of a deep-fryer, with a fraction of the oil. Even better? It heats up in a matter of seconds – perfect for when you want to eat, like, right now! With a sleek stainless steel finish and 5-quart capacity, the Insignia is one of the best options out there , but if you’re looking for a smaller and less expensive option, try this 3-quart version, ideal for 2-4 people.

Pressure Cookers

Another appliance that you can’t live without, if you want to be able to cook in a hurry – yes, even longer-length types of food like meat – without compromising succulence. A pressure cooker uses steam to retain moisture while getting your food ready in a flash. Because of this, it’s also energy-efficient, which may be a factor for consideration, during a season when other energy costs are being cranked up. For batch cooking and families, try this Drew & Cole version – or, for smaller meals, try this 3-quart 6-in-1.

Slow cookers

One of the joys of slow cooking is that you can pretty much take your finger off the button and leave it to do its thing all day long – and be tantalized by the scent of those cooking smells infusing your house in the meantime. Although you can slow-cook in your oven, one of the great things about buying an appliance to do the job for you is that you can use it year-round without making your kitchen warm in the way that an oven might, Additionally, you can have dinner on the go all day without having to miss out on using your oven for other things. One of our favourites? This Cuisinart 7-quart option, which comes with a variety of functions.
slow cooker

Stand Mixer

Stand mixers take your baking efforts to the next level, so if you’re planning on using this domesticated holiday season to up the ante on cakes, cookies and pizzas, then it may be worth investing in one. They come with a range of attachments for different mixing purposes, such as dough hooks and whisks. If you’re not sure how much use you’ll get from one and just want to give it a shot, try a budget version like this one from Walmart – or, if you’re already a stand mixer convert, go all out with this sleek offering from KitchenAid.

Food processor

Sure, you, can do just about everything a food processor does by hand, but we’re willing to bet that you can’t do it as quickly, nor as well. Grating, chopping, dicing, slicing, mixing and kneading: no drama. A great bit of kit when you want to eat quickly, but well (and also fantastic for taking the pain of dicing onions out of your hands – or eyes as the case may be…) Looking for a budget version that won’t take up too much space? Try out this CRUX version – or turn to KitchenAid if you know that you definitely need one of these in your life.

Coffee Makers

There’s a very good reason why the saying “but first, coffee” has gained so much traction on social media over the past few years and that’s because, where’s there’s coffee, there’s life. Honestly, it’s hard enough waking up in the warmer, lighter months sometimes – so how on earth are we supposed to do it when it’s cold and dark, without the helping hand (or kick) of some caffeine? If you’re a hard-core caffeine fan, then go for a multi-function bit of kit like this one from De’Longhi – otherwise, go easy and functional with a pod-based one that won’t take up room on your counter.

Deep fryers

Okay, okay, we know that too much fat and oil in your diet isn’t ideal … and we know that it won’t be winter forever and that eventually, we’ll want to put the deep fryer in the cupboard and give all the heart eyes to our juicers and blenders (more on those later) but … if you can’t enjoy some excellent deep-fried food at home at the end of a trying year then when CAN you? We say: all things in moderation. And also: go for it. Choose one like this, with two food baskets so that you can knock more than one food group on the head in the same meal.

Blenders

Blenders are a boon in winter, allowing you to whizz up past-their-best vegetables into warming and nutritious soups – fantastic for cooking up future-use portions. In this way, not only are you not wasting food, but also ensuring a ready supply of wholesomeness on hand when you need it. As the warmer months approach, you’ll also love your blender for its ability to whizz up a smoothie – the perfect on-the-go breakfast option when you’re looking to pack in nutrients. Go for a decent capacity, so that you can batch cook now - and have daiquiri parties later.

Juicers

Vitamin C has rarely been as celebrated as it has been this year but, even in the absence of Covid-19, it’s a must-have in the battle against cold-weather ailments. Having a juicer at home not only ensures a readily available supply of fresh, delicious and health-boosting juices during the holiday season – it also means that you’ll be able to enjoy delicious drinks that pack a nutritional punch throughout the year. Nutribullet is one of the best you can get, but there are plenty of more low-key options to choose from if you want to keep things simple.