These days, there are smart garage door openers, smart locks and deadbolts, connected lightbulbs, learning thermostats, self-aware security systems, and so many more smart home devices. It seems like just about every room in the house is getting an upgrade except for one. What room are we talking about? The kitchen, of course!
Sure, smart appliances are finally making their rounds, but what about all the other cool gadgets that could be upgraded with some state of the art technology to make our lives easier? We’re going to take a look at a handful of them in the pages ahead. Read on and you may just find something that will make your evenings in the kitchen a little easier, whether you’re a pro at cooking a meal or are just trying to avoid burning the house down.
1. Countertop by Orange Chef
Countertops are used for many things, the most important of which are tasks like preparing ingredients and assembling meals for yourself, your friends, and your family. A smart countertop, like the Countertop by Orange Chef, initially doesn’t sound like a necessity. But you may change your mind when your learn about the impressive “smart” technology built in.
This smart kitchen system is designed to synchronize with a variety of devices – including fitness trackers like Jawbone’s UP – to help you monitor your diet. It also learns what kind of food you love to eat, and can offer you recommendations and suggestions for new meals to try. As you prepare your food on Countertop, the device records what ingredients you’re adding. Afterward, it lets you know how healthy the meals you’re eating really are, and helps you to accurately determine your caloric intake. The more it learns, the better are the suggestions that it can make in the future. The idea is that as you continue to use the device for meal preparation, you’ll train it and personalize the experience as much as possible.
2. Pantelligent frying pan
Pantelligent is a connected frying pan that helps you cook better food. Paired with the companion app for iOS or Android, the pan gives you step-by-step instructions and real-time temperature feedback. How does that work? The pan is equipped with a temperature sensor, which enables the app to monitor the temperature. That way, you’ll know when to flip your salmon or your steak, when to stir or to add ingredients, and even when to adjust the temperature of your stove. The pan will also tell you when your food is done, so that you won’t risk serving over- or undercooked food to your family.
The pan works with either electric or gas stoves, and there are even some optional accessories that enable the pan to control the heat automatically, without intervention from you. (Talk about a great way to make cooking easier!) Either way, your food will taste better when you control the temperature and cooking time according to the app’s guidance — especially since it can account for your preferences and adjust a recipe for the food you’re actually cooking with.
3. Cinder electric grill
A connected frying pan might sound like a good idea for lots of the meals you cook at home, but what if you’re really dedicated to finding the perfect way to cook a steak? Then you need the Cinder electric grill, which uses sensors and algorithms to cook your meat exactly the way you like it. Using the companion app, you choose the cut of the meat and specify how you’d like it done. Then, Cinder heats its cooking plates to the temperature that you want your steak, and subsequently warms the entire steak to that exact temperature.
The great thing about Cinder’s approach is that it prevents a problem you’re probably all too familiar with if you’ve tried to cook the perfect steak before: typically, the outside of the steak gets too hot before the center is done. In fact, it’s easy to exceed 140°F, the temperature at which protein fibers tense and push out moisture. Cinder keeps the entire steak below that temperature to retain more of the natural moisture and flavor. Cinder is currently available for preorder, and is expected to begin shipping in February 2017.
4. LivBlends smoothie maker
Love making smoothies but hate dealing with the extensive cleanup afterwards? Then you’ll love the LivBlends smoothie maker, which is a smart, self-cleaning device. It claims to be able to whip up a delicious smoothie in about 30 seconds, and requires absolutely no cleanup after. Which makes a smoothie a viable option even for breakfasts in the busiest households.
According to the manufacturer, you can use all of your favorite “healthy, fresh, and raw” ingredients in your smoothies, including the veggies and fruits of your choice. The thing is you don’t put your own ingredients in the machine. Like Keurig machines, you use LivBlends-branded pods to make your smoothies in one-serving increments. Pre-orders for the device aren’t available just yet, but you can submit your email address to receive updates when the LivBlends machine is ready for purchase.
Maybe smoothies aren’t your thing, but juices are. Then you might want to consider Juicero, a high-end juicer that enables you to make organic, cold-pressed juices at home, without all the chopping or cleanup. The secret? Juicero uses packs of organic produce, without water, additives, or preservatives. Using Juicero’s app, you can select your pack flavors and schedule a weekly delivery. Juicero does all the hard work, like sourcing organic produce, washing and chopping it, and then sealing it into packs to maximize freshness. You can even use the QR code on the pack to find out which farms your juice came from.
To actually make the juice, all you need to do is to hang a pack in the Juicero Press, close the door, and hit a button. Within minutes, the produce is pressed into a glass of delicious organic juice. The Juicero app (for iOS or Android) tracks every pressed pack so that you know when it’s time to restock, or which flavors you and your family are reaching for the most often. It’s a pricy system, but can be well worth it if you’re already a juice fanatic. So far, Juicero is shipping just in California, Arizona, and Nevada, but you can sign up to be notified when it’s coming to your state, too.
6. Behmor Brewer
Another beverage that’s key in many kitchens? That morning cup of coffee. The Behmor Brewer is a connected coffee system that you can control from your smartphone. It’s perfect for coffee addicts who are particular about their early-morning caffeine fix, since it enables you to control the temperature within 1°F. And, to get you the same results as the pour-over brew at your favorite coffee shop, this connected coffee maker features a programmable pre-soak that releases a small amount of water to pre-infuse your coffee grounds. That gives you even bloom and water-flow, plus a sweet flavor.
All of the controls are accessible from your phone. That means that not only that you can get your morning cup of coffee started before you’ve even gotten out of bed, but you can access recipes, roast profiles, and notes right from your phone. You can even create your own brewing profiles, complete with your ideal brewing temperature and pre-soak time, in addition to selecting options from the app’s library. Even better? The coffee maker brews up to eight perfect cups of coffee, so that you can share with your family or roommates.
7. Lynx SmartGrill
This next device needs no introduction, because it’s relatively straightforward. The Lynx SmartGrill is exactly what you think it is: a gas-based, infrared grill that can be controlled entirely from your smartphone. You can also control it through voice commands, if that’s your thing. The best feature of the grill is that it automatically cooks your food according to your personal specifications and preferences. It learns over time how you like your meat – or meals – cooked, and handles the whole thing for you. Obviously, you have to prepare the food, start up the grill, and leave the food on the burner, but the rest is all up to the device.
The SmartGrill taps into an online database to determine the optimal cooking times and temperatures for whatever food you place on the burner. It also tells you exactly where on the grill to place the food in question for optimal cooking. Through the connected app, it will send you alerts and notifications as the food cooks and let you know when it’s all done. It’s compatible with both iOS and Android phones, which means that pretty much everyone should be able to take advantage of the “smart” features it offers. You can sign up for updates on when the SmartGrill will be available for purchase.
8. Joule sous vide tool
Whether you’re cooking up a storm at Thanksgiving or preparing a modest dinner for you and your partner, sous vide is a cooking technique you need to know. Sous vide involves cooking food in precisely controlled, low-temperature water. The Joule sous vide tool makes the process easier and more precise than ever before — not least because its companion app can coach you step-by-step.
You just put Joule in a pot with some water, and use the app to preheat Joule to the right temperature. Then, you’ll put your food (along with some seasoning) in a plastic bag, and cook it in the water. Right before you’re ready to serve your meal, you can finish the food with a quick sear. The tool automatically detects the temperature of the water, and the app enables you to choose exactly how well-done you want your meat. It will also send you notifications so that you know when the water is hot and when your food is done.
9. CHiP cookie oven
Sometimes you crave a cookie, but find yourself wondering whether that one cookie is worth all the mess of baking an entire batch. (Mixing bowls, measuring cups, baking sheets, and more.) Baking a few cookies is much easier with the CHiP cookie oven, which is Wi-Fi-enabled and smart.
You can make perfectly-baked cookies with minimal preparation and cleanup. You just scan and drop a dough pod into CHiP, press start, and then look forward to freshly-baked cookies in 10 minutes or less. The system uses four convection fans to blow hot air through specially-designed air channels and deliver perfect cookies. The pods are offered in a wide range of flavors, including vegan and gluten-free options.