9 Essential Small Appliances for Tight Kitchen Spaces

Here are our favorites, including the Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus, which we love for its versatility.

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mini food processor
Photo: Amazon

If you've ever lived in a small apartment, you know that usable kitchen space can be hard to come by. With tiny countertops and only a few storage cabinets, you need to think small when adding helpful appliances to the mix. Fortunately, many top appliance brands offer miniature, streamlined appliances that can tackle all of your cooking jobs.

When deciding on a small appliance, first consider the amount of cabinet or counter space you have to spare. Ideally, choose an item that is versatile and that you'll use frequently. To find the best small appliances for a compact kitchen, we researched various products that you likely use every day. We considered each appliance for size, durability, versatility, overall value, and ease of use and cleaning. The Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus is one of our favorites; read on for the rest.

Here are the best small kitchen appliances for a compact kitchen.

1. Food Processor

Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus
Courtesy of Amazon

The Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus is a powerful compact food processor that can complete most of the same tasks as a full-size model, just in smaller quantities. It's a versatile workhorse for small food preparation tasks like chopping, mixing, and grinding herbs, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.

The single stainless steel blade spins in both directions, one for grinding and one for chopping. Two buttons on the unit allow you to operate the chopping and grinding functions by pulsing or holding the button for continuous operation. You can see when your task is complete thanks to the clear 3-cup bowl and lid. A safety lock on the side prevents the food processor from operating unless it's properly engaged.

The miniature bowl, lid, and blade are easy to remove to wash in the sink or dishwasher. At 7-inches x 9.25-inches, this small food processor won't take up too much precious counter space, and the cord can be wrapped and stored under the machine to save even more space. The Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus is available in four colors, white, silver, pink, and red, which will look great in any kitchen.

Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus, $40 at amazon.com

2. Espresso Machine

Espresso Machine
Courtesy of Sur La Table

De'Longhi is known for making the Ferrari of espresso machines. If you don't have the space (or budget) for such equipment, try this compact machine in collaboration with Nespresso. It is only 4-inches wide and turns out two different sizes of creamy, fresh espresso in under a minute. Bonus: You don't even have to measure out your beans – use this coffee maker with pre-portioned (recyclable) Nespresso capsules.

Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine by De'Longhi, $149 at surlatable.com

3. Blender

Nutribullet Blender
Courtesy of Amazon

You might know of Nutribullet from those late-night infomercials, but this miniature blender really works. The high-powered motor turns out smooth sauces, soups, dressings, vinaigrettes and smoothies in seconds. Plus, the different sized jars in this 12-piece set make it super-easy to save time and whip up a morning smoothie for one and then head out the door.

Nutribullet 12-piece set, $50 at amazon.com

4. Multi-Cooker

Multi Cooker
Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Don't miss out on the Instant Pot craze just because you are tight on kitchen space. This smaller 3-quart version has all of the sauté, braise, steam, pressure cooker and slow cooker settings of the full size original, but is a fraction of the size. The smaller capacity is perfect for cooking grains or making quick work of dinner for two.

Instant Pot Duo Plus Mini, $84 at amazon.com

5. Immersion Blender

Immersion Blender
Courtesy of Sur La Table

My immersion blender is probably my most-used piece of compact equipment. Use it to purée soups right in the pot, whip cream, make mayonnaise from scratch, froth hot chocolate – the possibilities are endless.

Cuisinart Smart Stick Immersion Blender, $60 (originally $110) at surlatable.com

6. Rice Cooker

Rice Cooker
Courtesy of Amazon

After you've used a rice cooker, there's no going back to cooking rice on the stovetop. However, a single-use appliance like a rice cooker is not practical in a small kitchen. Instead, consider the microwaveable rice cooker from Lékué. The no-fuss silicone bowl and top are small, lightweight, and can cook a wide variety of grains in minutes. Did we mention that it's dishwasher safe, too?

Lékué Microwave Rice and Grain Cooker, $27 at amazon.com

7. Toaster Oven

Toaster Oven
Courtesy of Crate and Barrel

If your kitchen is really a bare-bones set-up, then a toaster oven will become your new best friend. This multi-purpose model from Cuisinart can be used for everything from toasting your morning bagel to broiling fillets of glazed salmon.

Cuisinart Toaster Oven-Broiler, $73 at amazon.com

8. Hand Mixer

Hand Mixer
Courtesy of Bed Bath and Beyond

A hand mixer is a great alternative to a stand mixer for those people with tiny kitchens who love to bake. This model from Cuisinart is genius. It packs away neatly with an attachable storage container that keeps all of your beaters and attachments in one place. The powerful machine also has 7 speeds, so you can mix dry ingredients without covering your kitchen in flour and cream butter and sugar until light and airy.

Cuisinart 7-Speed Electric Hand Mixer, $47 at amazon.com

9. Immersion Circulator

Immersion Circulator
Courtesy of Amazon

Sous vide, or the process of gently cooking food in a plastic pouch in a bath of warm water, is now something you can do in a home kitchen – of any size! This sleek immersion circulator has a magnetic bottom that attaches to the inside of most pots, regulating the temperature of the water. The device then connects to your smartphone, allowing you to keep an eye on the internal temperature of your steak while you binge Netflix on the couch.

Joule Sous Vide, $199 at amazon.com

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