Handy Kitchen Equipment for Allergy Friendly Cooking
In a pinch, you can make most recipes with limited, every day kitchen equipment, but I’ve found that my gluten/grain-free baking and some meal prep is made a whole lot easier with a few pieces of equipment in the kitchen. If you are doing allergy-free cooking and baking, you will discover very quickly that gluten, dairy, egg, and nut-free recipes do not come together as easily as non-allergy-friendly ones do. These are some items that have helped me bridge the gap in the wonky ways that allergy-safe ingredients work. Some of this equipment is a bit spendier than an average kitchen tool, so it has taken me several years to acquire all of these items, but I have never regretted any of my purchases! Let me run you through a few of these and explain where they get the most use in my kitchen! Hope this list helps you get started in your kitchen so you can get busy making tons of allergy-friendly treats and meals! Click on the photo links to add them to your own kitchen (no affiliate links)!
I had to do a bit of convincing to get my husband to believe that I really needed this when I already had a crockpot (whenever I plan to buy something new he always asks me where I plan to store it because we have no space!), but now I can’t imagine my life without one. Confession: I bought mine during a Black Friday sale and it sat in the box in my pantry for almost a whole year because the thought of a pressure cooker freaked me out and I had a mental block when it came to learning to use it. That was just silly because as soon as I took it out and used it, I discovered how easy it is. And, I haven’t used my crockpot since then (but don’t tell my husband or he’ll make me give it away).
The instant pot is perfect for people who would meal plan and prep in a dream world, but never find the time to do it or always forget to defrost meat ahead of time (that one has my name all over it). I love that I can throw a couple of frozen chicken breasts in there, and within 20-30 minutes I have cooked chicken that is ready to shred or cube for a recipe, or serve with some of the broth or sauce I cooked it in.
I also use it frequently to make bone broth (recipe coming soon!), rice, soups, and stews. The next items on my list to try in the Instant Pot are dairy-free yogurt and baked goods. I have used the 6 quart for our family of four with no problem, but they do sell smaller and larger ones also.
Let me just start by saying that I got along just fine without an air fryer, but now that I have one, it definitely has it perks! Honestly, the first few months I had it, I’m pretty sure we only made french fries in it, but it was worth it. Most of the frozen french fries at the grocery store have soybean oil or wheat in the coating so we don’t buy them, and if you make them in your oven it can take between 45 minutes to an hour to get them cooked through and nice and crispy on the outside. Now with the air fryer, we can make our own with any type of potato and oil that fits into our rotation that day and they cook up in less than 20 minutes!
I have ventured beyond french fries now and use it to reheat a previously crispy food that is leftover (chicken nuggets, breakfast potatoes) so it doesn’t lose its texture the next day. I’ve also used it to cook up a whole chicken and chicken quarters and the skin gets perfectly crispy. Vegetables like broccoli and brussel sprouts are so yummy in the air fryer because it gets those little burned pieces that are my absolute favorite, but I can’t promise that everyone in your house will appreciate the smell blowing out the back vent into the whole house. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! I wanted a bigger one so I had the possibility of fitting a whole chicken in there and could also make enough potatoes, vegetables, or any side for the entire family in one batch.
VITAMIX (HIGH-SPEED BLENDER)
I put off getting a Vitamix for years because of the cost. I had been using a Nutribullet for years that seemed to the job pretty well. I was able to make decent smoothies and sauces, but the limited size of the one I had kept getting in the way of quick meal prep, and ultimately it didn’t have the ability to pulverize anything the way I knew a high-speed blender would. I finally pulled the trigger last summer when I found it on sale. My only regret is that I didn’t get the accompanying personal cups. At the time, I was trying to eliminate extra cost, but we make smoothies almost every day and it would be so wonderful to not have to clean out the entire blender for an individual smoothie. Ultimately, that may be something for you to consider before buying one yourself, but it doesn’t stop me from using my Vitamix just about daily and loving it! It gets the most use for smoothies, as I mentioned, because it’s a great way to pack in tons of nutrients with fruits, greens, and add-ins, like chia seeds, hemp seeds, and dates, and still stay in rotation while avoiding the top eight allergens!
I also use it to make soups, sauces, dressings, and, of course, oat flour. We go through tons of oat flour in this house and it is SO fast to throw some rolled oats into the Vitamix and blend it up for just a couple minutes. It results in super fine oat flour - much finer than when made in the food processor - and is comparable to store-bought oat flour.
KITCHEN-AID STAND MIXER
I have upgraded my stand mixer in the last few years to a 7-qt so that I can make double and triple batches of bread at once and store them in my freezer, but the 6-qt below is more than adequate for a home kitchen. I use this most for baking when I need to whip up aquafaba, coconut cream, or mix my dough for homemade bread. It’s great for hands-off mixing!
I would say that any food processor that is bigger than the mini sizes would work perfectly. The minis could even work for many recipes, but it would require processing in batches, and I am always looking to cut prep time down any way possible! When I started doing a lot of grain-free and Paleo baking, especially for myself and Hudson before he had an almond allergy, I used my food processor to mix almost all of my cookie doughs, and even some bread batters. I still use it to make gluten-free cookies using oats and other flours! Because I used mine so often, I was looking for one with lots of power and something that can get the flours as fine as possible, so I upgraded my basic Cuisinart to this Magimix food processor after I saw Danielle Walker from Against All Grain use it for so many things with great results. I waited until the holidays rolled around to snag it at a discounted price!
I’ll admit, this one is a bit of a luxury. I don’t use it nearly as often as the above items, but when it does get used, it’s so nice! If you make your own bread frequently or use your mandolin frequently for slicing potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, or any other veggie, this is a life-saver. Mine gets the most use for slicing homemade bread because who can really slice bread straight anyway?! It’s also great for making scalloped potatoes, homemade potato chips, or homemade pickles.