Cooking Tips | Living with Chronic Illness | Recipes | Rheumatoid Arthritis

My 10 Must Have Kitchen Gadgets for Cooking with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Your family’s gotta eat. Here are my favorite 10 must have kitchen gadgets and tools to make cooking with Rheumatoid Arthritis easier.



These 10 must have kitchen gadgets make cooking with Rheumatoid Arthritis so much easier even on days you don't want to cook. Get dinner on the table quickly and easily with these tools to simplify cooking. #cooking #cookingwithRA #rheumatoidarthritistips


“Mom, I’m hungry!” I can’t count how many times I hear that a day as the mom of three growing boys that play soccer. I also can’t count how many hours I spend in the kitchen cooking or making sure these boys have reasonably healthy food to fuel their boundless energy. With hands that have been damaged by Rheumatoid Arthritis, I rely on my kitchen gadgets to help make cooking easier. So today I thought I would share with you my Top 10 Must Have Kitchen Gadgets that have a permanent spot in my kitchen, I can’t cook without them! 


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Big Must Have Kitchen Gadgets


1. Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker


At the top of my list for a reason. I am a slow cooker FANATIC and use my Hamilton Beach Programmable Slow Cooker* at twice a week in the fall/winter. It runs hot so for recipes that call for chicken breast, I normally put it in frozen and the chicken comes out fall apart tender, no more dry chicken! I love it so much that now I have 2 and it’s great when feeding a crowd at parties. 


Most other meats, I cook it at the lower range of the time and it cooks perfectly . I love that when it’s done, it keeps food warm until ready to serve. Comes in handy when we’ve got a busy day running around or to have dinner ready when you come home from work. I’ve had a couple different slow cookers but this is my favorite. Check out my Slow Cooker Chipotle Barbacoa Beef recipe if you need a tasty recipe your family will love, it’s probably what I have cooked the most since I got this slow cooker.


2. Black & Decker toaster oven


We use our Black & Decker toaster oven* DAILY. Whether it’s toasting leftover pancakes, waffles or toast for a quick breakfast or baking English Muffin Pizzas, frozen foods, reheating french fries, or keeping food warm, this little contraption takes care of it all. I find new ways to use it everyday. We even bake leftover steak in it so it doesn’t dry out in the microwave. I love that this one has push button settings instead of dials I have to turn (which are painful for my hands to do) and it’s simple enough for my 10 year old and teen to use.


3. Black & Decker Programmable 12-cup coffemaker


I’m a coffee addict and we need a reliable coffeemaker, the Black & Decker programmable coffeemaker*  is what we have. It’s not fancy but we can set the timer to start brewing so coffee is ready when we wake up and I love it tells us when it needs to be cleaned (cause honestly otherwise I’d forget). I do love that you can remove the water reservoir so filling it in the sink or filtered water from the fridge is so much easier. No more spilling water trying to fill it cause let’s face it, I haven’t had my coffee yet so my aim and focus is not so good. 


4. Cuisinart Panini Press and Grill


I use my Cuisinart Panini Press and Grill* probably once a week as well. My boys love paninis and soup and they are quick to make on cold or busy nights. It’s so much easier to customize what your family wants to put in theirs. My husband loves Cuban paninis (ham, provolone, mustard and pickles) or turkey bacon avocado paninis (a great way to use leftover bacon and spread it with some chipotle mayo).


I make hamburgers and grilled chicken on the grill which is great in the winter and even in the summer when I don’t want to fire up the outdoor grill. This one is compact, easier to clean and faster to get food in the hungry boys’ bellies. 


Mine also comes with waffle plates. Whether I’m using our favorite waffle recipe from scratch or the waffle recipe on the Bisquick box, the waffles come out fantastic (I set the griddle to 400 degrees F and cook for about 3-5 minutes, the little green light comes on to tell you when it’s done).


5. Kitchenaid stand mixer


We have a white Kitchenaid stand mixer*, the most basic we could find and a deal during Black Friday a couple years ago. My hands couldn’t handle squeezing the button to get the beaters in and out of our hand mixer and though the stand mixer is much more expensive, it is easier for me to use.


Of course, it takes up valuable counter space but I do use it a lot, especially for mixing french toast batter, pancakes, pizza dough and raw meatball meat. I love that it mixes meat and spices together so I don’t have to get my hands all grimy trying to hand mix meatballs. It also is a wonder at shredding cooked rotisserie or baked chicken off the bone. 


6. Cuisinart Hand immersion blender


I like that I can put this Cuisinart Hand Immersion blender* right in my slow cooker or pot and smooth out soups and sauces. Less messy than my uncoordinated self trying to lift a heavy, hot pot to pour the contents into my blender. That is a disaster just waiting to happen. This hand blender is quite powerful even on the low setting. 



Small Must Have Kitchen Gadgets

7. A Cherry Pitter

It’s been said that cherries are a TERRIFIC inflammation fighter and fresh cherries are out of this world. They remind me of our trip to Spain many years ago where we had the best cherries I’d ever tasted.

We went to a Williams-Sonoma cooking class for kids and they taught them to make smoothies. The kids pitted the cherries and prepped the other fruit for the smoothies. I loved that this cherry pitter* was easy enough for them to use. We use it every summer and we love being able to eat fresh cherries and pop the whole thing in my mouth…less mess! We even take the cherry pitter and a couple paper bowls to the pool so we can have fresh cherries for a snack poolside in the summer.



8. A Nonstick Bundt Pan


While I do love making chocolate chocolate chip bundt cake, lately I have been using my bundt pan to make perfectly easy Rotiserrie-Style Chicken. Since we have a small Thanksgiving gathering, I make a small whole chicken for our family instead of worrying about a giant turkey. It’s easy, juicy and tender and I’m glad to have found a new use for my nonstick bundt pan* I didn’t use much before.


9. A pizza cutter, or 2 or 3.


It’s much faster and easier for me to roll the pizza cutter than use a knife and fork. I use the pizza cutter* wherever I can to cut small herbs, sandwiches, pancakes, french toast, waffles and well…pizza. Another tool I’m glad to have found a new use for, it’s not just for pizza my friends. I bought this Good Grips pizza cutter and had received two free ones and was disappointed when one of the freebies broke. Seriously, I wish I could cut meat and all veggies by rolling it, it’d be so much easier on my hands.


10. An Airbake pizza pan


I love this Airbake pizza pan* for frozen pizza, homemade pizza, or a giant chocolate chip cookie cake, The crust comes out crispier than on a traditional pizza pan with no holes. I do line the pan with parchment paper for our homemade pizzas and chocolate chip cookie cake so the dough/batter does not seep through the holes (but because of the holes the cookie cake would have to be stored in a separate container so it doesn’t get stale).


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I hope you’ve found something helpful on my list of must have kitchen gadgets to make cooking with Rheumatoid Arthritis easier for you. With 3 active and hungry boys, I feel like I’m always in the kitchen when they are home and I rely on these tools to help me keep these boys’ bellies full without causing me unnecessary pain and frustration. 



Those are my 10 must have kitchen gadgets. What about you? What gadgets and appliances could you not live without? What makes cooking easier for you?

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  1. Tanya, these are great suggestions. I remember the last time I visited my elderly aunt who had had RA for many years. She insisted on making lunch for us, unassisted, and I marveled at the way she managed everything with her twisted hands. One of the things she made that day was meatballs, so when I read about your using the stand mixer for that, I thought of her. I can see, too, how the pizza wheel would be really helpful for many things. Have you ever used a mezzaluna? Check those out. Love that you take fresh cherries along for a poolside snack! #Mother2Mother

  2. Great list, Tanya! I, too, LOVE my stand mixer. A luxury that my mom gave me as a gift many years ago – I use it all the time!

    My slow cooker is an old one, so no fancy bells & whistles, but like you, I enjoy using it. So nice when dinner is ready and you don’t have to worry about it in the evning (when my energy is at its lowest). My favorite crockpot cookbook is the Cooking Light Slow Cooker Tonight! book.


    Book By Book

  3. These are gadgets I have in my kitchen, too. I have a Keurig that is a priority for me and my kids love the hot cocoa (even when it’s hot). Other must haves are good set of knives, different cutting boards, and my griddle. The griddle is a time saver for me. I can cook my kids’ pancakes all at once and no one has to wait for them or have cold pancakes!

    1. I agree, the tools make all the difference Reelika. I got some new stainless steel pots I can’t wait to try out. What cookie sheets and baking tools do you like? I need some new cookie sheets.

  4. I don’t even cook and I love kitchen gadgets! I always look at them in the store and online and just “ooh and aah” over them with no idea whatsoever that I’d do with them! I can certainly see how they would be helpful when you have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Thanks for sharing on @throwbackthursdaylinkup

  5. Great list! My crockpot broke last year and I just replaced it but haven’t used it much since I kind of got out of the habit. I need to pull my old standby recipes out. I have the immersion blender and adore it. I use it for everything that you’d use a regular blender for but it’s so much easier both to use and clean. I do miss having a programmable coffee pot. We switched to a Keurig last year and while it’s quick there’s something lovely about coming downstairs to a freshly brewed pot of coffee!

    1. Hi Katherine, oh I love the crockpot especially now for soups. Kind of like coming down to the smell of coffee, I love the smell of dinner already made at the end of a busy day πŸ™‚ Especially the soups.

      The immersion blender was more powerful than I thought it would be. I kinda made a mess at first but got the hang of it. That’s true I didn’t think about that with the Keurig either, since hubby and I both drink it, its nice tobe able to have enough ready for both of us. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you link up some of your blog posts with our #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup opened today

  6. I like your idea of using a pizza cutter for herbs. I’m a low tech girl mainly because of lack of bench space – so I don’t have a mixer, blender or food processor – I make do with a stick blender. Cheers from Carole’s Chatter!

  7. I have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer too and I love it. I bake my pizza on a stone, but that pan you use sounds interesting. I love my immersion blender! I couldn’t live without my workhorse of a food processor — 35 years old and still going strong.

  8. I really like some Pampered Chef products that I have received as gifts or from hosting shows. My favorites include a batter bowl, veggie chopper and my knife set. My Keruig is a favorite too. I can’t make it without my morning coffee, and since I’m the only coffee drinker in the house there’s no wasting.

  9. My husband and I go back and forth on the toaster oven. It certainly seems so convenient and there are some days when it feels like we would use it ALL the time. But I hate too much counter clutter and have been on a Clean Out kick for the past year so I overthink it.
    I love this list!

    1. I totally understand, why clutter your countertops if you won’t use it? I despise kitchen counter clutter too and as you can see in the picture, I have small countertops. We use ours everyday, oldest son can toast his breakfast and we use the bake function quite often. In a real time crunch, I have even baked refrigerated biscuits since it preheats much faster than the big oven. πŸ™‚ thanks for sharing your thoughts Allison! What tool do you use most in the kitchen?

  10. Awesome list – although I have almost none of these in my kitchen πŸ™‚ I do have a bundt pan, but it gets used the least of my gadget. Number one for me – measuring cups / spoons!

    1. Lol, I have a slew of measuring cups and spoons and yet it seems I always run out of whichever one I need for the recipe. I don’t know what I was thinking getting a bundt pan but at least its getting use with roasting chicken. Besides the cups/spoons, anything else a must have in your kitchen? tools to make your lovely cocktails? I still don’t have any but maybe that would be a good gift for my bartender (hubby). What do we need?

  11. Oh my gosh, this is a GREAT list! And some of the tips you had? I would have never thought to use the pizza cutter for other things, genius! Thank you so much for sharing this, it’s perfect! (Also, I’ll be adding a few of these things to our wedding registry!)

    1. Oh I am so glad it was helpful Tia. I have had this post in my head for months, glad NaBloPoMo and the holidays gave me a good excuse to get it out. I love finding new uses for things we have and ways to make life with RA easier. How long have you had it? I am going on 14 years in April. Congrats on the wedding. When is the happy day?

  12. I was just looking for a pizza stone, but this one with holes looks better. I can believe the pizza crust comes out crustier. Thanks for the tip. Now, let’s just hope they have it in Germany. Otherwise, it’s on my list of purchases next time I am home.

    1. The pizza stone is too heavy for me personally and since ideally it preheats in a 500 degree oven, its screaming hot by the time I need to take it out when pizza is done, it is too hard for me to handle. I guess Amazon is different in Germany; hope you find one. I think the crust will come out crisper with the stone, I just haven’t been able to use mine without hubby intervention to pull it out for me. The airbake is easy enough for me or my oldest son to get in and out of the oven without burning ourselves.

      1. Tanya, I wouldn’t normally put a link in a comment, but my way of making pizza would be ideal for you, I think. You could mix the dough in the stand mixer, though, and then proceed from there. But the pizza stone or pizza steel could be left in the oven at all times. You don’t have to remove IT to remove the pizza from the oven. With your pizza on the square of parchment, you simply lift a corner of the parchment, slip your pizza peel or rimless baking sheet under it and pull it out.

  13. I love my slow cooker and immersion blender too. Our slow cooker was a Christmas gift last year from my parents, and I only wish I’d asked for one sooner. My in-laws cook a lot when they visit so they always end up buying gadgets and just leaving them at our house, the immersion blender is just one of them. You are right, it is so much easier to blend a soup or sauce without pouring the hot contents in to a regular blender.

    We drink a ton of coffee and just bought a new Hamilton Beach two-way coffee machine that allows you to make a carafe with your own coffee, or K-Cups for a single cup. It is great!!

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