The slow art of cooking is taking a high-tech turn with smart appliances that seamlessly let you control them through your smartphone, tablet or computer. From connected coffee makers to guided-cooking machines, these gadgets automate parts of the cooking process or allow you to remotely monitor and control your appliances.
And though these devices promise to reduce the amount of time and energy you put into cooking, their ability to connect you to a wider community of cooks and tech enthusiasts might just inspire you to spend more time in the kitchen.
Here are five cool gadgets to soup up your smart kitchen:
This futuristic-looking machine weighs, chops, stirs, kneads, emulsifies, steams, cooks and even cleans itself. It’s got a cult-like following of domestic Thermomix evangelists, and even top chefs running Michelin-starred establishments are not immune to its appeal.
The Thermomix has a Guided Cooking function that steers users through the whole cooking process with "recipe chips," digital cookbooks that plug into the machine and pre-set the function, time and temperature for every step of the recipe. But perhaps, the ‘smartest’ part about this machine is its very big and enthusiastic user community—not only will you be assigned a Thermomix Advisor who’ll offer personal post-purchase support, but there are countless Facebook groups you can join for tips, tricks, troubleshooting and tried-and-tested recipes.
If you’re someone who cannot function before your morning cuppa, this phone-controlled capsule coffee machine from Nespresso might just be the gadget you need for a wake-up call. When paired via Bluetooth with your smartphone and the corresponding Nespresso app, you can make your coffee from the comfort of your bed or schedule the machine to make your coffee at a set time.
It’ll also tell you when you’re running out of coffee so you can order some more via the app, notify you when it needs descaling or when the water in the tank is low. With step-by-step video assistance and troubleshooting, maintenance is a breeze.
If you’re a fan of Buzzfeed’s Tasty food videos, you might want to check out their smart tabletop induction cooker that promises to bring your recipes from phone to table sans the guesswork. Working in conjunction with the Tasty app with its hundreds of recipes, the One Top automatically adjusts temperature and power settings to match the recipe instructions, tracking the temperature in real-time so you know exactly when to flip your pancake. Its temperature sensing capabilities also mean it can transform into a slow cooker in a cinch. The gadget also makes a nifty substitute for an expensive sous vide machine as it can hold liquid temperature consistently down to 1 degree Celsius.
Once you have the Anova Precision Cooker, all you need is a pot, a ziplock bag and a pan and you’re on your way to cooking like a pro (minus the conventionally bulky sous vide machine). It is a lightweight and affordable immersion circulator that makes it easy to achieve consistent, restaurant-quality results whether you’re in the mood for steak, fish or poached eggs.
The Bluetooth- and Wi-Fi-enabled version even lets you control your cooker while you’re out of the house, a handy function to have when you’re cooking 48-hour shanks. The gadget pairs up with the Anova app, which has an easy-to-navigate catalogue for choosing your meats and doneness. The app will alert you when the food is done and you can shut down the cooker through your phone wherever you are and come home to perfectly cooked meat that you can now sear on a pan to add some color. Et Voilà!
If the more rigorous science of baking has always been a little intimidating for you, Drop Scale might just be the smart gadget you need to overcome your fears. This ingredient scale works in tandem with its companion app so you can pick a recipe—its extensive database covers the gamut from cakes and cookies to savory foods like meatballs and soups—and let the app guide you through the rest, weighing each ingredient as you add it. Make your foray into mixology with Drop’s cocktail recipes made easy—you won’t need fancy jiggers and pony glasses to make these boozy babies. Once you’re done, share your recipes and photos with the app’s user community, or browse for ideas from featured partners like Food52, Good Housekeeping and food/baking bloggers.