15 Indispensable Kitchen Tools for Under $15 Each

Our favorite fundamental -- and fun -- items to make your kitchen work better.

It’s easy to spend a lot of money stocking a home kitchen. From delicate and pricey china to state-of-the-art appliances and handcrafted chef’s knives, there’s no shortage of big-budget purchases.

But it’s surprisingly simple, and also fun, to go the other way. Many practical and fun gadgets and accessories can be had for the price of a couple of cups of fancy coffee, and they’ll last a lot longer than that latte.

Here are 15 of our favorite fundamental — and fun — kitchen items, all of which cost $15 or less:

1. Stormtrooper silicone oven mitt

Think Geek / Money Talks News

Don’t let your cookies turn to the Dark Side. Pull them out on time with this silicone mitt modeled after the iconic “Star Wars” stormtrooper uniforms. ($14.99, Think Geek)

2. Flexible cutting board set

Amazon / Money Talks News

These colorful flexible CounterArt cutting boards will be the ones you’ll reach for whether you’re sobbing over the chopping of an onion or butterflying a chicken breast. You can easily pick them up and curl them gently to slide the chopped tidbits into a pan, and they’re easy to wipe clean. Handy and cute icons mark them for vegetables, poultry, seafood and beef. ($7.78 at Amazon)

3. Strawberry huller

Crate and Barrel / Money Talks News

Yes, gadgets that only have one purpose can be problematic — who wants to jam the junk drawer full of items you never use? But this strawberry huller is compact, cute as anything, easy to clean and works perfectly every time to remove the leaves and stem. Well worth the price. ($7.95 at Crate & Barrel)

4. No-spill ice cube trays

Target / Money Talks News

Making ice seems like a pretty mature technology, and most of our freezers make cubes themselves these days. But these OXO trays are still worth having for multiple reasons: The covers ensure they won’t spill, the ice cubes are narrow enough to fit into water bottles, and you can fill them with juice or lemonade for those special summer frozen drinks you don’t want to water down with regular ice. ($9.99 at Target)

5. Angry Mama microwave cleaner

Bed Bath and Beyond / Money Talks News

Sure, you can just use a bowl of vinegar and water to steam-clean your microwave. But for less than $10, Angry Mama is worth it for the sassy hands-on-hips pose alone. Fill her with H20 and vinegar, and she spins around and blows off steam in a cute, cartoony way. And as one reviewer admits, leaving her out on the counter is a fun reminder to clean the micro every so often. ($9.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond)

6. Pancake batter dispenser

Amazon / Money Talks News

Maybe you’ve seen Pinterest-perfect pancakes shared in photos online, but never dared to make your own. Fill this Good Cook Pancake Creator with your favorite batter, and you can become the Picasso of the pancake house in no time. Or maybe just spell out your initials — that’s fun too. ($8.75 on Amazon)

7. Grater pod

King Arthur Flour / Money Talks News

Some graters are just not that great. This sharp little number (and we mean sharp — watch your knuckles) is easy to use, clean and store, and, best of all, the pod captures whatever you’re grating right in the attached bowl. Cheese or citrus, your choice, and your counters stay clean. ($12.95, King Arthur Flour)

8. Space capsule tea infuser

Think Geek / Money Talks News

Your tea-making skills will be out of this world with this adorable space capsule tea infuser. Pack the capsule with your favorite loose tea, and the tiny astronaut hangs outside your cup as a counterweight. Countdown to splashdown! ($9.99 at Think Geek)

9. Kale and herb stripper

Sur La Table / Money Talks News

No one’s saying it’s difficult to strip the leaves off herbs, or remove the ribs from kale. But if your time is worth more to you than the picky chore of removing them by hand, here’s your new best friend. Different-sized holes fit all the different greens your recipe may call for. ($7.95, Sur La Table)

10. Garlic peeler

Amazon / Money Talks News

Strip the papery skins off as many garlic cloves as you need with these simple and colorful plastic peelers. Just slide the cloves inside and roll the peeler back and forth on the counter with your hand — the skins slide off in a flash, and the garlic smell never transfers to your skin. ($5.29, Amazon)

11. ‘Bear Paw’ meat handlers

Target / Money Talks News

You’ll want to meat this gadget. The National Barbecue Association named Bear Paws the “Best Barbecue Tool” in 2013. The sharp claws dig into a roast or other meaty main course so you can slice with ease, or you can use them to shred meat for barbecue, lift hot items from pan to platter, or even toss a salad. They’ll claw their way to the top of your list of favorite tools. ($12.95 for a pair, Target)

12. ‘Yolky’ the egg separator

Amazon / Money Talks News

This little guy is eggs-actly what you need when it’s time to separate an egg yolk from its white. Sure, you can just try to carefully crack the shell down the middle and pour the yolk back and forth between the two as the white drips out, but Yolky here takes all the guesswork out of it and saves you from cracking up. ($3.05, Amazon)

13. Tilt-up ice cream scoop

Amazon / Money Talks News

We all scream for ice cream, but clean up can be a nuisance. This ice cream scoop is solid, brightly colored and has a little built-in rest to keep the drippy messes off your counter. Talk about cool. ($13.99 at Amazon)

14. Timer necklace

Bed Bath and Beyond / Money Talks News

Put your cookies in the oven and set this simple timer. Now, you can leave the room (or even the house, if you don’t go far), and you’ll never forget to pull them out before they feel the burn. You wear the timer like a necklace, and while it may not be from Tiffany’s, it gets the job done. ($12.99, Bed Bath & Beyond)

15. Brown-sugar bear

Kitchen Collection / Money Talks News

This little cutie can bear-ly wait to perform the only job he knows how to do. Soak him in water and then tuck him in a bag or container of brown sugar to hibernate. He’ll keep the sugar soft until your next cookie-baking binge requires it, for as long as six months. ($3.49, Kitchen Collection)

What’s your favorite kitchen gizmo? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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