There are no kitchen tools and appliances that are essential for keto, but several that are very useful. The basics are things you most likely already have in your kitchen, like a good knife. Some appliances like the sous vide and instant pot are less common in a kitchen, but they allow for more convenient and delicious ketogenic cooking. Sous vide salmon comes out perfect every time and instant pot hard boiled eggs are the easiest hard boiled eggs to peel. Not to mention, nearly all sous vide and instapot recipes are easy to prepare and clean up.
This article is divided into two categories. The first section lists the basics for a keto kitchen which includes staple appliances and tools for cooking and preparing meals. After the basics, more advanced kitchen appliances like the Joule sous vide are explained in detail.
Keto can be done without access to a kitchen. It would most likely require a combination of eating fast food frequently and buying prepared meals or snacks. If this is your situation, check out my low carb fast food guide for what to order when you’re going out to eat.
I will admit, however, that it is significantly easier and cheaper to live a ketogenic lifestyle with a kitchen and a few basic tools. Before going out and buying any fancy kitchen gadgets, make sure your kitchen has these essentials.
A Sharp Knife
A good knife is essential for cooking no matter what your diet is. In the kitchen, a knife is used to cut meats, veggies, cheese, or anything else that needs to be prepared. It is imperative that the knife be sharp. A dull knife is more likely to cause injury, and it makes cooking less enjoyable.
We own two knives, a chef’s knife, and a paring knife.It’s not necessary to buy an entire set of knives, especially if you are just starting out in the kitchen. However, it is important to buy a high-quality knife that will last you years, rather than one that needs to be replaced regularly. We use a chef’s knife from Wusthof. This set on Amazon includes a chef’s knife and a paring knife.
Bonus: Purchase a knife sharpener to keep the blade from going dull over time. They’re inexpensive and they can extend the life of your knife.
Cast Iron Cookware
I cook 90% of my stove-top meals on a cast iron pan. My favorite keto foods like eggs, bacon, steak, and veggies can all be easily prepared on a cast iron skillet. Cast iron pans add great flavor to dishes and the heat is well distributed throughout the pan, so foods will cook more evenly. Additionally, they are oven safe, and easy to clean.
To keep foods from sticking to the pan, it is essential that the pan is well seasoned and the foods are prepared in plenty of fat. If you are cooking bacon and eggs, first cook the bacon, then use the grease in the pan to cook the eggs. If the foods you are cooking do not have extra grease or fat, melt butter, lard, or another animal fat in the pan first.
Do not ever wash your cast iron skillet with soap. Instead, you can clean it using a chainmail scrubber and water. Be sure to heat the pan after to ensure that it is completely dry. I like to put mine in the oven for about 30 minutes with coconut oil to re-season it.
My favorite brand of cast-iron pans is Lodge. They can be found at many homeware stores, or online. I find that the 8” is perfect for cooking for one person. A skillet this size is only $10 and can last a lifetime if properly taken care of.
A good nonstick skillet will keep you sane when trying to make omelets, keto pancakes, or anything else that is thin and needs to be flipped. Most of the time, I stick to my cast-iron pan, but it’s great to have a nonstick pan on hand for certain foods.
Avoid purchasing a nonstick pan with Teflon, as this can release harmful chemicals at high temperatures, AKA: when cooking. There are several options for nonstick pans without Teflon. They can be a bit pricier, but it is much better to avoid the plethora of chemicals that can seep into your food through Teflon. A great option is the GreenPan, which is a ceramic nonstick frying pan.
Grease Splatter Guard
If you are regularly cooking at home on a ketogenic diet, chances are that your stove will be covered in grease. The major downside to cooking with fat is that it is messy, but that’s part of what makes it so delicious, right? A splatter guard is a flat mesh lid that goes over the top of a skillet or pot. It doesn’t affect how the food cooks, but it will prevent big splashes of grease from reaching your or your countertop.
I like to keep my kitchen clean, and I prefer minimal cleanup. Cooking up food in butter and animal fat can make that task a bit challenging. For me, a splatter guard is essential in the kitchen to minimize.
If you heat up foods in the microwave, I would also suggest a microwave splatter guard. I have been doing my best to avoid heating foods in plastic, so this silicon and glass microwave splatter guard is perfect.
Blenders aren’t just for making smoothies! I use my blender nearly every day to make bulletproof coffee. It also works well as a food processor when needed. A blender is a must-have appliance in any kitchen.
My least favorite part of owning a blender is cleaning the blender after using it. To simplify the cleaning process, I use a NutriBullet, which is a compact blender. The lid of the blender doubles as the blades, so the only two things to wash are the lid and the cup that you blend in. It is easy, quick, and the blender is not bulky.
I use my blender to make bulletproof coffee, chop onions and garlic, puree soups, make smoothies, and more. Blenders are versatile and cannot easily be replaced with another appliance.
If you like to bake keto bread or desserts, a hand mixer will be your best friend. They are small, inexpensive appliances that save incredible amounts of time and energy that would otherwise be spent whisking.
If you do not bake often, a hand mixer is not immediately useful. However, for the one or two occasions where you need to beat eggs to hard peaks for a recipe, a hand mixer is an essential kitchen appliance. They are affordable and compact, so there’s no reason to not have one on hand.
If you are looking to step up your cooking game and have some extra money saved up, there are a few kitchen appliances that are well worth the investment. The Joule Sous Vide and the Instant Pot are popular appliances, especially in the keto community. As a result, there are tons of keto sous vide and instapot recipes, so you will not be stuck with an expensive appliance and nothing to cook.
The Instant Pot is a kitchen gadget I thought I’d never need until I got one. Now, I use it at least once a week. An Instant Pot is a programmable pressure cooker and it has a multitude of functions such as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, and it can even saute! There are tons of healthy instant pot recipes. Keto instapot recipes for soups, slow-cooked meats, bone broth, and even instant pot hard-boiled eggs are all perfect for meal prepping or feeding a family.
I have a few instapot recipe books, but there are also plenty of free recipes online. Maria Emmerich’s Instant Pot cookbook is my go-to cookbook for keto instapot recipes.
An Instant Pot is a great investment because it makes preparation quick, less messy, and simple. If you flip through instant pot cookbooks, you’ll notice that they’re also incredibly versatile. There are tons of recipes for soups, broths, casseroles, desserts, large cuts of meat, and more.
I meal prep hard-boiled eggs every single week. They are a perfect keto snack, plain, or with some mayo for a delicious egg salad. As a bonus, hard-boiled eggs are unbelievably easy to make in the Instant Pot. If that were the only thing I used my Instant Pot for, it would still be worth the investment. Yeah, it’s that easy.
To make easy to peel hard-boiled eggs in your Instant Pot, simply place your eggs on the steam rack with one cup of water, set the manual timer for 4 minutes on high pressure. Let the pressure release naturally for 4 minutes, then finish with a quick release. Place your eggs immediately in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Once they have cooled, you have perfectly cooked, easy to peel Instant Pot hard-boiled eggs!
Bone broth is incredibly healthy and beneficial for the body. There are tons of vitamins and minerals that are obtained from the bones. Also, the cartilage of the bones is a great source of collagen.
Bone broth is incredibly versatile. I use bone broth as a base for all soups, or I drink it plain with some salt for a boost of electrolytes. If you are experiencing keto flu symptoms, sip on some salty bone broth throughout the day.
Many companies offer pre-packaged bone broth or cubes that can be melted down. However, homemade bone broth is undeniably superior. Not to mention, it is significantly cheaper to make your own.
Depending on the size of your bones, and how much you are preparing, making homemade bone broth takes anywhere from 12-48 if it is done on the stove or in a regular slow cooker. In the Instant Pot, it only takes 3-4 hours. There are plenty of free instapot recipes online for homemade bone broth. This recipe is one of my favorites from Keto Connect.
How to Use
In sous vide cooking, food is placed in a bag or jar and cooked in a pot of water at a constant temperature for a period of time. The water temperature is regulated by the Joule, and it connects to an app on your phone that allows you to set the cooking time and temperature, based on what is being cooked.
The food is usually placed in a plastic bag to be cooked. To avoid plastic, I use reusable silicon bags from Stasher. Alternatively, food can be placed in glass jars. However, I find the Stasher bags to be more convenient because they are freezer safe. I often place raw meat in a Stasher bag in the freezer, thaw it in the bag the night before, and cook it in the bag the next evening. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
What to Cook
Sous vide salmon is my current favorite meal to prepare in my Joule. I often have a difficult time not overcooking my salmon using alternative cooking techniques. With the Joule, the salmon is perfect every time. After it comes out of the bag, I place it skin side down on a hot skillet for one minute to crisp up the skin and I’m left with a delicious, juicy salmon.
I am sometimes nervous about cooking new types of meats because I don’t want to prepare them incorrectly and waste food. The Joule has been very helpful because the app has recipes for my favorite meats and so far, I haven’t messed anything up! In fact, I think the meat I prepare in the Joule is significantly better than meat I have prepared using any other cooking method.