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Keto Cooking 201: 8 Optional-but-Fun Tools for Next-Level Keto Meals and Snacks

Cooking vegetables

You already have the basics. You have a cast-iron frying pan, a good knife, a cutting board, a baking pan…but now you’re going keto and maybe you have a bit of room in the cupboard after bringing the cake pans and cookie cutters to the thrift store (don’t give away your cupcake tins, though – they’re great for egg muffins!).

This list isn’t the basic kitchen tools that every home cook should own; it’s about those specialty extras that can make keto cooking tastier and more fun. These make great holiday gifts for the keto-eater in your life – or for yourself, if you feel like having a treat!

(Paleo Leap doesn’t get any money from the makers of any kitchen products and nobody paid for inclusion in this post. This was written exclusively to give you information, not to sell or promote anything!)

Small-Ticket (up to $50)

1. Kitchen scale

Quick, how many carrots in 100 grams of carrots? Blanking on the mental image? That’s where a scale can help. Paleo isn’t generally huge on measuring everything you eat, but if you’re seriously trying for a ketogenic diet, then every carb counts, so weighing out vegetables and other carby foods can be excellent for peace of mind. Measuring exact quantities of higher-carb vegetables can also be a big eye-opener if you’re used to thinking of vegetables as basically “free” food.

Average price: $15-30, depending on how nice of a scale you want.

2. Larding needle

A larding needle is an old-fashioned little tool that lets you add fat to lean cuts of meat to make them tastier and more keto-friendly. It basically works like a regular needle, except instead of a hole for the thread, it has teeth that clamp onto a piece of bacon or other cured meat. This lets you “sew” some bacon right through the middle of your chicken breast and enjoy a tastier, fattier meal.

Average price: shouldn’t be more than $10.

3. Spiralizer

Zucchini

“I can be noodles!”

A spiralizer lets you create your own noodles out of zucchini, yellow squash, or other low-carb vegetables – enjoy a big plate of zoodles with your favorite cream sauce and a pile of sausage on top for a low-carb, high-fat comfort meal. Spiralizers range from mini handheld versions to full-service machines that also do other kinds of cutting-related magic (if you ever wanted to make your very own matchstick carrots perfect coleslaw cabbage, you have options!)

Average price: $10-20 for a cheaper handheld version; $20-30 for a slightly more powerful tool.

4. Potato ricer

No, you won’t be eating any potatoes on keto, but a potato ricer is also good for making cauliflower rice (or broccoli rice, if you don’t mind it being green). Potato ricers are a bit like giant garlic presses – you choose how coarse or fine you want your vegetable to come out the other end and just press it through. Use your riced cauliflower as a side dish or for keto pizza crust.

It’s true that you can buy riced cauliflower in the store, but it’s often really expensive. Even with the upfront cost of a ricer, if you eat a lot of cauli rice, you’ll end up ahead after a few months of meals.

Average price: $15-20

Big-Ticket ($50+)

5. Air Fryer

An air fryer basically does the same thing a real fryer does, only with mostly air and minimal oil. Why use air instead of oil, when this is keto and he whole point is to get a lot of fat? Mostly because the air fryer is so easy for home cooks to use, and you can always add fat afterwards by slathering your newly fried foods in mayonnaise, garlic-butter sauce, avocado dip, or any other high-fat dressing of your choice. Use an air fryer to make tasty snacks like chicken wings, crispy veggie chips, and pork rinds – all keto-friendly, no gross processed seed oils.

Average price: $75-150 for an average one; up to $300 for a really deluxe one.

6. Vacuum SealerFreezer

One great way to save time on keto cooking is to make huge batches of food and freeze the extras. You can make a big pot of chili, but not get stuck eating that same chili every night for a week – just put the leftovers in the freezer and haul them out a necessary. A vacuum sealer takes the freezer game to the next level. You use it to suck all the extra air out of a plastic bag – this saves space and also prevents freezer burn. Vacuum seal bags are great for meat (big batches of pork shoulder, chicken thighs, chuck roast, meatballs…), soups, stews, or roasted vegetables.

Average price: $50-100+, plus bags.

7. Sous-Vide Cooker

A sous-vide cooker basically heats up food by circulating warm water around it, instead of heating up the air like an oven. You put your food in a plastic bag, pop it in the sous-vide, and set your desired temperature. Then just walk away and come back when it’s done! The huge advantage to this method is that it’s difficult-to-impossible to overcook meat. You can cook burgers or roasts to a perfect medium-rare temperature (or whatever else you like) without worrying about what rack of the oven they’re on or when to flip them.

The big disadvantage to sous-vide cooking is that there’s no nice crunchy exterior. If you want a tasty char on your burgers, you’ll have to finish them off on the grill, on the stovetop, or under the broiler.

Average price: About $75-100 for a wand that you put in your own pot; closer to $100-150 if you want a full-sized appliance that doesn’t require a separate pot.

8. Indoor grill or grill pan

Grilling is popular with keto eaters for good reason. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s delicious! But unfortunately, winter exists, and even in the summer, a lot of us are apartment-dwellers with nowhere to set up a big pile of coals safely.

Enter the indoor grill. It’s not the same as a real barbecue, and you don’t get that smoky grilled flavor of actual fire. But you do get the convenience (and the aesthetic, if you’re into that). Two options for frustrated indoor grill fans:

Average price: $25-50 for a grill pan; $50-$150 for a full electric grill

What’s your must-have cooking tool for keto? What do you love that goes beyond the standard pots and pans? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!