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Easy Solutions for High-Maintenance Dishes

Electric Skillet by Deni

Courtesy of Deni

When a stove isn't available, an electric skillet is a great substitute for a traditional skillet or frying pan.

Electric Woks & Skillets

These items mimic traditional skillets and woks that you would put on a stovetop. Electric skillets and woks heat up after you plug them in, and they typically have a dial that controls the temperature. They also have lids to keep in steam and heat. If you have a stovetop, you might not have a need for these items, but they are convenient for camping trips, tailgates, and temporary kitchen setups. Electric skillets and woks typically cost between $25 and $100.

Deep Fryers

If you enjoy fried foods, deep fryers can be a handy and safe way to concoct dishes like French fries. Many deep fryers come with lockable lids to prevent hot cooking oils from splashing outside the fryer.

You can also purchase a rotary fryer, which rotates the cooking oil instead of just having a pool of oil in which the food soaks. Rotary fryers use less cooking oil, because the oil is spread over the food more efficiently.

Most deep fryers have between 1,800 and 2,200 watts. Fryers come in different sizes, and some have more temperature controls than others. They usually cost between $100 and $300.


Crock-Pot Slow Cooker

Courtesy of Crock-Pot


Slow Cookers

As their name implies, slow cookers cook food slowly, and they cook it in a way that keeps food moist and flavorful. Slow cookers cook items such as meats and stews over a period of hours at low temperatures (usually between 160 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit). 

Slow cookers come in a variety of sizes, so make sure the one you purchase is big enough for the amount of food you're cooking. Since many people cook meals for families in a slow cooker, you'll want one that holds at least 4 quarts, which is considered family size. Slow cookers cost between $30 and $150. Price varies based on size, temperature settings, and temperature and time programmability features.


Panasonic Rice Cooker

Courtesy of Panasonic


Rice Cookers

While cooking rice in the traditional way isn't extremely complicated, it does require a great deal of attention to make sure the rice comes out right. Rice cookers eliminate all the attention needed to make rice; they just require you to add rice and water and press a button.

Another advantage to rice cookers is that have automatic shutoffs. They detect when the rice is finished cooking, and will then switch to a warming mode to keep the rice heated until you remove it from the cooker.

Look for a rice cooker with a non-stick pan to make it easier to remove the cooked rice. Rice cookers can vary in size and settings (for instance, some rice cookers can cook rice to have different textures), but the more bells and whistles, the more you'll pay. Prices range between $50 and $200.