Appliances on kitchen counters - need cook's perspective

GWloloMarch 15, 2013

Do you keep appliances on the counters or do you put it away and take it out just when you need it. I am guessing there are some appliances like coffee pots or toasters that stay on the counters. But what about the food processor, the vitamix, the bread machine, the flour mill, the rice cooker, the small spice grinder, the juicer, the crock pot?

I am just wrapping up a kitchen remodel and am thinking about what goes where. I have a galley style kitchen and no island or pantry. I did end up getting deeper counters - 30in deep. The idea at the back of my mind was that I could leave the appliances on the counter and still have enough room in front of the appliances for prep etc. What do you guys do?

The kitchens forum usually weighs in on the side of no or minimal appliances on the counters - understandably as they are mostly folks who love their new counters and really want to keep it clear and clean. I want perspectives from people who cook a lot and often cook complicated dishes.

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If I'm going to use an appliance often, I leave it out as I don't like hauling stuff in and out of cupboards constantly. Otherwise I prefer it put away.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 3:59AM
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We have a small kitchen, and fortunately hubby (a Certified Kitchen Designer) found space when he designed it for a tall utility cabinet (36" wide, 82" tall, by 15" deep) where I park my small appliances so they don't have to take up counter space.

What stays out:
-2 electric kettles
-Hamilton Beach Drink Mixer (aka malt maker) used for smoothies every morning

There is also a baker's rack by the refrigerator where I keep my grain mills and the ready-to-use FoodSavers are on one shelf. The stuff for the FoodSaver (canisters, Universal Lids, rolls of bags, scissors, marker, etc.) are in pretty baskets.

I also have a rolling cart in the pantry I pull out when needed. It has a wooden top and I use it to clamp my wheatgrass juicer, meat grinder or flaker mill to when I'm using them. Those gadgets, as well as the toaster and toaster oven are located on the shelves of the cart.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 4:59AM
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Out all the time : food processor, toaster, coffee machine, kettle, electric food grater/slicer, slow cooker and halogen oven, oh yes, the electric steamer.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 5:39AM
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The 3 small appliances that are out permanently on the counters are the coffee maker, bean grinder and the toaster. Everything else is stored in the pantry or cabinets. That doesn't mean our counters are bare. We keep 3 crocks of utensils and a novelty knife holder out too. Then there are the pots and pans hanging from the pot rack next to the stove for easy access. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 6:57AM
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My kitchen is so small that much has to be left out or I would have to do without. Since there is zero wall space for art - I use cookware as a substitute. Bright, cheerful colors of LC help brighten the space. Unfortunately, we have a new electric meat/bread slicer that's larger than anticipated and we're unsure where to put it. I'd like to return it but DH has layed claim to a new toy so it's likely to stay. It takes up half of our kitchen workspace and looks like a table saw. Scary. :(


    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 8:23AM
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I can't stand cluttter on my counters, so even though I have a large kitchen with a big island, only the things I use just about every day sit out. That would be a coffeemaker, toaster, and my Kitchenaid mixer. I very nearly put a hydrolic mixer lift in my island when we built this house so the mixer could be stored away too, but it took up to much valuable cabinet space, so I didn't. My food processor and all the other appliances are put away. It makes the kitchen a breeze to clean and less clutter keeps it looking good most of the time.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 8:42AM
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We have a corner counter corral that hides the food processor, electric kettle, blender, toaster and perhaps other small units.I had thought it might be a waste of space but it works well and looks good. The Kitchen-Aid mixer, bread machine and bean grinder remain out. The KA and bread machine are also used to block cooling cookies, pies and bread etc. from the counter surfing hound aka the floor model Dish Washer K-9 pre-rinse cycle that runs all day.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 8:57AM
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We have a cabinet section with a sliding door. I think this is called an appliance garage? We hide the appliances used most often inside it - food processor, mini-grinder, toaster, immersion blender. Sliding the door shut keeps the kitchen neat. Only the electric kettle is out most of the time. If we need to tidy up for company, the kettle goes into the garage as well.

We keep some utensils in 2 crockery holders close to the cooktop. The pots and pans I use most often hang from a pot rack.

All other appliances go into big pantry cupboards - mixer, deep fryer, rice cooker, slow cooker, meat slicer, ice cream makers. Fortunately or unfortunately we have a big kitchen with lots of cabinets so there is a lot of space to keep stuff.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 9:14AM
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In my experience if I don't have them out , I don't use them so I keep my food processor and mixer on a small side table away from my main counters.

The only thing I leave on the counter is the coffee maker, the espresso machine and my electric weigh scales....

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 9:24AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I keep out the hot shot, the coffee maker, the can opener, the toaster oven as those are used most frequently. I have other stuff on my counters like a canister set, wood boards, a tray of condiments and a container full of big utensils. The other appliances such as food processors and slow cookers though are put away.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 9:26AM
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I did not plan to keep anything on the counter. I love the clean linear line of my backsplash and wanted it to sweep around the counter. I have a large pantry but not a lot of cabinets.

BUT when I found how much I love the bread maker (used at least 2 times weekly) and the toaster oven (used every day) AND how heavy they are, I knew I did not want to tote them all the way to the pantry and back for every use. Neither will fit on the super susan (too tall and/or heavy to lift in and out.)

SO, toaster oven and bread maker sit on the cabinets. I put them on the short leg of an L that ends with the fridge. That gives me that short section and the corner as a sort of appliance garage without a door. Still leaves landing space in front of the toaster oven for fridge access.

Had I planned for them when I was designing the kitchen, given my constraints of size, I would still have had to put them where they are. I could have designed an appliance garage-style door, but I think I would have found that too ''closed in'' in appearance for me, making that whole wall a solid mass of cabinets and fridge. This way I get at least a peak of backsplash and some open space between the two appiances.

Finally, I find that the clean appearance of the oven is not offensive, and the BM sort of shows as a simple black rectangle, also not offensive to me. So, not really cluttery. Or at least that is how I rationalized it.

I don't like it, but I am not willing to do without either of these appliances, which are new to me and far more useful than I imagined they would be.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 9:40AM
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I have a small U-shaped kitchen. Like others, I keep out appliances I use most often - toaster oven, smaller Kitchenaid mixer (I have a large one I take out when needed), small coffee maker, and Vitamix.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 10:49AM
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My kitchen is small and my cupboards are not big enough to store the KitchenAid mixer or the bread machine or my tall coffee maker, not a single cupboard is tall enough. Not that I have enough room anyway.

So, my mixer, bread machine, food processor, coffee grinder, coffee pot and toaster sit on the counter, along with the crock of utensils. Other large items like the meat slicer, Magic Mill, my canning equipment, sausage stuffer, Foodsaver, etc, have to stay in the basement and I haul them up when I need them.

The real problem is that I have so many baking pans. Cake pans of all sizes, bundt pans, tube pan, half sheet pans, cooling racks, pie plates, tart pans, muffin pans, popover pans, whew, they take a whole bunch of the cupboard space!


    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 10:56AM
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Edited because my comments didn't add to the discussion.

This post was edited by mustangs on Fri, Mar 15, 13 at 15:16

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 12:21PM
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The only appliance I leave out is the coffee maker. Everything else is stowed away. The more often I use it, the closer it is to get out. Hand mixer, blender, bread machine, all are in cabinets in the kitchen. Dehydrator, crock pot, juicer, etc are in deeper storage areas.

I have a small galley kitchen & would have NO prep room if I had appliances out. I also make sure I need it before I buy any single-use appliances, again due to storage mainly.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 12:47PM
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I have a small/medium size kitchen which is fine with me. I have a long deep island with a large pot rack above. The only appliance I have on my counters is a toaster oven. Everything else is stored in the island. If we drank coffee that would be out, but we don't. I have a coffee maker just for company. The rest is decorative with utensils in a pitcher, colorful canisters, etc.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 1:01PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I like the appliances that are permanently out to be really good looking as they also function as "decor". Our toaster oven is old, ugly and frankly, not very clean, so it's kept on a tray and slid out when we use it, which could be quite often.

If I kept the coffee pot out I would want something beautiful, as we don't, a Mr. Coffee basic model is fine for our morning cup then it gets put away.
The only appliances I keep out are the mixer and fp.

I wish I had a microwave drawer....

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 1:11PM
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I tried using appliance garages but they didn't fit my over-tall small appliances, so out they went. Fortunately have a hidden corner where the frig blocks the view of:

- food processor
- blender
- KA K45 stand mixer

I did finally have to move the toaster oven out onto a side counter. It just wasn't safe on an eye-level shelf inside a pantry.

The DR is an open plan next to the kitchen, with three small closets that have become auxiliary storage. The one nearest the kitchen holds the microwave (we have electrical outlets in this and another closet pantry in the DR, so it's plugged in and usable). I store the rice cooker there but bring it out onto the counter for the few times a month I use it.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 1:42PM
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My coffee maker, deep fryer and SodaStream stay out on the counter much to my husband's dismay. Well, he doesn't mind the SodaStream staying out because he uses it all the time. I have a small cabinet on the opposite side of the kitchen that was bought specifically for the bread machine to sit on so that is also out all the time.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 1:49PM
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Mustangs/Cathy - but CAN SHE COOK?

I have friends with beautiful kitchens who don't know how to turn on their appliances, and use the ovens to store dishes. I have no bling anywhere, I'm too much of a slob to think of it. But I do have a very functional kitchen where everything, no matter how weird, is used.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 1:50PM
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I don't have a stand mixer and have never felt a great urge to buy one. However, if someone GAVE me one, I'd be thrilled. ;) It would have to be on the counter.

I have my utensil crocks and a toaster oven that remain out. Once I have a real oven again the toaster oven will get banished to the garage until someone needs it and I can give it away. My food processor is in a cupboard but is easy to pull out when I want it. In the summer the blender stays out for cold blended things like smoothies. Otherwise it stays stashed away.

I gave away the bread maker. Too big and I don't like bread machine bread. I have never had a loaf turn out right.

The coffee grinder stays out as a rule though I sometimes stash it to get the clutter off the small counter.

I like a clean counter but it isn't always possible with so much stuff and so little storage. I do have some completely empty cupboards above the refrigerator. They are mocking me as I need a ladder to access them. Anything that goes there never gets used.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 2:02PM
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I keep appliances, and other stuff, on the counter. When I'm cooking, and I do a lot now, with my extended family living with me, I want things handy. I have some deep corners just for the mixer and the toaster oven.

I have a toaster, toaster oven, bread box, coffee maker, electric kettle, KA mixer, as well as canisters of items I use often - flour, sugar, brown sugar, raisins, coffee, tea bags. I have a basket of dish towels, paper towels, cutting boards, 2 knife blocks, TV, utensils in a crock, and a small lazy Susan with salt, oil, pepper, and salt pig, next to the cooktop.

I find that, eventually, I'll drop and break something if I have to take it out and put it away over and over again.

The plants are gone (I killed them all) and the radio , the KA mixer is in that corner.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 2:41PM
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I have quite a few appliances and stuff out, but all the cabinets and drawers are filled. The appliances that I want to have out at all times include KA mixer (with cheese grater attached), foodsaver, toaster oven, electric meat slicer (which has it's own butcher block table that I bought at Ikea), and deep fryer. I might put the deep fryer away if I had a place to put it, but it is out of the way where it is on the counter, and so I'm fine with that. I have a ton of stuff on the rack above my peninsula, which is pretty dramatic during earthquakes, although we've not had a major one since I've been there. I have pan lids piled up on the top of the rack because I thought that being lids, they should be stored high up, which makes no sense, but this way I always know where they are.

I hate lower cabinets - it is very difficult for me to put things away there and to retrieve them. Drawers are better, and fortunately, that's what I have under my peninsula. I wish I had a prettier KA mixer, but at least it matches its attachments.

PIctures below are a couple of years old and therefore do now show my new DW, but then that still has the plastic on its cover. I hope to remove that this week-end!


Here is a link that might be useful: My kitchen pictures

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 5:34PM
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I keep the coffee grinder out and my new, lime green, induction capable tea kettle. A lime green, induction capable tea kettle! I nearly squealed when I saw it in the store! I also have a big, heavy cutting board that usually lives on the counter. It's lighter weight colleagues are in a drawer.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 5:45PM
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Let's see.... Appliances: MW, coffeemaker, coffee grinder, and food processor. Non-appliances: dish drainer, lazy susan w/salt, pepper grinders, sugar bowl, etc. Nothing much "decorative". My goal for this weekend is to work on a weird kitchen cabinet that holds many things in a bad way. Hoping I can get it better organized and end up with space for the FP. I also need to find a home for my new 12" fry pan. It doesn't fit anywhere and may have to be relegated to the unused bedroom where the woks hang out when not in use.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 6:43PM
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I wish I could hang a pot rack on the ceiling, as that would free up cupboard space, but the ceilings in my kitchen are only 7 feet tall, so even I'd bang my head on pots hanging there. I don't know where the heck the cabinets came from, they are not even side enough to hold a 12 inch skillet, that has to go on its' side to store, it's too wide to sit flat.

the wisest choice for me would be to put more shelves in the basement, since the basement stairs are right off the kitchen and things would be more easily accessible on shelves than they are in plastic boxes. My basement is not finished, and is only about 15' x 20', but shelves would make things more accessible. Right now the only built in shelves are holding my canned goods.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 7:55PM
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I think I'm probably the only CF member who lives in a small apartment, so my perspective might be different...

i like appliances, so I enjoy seeing them out, but have limited counter space... I learned that if I don't keep something out, I don't use it (like the vacuum sealer, dehydrator, ice cream maker, slow cooker, mandoline (which isn't technically an appliance since it doesn't plug in) and halgoen oven... I use all of those about once a year because I'm too lazy to take them out each time I need them... if I do, they stay out for about a month before I muster the energy to put them back away).... I have the full sized blender (the immersion blenderS are in a drawer), KA mixer, microwave, toaster oven, portable induction unit, and juicer out... those would be too much of a pain to put away each time I want to use them, but the only one of those I use with any degree of regularity is the portable induction unit... The food processor is about the only thing I put away and take out when I want use it.... and I move the heavy juicer to the floor when I need more counter space... I tried putting the induction cooker in the cabinet, but I found myself reaching for it about every other day and quickly decided it deserved a permanent spot on the valuable, miniscule counter real estate....

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 9:04PM
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Annie, I had a very small semi-finished cellar in my old 20s California bungalow when I was first married. I was astonished at how much stuff I stored there after I moved to a more modern house and had to find places to put stuff. No one has basements or cellars in new houses here. I sure miss that little cellar.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 10:14PM
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Eileen, I have everything down there, from Christmas decorations to canned goods to kitchen appliances, plus that's where the furnace lives as well as the hot water heater.

It's amazing how much "stuff" is down there with the furnace ducting and the water pipes!

I'd have a little more space if my microwave went over the stove, but it doesn't, so that stays on the counter too...


    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 12:53AM
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Hey Bobby! Good to see you posting! Don't be a stranger, now...

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 8:11AM
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I fear the organization mavens on the boards will want to ban me completely for this confession, but I have everything out on my counters, which range from 30" to 36" deep, specifically to accommodate deep built-ins and appliances on the counters. Magimix, 27 year-old Dualit toaster, 30-year-old Kitchenaid mixer, food scale, small food processor, cutting boards, breadmaker (sometimes two), single portable induction plate, blender (in summertime). In the butler's pantry, electric kettle, coffee grinder, coffee press. Also cooking implements in two crocks. If these items aren't out, I do not use them, and they are there to be used. Right now, various canning-related devices are out, as well, because I made both pickle recipes I received here (YUMMM to the one that we've been able to taste, Loves2cookforsix) the other has a couple of weeks to go), and today we're making jam. At least ninety percent of the folks here would probably think it's too much clutter, but I like things at hand. I can lift to clean, but if I have to lift, carry elsewhere, put away, then do the reverse to use these things, I just won't. Especially, with various physical issues. My kitchen is for cooking. It was designed to be used, and I don't feel a need to cover up its function. DH has a deep fryer that has to live in the laundry room when not in use, but it's only for turkey when the weather is too bad for outdoor deep frying. Certain spices and oils are gathered on a tray so that they can be away from direct light and cooking heat, but readily accessible while food prep is going on. I had to move everything out when I resealed the granite and marble before Thanksgiving, but, within a week or two, it was all back out on the counters as each item was replaced in order to use.

And then there's this--a bit outdated because it's a few years old, but you get the idea.

(The bottle of Aleve isn't always out) ;

This post was edited by kitchendetective on Sat, Mar 16, 13 at 8:57

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 8:14AM
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kitchendetective , That what I call a real kitchen.

A kitchen is for cooking, cooking needs appliances, appliances need to be right there when you need them.

The only appliance that is not in my kitchen is my digital cold smoker. It is a 4.5 cu ft cabinet. It does its work in my basement.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 10:56AM
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beachlily z9a

Like some of you I have a small kitchen and like having the counters stay clean and uncluttered. the microwave is on the counter, but my Hobart, food processor and bread machine live on this butcher block. The top machines get used right where they sit.

That kitchen is no more. The space is empty, waiting for new cabinets. They will be installed tomorrow, Sunday. The young man who is installing them traded Monday for Sunday because his anniversary is on Monday. I couldn't complain, so he'll be here around noon tomorrow

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 12:41PM
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Beachlily, I think I mentioned it another time you showed this picture but I sure like that little utility cart you have. I'll bet it's really functional.

Appliances out: Let's see... coffeemaker, toaster are on the actual counters. I have a u-shaped kitchen/dining area so it's pretty compact, but I actually like it more now that mobility is compromised. Easier to reach everything. I put a shelf unit by the window so on there I keep the 6 qt Nesco, TV and the convection oven. Occasionally I'll put one or both of them away but lately they've stayed out. I also keep the dish drainer on the counter next to the sink of course. Also the cans for the utensils (my form of "crocks") are on the counter next to the stove. Form still follows function in my book (and kitchen). There's been a couple times I put away the coffeemaker and toaster when I wasn't using them much but when I use them frequently it's senseless to not keep them out.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 1:43PM
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kitchendetective, I really like all those copper pans and I envy that pot rack...


    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 4:20PM
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Thank you. DH designed the pot rack and had a vendor called Pappas Barn make it. Then DH, our builder, and our engineer worked out how to through-bolt it through the ceiling structure while the house was being built.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 4:28PM
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You folks make me feel better about wanting to keep everything out at hand:) Love to see the pics of real cook's kitchen. I need the cleaner-in-chief aka DH to see it my way and agree. He wants the counters to be easy to wipe down each night. Hmm- I wonder if I can out the appliances on those easy to slide furniture slider thingies..

Kitchen detective - I have copper pot envy!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 6:18PM
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I could be happy on a stool just staring at your copper all day. :)


    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 6:38PM
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