16 kitchen products you need to cook holiday dinners in a small space

Preparing a multi-course meal for the holidays in a small kitchen can seem like a feat that requires extreme precision and skill. But it's possible with smart use of your space and a plan for cooking dishes in the right order so you're not rushing to serve guests at the last minute.

"Holiday cooking can be a little hectic, but if you have a list of dishes you're preparing, you can put together an elaborate holiday meal," says Patti Delgado, executive chef at Vibrant Restaurant in Houston, Texas Delgado said.

The good news is that you don’t have to leave all the cooking until the day of the event, but can use some time before the event to get started. Read: No procrastination allowed here.

“I always save the main course (or protein dish) and fresh food like a salad or pickled herbs for the day of the event,” Delgado says. "But I give myself a head start on sauces, vinaigrettes and casseroles because they tend to develop deeper flavors [over time]." For these, she says you can make them up to three days in advance good.

For side dishes like preserves or pickled vegetables, Delgado says you can make them up to five days in advance — just make sure they stay fresh in an airtight container.

On the day of the event, Delgado recommends cooking the protein first and then the other dishes so they have some time to rest before cutting and serving.

Now that you have your kitchen plan, here is a list of some space-saving gadgets that will make your small kitchen look more spacious.

Rotary appliance hook

A cute jar of spoons, spatulas, and whisks may look neat, but it takes up valuable counter space you need when preparing holiday meals. Mount a pair of these swivel hooks to the bottom of your cabinet to save space and keep your instruments ready for use.

Popular review: “I love it and they keep the utensils out of the way. Great for keeping clutter out.”

Silicone dishwasher anti-slip mat

If you're short on counter space and need to put hot pans or dishes out to rest, try using this silicone mat as a heat-resistant trivet. You can also use it as a regular dish drying mat when you're not planning on cooking a lot during the holidays.

Popular review: "I bought this to protect the edge of the black granite at the sink. But it has so many uses. It's a dish drain, electric stove and work space. Silicone is a great product."

tiered cooling rack

Whether you're baking multiple pies or a batch of cookies, or just need another place to store a hot dish until it reaches the table, this three-tier cooling rack has you covered. Place it on a table or countertop and you can stack three plates or pans without taking up a lot of space - or just use one rack if you just need one.

Popular review: "I love that they are stackable so you don't have to take out all three if you only need one. Great for cooling cookies and cakes."

stove cover

Your stove is the workhorse of your kitchen. Even when the burner is off, get the most out of it with this bamboo stove cover. Simply place the plate over the cool burner (it works on both gas and electric stoves) to convert your appliance into more prep space.

Popular review: “This adds a lot of counter space to our apartment’s smaller kitchen.”

Cutting board on sink

A cutting board is an important tool for any home cook. If you are studying multiple courses, you may be juggling multiple committees at the same time. This over-the-sink cutting board extends your counter space while also allowing you to easily wash vegetables and dump the peels into the sink or dispose for quick cleanup.

Popular review: "Thick, well made, and durable... yes, it's a cutting board, but compared to other cutting boards I own, it's a great cutting board."

Kitchen timer (2-pack)

Even though there are various digital devices with timers, an old-fashioned kitchen timer makes it easy to keep you and your food on schedule. This two-pack of digital timers helps keep track of multiple dishes, and it's magnetic - just place it on the refrigerator to get started.

Popular review: “This is a handy digital timer set that’s great for cooking.”

Tiered Kitchen Shelving Unit Wayfair

Worried about the gaps between your cabinets and appliances? This slim roll-up shelving unit gives you almost as much storage space as other cabinets. Use it to store dry goods, spices, cooking oil, utensils, etc. Slide it out while cooking and slide it back when you're done to make the most efficient use of your kitchen space.

Popular comments: "He's perfect! It turned this awkward space into a usable space."

Corner shelf organizer

Clear clutter from your counter with this multi-tiered corner bamboo rack. You can adjust the shelves in the direction you want to quickly organize oils, bottles, spices, kitchen utensils and more.

Popular review: "This fits perfectly into the counter nook in my small kitchen. I now have so much more space!"

Translate our place forever

You've probably seen Always Pan popping up all over your social media feeds, and we even had a guest appearance on Hulu's hit show The Bear . This multi-purpose cooker deserves a place in your kitchen, too. Always Pan replaces griddles, woks, steamers, griddles and more. Plus, it comes in a beautiful, bright color and you won't mind leaving it on the stovetop when not in use, although you can also store it comfortably in a cupboard.

Popular review: “Love it! It’s by far my go-to pan for just about everything.”

Magnetic spice rack

It's natural to want to have your go-to spices within easy reach when you need a little of this and a little of that. This magnetic spice rack sticks directly to your refrigerator so you don't have to clog your cabinets or countertops with bottles, and it also has a hook for hanging spoons, cooking gloves, or other small utensils.

Popular review: “Very happy with the strength of the magnets on these shelves. They can hold a lot of weight, no problem.”

5-in-1 tableware

Why have five pieces of utensils when you can have one that can be used as a colander, solid spoon, spatula, turner, and slicer? You just cleaned out your cutlery box thanks to this handy kitchen gadget.

Popular review: “The best kitchen gadget I never knew I needed.”

Kitchen Gizmo Pot Strainer

If you serve pasta, you know that a traditional colander can take up space in your sink. This pot strainer does all the jobs of a regular colander but at a fraction of the size. It works on pots, pans and bowls - just snap it on and pour out liquid. If you use these handy little tools regularly, you could even buy a few and they still won't take up as much space as a regular colander.

Popular review: “Easily clips onto all my plant pots and works perfectly.”

Knife magnet storage box

Your kitchen backsplash is no longer just for decoration. Use it with this elegant looking magnetized knife holder that holds a butcher block of knives. Your countertops will thank you for the breathing room.

Popular review: “Not only does the wood add a beautiful element to my kitchen, the magnets are strong enough to securely hold a 10-inch, three-pound chef’s knife and four other heavy steel knives with zero wobble and zero looseness. "

stacking utensils

If your cutlery box is so overcrowded that it's hard to reach a ladle or spatula, try this compact stand-up tool set. This stylish set of five nylon utensils fits into a ladle that is magnetized into an upright stand and takes up minimal space.

Top Reviews: "This is perfect for my small student apartment with minimal counter space. They are durable, easy to clean, and look great."

colander on sink

This over-the-sink colander makes it easy to wash vegetables and fruits and even drain cooked pasta. You can even use it to dry kitchen utensils after washing them to eliminate clutter on the dish drying rack.

Top Reviews: "This product is amazing! It's super easy and versatile."

Roll-up dish drying rack

This silicone-coated stainless steel gadget doubles as an over-the-sink dish drying rack and heat-resistant trivet, so you have another place to place your hot pot food while you prepare your meals. When finished roll it up and store in a drawer until next use.

Popular review: "This roll-up dish drying rack has become a staple in my kitchen! I don't have a lot of counter space, so it's great to use part of the sink as a drying space for larger items."


Patti Delgado, executive chef at Vibrant.