Wednesday, March 29, 2023


RV appliances: Readers share their ‘must have’ small RV appliances

Last week we asked you about your favorite RV kitchen gadgets, and boy, did we get a TON of responses!

We know that cooking in small spaces can present challenges. So we wanted to know what makes RV cooking easier for you and what is the one RV kitchen gadget or RV kitchen accessory you just cannot live without.

Some answers kept coming up over and over again. I would say the top three overall winners were:

  • Multi cookers such as Instant Pots or the Ninja All-in-One Foodi
  • Portable induction cooktops
  • Cast iron skillets and Dutch ovens

But that’s just a quick snapshot. We got SO MANY great answers it was way too much for a single article.

So I am going to break this topic into three posts:

  1. Favorite RV small appliances (we’ll cover those in this post)
  2. Favorite low-tech RV kitchen gadgets (in other words, those that are boondocking-ready and need no power)
  3. Odd or unusual RV kitchen gadgets you might not have considered or even heard of. (This post will also include unusual ways of using things you have heard of.)

We’ll add links to Parts 2 and 3 as we publish them in the upcoming weeks. But for now, let’s start with your favorite small RV appliances.

Since space is so limited in an RV, a small appliance really has to deliver to be useful.

Extra bonus if it does not take too much electrical juice to run. Although if you are parked in a campground it really doesn’t matter. Likewise, a lot of people who answered our survey had different kitchen favorites, depending on if they had hookups or not.

Readers’ Favorite Small RV Appliances

Without further ado, here they are in order of popularity—your favorite appliances to take along in your RVs:

  • Multi cookers
  • Portable induction cooktops
  • Toaster oven or convection toaster oven
  • Microwave or microwave/convection combo oven
  • Air fryers
  • Slow cookers
  • Keurig coffee makers
  • Electric skillets

Let’s explore further.

Multi-cookers, air fryers, and slow cookers, oh my!

best RV appliances - Instant PotNo surprise that multi-cookers were the most popular answer. They can function in so many ways depending on the model you choose: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, egg cooker, air fryer, yogurt maker, dehydrator, and more.

Two brands of multi-cookers kept coming up again and again. Instant Pot was by far the favorite. But it’s also been around the longest and is the best-known brand. Nonetheless, close on its heels was Ninja All-In 1-Foodi.

Both of these appliances function similarly, work well, and have various options for consumers to choose from depending on how many of the multi-functions they need. Some even have a sous vide option!

Joni W. said:
“An Instant Pot is absolutely essential to me. It takes food from freezer to table in short minutes. It can slow cook, sear, and much more. Making potato salad took forever in the RV, but with the instant pot it takes about 20 minutes total to cook potatoes and eggs and put the salad together. A real time-saver, and it makes clean-up easy as well.”

Karla W. adds:
“My favorite kitchen gadget is my Ninja Foodi all-in-one cooker. I can pressure cook, use it as a cooktop to sauté, or use it as an oven. The Ninja Foodi also has an air fryer function that works great. Don’t throw out the leftover French fries, use the Foodi air fryer function and they come out even better! There’s even a setting to make yogurt.”

As a side note to the topic of multi-cookers, a lot of people wrote that they can’t live without their air fryer or their slow cooker. This is great if you already own one of these appliances. However, if you are still shopping, opt for a multicooker that does it all in one appliance.

I bet Becky N., below, bought her Instant Pot before they came up with an air fryer addition. Becky says:
“I have an air fryer that I use on a daily basis. In fact, I don’t use my stove or oven for anything other than counter space. I also use an Instant Pot on occasion.”

Why are multicookers and slow cookers so popular? Because you can throw in the ingredients, turn it on, go out exploring for the day, and come home to a hot cooked meal ready to serve. What could be better than that?

Portable induction cooktops

Portable Induction cooktop - RV readers LOVE their portable induction cooktops! This was the second most popular answer to our poll after multicookers.

Ted S. explains why they’re so popular:
“My wife thought of this to use instead of the propane cooktop. First off, we covered the gas cooktop for more counter space. The hot plate is fast heating, compact, easily stowed and portable to be used outside.”

Stephen H. adds:
“My favorite kitchen item is a countertop induction burner. Inside the coach, it eliminates gas stove heat and fumes and, using an extension cord, it can be used to cook or warm stuff on the outside table.”

Let’s talk RV ovens

rv appliances microwave convection ovens
A lot of our readers love, love, love their microwave ovens and say this is the one thing they couldn’t live without in the RV kitchen. Even more enthusiastic were those who have microwave oven/convection oven combos.

Many other readers cited a countertop toaster oven as their favorite RV small kitchen appliance. These too come with a toaster oven/convection option and the consensus among our readers is it’s worthwhile as it cooks food faster and better.

What almost all the oven commenters agreed on was a disdain for the ovens that came with their RVs. They found the other options to be far more effective.

Electric skillets

rv appliances - electric skilletAnother popular appliance a lot of our readers take along is an electric skillet. In fact, these versatile small appliances have so many uses, you could probably do most all your cooking chores with one, even if you are camping in an RV without a kitchen.

Jeannie C. said:
“My ‘must have’ is my electric skillet, which can be used to cook a variety of foods. Using the accessories that are available for it, even baking can be accomplished! It really is a most versatile tool and one I’m not willing to do without.”

Sheryl H. concurs, adding:
“I cook almost every meal in my Presto Electric Fry Pan. In three years I’m on my second one because I wore the first one clean out! You can fry, grill, bake, stew, just about does everything, and just wipes clean most of the time.”

Darla V. says:
“I love my electric skillet. You can cook outside and use it just like an expensive flat-top grill. For parks where electric is included, it’s perfect.”

Keurig coffee machines

rv appliances, keurig coffee maker
Lastly, a lot of you love your Keurig coffee makers when in the RV.

This one surprised me as to my mind there are better, smaller space, electricity-free ways to make coffee that also generate less trash (we’ll talk about those in the next installments of this series).

But to each their own. A lot of you said you start your days in the RV with coffee made in your Keurig machines.

Remember, next week we’ll look at your favorite low-tech RV kitchen gadgets (in other words, those that are boondocking-ready and need no power). See you then!




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1 month ago

If you’ve ever wondered why campgrounds never have enough spaces, it’s because they’re built to accommodate people who can’t leave home without bringing half of their home with them.
I’ve never seen a campsite without a fire pit. I’ve never been less than satisfied with the food I prepare using it. At a certain point, you’re not even camping anymore…

Gary R
1 month ago

We purchased a portable ice maker last year. Makes 8 ice cubes every 8 minutes. It makes ice much faster than cubes being made in the freezer. We use it every few days and save extra ice in a zip lock baggie in the freezer to use for those days in between. We were at an RV show last fall and were surprised at how many new trailers come with ice Ice makers these days.

Earl Balentine
1 month ago

I use to carry around my small gas grill in my rv. I also had a big stainless steel BBQ grill at home. I had bought a 17″ blackstone griddle and it sat in a box for almost 2 years. I finally forced myself to take it with me on a camping trip. I guess I was procrastinating because I thought the grill was too heavy to mess with. But I loaded it up and took it with me on the next week long rv trip. I was totally impressed by how the food cooked faster, tasted better and easy cleanup. When I got home I went out and replaced my big stainless steel BBQ with a 36″ 4-burner Blackstone griddle and never looked back. I also replaced my 17″ BS 1-burner griddle in the RV and bought a 22″ 2-burner BS griddle. The 22″ griddle gave me a little more room when making those breakfast burrito’s and warming up tortillas on the side while maintaining different temperatures. “breakfast is ready” 🙂

1 month ago

I replaced my Keurig with a similar sized Nespresso coffee maker. Coffee is so much better. Yes the capsules are much more expensive but for me well worth it. It is more difficult to get the capsules while on the road so have to plan ahead.

1 month ago

Cannot do without my Keurig style single cup coffee maker. Only one who drinks coffee, so suits me just fine. Paid $10 for one that works the same as that $100 Keurig rig. One in house, one in RV, and a new backup ready to go. Aldi is your friend.

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