I love cooking.
I love it almost as much as I love traveling, and I don’t like giving it up no matter where I am.
Whether I’m at home, on a seven day backpacking trip in the Appalachians, or at a hostel in Munich, you better believe I’ll be finding a way to fix up a meal – sometimes through using a backpacking stove, sometimes through utilizing a shared kitchen, sometimes through sites like Couchsurfing, and sometimes through a mini kitchen setup in my car.
And as much as I love cooking on the go, it can be difficult without certain appliances. Lucky for me though, and for anyone else who’s interested in cooking while traveling, there are a ton of portable, mini sized appliances that are way more travel friendly than their traditional counterparts.
To make your life a little easier, I’ve put together a brief list of some of the best travel cooking appliances I’ve found. I hope it’ll be useful, and will make your search for the right cooking appliances go smoothly.
1. French Press
If you’re a big coffee or tea drinker, this portable french press might be a good buy for you. This is my favorite of all the travel french presses I’ve found because it’s intended for you to drink from the press itself, meaning you won’t have to carry around a thermos as well. I find that to be convenient, and it saves me precious packing room.
The thermos is made of double-walled stainless steel and keeps liquids hot and cold for several hours. It holds 15 ounces, is dishwasher safe, comes in multiple colors, and its lid is surprisingly good at preventing spills.
I’m not the biggest fan of espresso (I like my coffee real sweet and creamy to cut the bitterness) but my sister can’t seem to live without it. If you like it as much as she does, you might consider buying a Minipresso.
It’s what it sounds like – a miniature espresso maker. And it’s actually super practical for travelers, in particular. It weighs less than a pound, takes up very little space, and is manually operated, meaning you won’t have to worry about keeping it charged. It’s also very durable and makes espresso in 3 to 5 minutes.
The set comes with everything you’ll need, including the press itself, a built in espresso cup, filter basket, scoop, brush, pouch, and instruction booklet.
3. Foldable Kettle
I really, really like this one, and if you are a big hot beverage drinker like me, I 100% recommend you get it. Seriously, it’s that good.
As long as I know I’m going to have access to electricity, I take this foldable electric kettle with me. It makes heating water for tea and coffee so much less of a hassle, and pairs well with both of the appliances above. Its unfolded size is big enough to hold roughly 18 oz of water, but its folded size takes up only a fourth of that space, making it very travel friendly.
It’s made of food grade silicone and stainless steel, it boils water in only 3 minutes, and it comes equipped with boil dry protection, making it safe for you to walk away from and not have to worry about burning down your accommodation. 10/10 would recommend.
4. Portable Blender
If you enjoy morning smoothies and shakes, a mini blender might make your life a whole lot easier. I have one myself, but I use mine on small batches of hummus and pesto. They are very convenient to have around if you stay at accommodation without a blender or food processor. (which is more likely than not)
The only other means that I’d have to make hummus is with a mortar and pestle, or mashing them like mashed potatoes – no thanks. I’d much rather bring around a travel sized blender.
This one weighs only a little over a pound, is battery powered, and comes built in with a cup that you can drink straight out of or store food in. It’s strong enough to break down ice, frozen foods, and nuts/seeds. You can also blend with it while it’s charging, which is a lot more convenient than you’d think.
5. Backpacking Stove
I have one of these, and I love it. Backpacking stoves are awesome, and if you see yourself traveling frequently to places where there won’t be access to a stove, I recommend you invest in one. They take up next to no room, and if you get a good one, are just as good as a regular stove.
This one made by Jetboil, a brand well known for their high-quality camping stoves, weighs less than a pound, comes with a pot and measuring cup built-in, and boils water in only 2 minutes. It comes equipped with an insulated cozy and metal handle to prevent burns, has a convenient push button igniter, and – my favorite part – has incremental heat adjustments, ranging from a light simmer to a full boil, making not burning my food a lot easier.
Also, even if you’re not a frequent backpacker, having one of these in the trunk of your car/go bag can be a life saver. Having means to boil water and cook food is essential in any survival kit, and if you don’t know how to start a fire from scratch, you’re fresh outta luck.
6. Travel Stove
If you’re more of a road trip kind of person, and don’t mind your stove taking up a little more space, this vintage inspired portable gas stove is too cool. It looks like something straight out of the 50s, and comes with the stove itself, a plastic carrying case, a user manual, and an 8 oz can of butane. It’s actually not that big either at 2.6 pounds and 10 x 7 x 3 inches.
I can see this fitting perfectly in a renovated van or bus, or even in a car camping setting.
7. Wood Stove
If you don’t like the idea of having to lug around a butane canister everywhere you go, a wood-burning stove might be more fitting for you. This one is made of high quality stainless steel and is collapsible, making it super travel friendly. It comes with both a potholder top and BBQ grate for whichever method of cooking you prefer, and a carrying case to put it all in.
A couple things that people seem to like about this stove is that it gets piping hot, while staying cool enough on the exterior to carry around if need be, and is super lightweight compared to other wood burning stoves.
8. Hot Pot
Now this is a step up from a portable stove, and would be awesome for both travelers and people in dorms or rooms without access to a kitchen. It’s an electric hot pot, or a pan and portable stove combined into one.
Its maximum capacity is 6 cups, it has a non-stick coating to make cooking and cleanup easier, has overheat and boil dry protection, and has an easily adjustable temperature control setting.
It’s the perfect size pan for almost anything, being small enough to be portable and backpack friendly, while being big enough to cook things like steak and corn on the cob. It also comes in four different colors – green, purple, pink, and beige.
9. Mini Rice Cooker
I’m telling you right now, if I were going on a lengthy road trip, a mini rice cooker would be on my list of kitchen items to take. I eat a ton of rice, pretty much at least once a day, and cooking rice in a rice cooker is so much easier than in a pan. Once you put the ingredients in and turn it on, it’s hands free. It also keeps food warm for hours so you don’t have to reheat it if you get hungry again.
And if you’re not real big on rice, it can be used for other things like quinoa, oatmeal, stew, lentils, and mac n’ cheese. This miniature rice cooker comes with a removable non-stick pot, a rice paddle, a measuring cup, and a super simple user interface. It comes in six different colors as well, including black, aqua, pink, red, and white.
10. Mini Waffle Maker
If you’re looking for something really cheap and small, that’ll make cooking a little more fun, this mini waffle maker would be a good fit. It’s tiny, weighs less that a pound, and is great at making things like waffles, hash browns, paninis, brownies, and cookies. One of my favorite things to make in a waffle maker is quesadillas!
11. Air Fryer
Air fryers are an appliance I’ve only just started using, and I was missing out before. They get things crazy crispy in a way that you just don’t get in an oven, and are a much healthier alternative to deep frying.
This miniature air fryer has a maximum capacity of just over four cups and is very compact. It weighs just 5 pounds and is the smallest air fryer I’ve ever been able to find. It’d be perfect in an RV or renovated van, and I prefer it over portable ovens because it gets things crispier and takes up less space.
Those are all the best travel friendly appliances I use and recommend. If there’s one that you love and think I’ve missed, feel free to let me know in the comments below!
Please note that this article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of them, I earn a commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I 100% stand behind.
Hi, I’m Ash!
I’m a laid back traveler who loves experiencing new things and spontaneity. My favorite hobbies are hiking, gardening, skincare, and all things tea.
My biggest goal is to spread the word about sustainable travel and show everyone how easy it is to partake in. If you wanna learn more about that or get to know me better, feel free to click here.