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The first thing I wanted to do when I finally bought Animal Crossing: New Horizons was play homemaker. Forget weeding my island, and to hell with bugs, flowers, and fencing; I wanted to be the very best homeowner in all the digital lands. I immediately planned out a gorgeous, spooky witch’s cottage on a cliff somewhere (don’t @ me), and I would fill it with lovely rustic-looking furniture I could shake from trees or buy with a raccoon’s bells. Specifically, I wanted a bomb kitchen.
Then I got to thinking. Why do I want my kitchen to be so spectacular? Is it because I’m filling a void in my real-life home? Is my own kitchen not doing it for me anymore? The answer is yes. That’s why. And so, after I built my dream food palace in Animal Crossing, I used the gadgets I accrued as inspo for my actual home. Here are the results:
1. A coffee grinder for real beans
So, listen. I know what you’re thinking. Of course coffee beans need to be ground and this isn’t a new technology. And maybe I’ve just been too pampered my whole life, but when I saw the hand crank coffee grinder on Animal Crossing, I started thinking, “My god—what ingenuity!” while also craving a huge cup of java. One thing led to another, and I wound up here.
This grinder is nearly identical to the one you can get in Animal Crossing. It has a metallic crank and a wooden base—they even both have small golden plates on the front! This retro grinder has more than 1,000 reviews and a solid 4.3-star rating on Amazon, so even if you’re intimidated by the hand-crank model, you can rest easy knowing that 1,000 other people mastered it.
Get the Kalita coffee Mill KH-3 Retro One from Amazon for $26.99
2. A cute tea kettle to tie everything together
Animal Crossing just smacks of the kind of quaint, happy town that this city kid has always dreamed of someday settling down in, where everywhere you look, there are pastries, beautifully kept lawns, and lots and lots of teapots. There’s just something about a colorful kettle that makes me fantasize about the good things in life. This Le Creuset kettle, for example, is the perfect shape and style for my future life of tea and relaxation, with lots of colors to choose from. With 4.8 stars and lots of glowing reviews, it truly is worth fantasizing over. Plus, it looks nearly identical to the model you can get on your fictional island.
Get the Le Creuset Enamel on Steel 1.25 qt. Whistling Stovetop Kettle from Wayfair for $72.83
3. Mom’s homemade tea cozy
There’s nothing more fun than receiving a letter in the mail from mom, especially when that letter comes with a gift. Some Animal Crossing users will receive this adorable green tea cozy, handmade by your digital mother and featuring a large white sheep. If your mother can’t knit in real life, no worries—you can find a nearly identical cozy from Etsy. This tea cozy has a 5-star rating and is handmade from wool. The artist, PachamamaWoollies, sells a few different varieties of tea cozies in case sheep aren’t your bag.
Get the handmade Flock of Sheep Tea Cosy from Etsy for $30.14
4. A dutch oven
So, for the uninitiated, dutch ovens (known to me until just recently as a soup pot) are basically cauldrons you can use to make soup from scratch. They’re super easy to use and, just like in Animal Crossing, they elevate your kitchen’s overall aesthetic just by being out and prominent. This particular model from Staub gives you some really great cast-iron action, which, as an extreme perk, is also dishwasher safe. It has stellar reviews and, quite frankly, is gorgeous. Plus—it’s our favorite dutch oven you can buy. Put this bad boy in a prominent place in your kitchen and you’ve got yourself a really nice (and functional) piece of art.
Get the Staub Cast Iron 9-Qt. Round Cocotte for $419.99
5. A bamboo cutting board
If you’ve ever played Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you know what I mean when I say that cutting boards are better than gold. In order to craft some of the most ludicrously beautiful shelving, you first need the elusive cutting board, and I honestly think this is a good allegory for real life. You can’t actually have a good, functioning kitchen without something to cut things on. This puppy is one we tried and tested, and loved from Amazon. The best part: it’s bamboo, which is amazingly good for the environment and checks all the sustainability boxes. It’s also inexpensive!
Get the Totally Bamboo Kauai Bamboo Cutting Board from Amazon for $19.99
6. Everyone needs a blender
I’m an avid fan of blended, fruity drinks, but I never really think to make them myself. When I saw my character in Animal Crossing put a blender on his countertop, I thought: why don’t I ever use the blender I already own? I don’t have a good reason, so I guess I’ll be making smoothies later. The KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond Blender was our favorite affordable blender, as it was powerful and easy to use. We found that it could effortlessly blend everything from almonds to frozen fruit. Plus, like the one in my virtual home, it comes in a number of fun colors that make my kitchen feel brighter.
Get the KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond Blender from Walmart for $129.87
7. Who doesn’t love a rice cooker?
Having a rice cooker to actually cook rice feels like one of those decadent things that marks you as an Elite Adult. The second my Animal Crossing character shot one of these out of the sky, it was like a real-life cloud had lifted and I saw the light: I can just have one of these and never ruin a pot again. Luckily, there are a number of really great options, like this rice cooker, which was our favorite. It can make up to 5.5 cups of rice at one time, which is an obscene amount of rice, and it’s just as stinking cute as the game version—all round and compact, like a helpful kitchen robot. The reviews for this gadget are great, too, marking this a must-have cross-over from the AC:NH world.
Get the Neuro Fuzzy 5.5-Cup Premium White Rice Cooker with Built-In Timer from Amazon for $179.49
8. A super cute popcorn popper
I’m not the biggest fan of popcorn, but I think that’s because I’ve only ever had the boring bag-made version. It’s so lackluster compared to the gadget I saw for only a few hundred bells in the Animal Crossing general store, and in real life, popcorn poppers don’t appear to be that much more expensive. This one by Cuisinart, for example, has a GREAT rating and is very, very inexpensive, making it basically the best. It has a really good space-saving size for a more conservative countertop, and with the reviews, it’s solidly in the lead for the things I’m looking for in a gadget I don’t already own.
Get the Cuisinart Pop and Serve Popcorn Maker from Home Depot for $12.99
9. A classic knife set
Good knives are one of the cornerstones of a good kitchen, aesthetically and practically. They’re adorable in Animal Crossing, and while they’re not unusual gadgets, it’s not often you see a classic-looking butcher’s block knife set anymore. But we still love a high-quality knife block. Check out this beaut from Zwilling! It’s chic in all the right ways, and very reasonably priced for an 8-piece set. The reviews are glowing, as well, which sells me on this one for sure.
Get the Zwilling Four-Star Anniversary 8-piece Knife Block Set for $199.99
10. This fantastic charcoal grill
This is admittedly kitchen-adjacent, but certainly a gadget worth mentioning from the Animal Crossing world. You can’t build a kitschy picnic area without a grill, after all, and something like this gorgeous grill is exactly what I found in the game to complete the look. My favorite part: it’s compact enough to store easily in the winter months, and it has that vintage look to it that makes you take a deep, steadying, summer-laden breath and say, “Ah, yes. That is a grill.” Well, at least that’s what it made me want to do. My other favorite part: the price is hard to beat.
Get the Napoleon NK22K-LEG-2 from Wayfair for $212.99
11. My favorite stand mixer
Cut to me pulling a stand mixer out of a present on Animal Crossing and realizing, with a start, that one of my all-time favorite kitchen gadgets made it to my virtual world. This gadget is a must-have in every well-rounded kitchen, whether you’re a baker or a home chef. When we tested stand mixers, the KitchenAid came out on top—which shouldn’t be a huge surprise. The KitchenAid mixer line is expansive, and it offers a range of features, colors, and accessories you can customize for your own kitchen and cooking abilities.
Get the KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer from Amazon for $349.95
12. Revolving kitchen tray
Kitchens aren’t real kitchens without a spice rack, and Animal Crossing agrees. Little did I know, however, that you can buy actual countertop storage built to rotate. This is a game-changer, friends; no longer will my cupboard have to look like I’ve lost all reason, with little jars of spices strewn about haphazardly. I saw this concept in the game and knew it had to be merely a click away, and voila: this vintage kitchen tray looks distressed, which adds an element of class to any kitchen. It has two levels for pantry storage, which you can use to store spices, fresh fruits, and more.
Get the Creative Co-op Distressed Wood 2-Tier Tray with Metal Handle from Amazon for $67.99
13. An adorable toaster
I am solidly here for any kind of kitchen gadget that makes me think of the 1950s. From their vintage chic feel to how they invoke this idea of the kitchen being a place of warmth and love, gizmos like this toaster, and its old-fashioned dial, really give me the warm-and-fuzzies. Animal Crossing is all about this old-school style, too, which makes building a dream home such a, well, dream. When we tried toasters, we loved the Cuisinart 2 Slice Compact Plastic Toaster, which looks nearly identical to the in-game model. For a little bit of a new-age twist on an old classic, there’s a “reheat” setting—for your toast. How magical! The reviews on this product are also phenomenal, so we’ll happily add it to the real-life must-haves list.
Get the Cuisinart 2-slice Compact Toaster from Target for $29.99
14. An old-school kitchen scale
No vintage kitchen is complete without an analog kitchen scale. We’ve tested (and loved) digital kitchen scales, but in the world of Animal Crossing, it’s all about the antique appliances (they have a butter churner, OK?). In the game, you can get this tool in a number of different colors, but in real life, you want to spring for this stainless-steel model from Taylor Precision Products. It has nearly 2,000 reviews on Amazon and a solid 4.5-star rating.
Get the Taylor Stainless Steel Analog Kitchen Scale from Amazon for $21.58
15. An at-home espresso maker
In Animal Crossing, I’m running around and talking to my friends every day. In real life, I’m spending my time socializing in Animal Crossing because COVID has forced me to stay at home more than I’d like. Even though I’m not buying nearly as much coffee as I used to, I can still make my favorite caffeinated drinks at home with an espresso maker, which also lines the counter of my virtual kitchen. When we tested espresso makers, our favorite was the Nespresso Creatista Plus by Breville, which provided an easy (and fun!) way to make tasty espressos at home.
Get the Nespresso Creatista Plus by Breville from Walmart for $699.95
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