40 Best Gifts for Chefs, According to Our Test Kitchen Professionals
Have a foodie in the family? A baking best friend? Check out the best gifts for chefs with recommendations from the pros in our Test Kitchen.
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We’re going to take a wild guess: The serious home chef in your life is already elbows deep in holiday meal planning. Christmas prep is a mighty task, and it never hurts to show your thanks with thoughtful gifts for chefs that say “I appreciate you.”
We tapped our Test Kitchen pros to find the best gifts for chefs. From top of the line knives to the best kitchen items for perfecting their craft, these are the tools and appliances our Test Kitchen swears by. Not only will they take your loved one’s skills to the next level, they deliver on delicious rewards.
Looking for more foodie-inspired gifts? We have gifts for bakers, bread aficionados, cheese board masters and cake queens, too.
Even chefs need to upgrade or refresh their cookware now and again. Consider a pretty ceramic set from Caraway. These nonstick pans are a breeze to clean (pair them with these newly launched nonstick steamers for the ultimate gift package). Plus, they easily go from stovetop to oven (and withstand high temps—up to 550ºF). Oh, and did we mention they come in 10 gorgeous hues? Talk about the best gifts for chefs and home cooks!
Not only did the Misen Chef’s knife win our Test Kitchen’s seal of approval as one of the best Chef’s knife, our Deputy Affiliate eCommerce Editor, Megan Wood, swears by this knife, too. It boasts pro-grade AUS-10 Japanese Steel that stays sharper for longer. Plus, it comes in four stunning colors guaranteed to wow the cook in your life.
Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract
What food gift would our Prep Kitchen Manager, Catherine Ward want to receive? Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract. “A bottle of their Madagascar vanilla and vanilla bean paste would be a really nice, indulgent gift.” Quality vanilla extracts are often pricey, so they make great gifts for baker friends. And be sure to check out the brand’s other extracts like almond, lemon, orange and peppermint for specialty bakes.
Silicone Baking Mat
A Silpat silicone baking mat is one of the best gifts for chefs. (Not to mention it’s one of the most affordable options). It’s so nonstick, food practically glides off on its own. It’s a thoughtful present, too, because it helps cooks spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying their craft. Cookie bakers need it, as well.
It doesn’t get more elegant than these pure Cabernet wine glasses. Featuring hand-blown glass made in Germany, these glasses are a high quality yet affordable pick that shows you care about how they drink their vino. Make it an extra thoughtful wine gift by pairing it with their favorite bottle. Cheers!
Culinary Blow Torch
A culinary blow torch is just the level of extra that your loved one will appreciate. Wondering what they’ll do with it? Think: caramelized creme brulee, swirly, toasty meringue on a baked Alaska, or a perfectly roasted marshmallow for s’mores (no campfire necessary!).
Magnetic Knife Rack
Frequently used knives stay within arm’s reach with a wall-mounted magnetic knife rack. This acacia wood rack looks great in any kitchen and is much easier to keep clean than any knife block. Storing knives upright like this is an ideal way for chefs to show off their culinary prowess and keep their tools in great shape.
KitchenAid Cordless Hand Mixer
Be tethered to the outlet no more! A cordless hand mixer from KitchenAid is one of the best gifts for chefs and foodies they’ll enjoy using for years to come. They’ll whip up cream, batters and doughs without getting tangled—plus, this gadget comes in several pretty colors as you’d expect from KitchenAid. And the company’s cordless line doesn’t end at hand mixers—they have cordless immersion blenders and food choppers, too.
Adjustable Wooden Cookbook Stand
An adjustable cookbook stand might be one of the most practical options on our list of the best gifts for chefs. Why? Because referencing a recipe hands-free will make them wonder what they ever did without a stand. They’ll never have to worry about getting the precious pages of their favorite cookbooks greasy or dirty again!
Plus, this stand has an adjustable ledge that accommodates any thickness of cookbook, from a single sheet printout to a homemade binder of all their favorite recipes—a feature that not all cookbook stands have.
True guacamole lovers understand the appeal of using a molcajete when making the holy grail of chip dips. Grinding your vegetables and spices by hand with a pestle—as opposed to simply chopping the ingredients and combining—releases more flavor, making guacamole inherently more delicious. Plus, similar to how a cast-iron pan builds up seasoning with use, a molcajete retains flavor every time you use it. So, the more guacamole they make, the better!
A molcajete is just one of the several Mexican cooking tools that deserve a spot in their kitchen.
Vitamix Professional Blender
Ask our Test Kitchen about the best blenders, and Vitamix tops the list. Specifically the E310 Explorian Blender, to be exact. The 48-oz capacity is ideal for medium batch soups while 10 speeds allow chefs to achieve the finest blend, every. single. time. Trust us, it’s a chef’s dream blender! Learn more about the best Vitamix options.
Instant Read Thermometer
They’ll never guess if their meat or bakes are at the right temperature ever again. An instant-read thermometer is a must for checking food safe temps fast. In our Test Kitchen, you’ll find our cooks and stylists using the Thermapen over and over again to make sure their creations are delicious, beautiful and ready to sample. File it under gifts for the griller and chefs alike.
3-in-1 Chopper, Dicer, Mandoline Slicer
Why purchase three separate tools when prep is complete with an all-in-one gadget? This 3-in-1 chopper, dicer and mandoline slicer preps onions for salsas, zucchini for zoodle recipes, and potatoes for au gratin potatoes, plus so much more. It also includes a catch tray so chefs can easily prep veggies and toss them straight into the pot. If you want to buy it separately, here’s our list of the best mandoline slicers, tested by our pros.
Bamboo Steamer Basket
A bamboo steamer basket is the perfect gift for people that love dumplings, gyoza and potstickers, whether they want to make them from scratch or indulge in the best store-bought varieties. However, gyoza and dumplings aren’t the only thing you can make with it: Vegetables, fish and poultry are all a perfect fit for the steamer basket.
Glass Prep Bowls
Prepping ingredients is an essential task for any home chef. To help them with the process, gift a set of glass prep bowls. Executive Culinary Director, Sarah Farmer, relies on these bowls for everyday ingredient prepping. Pair the set with a bench scraper for an extra thoughtful gift.
Now that they have beautiful glass bowls for prepping, gift the chef in your life a no-frills bench scraper. It transfers ingredients with ease while keeping busy fingers clean.
Lodge Cast-Iron Pizza Pan
Pizza is served! This Lodge cast-iron pizza pan makes one of the best gifts for chefs and pizza lovers alike. They’ll look forward to decadent crispy crust and evenly cooked dough every time pizza night calls their name. You can’t go wrong with the Lodge cast-iron skillet, either.
Taste of Home 30 Minute Cookbook
A cookbook is truly the gift that keeps on giving, and the Taste of Home 30 Minute Cookbook is one every chef should keep in their kitchen for easy meal time inspiration. The chef in your life will be thrilled to finally have a cookbook on hand that doesn’t require hours of preparation. All they need is ingredients and 30 minutes to spare and voila! Yummy snacks, dinner and dessert in minutes. It’s basically the next best thing to having a Taste of Home expert in their kitchen.
Cooking is a messy business. Help the chef in your life keep their area clean with a well-fitting apron. These durable aprons are designed by chefs, so you know they’re made to last. Just take it from Taste of Home Editor (and serious baker), Lisa Kaminski, who loves that Hedley & Bennett aprons are fully adjustable and boast plenty of pockets.
If they haven’t tried it yet, sous vide is the cooking method they’re missing out on. It makes it practically impossible to overcook food, and it’s not nearly as daunting as it seems! Give your favorite chefs this Breville sous vide for the holidays, and a perfectly cooked steak will never be too far away.
In comparison to other sous vide cookers that can measure up to 16-inches tall, this tool is much smaller, clocking in at 11 inches, which means your loved one won’t have to worry about it taking up too much drawer space. If they love this sous vide (we know they will), consider getting them one of these other smart kitchen gadgets next year.
Essential Spices Collection
If your favorite chef or foodie doesn’t have a fresh herb garden on their window sill, chances are they rely upon jarred herbs and spices. Treat them to the very best with a full assortment of seasonings from the Spice House. It’s a favorite company of Senior Food Stylist, Shannon Norris.
Wüsthof Paring Knife
Don’t let the chef in your life settle for flimsy little paring knives. Instead gift them a good one, like this paring knife from Wüsthof. They’ll quickly learn why our Test Kitchen cooks with these small knives constantly. They’re a must for small prep tasks—everything from peeling apples to chopping nuts to mincing garlic. It’s one of our most-loved Amazon kitchen finds.
We’d be surprised if your friend or family member doesn’t already have a food scale in their kitchen, because it makes all the difference for baked goods like homemade bread and pie crust. This OXO food scale has an intuitive design and nonslip feet, so they won’t have to worry about nudging the scale on the floor as they flurry about the kitchen. It’s even recommended by our Test Kitchen.
Heirloom Kitchen Cookbook
Paging through a new cookbook for inspiration is a great joy for any chef. Heirloom Kitchen is a beautiful volume full of heartfelt stories and delicious meals from around the world. Learn more about the making of Heirloom Kitchen, and check out some of our favorite cookbooks for authentic cuisine.
Whether they’re deep-frying or hard-boiling, a spider tool is a chef’s best friend. Unlike some mesh strainers, a spider boasts an extra long handle for keeping arms away from heat, while the sturdy wire-mesh stands up to all kinds of uses. It’s one of the tools our Executive Culinary Director, Sarah Farmer, relies on for dropping eggs into boiling water, deep-frying foods, blanching veggies and beyond.
Step into our Test Kitchen pantry and you’ll see dozens of these OXO Good Grips canisters holding everything from flour to graham crackers to gumdrops. These airtight containers are perfect for keeping pantry staples fresh and make ideal gifts for chefs who care about staying organized.
Marble Rolling Pin
A beautiful rolling pin is a thoughtful gift for someone who loves to bake—because it’s not always necessary to splurge on a rolling pin, but it sure is worth it! We’ve found that marble rolling pins are especially helpful when you’re rolling out chilled cookie dough and tougher bread doughs, or just when you need some extra elbow grease.
This marble rolling pin even comes with a stand, so your loved one can keep it on display in their kitchen. Pair it with a marble cutting board to match and they’ll have a stylish setup that shows off their affinity for baking. It’s the ultimate gift for pie bakers.
Oversized Cutting Board
When it comes to cutting boards, bigger is better. This oversized board is 23 by 14-inches—huge! That gives chefs plenty of space for chopping all sorts of veggies or carving up a chicken. Another reason we love this board: It has a groove around the perimeter to catch any liquid, so the counter stays clean.
A funny name for an incredibly useful countertop gizmo, though one even foodies may not already have. A salt pig is an open container that allows you to grab a pinch of salt whenever you need it without rummaging in the pantry. This ceramic container keeps salt free of clumps and at the ready. It’s adored by one of our editors and makes a great gift for the foodie in your life.
You can’t go wrong with a set of kitchen towels when it comes to gifts for chefs. It’s something they rely on to keep busy fingers clean, and to add character to their workstation (aka kitchen). Gift a set in their favorite color to brighten up their kitchen. These pretty tea towels are also a good gift idea.
Taste of Home Wine Subscription
Wine is such a big part of the culinary arts. It can be paired with any dish and even plays an important role as an ingredient. Make sure your favorite chef is never without a bottle for their next recipe by signing them up for a wine subscription, like Taste of Home‘s wine club. This service delivers bottles that suit your tastes right to your door. Not into wine? Consider these other subscription boxes for cooks and bakers.
While foods like ribs and barbecue sauce are already delicious on their own, they’re almost always even more delicious when smoked. That extra element of flavor in a dish takes food from “meh” to mind blowing! But adding liquid smoke isn’t the only way to do it—using a smoking gun is a much more fun option. This smoking gun from Breville enables home chefs to smoke their favorite foods with ease, and doubles as an impressive party trick, too. Home bartenders can even use this tool to give any one of these drinks with tequila an extra kick. For more options, you can check out our picks for the best cocktail smokers of the year, too.
Cute Kitchen Timer
Every cook needs to keep track of time. Treat the chef in your life to a cute timer that matches their personality, like this cat timer. Not interested in cats? Don’t worry—we’ve found all kinds of cute timers to keep you on track.
Almost every serious cook has tried their hand at making homemade pasta. If not, it’s definitely on their cooking bucket list! Help your foodie friends check off this to-do with a pasta maker that rolls and cuts pasta.
Whether they’re a four-star chef or a casual cook, everyone needs some small, flexible spatulas in their toolbox. They’ll turn to these to scrape the last bit of peanut butter out of the jar, spread a bit of jam on toast or whip up a batter.
Prep Kitchen Manager, Catherine Ward, says, “An enameled cast-iron Dutch oven is a must-have.” These durable pieces of cookware are ideal for dinner, soups, bread and best of all, dessert. If you really want to treat a foodie friend, go for Le Creuset’s Dutch oven as one of the best gifts for chefs. “It’s top of the line,” according to Catherine.
This wide, flat microplane paddle grater is perfect for zesting large lemons and oranges. It’s also ideal for shaving cheese to top pasta or grating spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Senior Editor, Emily Parulski, loves her microplanes and uses them to grate cheese constantly.
Herb Razor and Scissors
Sometimes, the stems are the best, most flavorful part of the herb. But a lot of times, you want to discard the stems before you use the herb, like for kale in any one of these kale recipes. This herb razor and scissors not only helps chefs separate the leaves and the stems, but it also offers aptly sized scissors to chop them up, too.
Help keep their best fruits and veggies fresh with containers from OXO Good Grips. These produce keepers really do work! They extend the shelf life of their favorite veggies, berries and other fresh finds. They’re a must for any cook or veggie lover.
Now that they have some of the best knives on the block, a knife sharpener is key for precise chopping. But don’t gift them just any knife sharpener. Treat them to the best knife sharpener, according to our Test Kitchen. The Chef’s Choice Trizor XV Knife Sharpener came out on top in our Test Kitchen’s testing, and they love that it sharpens, hones and polishes knives of all sizes. Not to mention the 15-degree bevel that offers a much sharper edge compared to traditional knife sharpeners with a 20-degree edge.
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