30 of the Best Gifts for Chefs, According to Our Test Kitchen
Have a foodie in the family? A baking BFF? Check out the best gifts for chefs with recommendations from the pros in our Test Kitchen.
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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 up, plus, they can easily go from stovetop to oven (and withstand high temps—up to 550ºF). Oh, and did we mention they come in five gorgeous hues? See what we thought of Caraway ceramic cookware.
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!).
Keep frequently used knives handy 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 your knives upright like this is a great way to show off your culinary prowess and keep them in great shape. Just be sure to avoid these common kitchen knife mistakes.
Be tethered to the outlet no more! Give your favorite foodie a cordless hand mixer from KitchenAid. You can 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.
An adjustable cookbook stand might be one of the most practical options on our list of the best gifts for chefs. Why? Because being able to reference a recipe hands-free will make them wonder what they did without a stand to begin with. 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 will 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 your guacamole inherently more flavorful. 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 you make, the better!
A molcajete is just one of the several Mexican cooking tools that deserve a spot in your kitchen.
Never guess if your 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.
Why purchase three separate tools for your kitchen when you can get it all done with one? This 3-in-1 chopper, dicer and mandoline slicer from Fullstar will help you prep onions for salsas, zucchini for zoodle recipes, and potatoes for au gratin potatoes, plus so much more. Plus, this tool includes a catch tray so you can easily prep your veggies and toss them straight into the pot for whatever dish you’re making, without the transition step of having to scrape them off of a cutting board.
What 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 can often be pricey, so they make great gifts for baker friends. And be sure to check out other extracts like almond, lemon, orange and peppermint for specialty bakes.
A bamboo steamer basket is the perfect gift for people that love dumplings, gyoza and potstickers, whether they want to make them from scratch themselves or love indulging in the best store-bought varieties (Trader Joe’s gyoza, we’re looking at you). 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 too. Although, it could be fun to learn how to make dumplings from scratch with the person you give it to.
Cooking can be a messy business. Keep clean with a well-fitting apron from Hedley & Bennett. These durable aprons are designed by chefs, so you know they’re made to last. These aprons are fully adjustable so you can get the right fit, and they have plenty of pockets, including one perfectly sized for a phone (you know, for checking out that recipe you’re reading online!).
If you haven’t tried it yet, sous vide is the cooking method that you’re missing out on. It makes it practically impossible to overcook your 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 others that can be up to 16″ tall, this tool is much smaller, clocking in at 11″, which means your loved one won’t have to worry nearly as much about it taking up as 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.
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.
Don’t settle for flimsy little paring knives. Instead invest in a good one, like this paring knife from Wüsthof. You’ll find our Test Kitchen cooks using these small knives constantly. They’re a must for small prep tasks—everything from peeling apples to chopping nuts to mincing garlic. While you’re shopping, be sure to check out more of our most-loved Amazon kitchen finds.
We’d be surprised if your baking fanatic friend or family member doesn’t already have a food scale in their kitchen, because it makes all the difference in the world for baked goods like many types of homemade bread and pie crust recipes. If they don’t have one, this is your sign to change that—show them you care, by showing them you care about how their bakes. 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.
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 the Heirloom Kitchen cookbook, and be sure to check out some of our favorite cookbooks for authentic cuisine.
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. Learn more about the best rolling pin for your baking needs.
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.
When it comes to cutting boards, bigger is better. This oversized board from Epicurean is 23×14″—huge! That gives you 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 your counter stays cleaner.
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.
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 foodie 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 can take 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.
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 you’re a four-star chef or a casual cook, everyone needs some small, flexible spatulas in their toolbox. Use these to scrape the last bit of peanut butter out of the jar, spread a bit of jam on toast or even whip up a batter.
Prep Kitchen Manager Catherine says that “an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven is a must-have.” These durable pieces of cookware can be used to make dinner, soups, bread (this is Catherine’s go-to Dutch oven bread recipe) and even dessert. If you really want to treat a foodie friend, go for Le Creuset. “It’s top of the line,” according to Catherine.
Tired of using a narrow Microplane or box grater to zest citrus? The tool you’re looking for is a Microplane paddle grater. This wide, flat grater is perfect for zesting large lemons and oranges. It’s also a great tool for shaving cheese to top your favorite pasta or even grating spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Senior Editor Emily Parulski loves her Microplanes and uses them to grate cheese constantly.
Sometimes, the stems are the best, most flavorful part of the herb (try making pico de gallo with extra chopped cilantro stems—you won’t regret it). 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 will not only help you separate the leaves and the stems, but it will also give you an aptly sized scissors to chop them up, too.
At the farmers market (every chef’s favorite destination), it’s hard to control your buying—everything is so fresh and tempting. But don’t let that fresh produce spoil. Keep it fresh with special produce keeper containers from OXO Good Grips. These special containers really do work! They extend the shelf life of your favorite veggies, berries and other fresh finds. They’re a must for any cook or veggie lover.
Even the most passionate chefs and home cooks need a break from the kitchen once in a while. Treat them to a meal made by someone else and delivered right to their door with a DoorDash gift card. For more holiday gift inspiration, check out our best gift ideas.