Let me start this by saying that I’m no Michelin-star chef — the air fryer and slow cooker are my best friends in the kitchen, and most of my cooking-related Google searches are something along the lines of “easy meal prep” or “one pot dinner.” If you’re like me, you might be at a loss when it comes to finding gifts for the star cooks and foodies in your life. Luckily, I — and a bunch of my kitchen-obsessed friends who gave some great advice — have you covered with the best kitchen gifts, ranging from practical tools to funky contraptions.
— Best Gadget: FOTILE ChefCubii 4-in-1 Steam-Combi Oven
— Best Unique Gift: Thermomix TM6 + Free Blade Cover
— Best for Espresso Drinkers: GE Profile Automatic Espresso Machine
— Best Recipe Book: “The Wok: Recipes and Techniques”
— Best for Cooks: Schmidt Brothers Acacia 24″ Magnetic Wall Bar
— Best Time-Saving Gift: Fullstar Vegetable Chopper
— Best for Organizing: Joseph Joseph DrawerStore Compact Cutlery Organizer
— Best for Wine Lovers: Oster Cordless Electric Wine Bottle Opener with Foil Cutter
— Best for Coffee Lovers: Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug
— Best for College Students: Hamilton Beach Digital 3.7 Quart Air Fryer Oven
— Best Ultra Premium: Breville Control Freak Induction Cooktop
Best Kitchen Gifts: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Cool: FOTILE ChefCubii 4-in-1 Steam-Combi Oven
Key Selling Point: A step up from your basic air fryer, the FOTILE ChefCubii can also bake, steam, and dehydrate.
It’s an air fryer! It’s a convection oven! It’s a steamer! Actually, it’s the ChefCubii, which means it’s all of those things and more. Designed to function as four tools in one, the ChefCubii is a steam-combi oven that allows users to dehydrate, steam, bake, and air fry all their favorite meals. If you’re as kitchen-challenged as I am, you’ll appreciate 40 cooking presets that help you perfectly steam rice, roast an entire chicken, and bake a chiffon cake.
With a capacity of one cubic foot, it’s huge, so you can make anything from a 10-inch pizza pie to a dozen wings. Plus, it doesn’t require any oil or fat to cook properly. Best of all, cleanup is made simple by the machine’s self-cleaning system, which uses steam to soften oil buildup and make it easier to wipe down. Then, the drying mode helps dry the interior.
Best Unique: Thermomix TM6 + Free Blade Cover
Key Selling Point: It’s like having a personal sous chef 24/7.
With 24 cooking modes, the Thermomix TM6 can pretty much do it all, from sautéing to emulsifying to fermenting. The digital display comes with thousands of Cookidoo-guided recipes to help you prepare something new for your loved ones or to make sure you remember the instructions to your favorite dish. An integrated scale weighs your ingredients, speed and temperature settings help you cook your meal exactly right, and a timer ensures you never miss a beat. Making this gadget the best unique kitchen gift.
The inclusion of a free blade cover means you can take advantage of the machine’s sous-vide and slow cooking functions. It’s also easy to clean: a pre-cleaning mode gets rid of any residue before you more thoroughly clean the dishwasher-safe parts. Plus, for every Thermomix TM6 sold, $40 will be donated to Feeding America through the month of December.
Best for Espresso Drinkers: GE Profile Automatic Espresso Machine
Key Selling Point: Skip the coffee shop and create delicious espressos and lattes at home.
If the idea of instant coffee and pods make you cringe, the GE Profile Automatic Espresso Machine lets you create Italian-quality espresso in your own kitchen. First, select from five levels of coarseness for grinding your coffee beans. Then within 90 seconds, you can brew up an Espresso, Americano, Lungo, or make tea using the Hot Water function. You can also customize your beverage with My Brew, which allows you to select recipes and adjust volume through the SmartHG app. Finish off your latte with the help of the milk frother, which rotates 90 degrees for easy use, and the included stainless steel frothing pitcher. The sleek black device is also smaller than most espresso machines, so it doesn’t take up too much counter space. This is a premium gift for sure, but trips to the coffee shop add up too.
Best Recipe Book: “The Wok: Recipes and Techniques”
Key Selling Point: With over 200 recipes, New York Times columnist and chef J. Kenji López-Alt can take you from a beginner to a wok pro.
If you’re like me, you’re probably not a total disaster in the kitchen, but you do need some serious help. And if you have a wok you’ve been too nervous to try out, “The Wok: Recipes and Techniques” is a great place to start. Chef and food writer J. Kenji López-Alt walks you through the basics of the tool so you understand the myriad of ways you can cook and how to make the best use of your wok. Recipes include buchimgae and Kung Pao chicken, and López-Alt even runs through the food science behind some favorite stir fry dishes — from lamb to vegetables — so readers can better understand how to get the most out of their meals. Plus, it has thousands of pictures so you can make sure your concoctions don’t look totally off-base.
Best for Cooks: Schmidt Brothers Acacia 24″ Magnetic Wall Bar
Key Selling Point: The best alternative to knife blocks and covers.
When I reached out to the best cooks among my friends, my friend Ben immediately pointed me to this magnetic wall bar for knives as one of the best kitchen gifts for cooks. Included mounting hardware makes this easy to attach to the wall, and it holds approximately 12 to 16 knives. At 24 inches long, 1 inch wide, and 3 inches high, this product doesn’t take up too much wall space in the kitchen. Schmidt Brothers also has an 18-inch Acacia wood and an 18-inch black oak model available.
Ben has invested in nice knives, and he said that in taking care of them, it’s important to make sure you’ve completely dried them. Otherwise, the moisture gets stuck in the blade protector or knife block, and it can cause bacteria buildup and give your tools a shorter shelf life. The magnetic wall bar prevents moisture from gathering, and it also provides an accessible and attractive way to see your knives.
Best Time-Saving: Fullstar Vegetable Chopper
Key Selling Point: Dice, slice, and julienne vegetables with one device.
This ultra-convenient tool helps chop meal prep time if you’re in a rush, making it ideal for your friends who seem to be juggling four tasks at all times. With four interchangeable blades — a small dice blade, large dice blade, spiral blade, and ribbon blade — you can cut your vegetables to your liking in a matter of seconds. A built-in chop lid allows you to just push it down for chopped veggies, and the collection tray negates the need for a cutting board.
A soft-grip handle uses rubberized thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) to provide a comfortable but firm hold on the chopper. On top of being convenient during cooking, the dishwasher-safe Fullstar Vegetable Chopper is also easy to disassemble and clean post-meal. And with dimensions of 10.6 by 4.5 by 4.7 inches, it’s simple to store.
Best for Organizing: Joseph Joseph DrawerStore Compact Cutlery Organizer
Key Selling Point: This organizational tool functions well in narrow drawers, making it ideal for kitchens.
This Joseph Joseph DrawerStore Compact Cutlery Organizer is a godsend for apartment dwellers. At 15.55 by 4.33 by 2.24 inches, it fits neatly into tight spaces, providing five compartments for your spoons, knives, and forks. The compartments are stacked at an angle to provide maximum storage, and they have icons in the shapes of spoons, knives, and forks to help you organize.
The organizer features non-slip feet to help it stay in place at all times. The compact organizer needs to be hand washed and dried, and it’s available in gray, white/green, blue, and bamboo. Joseph Joseph also makes a larger drawer organizer and an organizing tray.
Best for Wine Lovers: Oster Cordless Electric Wine Bottle Opener with Foil Cutter
Key Selling Point: This tool makes wine bottles a breeze to open, coming especially in handy during parties.
Never worry about accidentally losing half the cork in your bottle of wine again. The Oster Cordless Electric Wine Bottle Opener easily removes up to 30 corks on one charge — just push the button to get it started. The recharging base and opener have lights that indicate whether it’s charged, and the soft-grip handle makes it comfortable to use. It also comes with a foil cutter to remove seals before uncorking the bottle.
Best for Coffee Lovers: Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug
Key Selling Point: Go beyond the classic (read: boring) kitchen gifts for coffee lovers with smart mug that keeps your coffee hot all day using an app and charging coaster.
I’m an iced coffee girl myself, but taking a sip of a cold cup of coffee when you were expecting a steaming mug can throw off your morning — it really sucks the 10:30 a.m. burst of motivation out of you. Enter the Ember Mug 2, a smart mug that uses a built-in battery to heat your drink. When fully charged, the Ember Mug 2 can keep your drink at temperatures between 120 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit for up to an hour and a half. It can also stay hot all day if you keep it on the charging coaster.
The hand wash only mug is available in 10-ounce and 14-ounce sizes, and in the colors copper, gold, rose gold, stainless steel, black, gray, and white. A 12-ounce travel mug with a three-hour battery life is also available.
Best for College Students: Hamilton Beach Digital 3.7 Quart Air Fryer Oven
Key Selling Point: This has six pre-programmed settings and doesn’t take up too much space on the counter or in a cabinet.
You’ve probably heard everything you need to know about why air fryers are the best and you should definitely have one — but let me tell you why I love this one in particular. The Hamilton Beach Digital 3.7 Quart Air Fryer Oven’s heat and time settings are easy to navigate, and it has six pre-programmed settings: fries, chicken, seafood, steak, baked goods, and veggies. The handle stays cool even as the food heats up, and the non-stick basket is easy to hand wash.
My mom kindly gifted this to my roommate and I when we moved into our new place in April, and I’ve been kicking myself for not getting one in college. My roommate and I use this air fryer nearly every day — it’s perfect for anything from toasting a slice of bread to reheating pizza for a perfectly crispy crust. It also conveniently fits perfectly into one of our narrow cabinets, which I’m particularly thankful for since we don’t have a ton of counter space. We’re both pretty on-the-go people who don’t want to fret about making lunch in the middle of a busy day, and this air fryer makes our lives so much easier by being both efficient and easy to clean.
Best Ultra Premium: Breville Control Freak Induction Cooktop
Key Selling Point: Breville Control Freak is one of the priciest kitchen gadgets out there, but it may just be the smartest cooktop ever.
Gas and electric cooktops are so 20th century. We’re cooking with magnets now. Induction cooktops require induction ready cookware, but the efficiency is unmatched. As far as induction cooktops are concerned, Breville Control Freak smokes every other model on the market, which is why it’s so dang pricey. The temperature range is unmatched, reaching anywhere from a low of 85 all the way through 492 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that it can blacken salmon and temper chocolate effortlessly.
Pots, pans, woks, and fryers heat up quicker and maintain specific temperatures whether you’re searing a steak or frying up donuts. It’s made for restaurant kitchens so it can take up to 200 pounds of weight. It even comes with its own carrying case to wow friends and dazzle enemies. If that doesn’t sell you, the responsive LCD screen will. If you have cash to burn for yourself or for an aspiring chef in your life, gadgets don’t come glitzier than the Breville Control Freak. To find out more about the Control Freak, check out our full review here.
The Final Word on Whipping Up the Best Kitchen Gifts
A lack of finesse in the kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t get a great kitchen gift for your favorite amateur chefs. It’s important to keep in mind how much space your giftee has in their kitchen, and what gear they may already have. My personal favorite kitchen gifts are the Hamilton Beach Digital 3.7 Quart Air Fryer Oven and the Ember Mug 2, but the Joseph Joseph DrawerStore Compact Cutlery Organizer is a great budget pick (especially for those living in apartments). When in doubt, keep an ear out for tools they mention wanting or a challenge they’re having that could be solved with a high tech kitchen gadget.
Related: Skip the cords all around your living space with the best smart home devices.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.