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 Wok: Made In Cookware 12-inch Blue Carbon Steel Wok
— Best Gadget: FOTILE ChefCubii 4-in-1 Steam-Combi Oven
— Best Stand Mixer: Wolf Gourmet High-Performance Stand Mixer
— Best for Espresso Drinkers: GE Profile Automatic Espresso Machine
— Best Recipe Book: “The Wok: Recipes and Techniques”
— Best for Game Night: The Great British Baking Show: The Game
— Best for Cooks: Schmidt Brothers Acacia 24-inch Magnetic Wall Bar
— Best Time-Saving: Fullstar Vegetable Chopper
— Best Countertop Compost Bin: BLACK+DECKER Compost Bin
— Best for Organizing: Joseph Joseph DrawerStore Compact Cutlery Organizer
— Best for Extra Storage: StoveShelf Magnetic Shelf for Kitchen Stove
— Best for Snacking While You Cook: Flock Chicken Chips Variety Pack
— Best for Wine Lovers: Oster Cordless Electric Wine Bottle Opener with Foil Cutter
— Best for Whiskey Lovers: Dough Ball Cookie Dough Whiskey
— Best for Coffee Lovers: Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug
— Best Condiment: This Little Goat Chili Lime Chili Crunch
— Best for Hot Sauce Lovers: Sweet Hot Sauce by Disco Sauce
— Best for College Students: Hamilton Beach Digital 3.7 Quart Air Fryer Oven
— Best Ultra Premium: Breville Control Freak Induction Cooktop
The Best Kitchen Gifts: Hot Picks
Key Selling Point: Lighter than cast iron, with a metal that’s still responsive to seasoning, this wok concentrates that heat on your stir fry, while keeping a handle that’s still cool enough to work with.
Toss up the broccoli, blast in the chili oil, the Made In Blue Carbon Steel Wok is a cookware masterpiece. Carbon steel is a solution that bridges the domains of two classic cookware materials: cast iron and stainless steel. Like cast iron, carbon steel can be seasoned with time, developing a natural non-stick patina that adds flavor and that certain je ne sais quois subtlety to your potatoes and meats. However, unlike cast iron, carbon steel retains the lightweight rigidity of stainless steel, meaning that when it’s time to flip that seared catfish as you toss in chopped scallions, you won’t need a splint for your wrist.
The Made In Wok has a 5.5-inch cooking surface, with 3.75-inch depth overall, and another inch and a half of height to the long sloped handle, which remains cool enough even when used over hot flames. Oven-, grill-, and campfire-safe, the wok can withstand temperatures over 1000 degrees. Buy the Made In wok for the perfect stir-fries, and find yourself using it for everything from foraged morels on the campfire to feta and veggie bakes.
Best Gadget: 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 Stand Mixer: Wolf Gourmet High-Performance Stand Mixer
Key Selling Point: Wolf Gourmet's Stand Mixer is an heirloom-quality kitchen tool you can pass down through generations of bakers.
Wolf Gourmet's Stand Mixer is the most luxe gift in our guide, but it'll astonish any home baker who receives it. The company paid meticulous attention to small details, like how easy the power knob is to turn, the click that happens when the large-capacity bowl is in the correct position, and how long it takes for the mixer to increase its speed. The mixer comes with a whisk, paddle, and dough hook attachment, which we've used to make cakes, cookies, and bread respectively.
This mixer has an extraordinary amount of power under the hood, so much so that we casually made double or triple batches of a recipe without thinking twice. A half-full bowl of cookie dough never impeded the paddle attachment from spinning, nor did it make the mixer shake violently, which has happened when we tried the same test with another machine. Wolf Gourmet includes an indispensable accessory in addition to its attachments: A plastic shield that goes over the top of the mixer's bowl to prevent dry ingredients from flying everywhere when you first incorporate them with wet ingredients. The shield has a slot that allows you to slowly feed ingredients into the mixer as it's being used.
Wolf Gourmet's Stand Mixer isn't your average gift, but it's one that its recipient will treasure for the rest of their lives. We could easily see this mixer get passed down from generation to generation along with handwritten family recipes.
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 Game Night: The Great British Baking Show: The Game
Key Selling Point: Strive for the renowned Hollywood handshake with this fun excuse to get out of the kitchen for a bit.
What was once a beloved show in the UK (known as “The Great British Bake Off”), the brilliant show has come over the pond for Americans to binge on Netflix as “The Great British Baking Show”. Now, Ravensburger’s The Great British Baking Show: The Game has taken it to a whole new level, incorporating all of the fun elements from the show (think baking puns and soggy bottoms) into a competitive board game that’s well-suited for game night.
Strive for the notorious Star Baker title in this fast-paced, multiplayer game by recreating the configuration of baking cards shown on the recipe. Will you move quickly to ensure a timely finish? Or will you take your time to select the best flavors for the bake, potentially running out the clock and costing you the win?
Best for Cooks: Schmidt Brothers Acacia 24-inch 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, one inch wide, and three inches high, this product doesn’t take up too much wall space in the kitchen. Schmidt Brothers also have 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 Countertop Compost Bin: BLACK+DECKER Compost Bin
Key Selling Point: This countertop composter will make it easy for your giftee to create a more eco-friendly kitchen
Everyone wants to compost, but actually going through with it can feel difficult, enter BLACK+DECKER's Compost Bin. The 166-ounce compost bin is made from stainless steel, and looked attractive enough in our tests that we actually wanted to keep it in plain sight and at arm's reach, even when guests came over. You can put your compost directly into the bin or use an eco-friendly bag for even easier cleanup.
One of the main complaints people have with composting is the smell, but BLACK + DECKER includes four filters with this bin that did an excellent job at keeping our bin from producing noticeable odors when the lid was on. Your experience may differ depending on the items you're composting and how long you leave your compost in the bin. If you need a holiday gift for the person who's pledging to become more sustainably minded next year, here it is.
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 or blue. Joseph Joseph also makes a larger drawer organizer and an organizing tray.
Best for Extra Storage: StoveShelf Magnetic Shelf for Kitchen Stove
Key Selling Point: StoveShelf's genius kitchen accessory is one that your recipient will rely on every day.
Gifting someone one of StoveShelf's Stovetop shelves is actually giving them extra counter space, which is the most coveted kitchen gift of all. The flat shelf attaches to the top of the stove magnetically and creates a strong enough connection not to move when it's touched. No tools are required to set up a StoveShelf. We used the StoveShelf to store our most-used spices and a tasting spoon, but the beauty is that it can be used for anything.
StoveShelf offers its shelves in white, stainless steel, and black, so make sure to pick the color that matches your recipient's stove. Likewise, StoveShelf offers this tool in three sizes: 20-inches, 24-inches, and 30-inches long, so take a measurement before placing your order. StoveShelf's kitchen tool is deceptively simple but incredibly useful for the home cook without a lot of space. Nobody wants to remember they forgot to bring out the sea salt halfway through sautéing vegetables.
Best for Snacking While You Cook: Flock Chicken Chips Variety Pack
Key Selling Point: This snack is so good, you’ll struggle to not spoil your appetite.
As you get dinner going, or embark on a long-winded recipe, sometimes a snack is mandatory. But, instead of reaching for a bag of potato chips that have virtually no nutritional value, munch on Flock’s Chicken Chips.
Made from only chicken, seasoning, and soybean oil, these crispy chicken skin chips are far more delicious and healthy than your average bag of potato chips. One pack of Flock’s Chicken Chips boasts of gluten-free and dairy-free ingredients, having no added sugar, and includes 13 grams of protein and zero grams of carbs, making them keto-friendly. Flock also follows strict animal welfare standards, as they say producing the best snacks starts with happy, healthy animals. The variety pack includes three original flavors, two salt and vinegar, and two Hattie B’s Hot Nashville.
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 Whiskey Lovers: Dough Ball Cookie Dough Whiskey
Key Selling Point: For mixologists, or just for home enjoyment, this cookie dough whiskey brings a little something sweet to their liquor cabinet.
Whiskey milkshake anyone? Make it even better with Dough Ball Cookie Dough Whiskey, an adult beverage that might even get the Cookie Monster on the karaoke mic. This liquor will bring out the flavor in mixed drinks and match sweet components like chocolate and cream. It’s also a complex whiskey you can take neat as a nightcap. Overall, cookie dough whiskey is nothing short of intoxicating.
We love whiskey for lots of reasons, its auburn hue full of mystery and possibility, its smoky sweetness… if you’ve ever sung along as Willie Nelson croons ”Whiskey River” at the local baseball stadium, or enjoyed a neat bourbon by a snowy campsite, then you know what it’s about.
If they drink, then whiskey is always a good gift. However, a specialty beverage like Dough Ball is even more impressive. Gift it to a friend and sneak over for nips for the rest of the winter. Gift it to an aspiring mixologist and let them practice on you. Gift it to yourself and … well. However you gift it, you know what they say … “A bottle of Dough Ball rings in joy for them all.” (They actually don’t, but now you get to.) Enjoy.
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 Condiment: This Little Goat Chili Lime Chili Crunch
Key Selling Point: This condiment adds flavor, texture, and vegan-friendliness to every meal.
A fun take on the chili crisp, a spicy sauce made from hot oil, chilis, and spices, This Little Goat’s Chili Lime Chili Crunch from chef Stephanie Izard is a tasty pairing for seafood, pizza, eggs, noodles, and everything else that calls for a spicy, crunchy kick. Add a little (or a lot) to kick your recipes up a notch or two.
This Little Goat carries a range of sauces, spices, and crunchy toppings, but the Chili Lime Chili Crunch is the perfect blend of all three. Made with crispy masa chips, Ancho chili, Guajillo peppers, and a sprinkling of lime, this vegan condiment is a healthier alternative and will be your new favorite pairing for everything you whip up in the kitchen.
Best for Hot Sauce Lovers: Sweet Hot Sauce by Disco Sauce
Key Selling Point: Natural flavors bring life to your food, without overpowering it.
Not too spicy and not too sweet, Disco Sauce can be put on anything. From breakfast to dinner, and even cocktails, adding a zesty, medium-level heat to your recipes can really give them the kick you’re looking for. This little bottle sources its flavors from only eight familiar, all natural ingredients, without any artificial preservatives, allergens, or gluten, making it a wholesome go-to for waking up your tastebuds.
Not only does the fruity, peppery flavor enhance every dish, it’s also a great addition to tequila-based cocktails, like a margarita. Along with their dedication to making high-quality sauces with the best ingredients, Disco Sauce is also involved in non-profit organizations, and is a founding member of The Feeding People Foundation. For every hot sauce lover out there, Disco Sauce’s Sweet Hot Sauce is a must-try, and makes for a fun and exciting kitchen gift.
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.