We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

17 Oils and Spices for the Food Lover in Your Life

A cook pours oil on a pan.

It’s hard to buy gifts for people, especially when you don’t know or understand their interests. But there’s a good chance that you’re shopping for a food lover. Why not give the gift of oils and spices?

Update, 12/5/22: Checked content for accuracy, product availability, and dead links.

Just think, the food lover that you’re shopping for probably eats food pretty often. In fact, it’s fair to assume that they’re eating food every single day—shocking, we know. That means that your food lover probably runs through a lot of their most important ingredients: oil and spice.

Oils and spices may not sound like the most exciting gifts, but they’re only boring if you buy something that’s extremely common or outside of your food lover’s interests. For example, if you buy a bunch of curry powder for somebody that only cooks Italian food, then they’re probably going to be disappointed. But if you buy a unique cooking oil with a high smoke point for a baker, then there’s a good chance that they’ll get a lot of use out of the gift.

Pure Cooking Oils

Organic sunflower oil in a small glass jar with sunflower seeds and fresh flowers.

This may sound silly, but a high-quality, pure cooking oil can make a great gift for any cook or food lover. Just think, almost everything that you eat is cooked with an oil or fat. If somebody bought you a premium bottle of olive oil, then you’d probably use it every day, and think about what a thoughtful gift it was every time.

Yes, you can blindly buy somebody a nice bottle of olive oil, they’d probably appreciate it. But maybe you should consider your food lover’s interests before buying them anything.

If they eat a lot of salads or make a lot of Italian food, then they’d probably love some premium olive oil, or even some infused olive oil. But if they bake a lot of their food (pastries, meats, etc), then maybe you should consider buying them a unique cooking oil that has a high smoke point. It could really impress them, and maybe even change the way that they do their cooking.

These are our favorite cooking oils:

Mythology Greek Olive Oil: This is a high-class, cold pressed olive oil made from premium Greek olives. Premium olive oils are more bold and flavorful than a cheaper olive oil, and they make a great gift for people that love salads or pasta.

TruffleHunter Truffle Oil Sampler: This set comes with three different 3.38 oz bottles of truffle oil, which make great finishing oils for pasta or salads. It’s a great and unique gift set for any food lover.

Chosen Foods Pure Avocado Oil: Avocado oil isn’t just a tasty, trendy cooking oil. It has a smoke point of 500 degrees Fahrenheit, so it makes a fantastic gift for people that like to bake.

Baja Precious Organic Sunflower Oil: Sunflower oil doesn’t have much of a flavor, and it has a relatively high smoke point of about 440 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s great for baking cakes, cooking popcorn, or for any other dish that needs a light, not-oily taste.

Roland Foods Virgin Macadamia Oil:  Macadamia oil is a a light cooking oil that has a hint of sweet macadamia flavor. It has a smoke point of 410 degrees Fahrenheit. Macadamia oil is a great gift for somebody that likes to bake or make stir-fries, as the light, crisp flavor of the oil makes a great complement to sweet dishes.

Infused Olive Oils

Woman pouring cooking oil into bowl on wooden table.
Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

Most people don’t buy infused olive oils because they’re not as versatile as unflavored oils. If anything, most people view them as a luxury. It’s fair to assume that your food lover doesn’t own any infused oils, so why not give them the gift of luxury?

Before buying infused oil as a gift, you should consider the type of food that your food lover likes to cook. The taste of a garlic or basil infused olive oil can add a new dimension to Italian dishes, and a lemon infused oil can jazz up a stir-fry or a fish.

And infused oils aren’t just for cooking, they also make a great drizzle. If your food lover eats a lot of salads or pasta, then you may want to buy them an infused oil set that’s made up of light, crisp flavors like basil or herbs of providence.

If you’re buying cooking oil for a baker, then you should avoid any infused olive oils. For one, olive oil has a relatively low smoke point, so it isn’t ideal for some high-temperature recipes. Not to mention, olive oil is usually infused with herbal, savory flavors, which would be gross in most baked goods. Garlic flavored cookies? Nah.

Here are some tasty infused olive oils:

Mantova Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This set comes with four 8.5 bottles of infused olive oil. It’s a variety of French and Italian inspired oils that any chef would love. The Bruschetta flavored oil is especially unique, and would pair well with most meats.

Pellas Nature Organically Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This set of three 1.7 oz infused olive oils would make a tasty, straightforward gift.  These olive oils are infused with organic garlic, lemon, and basil, and would be great for cooking meals or garnishing salads.

La Tourangelle Infused Italian Oil Trio: If you’re trying to buy a gift for somebody that loves to cook Italian food, then this La Tourangelle set might be your best bet. This infused olive oil set comes with an herbs of providence oil, a garlic oil, and a basil oil. Oh, and each bottle is 8.45 oz, so you can expect for this set to last awhile.

Salt Samplers

Collection of colorful sea salts from different parts of the world.

Salt might be the most common spice in kitchens, but that’s because it’s the most important. If you gave your food lover a little container of fine, iodized salt, then they’d probably be very confused and maybe even a little insulted. But if you give the unique gift of smoked, blended, or flavored salts, then you could easily become the gift-giving champion.

Again, you should consider your food lover’s needs before buying any gifts. Your food lover may like the flavor and simplicity of smoked salts, but may not be a fan of spicy salt blends. Some salt samplers are geared specifically toward Italian food, which might be a deal breaker for chefs that love to cook Asian or Indian foods.

Also, keep in mind that flavored salts can make great rubs. If you’re buying a gift for somebody that cooks a lot of meat, then you may want to buy them a bold, spicy salt sampler.

Here are some great salt samplers:

Caravel Gourmet Infused Sea Salt Sampler: This set comes with six exotic sea salts, with flavors like “smoked bacon chipotle” and “Hawaiian black lava.”

Essential Gourmet Finishing Sea Salt Collection: If you’re trying to buy flavored salts for cook that loves French or Italian food, then this might be the perfect gift. Flavors like “fluer de sel” and “smoked alderwood” aren’t just delicious, they’re also extremely versatile. Plus, this set of six flavored salts is a pretty good deal, considering that you get 1.4 oz of each salt.

Spicy Hot Gourmet Sea Salt Sampler: Think about somebody in your life that loves spicy food. How many times have you bought them hot sauce as a gift? Maybe you should surprise them with some spicy sea salts instead. Don’t “ghost pepper” and “hot curry” salts sound… spicy?

Hawaiian Sea Salt 3-Pack: Some flavored salts have very specific flavors that only work well in certain types of dishes. If you want to buy somebody a set of salts that can complement any dish, then you should consider getting them the Hawaiian Sea Salt 3-Pack. It’s packed with some versatile, hard to find Hawaiian salts, like the “red Hawaiian” and “black lava” varieties of salt.

Gourmet Spice Samplers

Fresh and dried herb and spice sampler on wooden background.
Olha Hrokhovetska/Shutterstock.com

Like cooking oil, spices are a cornerstone of most of the food that you eat. Spices can change, refine, and enhance the flavor of the food that you’re cooking, and you can be sure that a real food lover will get a lot of use out of a good batch of spices. Here’s the thing, most kitchens are filled to the brim with spices. So why not buy your food lover a unique gourmet spice?

Gourmet spices tend to be spice blends (like Old Bay or Adobo seasoning), but they can also be uncommon herbs and spices. They’re usually tailored to specific uses, like seafood or BBQ, so you’ll have to consider your food lover’s needs.

If your food lover is the kind of person that refuses to use spice blends, then you may want to focus on gourmet spice sets that are made up of uncommon herbs. The Gustus Vitae gourmet spice sets are mostly made up of unique herbs, so they might make a good gift for your picky food lover, especially if your picky food lover makes a lot of Italian food.

Here are some of our favorite gourmet spice samplers:

Handcrafted Grilling Spice Gift Sets by FreshJax: If you’re buying spices for a BBQ fanatic, then you should find them something that will work well in rubs, or on smokey meats. The FreshJax BBQ spice set comes with five varieties of BBQ spice. Some of them are hot, some of them are sweet, and some of them have a Jamaican flair.

Gustus Vitae Luxury Gourmet Seasonings: This is a great spice set for somebody that makes a lot of Italian or French food. You can rest assured knowing that all six of these spice blends are versatile and unique. Plus, this set comes with a winter truffle sea salt, a spice blend that everybody should try.

Gustus Vitae – Italian French Countryside Gourmet Seasoning & Spice Collection: If you’re looking for a concentrated, powerful, and affordable spice set, then you should take a look at the Gustus Vitae Italian spice set. It doesn’t have the variety of more expensive sets, but its three unique spice blends could go a long way in the hands of an Italian-fanatic.

Simply Organic Ultimate Starter Spice Set: Know somebody that needs to start cooking their own meals? Maybe one of your friends has a cabinet of old, tasteless spices. No matter what gift-giving predicament you’ve found yourself in, a set of 24 standard herbs and spices can enhance anybody’s kitchen.

FreshJax Hot & Spicy Seasonings Gift Set: People that love spicy food could get a lot of use out of this set of 5 blended spices. With flavors like “Ghost Pepper” and “Hot Sea Salt,” you can expect this FreshJax spice set to enhance BBQ’s, fried food, rice dishes, and fish.

Whether you read through our collection of oils and spices with interest for a special someone, or the special someone is you, we’re sure you’ll find something delicious to gift or receive.

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »