Do you know someone who loves to cook? This holiday season, why not give them the tools that feed their passion? Whether it’s spatulas, cutting boards, or instant pots, we have something for everyone.
Cooking is More Enjoyable with Good Tools
If your friends or loved ones love to cook, you should encourage that passion. Preparing your meals is often cheaper and healthier than eating out or buying microwave meals.
But many people who love to cook keep their utensils and equipment long past their shelflife. They’ll use oven mitts well after the protective layers have worn away, and knives that are dull and rusted. When you switch to a good knife that cuts well, you suddenly realize how hard you were working on cutting food and vegetables.
Here are a few good suggestions to spruce a friend or loved one’s kitchen life.
Measuring Spoons: Prepworks Magnetic Measuring Spoons
Measuring spoons are the spice of life in the cooking world. Ok, we’re making that up, but they are one of the most necessary tools a cook needs. Every recipe calls for measured ingredients, after all.
The main problem with measuring tools is they are get jumbled up and lost in some drawer. You try to find a particular size and find every spoon but the one you need. These spoons solve that problem through the magic of magnets. They stick to each other for easy storage and to your oven for easy access while cooking. And they fit in most spice jars!
Prepworks by Progressive Magnetic Measuring Spoons, Set of 5
Measuring spoons are a must in the kitchen, but they aren't helpful if you can't find them. This set magnetically attaches together as one unit for storage, or to your oven or fridge for easy access.
Nestable Measuring Cups: KitchenMade Measuring Cups
Measuring cups are the spice of…oh right; we made that joke already. Well, measuring cups are just as important as measuring spoons for all the same reasons.
This set stands out by nesting cleanly as one unit for easy storage and skipping paint for the measuring numbers. And since painted or printed numbers will eventually wash off, we appreciate the use of raised metal for measurements that can’t fade. Each cup features multiple gradations (the full cup also has 3/4ths and 1/2 markings, for instance). These measuring cups also feature a pour spot so you can use them with liquids as well as solids.
KitchenMade Measuring Cups Stainless Steel 6 Piece Stackable Set
Measuring cups are great, but they take up a lot of room. This set nests together to save on space and features a pour spout for liquid measuring. Raised metal numbers mean the measurement sizes will never wash away.
Weigh It Out: Escali Primo Precision Kitchen Food Scale
While American recipes measure ingredients by spoon and cup size, recipes elsewhere measure more precisely in grams and ounces. That’s beneficial, too, as some ingredients like spices and flours can vary in size based on factors like age and weather. So a teaspoon fresh basil may weigh differently than a teaspoon of aged basil.
This scale measures in both grams and ounces and features sealed water-proof buttons. It can also subtract the weight of a container to provide with you more accurate results of the contents. It’s easy to use (with just two buttons to worry about) and easy to clean.
Escali Primo Digital Food Scale, Multi-Functional Kitchen Scale, Precise Weight Measuring and Portion Control, Baking and Cooking Made Simple, 8.5 x 6 x 1.5 inches, Chrome
If you want the most accurate measurement of ingredients, skip the spoons and cups and use a scale. This scale can measure in grams or ounces and is spill-proof.
Waterproof Oven Mitts: Homwe Silicone Oven Mitts
Traditionally, oven mitts are made with a thick cloth to keep you safe from the heat of your pots and pans when cooking. But while you can still buy mitts this way, it might be worth considering a silicone mitt instead.
Homwe silicone mitts are more waterproof than cotton mitts are, meaning if necessary, you could reach into a boiling pot to grab something out (with the mitt on of course). These mitts come in a variety of colors and are BPA free.
HOMWE Extra Long Professional Silicone Oven Mitt, Oven Mitts with Quilted Liner, Heat Resistant Pot Holders, Flexible Oven Gloves, Red, 1 Pair, 14.7 Inch
Unlike cloth versions, these silicone oven mitts won't absorb water which makes them safe to use in the oven and a boiling pot of water. The mitts will protect your hands from up to 450°F of heat.
A Handy Spat: Get It Right Premium Silicone Spatula
You can never have enough spatulas. Think about every time you’ve ever needed a spatula while cooking and realized they were all out of reach or worse, dirty. One more spat could have made the difference (at least that’s what we want to think).
This spatula sets itself apart from the pack by featuring a paper-thin edge and sharp-angled blade to pick up even the stickiest foods. It’ll grab your eggs, and it’s strong enough to lift a one-pound steak. It’s an everything spatula, and when you think about it, you should buy two—one to gift and one to keep.
GIR: Get It Right Premium Silicone Spatula Turner | Heat-Resistant up to 550°F | Nonstick Extra Large Pancake Flipper, Egg Spatula, Kitchen Spatula | Pro - 14 IN, Black
If you can only buy one spatula, this should be the one. It can pick up eggs or steak, bacon, or pasta. It has a sharp angle to help with lifting and a paper-thin edge to scoop under just about anything.
Two Terrific Tongs: Locking Food Tongs, 9-Inch & 12-Inch
When a spatula won’t do, the next best option is usually tongs. This two-pack is highly affordable and surprisingly full-featured. You get a 9-inch and a 12-inch tong, both of which are heat resistant up to 400 degrees. They feature non-slip surfaces for easy grabbing, and when you’d done with them, they lock in a closed position for simple storage.
If you’re feeling fancy, you can even gift a rose-gold set. Perfect for your rose-gold iPhone toting friends and family.
2 Pack Black Kitchen Tongs, Premium Silicone BPA Free Non-Stick Stainless Steel BBQ Cooking Grilling Locking Food Tongs, 9-Inch & 12-Inch
When you need to grab hot stuff, reach for these tongs. This pack features two different sizes, so you always have the one you need. They lock closed for storage, and are covered in non-slip material for easy grabbing.
A Grippy Potato Masher: OXO Good Grips Smooth Potato Masher
Sure, you can mash potatoes with a fork, but that’s a pain in the wrist. If you know someone who loves to make mashed potatoes (or apple sauce, refried beans, etc.), they’ll genuinely appreciate a potato masher.
This masher has a soft handle that’s easy on the palm and features steel for quick mashing work. Best of all, it’s dishwasher safe, which makes for easy cleanup.
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Smooth Potato Masher, Black/Silver
A lot of recipes call for mashing your food, from mashed potatoes (of course) to apple sauce. You can do it with a fork or spoon, but using a dedicated masher is much easier. This masher has a big soft handle to make the process more comfortable.
A Sharp Chef’s Knife: Tojiro DP Gyutou
Cutting with dull knives is a bad idea. Not only will you work harder, but you’re more likely to slip and cut yourself because of the added pressure a dull knife needs to cut. And a dull blade will tear instead of cut, making an injury take longer to heal.
Forget all that and consider this incredibly sharp chef’s knife. How sharp? You’ll swear you could cut your shadow.
The Gyutou blade is a Japanese-style blade and designed for sliding cuts rather than chopping, but it will serve well in either style. I’ve had for one for years, and happy to say it maintains an edge well so long as you don’t put it in the dishwasher.
TOJIRO DP Gyutou - 8.2" (21cm)
This knife is sharp enough to cut nearly anything. The handle has a fair amount of clearance for your knuckles, supports a dragging style of cutting. If you want a smooth cut for an affordable price, this is the blade you need.
An End-Grain Cutting Board: La Mongoose Acacia Wood Cutting Board
Along with a nice sharp knife, every cook should have a good end-grain cutting board. Woodcutting boards come in three varieties: face-grain, edge-grain, and end-grain. An end-grain cutting has you chopping onto the “rings” of the tree it was harvested on, which is harder and easier on your knife edge. It’s the best kind of wood cutting board you can get.
La Mongoose makes its cutting board from Acacia, a hard and food-safe wood, and took the time to carve in a juice groove (for when you cut meat) and handles. This cutting is large, too, so you can manage multiple tasks at once.
Acacia 17 x 13 x 2” Extra-Large End Grain Cutting Board with Juice Groove & Hand Grips Luxury Fancy XL Thick Reversible Dark Wood Butcher Block Chopping Carving Serving Platter Tray Birthday Gift Idea
End-grain cutting boards are easier on your knife edge, letting them stay sharp longer. This cutting board also features a juice groove to prevent messy counters and nice handle holds for easy portability.
A Compact Food Chopper: KitchenAid 3.5-Cup Food Chopper
Sometimes cutting up everything by hand takes too long, and you may be in a hurry. This handy little food chopper will help you batch out small jobs more quickly than you could with even the sharpest knife.
Many food processors are bulky and take up lots of room, but this one doesn’t—but that does mean it won’t be as useful for large jobs. When you finish with it, the cord tucks in, making it even easier to store. It’s also dishwasher friendly, features a pour spout, and comes in multiple colors.
KitchenAid 3.5-Cup Food Chopper, medium, Matte Black
When you want to process small jobs quickly, and don't have the time to chop by hand, this food processor is perfect. It has a nice ergonomic on-button that your thumb falls naturally on. And it can handle liquid and creamy jobs like mayonnaise.
A Safe Can Opener: Auto Safety Master Can Opener
Sooner or later, your cooking friends will need to open cans, and this can opener is the safest kind. Instead of cutting along the can top, it cuts the side and leaves a dull edge behind. You won’t run the risk of slicing your hand on a sharp edge after.
And this can opener has other functions as well! It can pull off metal bottle caps, twist open plastic bottle caps, and pull up can tabs. It’s almost the “everything opener.”
Kuhn Rikon Auto Safety Master Opener for Cans, Bottles and Jars, 9 x 2.75 inches, Red
This can opener leaves you with safer non-sharp edges when you cut open cans. It cuts along the side instead of the top of the can. It'll also open metal and plastic bottle caps, along with pull-tab cans.
The Best Mixer: KitchenAid Artisan Series Stand Mixer
If you’re looking to gift the very best mixer, then this is the one. KitchenAid’s stand mixer will stand the test of time and work for years to come. It has a quiet motor, a smooth churning action, and won’t rock on your counter even with chunky ingredients.
You can also add on optional accessories to make ice cream, noodles, and more. It’s a heavy unit, but it comes apart easily for cleaning, so if you can find a place to keep the stand permanently, the weight isn’t a big deal. The mixer is simple to use and easy to learn while providing professional-level results.
KitchenAid KSM150PSWH Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer with Pouring Shield - White
KitchenAid makes the very best stand mixer you can buy. It's expensive, but for the price, you get equipment that lasts and cant take anything you throw at it. It's powerful enough to mix bread dough and gentle enough to work on a genoise.
A Skillet Set for Searing: Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
If you want to give a gift that will last generations, consider a cast-iron skillet. Properly cared for, cast iron skillet can last decades, if not longer.
This skillet comes pre-seasoned so you can use it right away. Your recipient will also appreciate the large pour spout when it’s time to drain grease or other liquids. Cast iron skillet handles get hot, so the included silicone handle sleeve is an excellent addition.
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet with Red Silicone Hot Handle Holder, 12-inch
The most convenient skillets are pre-seasoned so you can use them right away, and that includes this skillet. It also features a large second-hand grip, a good-sized pour spout, and a silicone handle sleeve to protect you from burns.
For Fast Results: Instant Pot Duo Pressure Cooker
No matter how much anyone likes to cook, sometimes there isn’t enough time to get it all done. And that’s where a pressure cooker is excellent; it can reduce cooking times by half or more compared to traditional methods of cooking.
The Instant Pot Duo earned its fame by focusing on ease of use and safety. You can’t open the pot while it’s under pressure, and it comes with several buttons for common recipes, like rice, stew, and soup. You can manually set cook times, as well. It comes in several sizes, but in our experience, the six-quart size is versatile enough for most recipes but small enough to store away.
Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker, Warmer & Sterilizer, Includes App With Over 800 Recipes, Stainless Steel, 6 Quart
Pressure cookers are great for fast meals, but they can be difficult to use safely. Instant Pot took the pain out of the process and made a safe, easy to use pressure cooker. You'll have juicy, tender meals in half the time.
Glass Storage: Pyrex Glass Containers
Another great time-saver is leftover meals. You don’t need to cook an entire meal again as long as you have a way to reheat yesterday’s dinner. But that only works if you have a container to store leftovers.
This Pyrex set comes with containers of multiple sizes and shapes. The snap-on lids are airtight, so your food will keep for longer, and everything stacks for better storage. Since the set is glass, they can go straight into the oven and the dishwasher, a nice bonus for keeping down the mess in the kitchen.