Top Kitchen Gifts
My current favorite gift ideas, with links to find each one fast. Ranging in price from under $10 to over $500, there is something here for every pocketbook.
I have no sponsorships or other relationship with any of these brands! This page is simply my own opinions, based on my personal knowledge and experience, with these products. (And if a couple of these show up under my Christmas tree this year, I won't complain. Now, how to get my husband to read this... hmmm....) -Lynley
#1: Good Knives
An 8" chef's knife can be used for almost any job in the kitchen. If you know someone who likes to cook but doesn't have a good knife, this may be the best gift you could get them. Here are our favorites:
This German-steel knife is the one I've used for nearly 30 years. Full tang, full bolster, a very well-made knife designed to last a lifetime.
A very high-quality, medium-priced alternative. Full tang, full bolster, German steel. This is the knife I bought for my son when he was learning knife skills. Handle made of nubby rubbery material, which I find easy and comfortable to hold.
A solidly-made low-priced alternative. Good weight and balance with a full tang (which is unusual at this price), and a full bolster.
A really good bread knife can make life much easier. If the cook in your life already has a good chef's knife, this may be the gift for them. Suddenly, you're skipping the bread aisle and becoming a regular at the local bakery, with nary a concern about slicing because, ahem, really good bread knife.
I know so many cooks with good knives, but no way to sharpen them! For less than $20, you can get a great sharpening and honing tool like this one. The two stages let you first sharpen, then hone dull blades. Perfect for anyone who already has a chef's knife but doesn't know how to sharpen it (which might be almost everyone you know).
#2: good salt in a salt cellar
A salt "cellar" is a little box made specifically to hold salt. It's the perfect thing to hold fancy salt for finishing a dish (or simple coarse salt for everyday seasoning). Cellars start at less than $10 - make it even nicer by filling it with good salt for a few dollars more.
#3: Ninja cooker
Anything you would normally do in a pot on the stove - you can do it in this! Sure, you can use it as a slow cooker, but even more excitingly, as an extra stovetop cooker! Searing, simmering, browning, stewing, braising... it all works. And when you're entertaining, use the buffet setting to keep a pot steaming all through the party, no flames needed. $89+
#4: Dutch Oven
A Dutch oven is made of enameled cast iron - heavy, retains and distributes heat like a pro, and is coated with a non-stick-ish enameled surface.
You can survive without a Dutch oven, but having one is sooo nice. No hot spots, no scorching; it just holds your braise or stew in a warm embrace, all bubbly and snuggly, ready for you to fall in love. (And by the way, you'll get plenty of use out of it in 2017 when our new series, The Simmering Pot, begins in January!)
The classic shape is round, but they also come in oval, which is very convenient for a smaller (or more crowded) stovetop.
$60-$300+ depending on brand and size
Le Creuset is the gold-standard for Dutch ovens. Solidly made in France, it's the brand everyone knows and loves, but there are others that are solidly made at a lower price.
#5: glass Prep bowls
Quickly, easily and beautifully assemble all ingredients before starting on a dish. The French call this mise en place, which means "things in place."
From under $10-$45, depending on how many bowls you choose.
#6: Cuisinart Food Processor
You won't use it every day, but when you need one, you need one. Indispensable for making pie crust pastry, hummus and other dips and spreads. Also makes it easy to shred pounds of cheese or thinly slice potatoes or veggies in an instant. Most of the parts are dishwasher safe.
Cuisinart is a good brand to look for because it's sturdy, the pieces are dishwasher safe and replaceable if they break, and it all comes apart for easy cleaning. I recommend the 14-cup size to be sure you have ample space for most recipes.
$100-$200 depending on size and brand
I love this! It's 3 tools in one: a zester, a fine grater and a garlic press. With this versatile tool, you can zest citrus, grate hard cheeses like parmigiano-reggiano or quickly turn a clove of garlic into useful pulp.
Note two things when buying:
- Look at the holes: they should be very fine, which make this perfect for zesting citrus or grating a garlic clove into pulp.
- Look at the width: the wide (as opposed to long and narrow) face gives you a more useful surface area to make almost every job quicker and easier.
#8 - Great cookbooks
Curious cooks love cookbooks (at least I do!) You can check out my list of great food book finds this year, including cookbooks as well as other interesting books here.
#9 - Good pots and pans
Top-of-the-line pans will last a lifetime, and are priced accordingly. You can look for deals (my husband got a great deal on my complete set at Macy's 20 years ago), or just buy one good piece each year.
Here's what you want to look for: a full-aluminum core (not just on the bottom of the pan, but all the way up the sides) to heat quickly, and a non-reactive stainless steel surface (inside and out) to retain and distribute heat evenly. Long steel handles stay cool on the stove and can also be put into the oven. Should be very sturdy and durable, with riveted handles.
The picture shows a brushed steel exterior, but I actually prefer the smooth stainless outer surface, because it's dishwasher safe. (It also happens to be less expensive.)
~$75+ per piece depending on brand and size (look for sales!)
#10 - Aprons!
Ok, I'm totally excited about these new Adventure Kitchen aprons! But seriously, everyone needs an apron. And these aprons in particular feel good inside and out.
They're sturdy and made with love at every stage, from the little girls who created the ADVENTURE bubble-letter artwork, to the made-in-the-USA good working conditions that produced the aprons, to the local small business that embroidered each one. And 10% of the profits from every sale helps feed the hungry in this community.
Each apron can be personalized with your name, and free gift-wrapping is available!
$30 for small / $35 for large / +$10 for personalization