10 Gifts Home Cooks Will Use All the Time
If you're stumped about what to send your loved ones for the holidays, great kitchen tools are a smart place to start. Since we're all cooking at home more often, these durable and timeless gifts will brighten anyone's week (or year, frankly). Kitchen appliance fads might come and go, but these are the tools we come back to again and again. Read on for some of the most essential gifts for home cooks.
A sturdy cutting board is a kitchen staple and needs to handle everything from chopping vegetables to slicing juicy steaks. For both form and function, the mighty Boos block series is a home run. Choose the color grain, opt for juice grooves if you like, and decide between a hefty charcuterie block or a slim everyday board. It’s is a gift both chefs and home cooks alike would be happy to receive.
John Boos Block Reversible Cutting Board, from $94 at amazon.com
Treat your favorite home cook to a full knife set with a special feature: built-in sharpening. Every time you draw a blade from this Calphalon knife block, the bottom of the slot glides along the knife, keeping things sharp as ever. It won’t break the bank as much as high-end knife sets, and will serve the everyday cook in the best way. Gift this set as a smaller 6-piece or go for the larger 12- or 15-piece sets, complete with steak knives.
Calphalon Classic Self-Sharpening Cutlery Knife Block Set, from $179 at amazon.com
Le Creuset Dutch Oven
Iconic is the word for Le Creuset’s round Dutch oven, a cornerstone of professional and home kitchens everywhere. The even heat retention and easy-to-clean enameled cast iron make it a dream for cooking and cleanup. It’s compatible with all cooktops, oven-safe up to 500 degrees, and can even go in the dishwasher. If that weren’t enough, the colors are as striking as can be, from classic Flame to the newest Stone and Nectar. This Deep Teal hue will be the star of many dinner tables to come.
Le Creuset Dutch Oven 4.5 Quart, $335 at lecreuset.com
An immersion blender is a smart option for those short on kitchen space but in need of a powerful tool for making soups, smoothies, and even blended cocktails. It comes with a whisk and a milk frother as attachments, so whipped cream and foamy lattes are now within reach without messing with three different pieces of equipment in the kitchen cabinet. The tens of thousands of positive reviews are a sure sign that this tool is a winner, too.
Mueller Austria 9-Speed Immersion Hand Blender, $35 at amazon.com
Finding the perfect set of mixing bowls is almost a rite of passage for home cooks. The ideal size and weight will allow easy whisking, storing, and cleanup. Stainless steel is lighter and less precarious than glass but still durable and easier to clean than plastic and melamine. This set is both freezer- and dishwasher-safe, too.
Stainless-Steel Restaurant Mixing Bowls, Set of 5, $60 at williams-sonoma.com
Spatula and Tongs
These tools serve as extra appendages when it comes to cooking. They also make smart stocking stuffers or small gifts for the holiday season. GIR’s spatulas will last years and will protect your nonstick pans and seasoned cast iron. OXO tongs are the tried-and-true go-to, and come in two sizes for turning braised meats or working with ultra-hot grills. Bonus: the silicone tips will also be kind to your non-sticks.
A good meat thermometer is a cook’s best friend, from perennial holiday roasts to weekly grilling or baking. Check if that large chicken breast is done in seconds with the simple instant-read version, or use a remote version so you can keep track of your turkey, roast, or brisket as it slow-cooks in the smoker.
Potholders and Dish Towels
The one thing home cooks reach for more than utensils, pans, and bowls? The dishtowels and potholders used to take care of it all. From grabbing hot pans from the oven to wiping up messes and even using them as trivets where needed, these essential linens are the true heroes of the kitchen arsenal. Avid home cooks always welcome a new set to have on-hand.
A staple in any serious cook’s home kitchen, a stand mixer is vital for everything from whipping cream to kneading bread. Sure, these things can be done by hand, but a quality mixer makes it effortless, giving you more time to get the cleanup done and keep the day moving. We all want fewer steps between us and that batch of cookies, right?
KitchenAid Artisan Steel Blue Stand Mixer, $379 at crateandbarrel.com
Essential Cooking Spices
Whether your gifting to a regular baker or grill master, the core kitchen spices are a make-or-break element for every type of cook. Gift a full, fresh set of hyssop thyme, cinnamon, silk chili flakes, and more to bring something special to your favorite cook’s hard work in the kitchen.