Sometimes it’s difficult to shop for someone even if you know them well. You have to find that perfect gift while trying to be smart with your money and getting something fun and/or functional for your loved ones that’s worth the price.
In the fortunate event that someone in your family or group of friends is a home cook, you can leave all your worries behind. We got you covered! In this article, we’ve made a list of the top gifts for people that like to cook. This could be for a chef in your family or the home cook in your group of friends. These kitchen tools range in price and functionality, but all are indispensable.
Let’s have a look!
The mortar and pestle is an ancient tool that isn’t very popular in western kitchens. In the rest of the world, this necessary tool has never left the cook’s side. Whether you’re crushing or grinding ingredients, breaking down fibers, or emulsifying sauces, a mortar and pestle has you covered. Because it bursts the cells open and releases the natural flavors, no modern tool can replace the results created by a good ol’ mortar and pestle.
After reviewing the 12 best mortars and pestles, we are convinced that the KROK Mortar and Pestle is the best option on the market. It’s the most versatile tool that you can use for any recipe, thanks to its size, quality, price, and craftsmanship. Your special someone’s pesto will never be as creamy, their curries never as robust as when made in the KROK.
2. Chef’s Knife
One of the most important tools for every home cook is a chef’s knife. You can cut through almost anything with this sharp tool, so you don’t have to waste money and counter space on those large 12+ knife sets. A few simple knives on a magnetic wall strip centered around the chef’s knife are all that’s needed.
One of the most recommended, industry-standard options is the Global 8” Chef’s Knife. It comes with a hefty price tag of around $100, but keep this knife sharp, and you’ll never need to replace it.
For a more affordable option, the Babish 3-Piece Knife Set comes with an 8” chef’s knife, an 8” bread knife, a small 3.5” paring knife, and a three-slot canvas knife roll. Coming up at half the price of the Global knife, this set has everything a home cook needs.
3. Rice Cooker
Talk to any Asian or Latin American household, and they will tell you that a rice cooker is an indispensable unit. At its most basic function, you can expect perfect rice every time, no matter the cooking style.
If this alone is still not a reason enough to purchase it, please hear us out! A good rice cooker can do so much more – you can use it to prepare rice and meat dishes of any kind, porridges and rice soups, steamed vegetables, and dumplings.
Zojirushi is an industry-standard brand that offers many rice cooker options, depending on how many functions you want and how much rice you plan on cooking. At their most basic, the Zojirushi NHS-10 has only two settings – cook and warm — and can hold up to 6 cups of uncooked rice.
For a more advanced option with additional settings, such as delay timers and the ability to change temperature and cooking times depending on what the rice needs, nothing beats the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker. Either one would be a worthy addition to your special someone’s kitchen.
4. Pepper Grinder
If you need large amounts of ground black pepper, go for the KROK, as it will give you complete control over the texture of the final product. But for quick, small amounts of freshly ground pepper, always keep a pepper grinder nearby. It doesn’t take much more energy than a pepper shaker, but the freshly ground pepper will always (and impressively) taste much better than pre-ground pepper.
The options for a good pepper grinder are endless, and you can look for well-reviewed ones that match your style and kitchen decor. They come in dark and light wood, ceramic, glass, etc. A great, affordable option is the Peugeot Pepper Mill in a dark chocolate color. It looks lovely and is high-quality, being manufactured at the Peugeot site in France.
For those with a bit more money to spend, the best pepper grinder money can buy is the Pepper Cannon, at an impressive $200. If you would like to go for a more iconic look, have a look at these handmade olive wood mill grinders with ceramic mechanisms.
5. Kitchen Torch
A kitchen torch is another one of those tools that you can initially do without, but once added to your kitchen, you can’t imagine preparing meals without it. The uses of the torch are endless, from melting cheese and searing meats to charing tomatoes, chilies, and other vegetables. You can use it to flambe alcohol in a hot pan or prepare dessert toppings.
The Jo Chef Superior RX kitchen torch is a great option to start with. It has a safety lock and adjustable flame that gets super hot — up to 1300°C — and comes ready to go with a butane tank. Purchasing this torch also gives you access to an ebook with 15 recipes, so you can quickly learn a few of the many ways to use your new torch in the kitchen.
6. Pasta Maker
If your loved one is interested in making homemade pasta – as it’s undeniably delicious and so much better than dried pasta – a hand-cranked pasta maker is a must! Most options come with a roller section to roll out the dough and a cutting section to make thinner noodles like spaghetti or a bit wider noodles like fettuccine.
The Imperia Pasta Maker is the standard in most Italian kitchens, manufactured in Italy since 1932. While this option comes with the two main sections as listed above, there are numerous other attachments sold separately for many other types of noodles.
If you already have a KitchenAid mixer, they sell attachments with roll and cut functions so that you can get the same results as the hand crank options.
7. Kitchen Shears
While most of us keep a pair of scissors near our kitchen, having designated, high-quality kitchen shears is a game-changer. These will usually have a few more functions than your normal scissors, such as bottle openers, center sections for cracking nuts and bones, notches for jar opening, and heavy-duty metal for cutting through any joint and breaking down poultry. You can also take the two sections apart to clean them better, which is necessary when you use them for cutting raw meats.
This is another good tool with lots of great options across all price points. When shopping, be sure your choice has at least some of the above features, if not all. A perfect, affordable option with all of these features (and more) is the Gerior Kitchen Scissors, coming way under $20. This is more of a universal pair that can do anything. If you only plan to use shears for one thing (like breaking down poultry), you can look for a specialized pair.
8. Meat Thermometer
Meat thermometers are a surprisingly cheap tool that has yet to find its way into more kitchens. Why is that? We don’t know because you can cook meat to perfection every time with a thermometer. No more overcooking and drying out your dinner or worrying about the safety of what you’re about to eat. And in today’s digital world, some thermometers will even connect to your phone via Bluetooth or gauge the temperature of multiple products.
The Tuopuke Dual Probe meat thermometer comes with a built-in probe and an additional extra-long wire probe so you can leave the gauge in while grilling or smoking. The oven-safe wire probe is also sturdy enough to handle your oven or grill door closed, so you don’t have to worry about heat loss. The alarm will go off once the oven or grill hits the desired temperature, so you don’t have to watch it yourself.
9. Wooden Cutting Board
Every kitchen needs at least one, and maybe a few, cutting boards. From time-consuming meat butchering to quick fruit or vegetable chopping and dicing fresh herbs, the uses of a cutting board are incredibly versatile.
When it comes to chopping boards, choosing between plastic and wooden is a controversial topic. Plastic is thought to be easier to clean since it’s usually dishwasher safe and requires less maintenance. However, thanks to the natural wood’s properties, like natural tannins, wood cutting boards are actually more hygienic than plastic ones and more durable and easier on your knife blades.
For more info on cutting boards and different materials, check out our guide on The Best Cutting Boards. Really, the best set-up is a high-quality wood cutting board, as large as your kitchen can handle, and maybe one or two small plastic boards for quick jobs.
If you’re willing to spend some money on your gift, the only option for home chefs is an end grain board made from a high-quality wood like this Friendly 4est European Oak Butcher Block. It comes in two sizes, pick whichever one fits your kitchen and your wallet. For a more affordable option, this HHXRISE Organic Bamboo Cutting Board should work just fine. Be sure to have something like food-grade mineral oil to condition the board every so often.
10. Box Grater
A high-quality stainless steel box grater is a fairly cheap but multi-purposeful tool every home cook should have. There are numerous reasons why you should use a box grater: to avoid all the starch and preservatives added to pre-shredded cheese, purchase better cheese in blocks, and add variety to the texture of cheese by using different sides of the box grater.
But box graters aren’t only for cheese. You can use it to quickly shred or slice a bit of vegetable for a salad, zest lemons and oranges for dishes or even cocktails, or shred potatoes for homemade hashbrowns or latkes. The opportunities are endless.
Cuisipro is a good brand, providing consistent quality and durability, and sharp edges for all your needs. They have a few options, but the 6-sided Box Grater is our favorite. It has a few more slicing options than the usual 4-sided options and also comes with a base that includes a grater on it, used for ginger or wasabi. If you don’t think you need all six sides, their 4-sided option is just as good (but a bit more expensive).
11. Cast Iron Casserole
Sure, you can make stews in any kind of pot if you set your mind to it. However, a cast-iron casserole dish does wonders for the meat, thanks to its excellent heating capacity. Plus, you can put it in the oven and combine various cooking styles. On top of its functionality, a cast-iron casserole is lovely to look at, which, if well chosen, will last over time and accompany the chef over the years as they make comforting one-pot casserole recipes.
This Emile Henry HR Modern Classics Large Rectangular Baker is made of high-fired Bulgarian clay that’s extremely durable. It’s highly resistant to thermal shock — you can move it between the oven and fridge with ease — even though that’s not usually recommended for appliances. Its glaze resists scratches, and it’s large enough to make a casserole for a crowded dinner party.
Alternatively, this Lodge Cast Iron Casserole Pan comes in eye-catching colors and has a generous capacity. Because of its round shape, you can use it over the stove to make dishes like paella or roasts that require stirring.
12. A Set of Ramekins
Ramekins are usually ceramic mini cooking dishes that can go into the oven, microwave, and freezer. They are a very underrated piece of kitchen equipment, and the list of things you can do with ramekins is endless. Because they are portion-sized, they allow you to make delicious-looking sweets, quiches, and many other dishes that you won’t have to cut when serving and risk everything falling apart. You can also use a kitchen torch on them or use them as mini casseroles to make portion-sized stews.
Depending on the style of your home cook, you can get a classy-looking set of 6-piece ramekins from Mora Ceramic. If you’re shopping for a more contemporary-looking kitchen, check out this Delling Geometric Ramekins set that comes in shades of blue, black, and white. For a cuter look, this set of Between Islands Ramekins is our pick with their candy-colored design. Whichever one you get for your beloved home cook, you’ll thank us for the idea when you’re served a nice soufflé or creme brulee.
13. Himalayan Salt Stone
A plancha much more elegant than usual: this block of Umaid Natural Himalayan Rock Salt Block transforms the traditional backyard barbeque into a real gourmet experience. All you have to do is add a little oil on top and heat the rock slowly on the barbecue to make it a cooking surface that’s also suited for adding seasonings.
The block can be used on a barbecue, heated by flames, or placed in the oven. You can use it for meat, mushrooms, fish, shellfish, and vegetables. To vary your palette, you can also use it cold to impress guests when serving sushi or fresh fruit.
14. Japanese BBQ
A compact Japanese barbecue will allow you to barbecue at home and will enhance the Sunday picnics while catching everyone’s eye with its authentic design. It’s portable and very easy to carry, so you can take it with you when you’re going camping or to enjoy a day at the beach.
You can even use it indoors too, but only with the proper charcoal — Japanese binchotan — because fumes from regular coal can be dangerous. There are three sizes: small, medium, and large, depending on the size of the family and gatherings.
15. Smart Planter
One of the things that turn a good dish into a gourmet meal is the freshness of the produce. You can make sure you have the freshest ingredients if you shop at a farmer’s market or if you’re mindful about the contents of your fridge and spot the food that’s gone bad on time. However, this may easily become a burdensome task, and you may find it hard sometimes. For those times, adding a few fresh herbs to a dish can also do wonders.
A smart planter for growing herbs and plants indoors is a great gift for any home cook. You can grow basil, marigold, mini peppers, parsley, mint, dill, sage, rosemary, thyme, and other herbs, as well as small vegetables like tomatoes. Whatever seeds you can put your hands on.
Now, we do admit that this SereneLife Smart Starter Kit is a bit pricey, but its led grow lights with the hydroponic — meaning soilless — garden features will yield the best result when it comes to indoor gardening. Its different timer modes adapt to the growth stage of the plants, which you can easily control from the front panel, helping your beloved home cook grow their fresh herbs and veggies all year round.
16. A Whetstone
Even though the whetstones are a bit overshadowed by the knife sharpeners and honing rods, they are actually the best tool for the job, as they sharpen and hone your kitchen knives at the same time.
We admit that whetstones are not the most straightforward tools to use when you’re dealing with a dull knife because the excellent results depend on the angle at which you hold the knife and how much you wet the stone. However, once you start doing it right, you will see that stone sharpening is extremely effective!
There are a variety of materials and grains available on the market. The most common ones are made of composite materials like corundum powder, such as this Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone. They are perfect for hard metal blades such as carbon steel.
There are also so-called natural stones, meaning they come directly from a natural material taken from quarries, such as this Arkansas Sharpening Stone Set. These stones are made of Novaculite, quartz found only in this region. You can use them on kitchen knives but also table knives for regular maintenance.
17. Bottle for Oil and Vinegar
Small touches like salt shakers or napkin holders can do wonders to a regular dinner table. An oil and vinegar dispenser set is one of those things, especially if your favorite home cook loves to serve salads.
When buying a gift for your loved ones, don’t go for the regular dispensers that everyone has seen enough of unless they specifically asked for those classy-looking ones. Check out this funky oil and vinegar dispenser from Boaller that’ll make sure to add a wow factor to the table. It’s simple, interesting, and budget-friendly.
18. Mushroom Knife
If your favorite home cook is a mushroom enthusiast, we have the perfect gift idea for you. A mushroom knife is an absolute accessory for foraging. Even if they aren’t into it yet, you can motivate them to take up a new hobby with these multi-featured mushroom knives. While picking mushrooms is a hobby that requires some know-how, it can be great for someone who likes hiking in the forest and cooking.
A mushroom knife is important to cut the mushroom without damaging the mycelium. Because mushrooms have delicate stems, the harvesting process is sometimes complicated. With a mushroom knife, you can slice the mushrooms delicately thanks to their hawk-bill shaped blades.
For example, this pocket-sized Hanziup Classic Mushroom Knife is well equipped for foraging. It’s easy to carry around and has a stiff brush to clean mushrooms without damaging them. Its stylish handle offers perfect grip, and the blade’s design is very safe. It also comes with a book on foraging mushrooms, making it the perfect gift for a wanna-be forager.
19. Electric Knife Sharpener
Knives are a cook’s most important tool, and nothing beats the pleasure of cutting with a perfectly sharp knife that can cut even the thinnest tomato slices smoothly. Whetstones are great for keeping the knives in their best condition, but they do require some time and effort to master. And even after mastering, you’ll need an hour to get a perfectly sharpened knife.
An electric knife sharpener is one of the easiest and fastest ways to achieve dream sharpness. And they are so easy to use that it’s virtually impossible to go wrong. You just put the knife in the slit and let the sharpener do its job. The only thing you should consider is the type of blades that you’ll be sharpening with these tools because some work best on specific knife types like Japanese knives or ceramic, while some are designed to sharpen multiple blade types.
Presto EverSharp Electric Knife Sharpener is fast, quiet, and efficient for non-serrated knives. This knife sharpener’s 4 blade guides fix the blade at the optimum angle. You can sharpen and polish your blades in a minute.
If you’re looking for more of a professional sharpener, this Chef’s Choice Trizor XV Sharpener has 3 stages used to hone, sharpen and polish the blades. You can easily sharpen both regular and serrated-edged knives with it. You’ll be surprised how it turns even the cheapest knives into professional grade. We admit that it’s a bit pricey, but it comes with a 3 years warranty.
20. Digital Food Scale
You would be surprised to see how misleading measuring cups can be depending on the condition of the ingredient, the dampness of the air, or the way you scoop stuff up. A digital food scale gives you consistent and accurate measurements every time, which is practical for several reasons. The precision of the ingredients might not be very important when making a meat stew since you can’t really go wrong with that if you don’t leave aside common sense. However, baked dishes and fermented ones require closer attention.
This OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale is incredibly accurate and has multiple functions, such as a pull-out display, a removable scale bed, and a unit conversion feature to measure kilograms, ounces, and pounds. For a more budget-friendly alternative, this Escali Primo Precision Food Scale is easy to use, comes with a lifetime warranty, and simply delivers what it promises.
21. Mushroom Log Kit
If your beloved home cook already has cupboards full of kitchen utensils, and you feel like there’s nothing left that can surprise them, let us prove you wrong. Have you heard about mushroom log kits? Howard Berk and Todd Pittard’s Shiitake Mushroom Log Kit and Oyster Mushroom Log Kit made of recently felled tree trunks and organic spores let you grow meaty shiitake and velvety oyster mushrooms in your home.
All you need to do is to soak the wood in water and keep it in a dark, damp, cool place for about 6 weeks. The kit will reward you with a lot of delicious mushrooms. After you harvest the mushrooms, you can repeat the growing process every 6 weeks up to 3 years. Once you get this mushroom log kit, you’ll be set for all the sauces, stir-fries, stuffings, and soups for a long time.
22. Cast Iron Garlic Roaster
Roasted garlic is a great condiment and makes your house smell incredibly delicious. You can spread it on bread, mix it with veggies, add it to soups, or — if you’re like us — you can even eat it straight.
With this practical and cute little cast iron garlic roaster, you can roast garlic in the oven or on a grill. It eliminates the need for aluminum foil, which can release harmful chemicals into the food. Because you’ll be exclusively roasting garlic in it, you don’t need to clean it thoroughly every time you use it.
23. Tofu Maker Kit
Whether you’re a vegan or not, tofu is a great way to incorporate a new texture into your diet. If you’ve ever been to Japan, you know that the Japanese know how to serve tofu and incorporate it into their cuisine. What if you could make some delicious tofu at home? All you need to do is to get some soybeans and this Yamako tofu maker kit.
The kit is made of Japanese Cypress tree that’ll add a nice aroma to your tofu. Homemade tofu is much fresher than the ones you buy from the store, and it tastes much sweeter and nuttier. After you soak the soybeans in water overnight and run it through a blender — to make soy milk — the tofu-making process takes about only 1 or 2 hours. You can also use store-bought soy milk if you don’t want to deal with the soybeans.
24. Silicone Lids
Even the tidiest home cook can lose track of the lids from time to time. These Five Two Airtight Silicone Lids are cute, useful, and easy to store. The multiple sizes in the set can fit any type of dish, and you can use them on anything from skillets to plastic containers.
Apart from being an eco-friendly substitute to plastic wrap, they are heat resistant up to 280°C, so you can even cover a simmering saucepan with these silicone lids or shield your microwave from splatters. When you put them on a dish or pot with a smooth rim, gently pull the lid by its handle to have airtight suction, and you’re good to go.
25. Clip & Drain
Some kitchen tools are only there because of the old habits, such as that bulky drainer that you only use for draining pasta. This Chef’s Planet Clip & Drain is a very clever tool that acts as a built-in strainer on any pot you attach it to, be it a small saucepan or a mixing bowl. You can easily drain pasta, meat, and veggies without hassling with a bulky colander — not to mention washing it afterward. It’s made of silicone, so it won’t be damaged even when draining boiling water, and it’s safe to wash in the dishwasher.
Over and Out!
Gift-giving is an important tradition and a great way to leave mementos for our family and friends. It’s great when the gift is also functional or something that opens up new horizons for the receiver.
We hope you found a few great gifts for your beloved cooking enthusiasts. Some of these are necessary tools any home chef should have, while others are more niche tools that’ll give your friends and family a huge smile on their faces and encourage them to try something new.
Last Updated on June 14, 2022