On a completely-unrelated-to-anything note, I actually really hate the word “foodie.” So it’s killing me a little bit that I just included it in the title of this post.
But “Gifts for people who like to cook and who also like kitchen things and who have probably written an ode to their stand mixer at some point in their life” (umm, not that I’ve done that) takes up just a little bit too much space.
And then you say “foodie,” and it’s concise, and people know what you mean. You know? So here we are.
(Anyone have suggestions for a better word than “foodie?” Let’s start a revolution!!)
BUT ANYWAY. PRESENTS. Let’s talk about them.
I tend to be pretty good at gift-giving – I keep little notes to myself about what people might like, and by the time the holidays roll around, I’ve usually got a pretty solid gift-giving plan.
But this year, you guys? This year, I am USELESS. I got nothing. Like, “I spent three hours on Amazon last night and ended up with a cart full of office supplies because I can’t handle anything besides Post It notes” nothing. (Sorry in advance, friends and family. Y’all are getting highlighters for Christmas).
So to remedy my shopping struggles, I’ve been in major gift-guide-Googling mode. And I figured, HEY, I can’t be the only useless-feeling-gift-giver around these parts. (Y’all? These parts? I have no idea where this is coming from but I’m not sorry about it).
So I threw together a quick holiday gift guide to help you nail down those gift ideas for the cook in your life.
Everything is broken down by price-based categories so you can skim for gifts in your price range, and most of it’s on the cheaper side because 1) You don’t need to spend a lot of money to find an amazing gift for the kitchen and 2) Some of us are on a still-paying-for-our-Master’s-Degrees, let’s-not-get-crazy budget (?? ?? HI THERE). Still, I’ve included a few of my favorite splurge items at the bottom of this post – because sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, you know?
This list is a tried-and-true collection of the best kitchen and cooking tools I’ve found. Basically, I wrote down everything I love most in my kitchen and put it in a blog post. Alternate title possibility: “My favorite things ever out of all the things ever.”
If you have another great idea for a food-related gift, don’t forget to share it in the comments!
Please note: The prices listed are accurate as of press time, but they may change in the future.
Lodge Pre-Seasoned 8-inch Cast Iron Skillet // $10.16 // Everyone needs a good cast iron skillet, and this one is a STEAL at just over $10. It’s 8 inches in diameter, so it’s big enough for a hearty breakfast hash or deep dish pizza without taking up too much cabinet space.
Drop Soap Dispenser // $12.00 // Is it weird that a soap dispenser is one of my favorite things on this list? I bought this last year while I was revamping our kitchen so I could keep soap on the counter without having to look at an ugly plastic soap bottle all day. I LOVE it. It’s a little bit squishy, so you can squeeze dish soap with one hand as you do dishes, but it stands upright with no problems and holds plenty of soap.
Microplane // $11.34 // I use my microplane daily. Use it as a zester for citrus, to quickly grate garlic, or to add some fresh cheese to the top of your favorite pasta dish. An essential tool for any serious cook.
Olive Oil Bottle // $8.89 // Another love of my kitchen life. If you know someone who cooks a lot but doesn’t like a big ol’ ugly bottle of olive oil sitting on their counter, this is the perfect gift to keep that frequently-used ingredient in easy reach without looking out of place. Classy and functional.
Stainless Steel Scoop // $11.40 // Use this scoop for perfectly portioned cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, and even mashed potatoes! One of the gadgets I couldn’t live without.
Stackable Cooling Racks // $9.99 // We have NO counterspace in our apartment, so this stackable cooling rack set has been a lifesaver. The racks are actually pretty big, so you can fit quite a few baked goods on each one. An awesome idea for anyone who loves to bake and has a small kitchen or limited counterspace.
Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat // $20.03 // If you’re looking for a gift for a serious baker, you can’t go wrong with a Silpat. They’re relatively cheap and SO easy to clean. Baking cookies or bread is a breeze with this nonstick mat, and you can also use it as a surface for pulling sugar or cooling sticky things like caramel or peanut brittle.
Keys to The Kitchen (Cookbook) // $25.82 // I love this cookbook! Aida does an awesome job of laying out everything you’d ever want to know about cooking. It’s rich and in-depth so that even accomplished cooks will learn something new, but accessible enough for cooks at any skill level. Also, super-beautifully designed, which I love.
Anolon Nonstick 3.5-Quart Casserole Pot // $49.99 // If you saw Mac and Cheese 101, you know how much I love this pot. It’s the perfect size to cook a pound of pasta, and it is SO EASY to clean (even when I’ve made a sticky cheese sauce and/or burned things). I rarely find pots and pans that blow my mind – but this one definitely did. I might actually buy a few more for myself so I can use it for more than one thing at a time. I’ve had it for over a year now (and use it almost daily) and it still looks almost new.
Anolon Nonstick 10-inch and 12-inch Skillet Twin Pack // $49.99 // Another Anolon pick! I love these skillets. LOVE them. They’re not too heavy but conduct heat pretty evenly on our electric stove, and NOTHING sticks to them. Kyle’s exact words while doing dishes after breakfast yesterday: “I always think I’m going to hate cleaning these skillets, but then I clean them and it’s so easy.” This is another pan I’m about to buy more of for double the skillet cooking power. Teflon-free and they come with a lifetime warranty.
Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender // $34.95 // Ahhhhhh, the immersion blender. If you caught my recent all-about-immersion-blenders post, you already know that this lil’ hand blender is one of the most-used things in my kitchen. I recently upgraded to the wireless version, but if you’re looking for a budget-friendly immersion blender this is the way to go. It’s powerful, durable, and takes up almost no space.
Know someone who’s been VERY good this year? Here are my favorite big-ticket kitchen items. I use each of them in my kitchen on the regular and, if you’re going to spend a lot of money on something for the kitchen, you honestly couldn’t find better products to invest in. I’ve listed their actual product names here, but in my kitchen they’re usually just referred to as MAH BABIEZZZ.
KitchenAid 6-Qt. Professional 600-Series Stand Mixer // $337.49 // I’m pretty sure you can’t have any kitchen-related gift guide if it doesn’t mention the KitchenAid mixer. Of all the appliances in my kitchen, I think this would be the hardest for me to give up. Not only is it sort of BEAUTIFUL, it’s also a serious workhorse. I’ve had this mixer for about 4 years now and it still works just as well as the day I took it out of the box. It’s straight-up iconic, and the status is well-deserved. If the cook in your life doesn’t already have one of these, there’s a good chance it’s on his or her wish list.
Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor // $179.99 // Another iconic appliance and one of my favorite things in the history of EVER. Great for pesto, pie crust, pasta dough, peanut butter, and more. Includes slicing discs so you can also shred enormous blocks of cheese or slice up a boatload of fruits and veggies in no time. Cuisinart also has great customer service – I broke part of the lid to my food processor once (???) and they replaced it immediately with no hassle.
KitchenAid Pro Line Electric Kettle // $179.00 // Ok, I debated about even including this kettle in the gift guide – let’s face it, guys, it’s a tea kettle – but I felt like it had to be done. This is more money than I would ever tell you to spend on a tea kettle under normal circumstances. But it’s so worth it. I use this kettle approoooooximately fifty times a day. And I am OBSESSED with it. Even Kyle loves the kettle! It heats up water FAST, which is great for me since I guzzle tea all day while I work from home, and it has THE MOST SOOTHING CHIME SOUND to let you know the tea is done. Seriously – when we first got this, we spent a good 20 minutes just hitting the button over and over again because we loved the sound it makes so much. Yes, it’s a lot of money for a simple tea kettle – but it’s the simple things that make life great, right? Also, it’s KitchenAid, so you know it comes with a great warranty and will be nice and matchy-matchy with your stand mixer. I drink a lot of tea, and I have WORN OUT other electric kettles, but I’ve had this one over a year now and it shows no signs of slowing down.
KitchenAid Pasta Roller and Cutter Set // $179.95 // Oof, are we sensing a KitchenAid theme here? Whatever. I LOVE THEM. These pasta rollers are my favorite attachment for my stand mixer, and I use them all the time. Easy to use and fairly easy to clean so you can make pasta on a whim without any major setup or cleanup necessary. The roller is also great for making quick pierogi dough!
During the holiday season, we (myself included) often and easily lose sight of the fact that we all already have more than we probably need. It’s easy to hone in on gadgets and appliances and other stuff-that-takes-up-space when we shop, but I also like to search for gifts that are useful, meaningful, and unique. These are some of my favorite gift ideas for anyone looking to think outside the box and make your gift a little more meaningful.
Sustainable Food Deliveries
There are some AWESOME companies working right now to deliver sustainably-sourced food right to your doorstep. Consider gifting a box of flash-frozen, sustainably sourced Maine Lobster Tails from Get Maine Lobster, or a shipment of sustainably-raised, grass-fed beef from ButcherBox. BONUS: ButcherBox comes packed with dry ice, so you get a few hours of fun dry ice science experiments in addition to delicious, sustainable beef!
MicroLoans and Direct Community Support
Kiva: When you buy a Kiva gift card, the recipient can lend its balance to one of thousands of global entrepreneurs who need a hand to overcome poverty. When the initial loan is repaid, you get the money back, and can invest it back into a whole new business! Kiva has a 98% repayment rate and has helped over 1.8 million borrowers worldwide start and sustain their own businesses. Lend as little as $25 to make a huge difference. Buy one gift card for each family member and spend an afternoon together choosing some incredible global entrepreneurs to support!
Heifer International: Heifer works to end hunger and poverty worldwide, and their unique giving program lets you choose an actual animal (Goats! Water Buffalo! Alpacas!) to send to a community in need. Families who receive donated animals in Heifer’s areas of work pay the investment forward by becoming community donors themselves. You can browse Heifer’s gift catalog to find a meaningful gift in one of their many areas of work – share their catalog with your gift recipient and give them a hands-on role by letting them choose which animal or tool(s) to donate!
Looking for other ideas for gifts that give back? Check out Ten Thousand Villages and other fair trade retailers!
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