• May 24, 2024, 3:46 am

The best kitchen gifts to upgrade everyday cooking SoftAIT

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Update : Monday, November 6, 2023

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A good home cook will already have the basic tools they need—so use the holiday season to buy them the best kitchen gifts they might not even know they need. It could be a big fancy gadget, but it could also be a small upgrade to a simple, classic one. Either way, they can put these accessories to good use cooking delicious food all year long … and maybe sharing some with you. Win-win!

Best multicooker: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1

Look, we know this is an obvious choice for a kitchen gift. Instant Pots are just the new sous-vide machines in terms of go-to gadgets. But here’s the thing: They’re popular for a reason. Want to make slow-cooked stews on a weeknight? Or perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs every time? Who doesn’t? The basic version is affordable, even for the largest size. If you want to upgrade to the 10 in 1, go for it, but rest assured this one will get all of the jobs done.

Brava smart oven

Brava’s smart oven seeks to answer two questions home cooks face at least once a day: What should I cook, and how long will it take? The 10-in-1 countertop appliance provides you with answers to both by presenting you with an ever-growing list of recipes that cater to any diet or dietary restrictions. In our tests, we cooked everything from s’mores to fried eggs, and the results were both fast and tasty. You can control the oven using an app, or by navigating through its controls via a touch screen on top; either way, you’ll be guided through recipes from conception to execution. Part of this appliance’s appeal is its size: The Brava Oven will heat up a lot faster than a full-sized one, which allowed us to cook s’mores in just three minutes. By cutting down on the cook time, we were encouraged to cook more often rather than opting for takeout. This is an ultra-luxe gift, but well worth it if you know someone who loves to cook but struggles to come up with new meals for their rotation.

AquaTru Connect

All of us should be drinking at least 2.7 liters of water per day according to the Mayo clinic, but that’s difficult if you’re uneasy about what’s coming out of your tap. If you know someone in that situation, AquaTru’s Connect makes for an excellent gift. The appliance uses a three-stage filtration system and reverse osmosis to purify water and remove everything from rocket fuel and radium to pesticides and herbicides. Naturally, it’ll also filter out unwanted tastes and odors. We could easily pick up on those last two factors during our tests but felt good about the other nasty stuff getting filtered out, too. Using the AquaTru connect is equally simple. All you have to do is fill up its tank, and press a button. AquaTru’s app lets you know the status of all three filters, so you know when they need to be replaced, along with stats on how much water it’s filtered.

MÄNNKITCHEN Pepper Cannon

Giving a pepper grinder as a gift may seem odd, but Mäankitchen’s is the exception that proves the rule. We were impressed not only by its ultra-solid build quality but by the level of control it gave us over our grind. The company says its grinder is 10 times faster than a typical one, and you should believe the hype. A simple knob on the bottom of the pepper grinder allows you to switch from coarser to finer settings, so you can find the perfect one for your salad and steak and switch between them very quickly. Yes, the Mäankitchen Pepper Cannon is overkill, but that’s exactly why it’s such a great gift.

Tineco TOASTY ONE

If you know someone who can’t start their day without toast, a bagel, or an English muffin, Tineco’s Toasty One will blow their minds. The smart toaster allows you to select your preferred level of doneness using a visual indicator, which is far more useful than figuring out whether you like setting number two or three on a traditional toaster. There’s no app required to use this toaster, as its main feature is the 4-inch touch screen. We were impressed by the performance of this toaster, especially the ability to select individual settings for the left and right slots. It also helps that the toaster actually looks cool on a countertop, with just the right mix of futurism and minimalism.

Best stand mixer: Wolf Gourmet High-Performance Stand Mixer

Wolf Gourmet High-Performance Stand Mixer

Wolf Gourmet’s Stand Mixer is the most luxe gift in our guide, but it’ll astonish any home baker who receives it. The company paid meticulous attention to small details, like how easy the power knob is to turn, the click that happens when the large-capacity bowl is in the correct position, and how long it takes for the mixer to increase its speed. The mixer comes with a whisk, paddle, and dough hook attachment, which we’ve used to make cakes, cookies, and bread respectively.

This mixer has an extraordinary amount of power under the hood, so much so that we casually made double or triple batches of a recipe without thinking twice. A half-full bowl of cookie dough never impeded the paddle attachment from spinning, nor did it make the mixer shake violently, which has happened when we tried the same test with another machine. Wolf Gourmet includes an indispensable accessory in addition to its attachments: A plastic shield that goes over the top of the mixer’s bowl to prevent dry ingredients from flying everywhere when you first incorporate them with wet ingredients. The shield has a slot that allows you to slowly feed ingredients into the mixer as it’s being used.

Wolf Gourmet’s Stand Mixer isn’t your average gift, but it’s one that its recipient will treasure for the rest of their lives. We could easily see this mixer get passed down from generation to generation along with handwritten family recipes.

Sheet pans are essential for the home cook who bakes or roasts food often, and this eye-catching pair of quarter-sheet trays from Great Jones will liven up every kitchen. They’re dishwasher safe, and the perfect size for a personal pizza, small sheet of cookies, or cornbread. We’re especially fond of their raised lips, which makes it possible to use them for small sheet cakes. Most home cooks have half-sized sheet pans but may be sleeping on smaller ones. Great Jones also offers a bundle that includes these two trays and a larger one.

Smithey Ironware’s 7.25 QT Dutch Oven is a luxe gift for serious home cooks who routinely cook big batches of food for an entire family. One could easily bake a massive loaf of bread, fry an entire broken down chicken, or slow cook an entire pork butt while still having room to spare. The company says you’ll be able to cook acidic foods like sauces in it after the first few cooks without the risk of ruining its coating. If you go to one specific person’s house every year for the holidays, and have watched them struggle to get enough food out at one time because their cookware was too small, this gift could seriously help them out.

There’s “microwave-safe” cookware and then there’s the Everyday Set from Anyday. The frosted glass cookware is dishwasher safe, freezer safe, non-toxic, and comes in multiple sizes, which is why we’re inclined to jump in with both feet and gift the Everyday set. We’ve been pleased not only by how well this cookware performs—our from-scratch and reheated microwaved foods have never been cooked so consistently—but by how each size is perfect for different applications. The home cook with this set will be able to make everything from a full pot of rice to a small chicken completely in the microwave. The company’s website offers a bevy of new recipes for the microwave skeptic, too, in case you’re shopping for a skeptic.

Kuhn Rikon 4th Burner Pot

Kuhn Rikon’s 4th Burner Pot was specifically designed to be used on the smallest burner found on a stovetop. If you’re shopping for a home cook who cares about efficiency, this gift will please them immeasurably. The pot comes with a steam basket, which can also be used to boil smaller vegetables or thick pasta (think rigatoni) and easily lift them out of boiling water. Small touches, like the covering on the top and side handles that make both parts grippier are especially nice touches. We guarantee the chef in your life doesn’t have this tool in their arsenal, and they’ll immediately begin figuring out the most efficient ways to use it.

Misen 3 QT Stainless Steel Saucier

Misen’s 3 Quart Saucepan is the type of kitchen tool that many home chefs aspire to use, and giving it as a gift could make that a reality. The 5-ply stainless steel saucepan heats up evenly, but its handle is designed to be easy to hold and reduce its heat exposure. Three of this saucier’s layers are made out of aluminum, which conducts heat more quickly to cut down on the cook time. This construction also allows the sauce pan to withstand heat of up to 800 degrees in case you need to prepare food in the oven. Whether they want a fresh bowl of rice, homemade popcorn, or reheated soup, this is the tool they’ll continue to reach for.

Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker

Aspiring bakers can tripped up in bread baking because there’re so many things that can go wrong, from taking a loaf out too soon, or accidentally overworking or under-proofing the dough. Panasonic’s Automatic Bread Maker lives up to its name, allowing you to make everything from brioche to sourdough with a few button presses. It even has a slot where you can pour in mix-ins like seeds or dried garlic and other spices to ensure they’re incorporated evenly. We’re typically skeptical about single-use kitchen gadgets since counter space is such a premium resource (especially in apartments), but the Automatic Bread Maker more than earns its spot. If they make bread often enough, the person you gift it to may never put it away.

Cuisinart TOA-95

If you’re shopping for someone with limited counter space, Cuisinart’s TOA-95 should be one of the first gifts to consider. The sleek-looking appliance can bake, broil, roast, reheat, toast, and air fry, with dedicated buttons for preheating, slow cooking, and air frying. The TOA-95’s display makes it easy to see which setting is selected, and the function and time / temp knobs are easy to navigate its interface. Many people associate air fryers with french fries (the TOA-95 excels at making them ultra crispy), but it’s large enough to roast an entire chicken. Overall, Cuisinart’s TOA-95 is one of the best appliances we tested this year, and we highly recommend getting it for any home cook.

BUBBA Kitchen Series Cordless Electric Knife

Know somebody who has the honor of carving up the main dish at every holiday party? Bubba’s Cordless Electric Knife will become their new best friend. The knife is extremely efficient at cutting through thick cuts of meat — even through bone — to delivery clean-looking perfectly portioned slices. Bubba includes three blades for different applications, though we typically stuck with the seven inch carving blade during our time with it. We have to admit we were impressed at just how well this knife fit in our hand. The curved hilt allowed us to get a solid grip, and the thumb rest on top allowed us to put constant pressure on what we were cutting while keeping the blade steady. Bubba even cared about the quality of its carrying case, which makes the knife easy to store safely when not in use.

Weston 2-in-1 Slow Cooker & Electric Indoor Smoker

Nothing bums out a pit master quite like winter, when the smoker has to go away until springtime, which is why they’ll love Weston Brands’ slow cooker. The appliance doubles as a smoker, with a small canister for wood chips and settings for hot, cold, or combo smoking. A temperature probe will prevent them from overcooking their meat, which is particularly helpful during long cooks. The countertop-friendly appliance can cook a 6-pound chicken or 4-pound roast, which is more than enough to feed a group, especially when you factor in side dishes. There’s nothing quite like this indoor smoker (most home cooks rely on liquid smoke during colder months), so whoever you gift it to will be very pleasantly surprised.

OXO Good Grips 11-Pound Stainless Steel Food Scale

Everybody knows a home baker who uses measuring cups instead of weighing ingredients, and you can help them seriously up their game by gifting them a kitchen scale. Their bakes will turn out consistently, and the scale can be used in savory applications to portion meat and vegetables before cooking them. We like OXO’s scale because of its magnetic slide-out screen, which makes it possible to use the scale when weighing food in a large container. These containers would block the display of a lesser scale, which defeats the purpose of using it. OXO is one of our go-to cookware companies, and we can recommend its salad spinner as another great gift idea for picky chefs.

Best cordless appliance: KitchenAid Go Cordless Hand Mixer

Counter space is a kitchen’s most premium real estate, and KitchenAid’s new Go Cordless Hand Mixer offers power and precision without taking up an inch. One of six appliances in the company’s new “Go” line, the 7-speed mixer can be used for everything from whipping up egg whites for a meringue to thoroughly mixing batters for cakes and brownies, to whipping cream. One of this hand mixer’s big features is its removable, rechargeable battery, which lasts up to 60 minutes per charge. This battery is compatible with all of the handheld appliances in KitchenAid’s Go line, so you can swap them whenever necessary. If you know a home cook with tired hands but limited space, this hand mixer is the ultimate gift.

Best for bakers: PantryChic Smart Storage System

PantryChic Smart Storage System

It’s ultralux, but PantryChic’s Smart Storage System is a kitchen tool your giftee will treasure for years to come. The appliance allows you to store your dry ingredients in a BPA-free container and then dispense them in the perfect quantity—down to the gram—thanks to a built-in scale. This is helpful in cutting down the time it takes to bake by reducing, if not completely eliminating, the need for measuring cups and spoons. PantryChic’s machine can be used with over 100 ingredients, from flours and coffee grounds to nuts and seeds. Baking is mostly an exact science—though creativity is encouraged—and PantryChick’s Smart Storage System can help amateurs and experienced bakers alike get the best results every time.

Hurom H310A Personal Self Feeding Slow Masticating Juicer

Hurom’s H310A is so good it may well convert your favorite home chef from someone who orders overpriced juice at a specialty shop into someone who makes them at home. The juicer’s self-feeding hopper will continually ingest chunks of fruits and vegetables, while its blade mimics the amount of force used for manual juicing. Hurom says the H310A wrings as much juice as possible from fruits and vegetables, and that’s been true in our tests. The H310A consistently made tasty juice from whatever we threw at it, and cleaning it by hand was a quick affair. The best part about this juicer is its small size. This juicer offers the same level of performance as a bulkier one in a far more svelte package. Fresh, organic juice is very expensive if you order it out, so gifting this juicer will actually save the person you’re shopping for money without using a lot of time.

Best water carbonator: Ninja Thirsti Drink System

Ninja Thirsti Drink System

If you’re shopping for someone who loves fizzy water—or wants to cut down on the number of energy drinks, alcoholic beverages, and sodas they buy—Ninja’s Thirsti Drink System should be your go-to gift. The appliance can make carbonated water at three levels of intensity in six, 12, 18, and 24 ounce batches. Water is fed to the machine from an external tank, which should be kept in the fridge for the best results. The Thirsti also comes with a set of flavor pods, and you’re able to flavor intensity of your drink in addition to its level of carbonation and size. The results are always consistent, and you can even mix the flavor of two pods together for a more customized taste.

Best ice cream maker: Ninja Creami

Ninja Creami

The Ninja Creami is the only gift you should consider for someone who loves ice cream. The set-it-and-forget it nature of the Creami allows you to make ice cream, gelato, sorbet, milkshakes, italian ice, and other frozen treats with minimal intervention. After freezing the ice cream base in the included pint container overnight, you stick it into the Creami, hit one button, and the machine takes care of the rest. Blades will churn the ice cream to the correct consistency based on the frozen treat you’ve selected. You have the option to pause midway through to fold in mix-ins, but beyond that all you have to do is wait for the machine to do its job. This deluxe package comes with a pair of XL-sized prints, each of which holds 24 ounces of ice cream. Additional XL pints can be purchased separately if you want a constant supply of ice cream.

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron Cookware Set

Luxe doesn’t even begin to describe Le Creuset’s 10-piece Signature Enameled Cast-Iron Cookware Set, the premium set of cookware we could wholeheartedly recommend. The set comes with an enameled dutch oven, saucier, skillet, roaster, grill pan, braiser, and four lids. Each piece in this collection is at the top of the class in its respective kitchen tool category, and to have them all bundled together will leave the person you gift this to completely gobsmacked. They can reach for these tools while baking bread and brownies, browning a steak, making a sauce, frying foods, and just about everything in between. We’d go so far as to say these are the only kitchen tools a home cook could ever truly need—though the appliances, accessories, and other tools we’re recommending would be a big help.

Fifth & Cherry’s F&C 14 is a statement piece that deserves a place in any home cook’s kitchen. The 14-inch cutting board is thick cutting board thick enough to feel substantial, but still easy to move around when necessary. Fifth & Cherry went the extra mile to make sure its cutting boards immediately catch the eye, but their attention to detail is more than skin deep. We chopped, scraped, kneaded, and served food on this board and it held up very well after repeated use. The cutting board will accumulate cut marks over time, but the nicks shouldn’t go deep enough to impact its performance. If they do, Fifth & Cherry offers a free refinishing service. It may seem odd to call a cutting board beautiful, but the F&C 14 earns that distinction — and many more.

Best collender: Dreamroo Collapsible Multi-purpose Colander

Dreamroo Collapsible Multi-purpose Colander

Every sink and recipe is a little different, but your giftee won’t have to worry about that with Dreamroo’s colander, which can expand and contract between 14.5 and 19.5 inches. This feature allows you use the same collender to clean a pint or quart of fruit without reaching for a separate tool. If you’re cooking pasta for yourself or a couple of friends, this is the collender to reach for. We like this collender because it’s the type of gift nobody expects, but will immediately wonder how they lived without. It’s even offered in multiple colors (we’re particularly partial to the blue), so you can get one to match their style.

A chef knife is the most versatile piece of cutlery in a home cook’s arsenal and an investment that with care can last decades, with many of them costing upwards of $200-$400. MadeIn offers its professional-grade 8-inch chef knife for just $99 and allows you to personalize its blade for an extra $30. This is a really nice touch that a home cook would appreciate every time they chop, dice, or chiffonade their favorite produce. This French-made knife, which combines the approach of German and Japanese blades, is made from a single piece of stainless steel hardened with nitrogen. It’ll make quick work of tomatoes, potatoes, pineapples, avocado, or anything else that’s thrown at it. If it’s taken care of properly, the chef who gets this knife will be able to use it for the rest of their life.

Cangshan N1 Steel Forged Knife Block Set

If you need an incredibly generous gift idea for a home cook who’s just moved out onto their own, our top recommendation is Cangshan’s N1. The six-knife block has everything a chef needs to cut, chop, slice, and filet meat, vegetables, fruit, and anything in between. The star of the show is arguably the wooden block, which is cut at an angle so each knife is easy to grab and use. The blades themselves are forged out of a single piece of German steel, so you never have to worry about a handle falling apart. If they’re taken care of and sharpened a few times of year, this gift will last a lifetime.

Stone Lain Porcelain 16 Piece Dinnerware Set

Another great gift for folks just leaving home for the first time is a good looking set of dinnerware, which should be fancy enough to impress guests, but comfortable enough to use every day. Stone + Lain knocked it out of the park with this 16-piece set, which is a table setting for four people. Plates, bowls, and mugs are all included, so they’ll have everything they need in a single package. We loved how nice Stone + Lain’s dinnerware set looked in person, and the porcelain material felt fancier than we expected. Importantly, every piece in this set is microwave and dishwasher safe.

The best mandoline: Benriner Mandoline Slicer

Benriner Mandoline Slicer

It’s not generally good practice to give people products they could hurt themselves with—but if you’ve got a friend or family member who loves cooking up elaborate meals, this mandoline will be a godsend. It lets you quickly shave thin slices off even the hardiest veggies, making everything from salad prepping to gratin layering much faster and easier. Plus it comes with a little gripper so your loved ones don’t accidentally slice their fingertips off.

Best grater: Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Grater

Kyocera Advanced Ceramic Grater

Yes, you could use a microplane to grate your ginger. But that’s assuming you want to clog up the tiny blades with fibers and spend twice as long doing it. Instead, you could just get this little Japanese device designed to perfectly mash up your ginger root (or garlic or fresh turmeric) without the hassle. It’s simple. It’s easy. It’s ceramic. And it’s got a silicone ring on the bottom to keep it from slipping.

Best spice grinder: FinaMill Pepper Mill & Spice Grinder

FinaMill Pepper Mill & Spice Grinder

FinaMill’s spice grinder is the type of gift an avid home cook wouldn’t expect but would definitely enjoy. The battery-powered grinder comes with clear pods, which have blades attached and can be filled with whole spices. Sticking the grinder on top of the grinder will initiate the blades and pulverize the spices to your preferred level of coarseness. The best part is that the spice can stay in these pods to retain their freshness over time. And because each spice is sequestered to its own pod you’ll never get cross contamination, which can alter their taste. You can also stick spices into the pods and use the FinaMill as a grinder to season your food with pepper or the spice of your choice.

Best for travelers: Nordic Ware Cakes and Cupcakes Carrier

Nordic Ware Cakes and Cupcakes Carrier

We all have that one person in our lives that loves bringing baked goods to parties, but frets about them getting there in one piece. Nordic Wae’s Cakes and Cupcakes Carrier is the perfect gift for such a kind soul. The kitchen tool will allow them to transport 12 cupcakes or a 9-inch x 13-inch cake safely. The cupcake holder even has individual slot, so delicate pipework isn’t ruined by one cake rubbing up against the other. A hard plastic shield prevents anything from accidentally touching the cakes, and handles make the carrier easier to take bakes from a car seat into a home and vice versa. Sometimes you can’t beat practicality. Nordic Ware also has a baking pan and lid set that serves a similar purpose, but won’t require them to transfer their bake from its baking dish into a separate container.

Best sous vide: Breville Joule Turbo

Breville Joule Sous Vide Turbo

OK, sure … we did start this whole list saying that Instant Pots are the new sous-vide machines. But that doesn’t mean the real things went away. If anything, they’re just hitting their stride. Breville’s Joule Turbo is the latest model in the company’s successful sous vide line, and it succeeds in solving the biggest issue with this style of cooking: the time commitment. The Turbo modulates the temperature of the water bath rather than keeping it at a set temperature to dramatically reduce the cook time of certain dishes. You still get all the benefits of sous vide cooking, including getting consistently perfect results with little to no fuss, just more quickly. The amount of time you’ll save will vary based on what’s being cooked, but some cook 50% faster. The home chef who “already has everything” will undoubtedly love this kitchen upgrade.



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