When it comes to cooking, everyone has their own set of preferences and requirements. You may think nonstick pans will make a great gift, while the potential recipient has already converted to cast iron and steel cookware. Before choosing a cooking-related gift, keep in mind what the other person likes or wants.
When you go online or check out the cooking department in any store, many items seem to be both practical and fun. After the first glance, call your friend and ask them what they need the most. If the gift is meant to be a surprise, engage the potential recipient in a cooking-related conversation and see what comes up.
The following gift ideas should help you get started:
1. Time-Saving Smart Appliances
Smart appliances have been in the market for some time, but they’re not yet a staple in every kitchen. Many home cooks and chefs already have the traditional version of these appliances such as a pressure cooker, toaster oven, Dutch oven, regular oven, and so on.
Investing in a smart appliance might not be in their budget right now, but it could be in their upgrading plans for the future. This is where you can give a highly appreciated and exciting gift. If you have the budget for them, check out the following smart appliances:
- Sous Vide Precision Cooker: This will ensure that everything is cooked to just the right tenderness
- Smart Electric Cooker: This works as a pressure cooker or a regular cooking pot where you don’t have to worry about constantly supervising the food. Once you have the right recipe; program the cooker, put in the ingredients, and go about your day (with some checking in between). Any cook will be glad to relieve their mental load to some extent
- Smart Toaster: With a touchscreen and unique features, a toaster like this will make burnt bread a thing of the past. Every slice can be the perfect crispiness and stay that way with the warming rack
- Smart Coffee Maker: A good cup of coffee is just as much a part of cooking as any other concoction. Help your friend get the best brew with a smart feature-filled coffee maker.
- Smart Air Fryer: This will make convection cooking a breeze and help to reheat food as well
- Smart Trash Can: Not a cooking tool, but convenient for cooks who want clean as they go
Of course, smart appliances are pretty heavy on the pocket. You may want to stretch the gift budget by getting other friends in on the surprise. If you’re ready for this investment, check out some more tech products for cooking in the kitchen.
2. Small Handy Gadgets
You may have seen a lot of handy kitchen gadgets in shops, online ads, and videos. These may not be of the best quality but can be very useful for certain cooking routines.
- Silicone Lids: If your friend frequently complains about not finding lids for containers, consider gifting them these almost universal lids. These can stretch to cover any hard container and even the exposed parts of cut fruits/vegetables.
- Food Huggers: These are little sturdy pockets of hard silicone where one can place cut peppers, apples, etc., and simply put them in the fridge for later use.
- Self-stirrer: This is a tool you can put in a shallow pot or pan to stir any sauce/soup by itself, with a timer that helps the cook focus on other tasks until the sauce is done
- Popcorn Maker: Not only is it great for movie nights at home, but it allows a home cook to experiment with different flavors of popcorn
- Jar-Opening Gadget: This can come in all shapes and sizes, but it’s best to get an adjustable and compact model
Check out some more kitchen gadgets to make cooking simpler.
Many folks are growing aware of the need to be self-reliant when it comes to fresh food. See if your friend is also interested in going green and being more sustainable in their cooking process.
- Herb Starter Kit: Great for a cook who wants to grow their ingredients but doesn’t know how to start with a small space
- Gardening supplies: for any existing kitchen gardens or window boxes–these may include a book about growing food at home, seeds, tools, etc.
- Compost Bin: Get one small enough to put on the kitchen counter or looks good enough to be in the garden
- A Growing Plant: Some examples include small pots already full of growing basil, mint, coriander, etc. For a unique experience, consider a mushroom log so the cook can never run out of fresh mushrooms.
- A Sturdy Tote: A large, durable eco-friendly bag can be quite useful when one is out shopping for groceries.
- Beeswax Wraps: These are an environmentally-conscious alternative to plastic wrap; they help to save leftovers and ingredients without the need for more waste.
4. Basic Tools
One main reason for getting a cooking-related gift is that the potential recipient is already into cooking and/or baking. However, there are times when someone you care about has just started their cooking journey. They might have just moved into their home or be on a health kick and want to meal prep.
A lot of people started cooking while working from home, while others began due to a need to stay within budget.
For a cooking newbie, though, you might want to consider some quality options in basic tools. These include the following:
- A Chef’s Knife: Quality knives can last a lifetime and come in handy for almost every recipe
- Cast Iron Skillet: A healthy and versatile option for cooking, frying, sautéing, and even baking
- Kitchen Scissors: A high-end pair will be useful every single day in the kitchen for opening packages, cutting herbs, and even dividing up pizza without much hassle
- Stand Mixer: An expensive piece of equipment but one that can help with a lot of recipes while freeing up the cook’s hands
- Powerful Blender: A high-end blender can help a cook crush ice, chop hard ingredients, and generally get a lot more done with less hassle.
5. Special Tools
When the chef has everything, you have to start thinking out of the box. If you think their kitchen is well-equipped, see if they have the following items (if they don’t, that could be a possible gift idea):
- Butane torch or Blowtorch: for searing steak or caramelizing crème brulee
- Mortar and Pestle: comes in marble, wood, metal, and stone options for crushing ingredients by hand
- Food Dehydrator: for making fruit leather, jerky, and other long-lasting snacks
- Pasta Making Machine: they say that the taste of homemade pasta is far superior to that of store-bought packets. A machine like this makes the process much easier
- Gas Pizza Oven: this doesn’t have to be too large, but can be just what a home chef needs for making more authentic pizzas
- Collection of Whisks: A standard whisk is a staple in most kitchens, but the gift of several whisks in all shapes and sizes can be really helpful
The above options will be most appreciated if your friend loves trying out new projects in the kitchen. If they’re always looking for better ways to experience food, items like these are a must. For more ideas, you can read these ways to reduce cooking time.
6. Packaging, Storage, and Organization
When someone spends a lot of time in the kitchen, they probably have all kinds of things going on. A lot of cooking enthusiasts are into canning these days, which is another aspect of sustainable living. Other home cooks may like to have something that makes storing leftovers or general organization easier. Here are some suggestions that might help them out:
- Mason Jars: You can fill them up with ingredients like cake mixes, cookie mixes, pickles, preserves, etc. They’d look great in a gift basket and the jars will come in handy for storing other food items once they’re empty. Incidentally, mason jars are also a cook’s favorite for serving refreshing drinks or making overnight oats.
- Canning Equipment: Canning anything requires the right kind of equipment. You may get a whole kit or more specialized options like a steam canner or pressure canner.
- Vacuum sealer: these come in handheld versions, though you can also splurge on a heavy-duty one that will seal all kinds of packaging.
- Lazy Susan: This is the name given to a rotating organizer that can fit in any empty corner of a cupboard or shelf. It comes in varying sizes, so you can choose according to the size of your friend’s kitchen, their needs, and your budget
- Spice Rack: Perhaps your friend likes to experiment with a lot of spices or is already an expert in all kinds of seasonings. If so, they might appreciate a good old spice rack near the stove. You may spring for a standard plastic piece with just six jars for the basic everyday spices. For a more versatile cook, consider a multi-tiered version with several glass jars.
- Recipe Storage: This could be in the form of an old-fashioned recipe box, a recipe book, a journal, or whatever fits the bill.
Whether someone is an avid cook or has just started cooking for themselves, there’s always a gift that can make things easier. Some of the items above can take their cooking prowess to the next level, while others can help in reducing waste and go green. Even if you’re on a budget, it’s possible to find something that will make your loved ones happier while cooking.