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From the Strategist: The 37 Best Gifts for Every Type of Home Cook

From cookbook stands to kimchi containers, there’s literally something for everyone

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Photo: Courtesy Retailer

When you’re trying to come up with gift ideas for someone who likes to cook, you want to find something that’s both personal and practical. But finding a gift for a home cook that strikes that balance can be hard, especially if you’re the kind of person whose fridge is filled with takeout containers. That’s why we’ve gathered 37 of the best gifts for every type of home cook in your life — from the newbie who just wants to make a good grilled cheese to the home cook who has it all.

For the home cook who has everything

A white sous vide machine connected to an iPhone

ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide, 1100 Watts, All White

They might not think they need a sous vide machine, but that’s exactly what makes it a great gift for an experienced chef, who can use it to make always-tender steaks, never-overcooked fish, and even soft-scrambled eggs.

For the home cook who would rather use a cookbook

A white cookbook stand Photo: retailer

Yamazaki Home Tosca Cookbook Stand

A minimalist plywood cookbook-stand for those who still like reading recipes on paper — though it can also hold up a tablet.

For the home cook who’d like to throw more dinner parties

Unrolling a roll of royal blue cocktail napkins

MYDrap Cotton Cocktail Napkins

We were introduced to these tear-off linen napkins by Tonne Goodman, who discovered them at a boutique in Paris. “Instead of having a stack of napkins that needs to be spread out in an attractive fashion and then wrestled with to gingerly pick just one, you just simply tear each napkin off,” she writes.

For the home cook who wants only one pot

A white dutch oven

Dansk Kobenstyle White Casserole

This Dutch oven from Dansk has a mid-century design that’s easy to cook with but still looks good on the dinner table. It’s made of carbon steel, so it’s lighter than cast-iron Dutch ovens but it’s still sturdy enough to sear, braise, sauté, and bake anything you want.

For the home cook who’s not over avocados

A plastic avocado filled with guacamole

Prepworks by Progressive Guacamole Bowl with Spoon

Let’s make avocado-ware the new lettuceware.

For the home cook who got really into celery juice

A stainless steel Breville juicer

Breville Compact Juice Fountain 700-Watt Juice Extractor

It’s still unclear if celery juice is actually good for you, but if that’s what they’re into, this juice extractor from Breville is powerful enough to make sure none of the stringy bits make it into the liquid (and can be used to make lots of other types of juices, too).

For the home cook who watches The Great British Baking Show every Friday

The cover of “Baking with Kim-Joy” featuring Kim Joy posing with a table full of baked goods

Baking with Kim-Joy: Cute and Creative Bakes to Make You Smile

During her time in the tent, Kim-Joy built a reputation for making delicate pastries with adorable decorations and clever flavor combinations, and in this cookbook, she shares some of her most whimsical recipes — like “pigfiteroles” in mud.

For the home cook who just got into bread-making

Two proofing baskets with linen liners

Banneton Bread Proofing Basket

Unlike contestants on The Great British Bake-Off, most of us don’t have proofing drawers in our homes. So a proofing basket — used to hold the bread during its second, pre-baking rise — is the next best thing for at-home bread-making: This three-piece set includes a linen nonstick liner for a smooth outer crust and a plastic dough scraper that conforms to the curves of your mixing bowl.

For the home cook who loves to grill on the go

A black Weber portable grill

Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill

Mark Jenner, the editor-in-chief of barbecue site, swears by this portable grill from the folks at Weber, which includes legs that fold over the lid and a convenient rectangular form. You can even create two grilling zones for high-heat and low-heat grilling.

For the home cook who wants to make their own sauerkraut and kimchi

A brown plastic container

E-Jen Premium Kimchi, Sauerkraut Container Earthenware Brown 1.7L

Recently, we had two chefs heartily endorse this incredibly affordable and effective container as a go-to fermentation vessel. “It’s really useful because it has an insert that essentially creates a vacuum to press down your ferments,” chef Dave Park of Jeong in Chicago told us. “It has an inner ring where you can either burp your ferments or keep it airtight. It’s definitely one of the most useful containers I’ve found.”

For the home cook who’s also good at Instagram

A brown ceramic plate

Departo Large Plate

Why does professional food photography look so good? In part because of food stylists, whose job is to choose all those attractive plates and cups and tablecloths to enhance the food. If your favorite home cook loves to share their latest grain salads and roast chicken on the ’gram, give them some plates that will look great underneath.

For the home cook trying to eat more greens

A green and white plastic salad spinner

Prepworks by Progressive Collapsible Salad Spinner - 4 Quart

This collapsible salad spinner is a great gift for the recent college grad who’s got a small kitchen and big culinary ambitions.

For the home cook who’s a salt snob

A bucket of Maldon salt

Maldon Salt Bucket

Tonne Goodman also told us about this bucket of Maldon sea salt, which, she admits, “seems a bit extreme, but then again, salt fanatics do exist. I gave it to my brother-in-law, who is a wonderful cook, and he laughed and loved it.”

For the home cook who loves leftovers

A stainless steel lunch container

LunchBots Large Snack Tray Steel Lunch Container

This stainless-steel lunch box is meant for children, but it’s stylish enough to bring to the office (when you return to one, that is) and has enough room for a mini-buffet of leftovers.

For the home cook who identified with Antoni on Queer Eye

A black Philips indoor grill

Philips Indoor Smoke-less Grill

Culinary expert Antoni Porowski gifted this smokeless, infrared indoor grill to two different guys over the course of two seasons, and you can now gift it, too.

For the home cook who’s trying to use fewer paper towels

A pack of purple and grey dishcloths

Nawrap Binchotan Dishcloth

These dishcloths have odor- and bacteria-absorbing charcoal infused into their fibers, so they’ll last a little longer between washes.

For the home cook who’s trying to use less plastic

A pack of three assorted reusable food wraps

Bee’s Wrap Assorted, 3-Pack

These reusable food wraps are made by infusing cotton with beeswax, and they can be used over, and over, and over again — and once they’re finally done for good, they can be composted.

For the home cook who’s ready to compost

Someone holding a yellow waste bin

Brabantia Sort & Go Waste Bin

If they know that composting is a thing they should do but have always been turned off by ugly compost bins.

For the home cook who’s ready for fresh spaghetti

A stainless steel pasta machine

Marcato Atlas Pasta Machine

According to Linda Miller Nicholson, author of Pasta, Pretty Please and the pasta-maker behind the colorful Instagram account Salty Seattle, the Marcato Atlas is the gold standard of pasta machines. And if you need more proof that it’s a good gift: It also made an appearance on Jennifer Lawrence’s wedding registry.

For the home cook who needs fresh herbs

An indoor herb garden with basil

Click and Grow The Smart Garden 3

This indoor vegetable-and-herb garden is self-watering and has a built-in grow light and pre-seeded plant pods to grow fresh cilantro, basil, and even chili peppers if the kitchen has no windows.

For the home cook who loves their knives

A maple wood cutting board

John Boos Chop-N-Slice Maple Wood Reversible Cutting Board

Cutting boards wear out over time, so any serious home cook will appreciate a brand-new, nice-looking cutting block that’ll protect their sharpened blades.

For the home cook who doesn’t have knives

A set of five knives and a peeler in assorted colors

Takiup Ceramic Knife Set

These ceramic knives aren’t perfect, or the fanciest, but according to writer Hannah Howard, they’re excellent for everyday kitchen tasks, and sometimes she prefers using these cheaper blades to her fancy Japanese chef’s knife. Plus, she notes, “I throw the set in the dishwasher with every use, and it has remained in excellent shape.”

For the home cook who keeps accidentally slicing their fingers

Peeling carrots and onions on a teal-colored mandoline on a hot pink background

Benriner BN1 Mandoline

Chef Gabriel Kreuther likes this Japanese mandoline, which comes with an assortment of blades and its own plastic safety covering to prevent slipping fingers from getting julienned, diced, or chopped.

For the home cook who’s channeling the 1970s

A three-tiered wire hanging basket filled with lemons, bananas, and apples

Home Intuition 3-Tier Hanging Basket Heavy Duty Wire

Especially if they read the Missoni Family Cookbook and now want to create a dreamy Italian kitchen of their own.

For the home cook who’s still using that slow cooker from the 1970s

A stainless steel Instant Pot

Instant Pot 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker

You’ve heard about the Instant Pot even if you don’t cook. It steams, it pressure cooks, it makes yogurt, and it’s got over 36,000 reviews on Amazon, so it’s kind of a no-brainer.

For the home cook who got an Instant Pot last year

A red silicone sling tied around a cake pan

OXO Good Grips Pressure Cooker Bakeware Sling

Some good Instant Pot accessories will help them make the most of their favorite kitchen gadget, like this silicone sling, which they can use for baking cakes or steaming vegetables in their multifunction pressure cooker.

For the home cook who’s already obsessed with a Vitamix

A cup secured in a Vitamix

Vitamix Personal Cup Adapter

This personal cup adapter is a great gift for those who make smoothies in their Vitamix but find the standard 64- or 72-ounce cup a little too big for everyday use, especially since this one fits on basically any legacy model.

For the home cook who struggles to clean their cast-iron skillet

A cast-iron skillet with a square of chainmail

Blisstime Cast Iron Cleaner

This little square of chainmail will make removing crud and burnt bits from a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven a relatively quick and easy task.

For the at-home pit master who likes to grill on an open flame

A black over-fire camp grill stand

Texsport Heavy-Duty Over-Fire Camp Grill - Extra Large

This extra-large over-fire camp grill is made from steel, and, according to writer Steven John, it’s got plenty of room for “racks of ribs, multiple Texas-size steaks, or a whole lot of kabob skewers.”

For the home baker with limited counter space

A red KitchenAid mini stand mixer

KitchenAid Artisan Mini Series Tilt-Head Stand Mixer, 3.5 quart

This mini–stand mixer has all the functionality of a standard KitchenAid mixer, but, as writer Erica Murphy notes, “It’s 25 percent lighter and 20 percent smaller,” meaning it’s great for small kitchens.

For the home cook who can taste the difference between Italian and Spanish olive oils

A yellow tin of olive oil

Nunez De Prado Extra Virgin Olive Oil Tin, 33.8 Ounce

A handsome tin of olive oil from Spain that has “hints of grassiness, almonds, and butter,” according to chef Jonathan Waxman.

For anyone who likes to read about food as much as they like to eat it

The cover of “The Best American Food Writing 2019” with three limes on a pale yellow background

The Best American Food Writing 2019

An anthology of the best food essays from the past 12 months, including a deep dive into Japanese KitKats and the queer history of tapas, all edited by Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat’s Samin Nosrat.

For the ice cream enthusiast who dreams of the perfect scoop

A stainless steel ice cream scooper

Zeroll Original Ice Cream Easy Scoop

This ice cream scoop is “the only ice cream scoop” that Jeni Britton Bauer, the creator of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, will even acknowledge. It’s designed to transfer heat from your hand to the spoon, making it easy to get the perfect scoop from even frozen-solid ice cream. (For bonus points, pair this with a pint or two of ice cream.)

For the college student looking to hack the perfect dorm-room grilled cheese

A yellow toaster with a grilled cheese sandwich

Nostalgia TCS2 Grilled Cheese Sandwich Toaster

Decidedly safer than trying to melt cheese with an iron.

For the home cook who puts cracked pepper on everything

A copper pepper mill

Atlas Copper Pepper Mill

Give a pepper mill that makes a statement. According to writer Juliet Lapidos, this copper one looks like “a tool you’d find at an archaeological dig and — for just that reason — always attracts attention at dinner parties.”

For the 5-year-old who’s just learning their way in the kitchen

A set of three nylon knives

Curious Chef 3-Piece Nylon Knife Set

These nylon knives are designed for little foodies who are at least 4 years old, to help them learn basic knife skills while minimizing risk.

For the home cook who’d rather be making cocktails

The cover of “Be Your Own Bartender” with a graphic of the steps to make a cocktail

Be Your Own Bartender: A Surefire Guide to Finding (and Making) Your Perfect Cocktail

Gin or whiskey? Easy-drinking or boozy? This cocktail book starts with a comprehensive flowchart to help them figure out exactly what they want to drink and how to make it.