gifts they might actually want

The Best Gifts for Every Type of Home Cook

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Avid home cooks tend to be particular about their kitchen gear, so buying a gift for them can be a daunting task. Perhaps they make nearly every meal in their perfectly seasoned cast-iron pan, or they’re already married to a particular brand of salt. Maybe you think that their pantry is so well stocked, they couldn’t possibly need anything else, or that they bake so much, they have every cake and pie pan they could want. But in our years of talking to both amateur and professional cooks, we’ve heard about countless tools and ingredients that are guaranteed to please, whether they’re an upgrade to an old standby or a totally new discovery that will become an integral part of their kitchen. Here, we’ve gathered 42 gifts for every type of home cook, curated from both past and recent stories, so you can find something for the expert host, the budding pastry chef, the dedicated cookbook user, and so many more.

For the home cook who regularly hosts

When you’re constantly having people over, you can never have enough coasters. These felt ones from Graf Lantz are a Strategist favorite, because they’re made from highly absorbent merino wool (instead of a material that will just collect water at the bottom) and they hold up beautifully.

For the home cook who serves wine with every meal

If you want to bring them something a bit more interesting than a bottle of wine, consider this decanter recommended by Marissa Copeland, head sommelier at Junoon. It looks nearly identical to the much more expensive Riedel O.

For the home cook who starts with bubbles

A more fun (and approachable) take on a traditional Champagne glass — or, as one expert puts it, “better than a stereotypical flute.”

For the home cook who likes beer

Furniture designer Ben Kicic says this playful bottle opener “has a strong graphic element, but because of its size, it’s not too loud or overbearing.”

For the home cook who prefers a cocktail

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

For the home cook who prefers a cocktail (but doesn’t need any help with recipes)

A mixing glass doesn’t come with most basic bar-tool sets, so adding one to their collection is a good bet. Krissy Harris, beverage director and owner of Jungle Bird in New York, likes this well-priced option from Hiware that “doesn’t have a seam, so it’s stronger and very attractive.”

For the home cook who loves bold flavors

Chef and writer Lauren Joseph told us about this preserved-lemon paste that she swirls into yogurt, turns into a refreshing drink, mixes into cake, and more. “Finely dicing a whole lemon to add to, say, salsa verde is nice in theory,” she says, “but so is taking a break from dicing on my days off. This lemon, thankfully, doesn’t need to be cut at all — in fact, the creators wanted to make a more intuitive version, so they blended two to three plump citrus fruits into each jar.”

For the home cook who always sets out a snack board

Anne Saxelby, the late founder of Saxelby Cheesemongers, published this book a couple of years ago — and a few experts note that it would make a great gift for any fan of fromage. “I so admire Anne’s relaxed, relatable approach to understanding and appreciating cheese,” says Susan Axelrod, editor of Culture Cheese Magazine.

For the home cook who goes above and beyond with their snack board

Give them something unexpected to add to their next charcuterie spread — like these pickled peppers that will provide a nice counterpart to fattier meats and cheeses. Laila Gohar, food artist and founder of Gohar World, introduced us to them and says they’ll add a nice bite to cooked dishes.

For the home cook who always uses fresh herbs

AeroGarden Sprout
$60
$60

This indoor smart garden was originally recommended by George Pisegna, deputy director and chief of horticulture at the Horticultural Society of New York, then tested by Strategist writer Erin Schwartz, who appreciated the compact size that still “produces a prodigious quantity of herbs.”

For the sustainably minded home cook

DII Swedish Dishcloths
$15 for 3
$15 for 3

According to Strategist contributor Ashlea Halpern, a self-described compulsive cleaner who “could plough through half a roll” of paper towels “in one cleaning session,” these Swedish dishcloths are a game changer. They’re super-absorbent, come in more than two dozen charming prints, and look as good as new every time you give them a wash.

For the home cook who likes a colorful table

If they’re as into plating as they are about making the food, they probably care about everything they put out on a table. These salt and pepper grinders come from beloved brand Le Creuset (yep, they make more than everyone’s favorite Dutch oven), and there are tons of color options to choose from.

For the home cook who likes a classic table

These cloth napkins, recommended by interior designer Elaine Griffin, are just the right amount of understated. They “have hemstitching and Swiss dot embroidery, two of the most elegant details for linens known to mankind,” she says.

For the home cook who knows how to set the mood

From $11

Another suggestion for the dining-table obsessive: these pure-beeswax candles, which come in a variety of heights and colors. They were recommended to us by cookbook author and recipe developer Anna Stockwell, who buys them in bulk and always has them on hand. Browse through the different colors.

For the home cook who relies on ground spices

Help them up their game with this small but mighty spice grinder recommended by Bill Clark, culinary managing director of Catskill’s Scribner’s Lodge and Fellow Mountain Café. Pulverizing your spices right before you cook with them is one of the easiest ways to improve the flavor of any and every dish you make.

For the home cook who enjoys decorating their fridge

Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo first discovered this magnet tape via her husband, who is a teacher. “I hate the look of a cluttered fridge with tons of mismatched clunky magnets,” she says, “but with this, I just press a few centimeters of the tape to the back of photos or cards and plonk it onto the fridge for a neater, floating effect.”

For the home cook who’s trying to be a morning person

$165

If they love coffee but are still looking for ways to improve their morning routine, consider this super-stylish blender. Strategist associate editor Louis Cheslaw (and Halle Berry) are fans.

For the home cook who actually only needs coffee

Fellow makes a bunch of Strategist-approved coffee accessories, but perhaps our favorite is this electric pour-over kettle, which has precise temperature control and a gooseneck spout for perfect pouring and is attractive enough to proudly leave on the counter.

For the home cook who actually needs only tea

Bodum Assam Tea Press
$23
$23

A true aficionado will pause to admire the color of their tea, which is why this transparent glass teapot, recommended by tea consultant Sara Shacket, would make a thoughtful gift. Plus all the parts can go into the dishwasher for easy cleaning.

For the home cook who takes their coffee on the go

From $25

If they’re always running errands or commuting with coffee in hand, an extra (or better) travel mug is a sweet idea. This one is the preferred vessel of multiple pros — including Jerad Morrison, co-founder and co-CEO of Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco, who explains that its great temperature retention comes thanks to the double-walled interior, which means it’s never too hot or cold to the touch.

For the home cook who has already perfected their pancake game

Take them (a little) out of their comfort zone by gifting this affordable waffle-maker, which we named our best overall pick. “It’s light, compact, and always reliable,” says food stylist Sue Li. “It heats up quickly, and the cleanup is a snap.”

For the home cook who is getting into baking

Escali Primo Lightweight Scale
From $25
From $25

If they love to bake but don’t own a digital scale, it’s time. We named this Escali the best overall model, because it’s lightweight, affordable, nice-looking, and reliable. “Escali is tried and true from my culinary-school days, and I have yet to find a reason to replace it,” says Food52 food editor Emily Ziemski. It comes in a bunch of different colors, so you can pick the one best suited for your recipient.

For the home cook who already has all the baking tools

Nordic Ware makes the most stunning decorative Bundt pans in so many different designs. They’re a favorite of chef Vallery Lomas, who loves them not only for their look but because they “are so well-constructed and reliable.”

For the home cook who already has all the baking tools (and prefers pie over cake)

These sweet pie pans come in multiple striking colors, but they’re not about form over function. Cookbook author Erin Jeanne McDowell says she loves ceramic “for its ability to get the bottom crust nice and crisp.”

For the home cook who hasn’t cleaned out their spice drawer in years

PSA: Spices do go bad. Technically, most should be used or replaced six months after you open them. And although you’ll be totally fine letting them linger a while longer, after a couple of years, it’s really time. Enter Burlap & Barrel, one of our favorite fair-trade spice companies. Its selection is extensive with deeply flavorful jars of all the usual suspects as well as some you probably haven’t heard of.

For the home cook who wants to make sauerkraut and kimchee

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 takes pride in their popcorn-seasoning technique

W&P — the brand behind our favorite ice-cube trays — makes this microwavable popcorn bowl. It holds up to four cups, and the lid doubles as a measuring device.

For the home cook who needs help with their popcorn-seasoning technique

Sprinkling cheese powder on top of popcorn is one of the best decisions you can make — but if they don’t use up the whole jar that way, they can add it to mac and cheese, make homemade cheese crackers, and use it as a seasoning on roasted vegetables.

For the home cook trying to serve more greens

Michael Cox, founder of foley&cox, loves this iconic salad bowl, which is perfect for anyone in your life who likes to have fun with their serveware. “This classic cabbage design has practically reached icon status among cooks, design enthusiasts, and entertaining aficionados. We love the universal and charming appeal it offers,” he says.

For the home cook who makes their own salad dressing

Good home cooks know that quality vinegar matters — and that you can never have too many varieties on hand. This one is loved by recipe developer and cookbook author Andy Baraghani, who says, “There’s some residual sugar, so when you taste it, you’re not getting a sensation so intense that your cheeks tingle. It has an almost honeylike quality that makes it very well rounded.”

For the home cook who can’t get enough Maldon

If they finish nearly every dish with Maldon, consider gifting this giant bucket of the flaky salt. The size makes it dramatic, but it’s practical too — they won’t have to replace it nearly as much as they would the smaller box.

For the home cook who already has the Maldon bucket

Maldon user (and lover) Hannah Howard, a former restaurant cook, says she cheated on the staple with this Icelandic smoked salt. “While some brands smoke their salt over hickory, and Maldon makes a salt smoked over oak, and some lesser producers just add liquid smoke flavor, Saltverk is dried over birch smoke according to an ancient tradition that is specific to Iceland,” she writes. “As for the texture, it’s crunchy and slightly chunkier than Maldon’s paper-thin flakes, which was a nice departure.”

For the home cook who always adds extra garlic

Strategist writer Ambar Pardilla regularly chops “close to a full head when I only need three cloves — always going for something indulgently garlicky and enough to make Count Dracula queasy,” she says. This was a time-consuming venture until she got her hands on this extremely efficient chopper, which the garlic lover in your life will surely appreciate.

For the home cook who can take a little heat

This (truly crispy!) brand of chile crisp is a favorite. Despite what the name suggests, it’s not that spicy and doesn’t have the numbing sensation some others do — but is no less delicious. (If you’re interested, our friends at Eater have a whole guide to the condiment.)

For the home cook who is protective of their knives

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. Boos makes the best wooden cutting boards on the market according to many pros, and this one is a personal favorite of Michelin-star chef Missy Robbins.

For the home cook who needs new knives

It’s no secret that a chef’s knife can make or break your cooking. A bad one means you’ll be fighting to cut your food, and a good one — like this incredibly affordable Japanese-style blade recommended by cookbook author and editor Matt Rodbard — will have you slicing and dicing your way to perfection. It’s lightweight for a chef’s knife, but Rodbard says the feel in your hand is still excellent.

For the home cook who keeps accidentally slicing their fingers

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 loves to pack a picnic

We’ve written about Opinel’s compact, comfortable, and attractive folding knife many times before. It’s a handy tool for slicing the components of an impromptu charcuterie board at the park or beach.

For the home cook who loves to make food over a live fire

$45

If they camp more than they picnic, Lodge’s carbon-steel skillet will make a great addition to their gear. It gets just as hot as a standard cast iron (and retains heat just as well) but is much lighter in weight, so it won’t be a burden to pack and carry.

For the home cook who gets excited by a project

They’ll add “become expert at homemade tortillas” to their goals if you give them a package of cookbook author Rick Martínez’s favorite masa harina. The company sources heirloom corn from farmers in Oaxaca (“the heartland of Mexico’s heirloom corn production,” according to its website), dries and pulverizes it into masa harina, and sells it in the U.S. And if you really want to go above and beyond, throw in this gorgeous tortilla press.

For the aspiring home cook

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

For the home cook who has everything

If you’re truly stumped about what to get them, a nice olive oil will always be a win. This particular bottle works well for finishing, dipping, and making dressings. Chef Matt Hyland says, “It’s buttery and grassy at the same time, which is a combo you don’t usually get.” If you want to peruse some more, we have plenty other olive-oil recommendations.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best dining-room décor, coffee makers, knife sets, Japanese coffee brewer, charcoal water filter, and drinking glasses. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

The Best Gifts for Every Type of Home Cook