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Published Nov 16, 2022 5:00 PM

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

Instant Pot

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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.

Best smart oven: Brava smart oven

Brava

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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.

Best water purifier: AquaTru Connect

AquaTru

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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.

Best pepper grinder: MÄNNKITCHEN Pepper Cannon

MÄNNKITCHEN

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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.

Best toaster: Tineco Toasty One

Tineco

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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

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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.

Best sheet pans: Great Jones Little Sheet

Great Jones

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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.

Best dutch oven: Smithey Ironware 7.25 QT Dutch Oven

Smithey Ironware

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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.

Best microwavable cookware: Anyday Everyday Set

Anyday

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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.

Best for small kitchen: Kuhn Rikon 4th Burner Pot

Kuhn Rikon

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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.

Best saucier: Heritage Steel 3 Quart Saucepan

Heritage Steel

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Heritage Steel 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 bent at such an angle that it won’t be exposed to the heat from your stove, so your favorite home chef has a lower chance of burning their hand while adjusting it. The company also reinforced the steel in this saucier with titanium to improve its durability, which is what you want from a kitchen tool that may never leave your friend or family member’s stovetop. Whether they want a fresh bowl of rice, homemade popcorn, or reheated soup, this is the tool they’ll continue to reach for.

Best bread maker: Panasonic Automatic Bread Machine

Panasonic

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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.

Best air fryer: Cuisinart TOA-95

Cuisenart

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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.

Best electric knife: BUBBA Kitchen Series Cordless Electric Knife

Bubba

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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.

Best indoor smoker: Weston 2-in-1 Slow Cooker & Electric Indoor Smoker

Weston

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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.

Best kitchen scale: OXO 11-Pound Food Scale

OXO

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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 juicer: Hurom H310A

Hurom

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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 premium cookware: De Buyer Prima Matera Fry Pan

De Buyer

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Luxe doesn’t even begin to describe De Buyer’s Prima Matera Fry Pan, the most performant piece of cookware we’ve ever used. The induction-ready copper skillet heats up quickly and evenly, ensuring you get the perfect sear on meat or vegetables. Its light weight makes it easy to carry from one burner to another, which is a big plus if you’re serving guests (or yourself!) at the table. De Buyer offers this fry pan in four sizes, ranging from eight to 12.5 inches, and there’s no going wrong with any of them. There’s also a non-induction version of the pan if you’re sticking with an electric or gas range. If you know someone who cares deeply about cooking, the Prima Matera will blow their mind.

Best cutting board: Fifth & Cherry F&C 14

Fifth & Cherry

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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 knife: MadeIn Engraved 8-Inch Chef Knife

MadeIn

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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.

Best knife set: Cangshan N1

Cangshan

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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.

Best dinnerware set: Stone + Lain Porcelain 16 Piece Dinnerware Set

Stone Lain

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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

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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

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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: KRUPS Precision Grinder

Krups

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Amazon

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This is really just a coffee grinder. But, the thing is, you don’t need a specialized item for your spices. Krups has been selling java-making devices of all kinds for decades, and they still have the best, cheap, does-all-the-things-you-need-and-nothing-you-don’t appliances on the market. Toasting and grinding your own spices is perhaps the easiest way to take your cooking to a whole new level, but it’s one of those things that your beloved giftee will probably never bother to get for themselves. Buy them this simple upgrade to a mortar and pestle and reap the rewards for years in the form of well-seasoned potlucks. And maybe some freshly ground coffee afterward, to help digest.

Best for travelers: Nordic Ware Cakes and Cupcakes Carrier

Nordic Ware

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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: Anova Culinary Nano Sous Vide

Amazon

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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. With more options coming to the market, recipes and uses for sous-vide cookers are exploding. Did you know you can use one to make perfectly safe-to-eat cookie dough? You can also cook a steak to any level of doneness, poach eggs at the perfect temperature, or even take your custards to the next level (get fancy!).

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