Everyone knows at least one person who’s most at home in the kitchen, stirring bubbling pots, mixing great bowls of cake batter, and filling the house with delicious smells. If you’re shopping for the cooking or baking enthusiast in your life, steer clear of any fancy gadgets. Instead, opt for simple, well-made basics. They’ll be appreciated by home cooks of any level—and if you’re lucky, you’ll reap the benefits of their appreciation in the form of tasty, tasty food.
Here are 11 awesome gifts for your favorite cooking enthusiast.
1. Lodge 12-inch cast iron skillet
Cast iron skillets are the workhorse of any cookware collection, and the best way to buy the love and gratitude of any cooking enthusiast. Lodge has been making its cast iron cookware since the 1800s and has earned a reputation as a master crafter of durable, long-lasting, and high-quality cast iron.
We awarded the skillet a 2016 Best of Year award for Best Kitchen Essential, but check out our [cast iron skillet roundup](http://www.reviewed.com/home-outdoors/best-right-now/best-cast-iron-pans_ for more great options.
2. KitchenAid Artisan Series stand mixer
In my dream kitchen, a candy-colored KitchenAid stand mixer rests upon the counter, glossy and capable and mine. I know that I’m not alone in coveting KitchenAid’s iconic stand mixers—particularly the Artisan Series, which won our 2016 Best of Year Awards for Best Stand Mixer.
While the powerful tlt-head mixer is compatible with a variety of attachments that can grind meat for sausages or spiral vegetables, this KitchenAid would make a particularly great gift for bakers. The device comes with a coated flat beater, dough hook, six-wire whip, and pouring shield, plus its 5-qt. stainless steel mixing bowl can handle enough dough for five batches of cookies. There are a vast array of color options, so pick one in your gift recipient’s favorite color.
We love the Artisan Series, but check out our guide to KitchenAid’s stand mixers for more excellent options.
3. ThermoPop instant read thermometer
An instant read thermometer is a vital kitchen tool for anyone who doesn’t want to over- or under-cook their food. The brightly-colored, adorable ThermoPop looks a bit like a lollipop, but don’t be fooled—it packs quite a punch in the kitchen. It takes the guesswork out of checking a pork chop or salmon steak for doneness, which can only increase cooking confidence. Quick, and accurate, it’s the perfect present for someone who likes their food cooked, well, perfectly.
The Thermopop comes highly recommended from a few members of the Reviewed.com team who use it in their own kitchens.
4. The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J. Kenji López-Alt
We've long been readers of culinary nerd-genius J. Kenji López-Alt's highly readable, in-depth The Food Lab column on Serious Eats, where he experiments with how to cook the best possible food and details his process. His recipes are impeccable, his voice engaging—particularly for those with a keen interest in cooking and food science.
Kenji brings this same brilliance to his New York Times bestselling The Food Lab cookbook, which won the 2016 James Beard Award for General Cooking and the IACP Cookbook of the Year Award. For foodies or home cooks, this beautiful volume (it’s full of color photographs) provides a compelling look at the science behind what makes a great meal—and how to cook it.
5. Le Creuset Dutch oven
A good Dutch oven should be multipurpose and durable—and especially great for simmering stews and slow-cooking or braising meats. Le Creuset’s enameled cast iron offerings are largely considered the most popular and iconic out there. And with good reason—the cookware has been crafted in France since 1925 and comes in a variety of glossy colors.
These Dutch ovens are a little on the pricy side—which makes them a great gift for a home cook who’s unwilling to splurge on their own kitchen. Scoop up the 5-quart model (perfect for large batches!) or the smaller 3-quart version and watch your pal’s face light up. light up.
6. A great chef's knife
A solid chef’s knife is perhaps the most important tool in a cook’s arsenal. It cuts down on time spent chopping, keeps your fingers intact, and can do everything from boning chicken to mincing garlic or chopping onions. A good knife, if given proper care, can last a lifetime. Give the gift of such a lifelong kitchen companion and earn yourself the title of Best-Ever Gift Giver. Go on, gift this Global G-2 8-inch chef’s knife. The sharp, well-balanced stainless steel blade is just meant to be wielded by someone who loves it—and your cooking enthusiast friend is bound to love it.
7. A bamboo cutting board
A good knife is just begging to be used on a good cutting board. This bamboo board won’t dull knives, but it’s strong enough to stand up to heavy use. The bamboo has natural antibacterial properties, ideal for something that’s going to be coming into close contact with food. It’s also attractive enough to double as a cheese board, although the grooves carved around its edge are great for catching juice or drips from whatever’s being chopped.
This gift goes well with the gift of a chef’s knife, but it’s also an excellent present all on its own.
8. A digital kitchen scale
For serious bakers or healthy eaters, a good kitchen scale is a godsend. It’s the most accurate way to follow a recipe to a T, or to track your eating. And if your gift recipient uses a scale on the regular, they’ll want one that’s accurate, simple to use, and versatile.
We tried out all the best kitchen scales in our labs, and a few of them would make truly excellent presents. The My Weigh KD8000 scale ($34.00) is the top performer, but if you’d like to give something a little less bulky, the Polder Easy Read Scale (about $20) was our favorite compact version. We also really liked the AmazonBasics digital scale ($10.99) if you’re looking for a less pricy stocking stuffer.
Your gift recipient is bound to appreciate whichever one you choose, but if you'd like to check out some other great options, take a look at our roundup of the best digital kitchen scales out there.
9. Anova Precision Cooker WiFi
Does your foodie friend own every cooking gadget you can think of? If so, they might be thrilled with the gift of an immersion circulator, one of the newest ways for home cooks to make perfect food every time.
The must-have device is an easy way to cook sous vide at home—that is, slow-cooking food in a low-temperature water bath. The primary benefits of this technique come down to exquisite temperature control so that food comes out tender and perfectly-cooked every time. The Anova Precision Cooker WiFi is our favorite immersion circulator out there. Its intuitive interface, excellent companion app, and stellar performance earned it the title of Best Cooking Gadget in our 2016 Best of Year Awards, so trust us when we say it would make a perfect gift.
We love the Anova, but check out our immersion circulator roundup for even more options.
10. FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing System with Starter Kit
If the cooking enthusiast in your life already has an immersion circulator, or you’d like to add a little something extra to your gift of an Anova immersion circulator, or if your pal typically freezes or stores a lot of food, a vacuum sealer is a practical, wonderful present.
Immersion circulators usually require food to be sealed in plastic bags before it’s immersed in the water bath. Ordinary ziplocs work great, but vacuum-sealed bags eliminate risk of leakage. Likewise, vacuum-sealed food is less likely to succumb to freezer burn or staleness during storage. Plus, a vacuum sealer is just really fun to use.
11. Breville Boss Super Blender
Don't underestimate the power of a great blender. From smoothies to soups, nut butters, and sauces, it's a supremely useful and multipurpose kitchen tool. The Breville Boss is a particularly great specimen of blender—easy and pleasant to use, and effective at every task you'd ever need it for. Get one for yourself, and one for a home cook you love.
And if you'd like to do a little more research into the wonderful world of blenders, check out our roundup of the best pro-style blenders on the market.