If you’re looking for an awesome gift for the home chef in your life – or stumped for what to tell people you want – I have gathered a list of the BEST Kitchen Tools – tools that I’ve loved and have received strong ratings from other home chefs. Below you’ll find my Top Ten Kitchen Gifts as well as Kitchen Gifts under $20.
Best Kitchen Tools
When putting together this list my first thought was “what are the tools and small appliances I have used the most?”
While there are many cute one-trick ponies that would be unique and fun to gift, the reality is that people don’t need more kitchen clutter! Even if they are starting from scratch, the most thoughtful gifts are those that they are going to get a lot of use out of.
As a result, this list of kitchen gifts are not gimmicky or one-use-only. These are versatile tools that have made my cooking and baking so much easier or more efficient year after year.
Each of the top ten kitchen gifts are essentials in my kitchen – and if any broke or disappeared, I’d rush right out to replace them because I can’t even imagine going without them now that I know how amazing they are. (Although, let’s be honest – I now own multiples of each!)
The bottom ten gift ideas are my Kitchen Gifts under $20 – a mix of essentials and fun kitchen gadgets. A digital kitchen scale, silicone baking mats and non-stick silicone spatulas (with no removable heads!) are absolute essentials that no kitchen should be without.
I left something off this list that you simply can’t live without please comment and let me know!
Oh – and I have a post dedicated to Kitchen Gift Ideas for Nightmare Before Christmas fans, so if you’re shopping for a Jack and Sally fan, that might be the perfect post for you to find them something really unique.
Cook & Carry Crock Pot
I actually own 4 Crockpots – it may be a problem! Three are different sizes and the fourth is the new Crock Pot Thermoshield Slow Cooker model which locks shut for safe transportation and the insulated sides do not burn little fingers when it’s up on the counter. (Also be sure to grab some Crockpot Liners for easy clean-up.)
This is an excellent crockpot for potlucks, or when you want to make a meal in the kitchen and then serve it in another room.
This Crockpot also has an adjustable shut-off timer, so you can safely set up your recipe and run out (for work or errands) with no worries that you will return home to a burnt mess instead of a delicious supper.
Here are some of the recipes we made this year with our Crockpot:
- Crockpot Chicken Paremsan Pasta
- Crockpot Gingerbread Lattes
- Crockpot Triple Chocolate Hot Chocolate
- Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings
Hurom Hexa Power High Speed Blender
I previously owned a different brand’s high end blender and my Hurom Blender has been a complete game-changer!
It blends everything from soups, to smoothies, to margaritas and even muffin batters super easily. The texture is always smooth and there are none of those little “bits” that my previous blender seemed to not be able to break down/incorporate.
It’s also really quiet, so I can make this soup or my favorite smoothie recipes at nap time without worrying that I’ll wake up the children. If you’re in the market for a new blender, or find that your blender isn’t doing a great job of creating smooth soups, I highly recommend it!
Here are some of the recipes we made this year with our Hurom Blender:
- Roasted Carrot Soup with Apples and Ginger
- Roasted Tomato Soup
- Roasted Red Pepper Soup
- Roasted Pumpkin Soup
- Snickerdoodle Crepes
I love the sear I can get on my meat with my cast-iron and it’s versatility to go from stove-top to in the oven – plus we take it camping with us!
You don’t want anything smaller than an 8″ or you’ll deal with overcrowding (which can prevent you from getting a good sear). I find my 10″ Lodge Skillet is the perfect size for 4-5 chicken breasts, but you can go even bigger than that!
Don’t let seasoning your pan scare you, Lodge Skillets come pre-seasoned and you just learn how to clean it properly over time. I use a kitchen scraper to remove stubborn food bits and then sanitize with hot soapy water. Every few uses, I rub the pan down with cooking oil and pop it in a warm oven and let it sit overnight.
Here are some of the recipes we made this year with our Cast Iron Skillet:
- Skillet Santa Fe Flank Steak
- Skillet Poached Eggs in Italian-style Tomato Sauce
- Skillet Birthday Cookie
- Skillet Steak with Pepper Sauce
- Skillet Beef Pot Pie
A Good Quality Stand Mixer
I inherited my grandmother’s stand mixer and used it for years, but upgrading to this Professional Kitchenaid model has been a game changer!
The motor makes a huge difference – I can make several loaves of bread or batches of anything at once, allowing me to freeze extras so I “make once” and have plenty left over for busy weeks or unexpected events. I can also have a crazy baking day, banging out several recipes at a time, and not worry about the motor overheating.
Plus, when you’re making recipes like bread or macarons, there is a lot of kneading or whisking time involved, so being able to toss my ingredients into the mixer and let it do the work for me frees up my hands to get the other parts of the recipe done faster, or focus on making supper. Multi-tasking at it’s finest.
While the mixer can be stored in between uses, I think it makes a gorgeous addition to your kitchen – especially since there are so many color choices to choose from, so you can pick something that complements the rest of your kitchen decor.
While I bought mine new, my friends Stacey and Matt bought a refurbished Kitchenaid Pro Mixer and have been extremely happy with theirs! It’s cheaper than even getting the lower-end models.
If that’s still out of the budget, just being hands-free with an inexpensive option is still awesome.
Here are some recipes we made this year using our Kitchenaid Mixer:
- Copycat Cinnabun Cinnamon Rolls
- Instant Pot Bread
- Apple Spice Layer Cake
- Cherry Garcia Ice Cream Sandwiches
- Nutella Macarons
A good-quality food processor is worth it’s weight in gold! You can use it to chop vegetables, grate cheese, make homemade nut butters and oat flours, or even make homemade pasta!
While cheaper, smaller food processors might be tempting – you’ll get frustrated quickly. Go for a 7 cup food processor for seamless chopping, pureeing, and shredding. ESPECIALLY if you like shredding vegetables to include in recipes, or use a lot of shredded cheese, you won’t believe how much of a difference using a food processor makes compared to a hand held shredder. (Plus, it’s way easier to clean a food processor than a box shredder.)
Here are some recipes we made this year using our Food Processor:
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Lush
- Black Bean Brownies
- Instant Pot Gingerbread Cheesecake
- Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese Dip
- British Bakewell Tarts
Hands-down the most used small kitchen appliance in my home this year has been our Instant Pot. Fully cooked chicken in 10 minutes with like 1-2 minutes of effort? It’s a mom’s best friend.
It’s also amazing if you’re like me and sometimes don’t plan well, or overestimate how many meals you’ll get out of leftovers. Before, I’d have to choose between attempting to defrost meat in the microwave (yuck) versus getting take-out on those busy nights. Now, I can throw FROZEN meat into our instant pot, along with the other ingredients called for in the recipe, and we’re eating in 20-30 minutes. Life changing is not an overstatement when it comes to that.
I am buying a smaller version this year – but an 8 quart is a great starter Instant Pot that will do everything you need it to.
Here are some recipes we made this year with our instant pot:
- Instant Pot Mississippi Pot Roast
- Instant Pot Bread
- Instant Pot Shrimp Scampi
- Instant Pot Gingerbread Cheesecake
- Instant Pot Taco Pasta
Lattisma Pro Nespresso Machine
Starbucks no longer entices me now that I have this beauty on my counter. It makes coffeeshop-quality espresso-based drinks in one-touch and warms and froths up the milk perfectly.
It may seem like quite an investment but when you add up the cost of a twice-weekly latte from Starbucks, the machine pays for itself in just 7 months! (And if you drink lattes even more often than that, it pays itself off faster.) It’s also great for entertaining and has helped me cut down on how many cups of coffee I drink in the morning because that first one is so satisfying!
My daughter also loves when I make her hot chocolate with the steamed milk, and I like adding the steamed milk to my Earl Gray teas for a homemade London Fog.
Here’s a quick video that shows how to make a quick latte with the Lattisma Pro – and also a quick recipe for French Toast Muffins!
My Christmas gift to me this year! After having the most tender chicken at ETA Chicago, I had to splurge and get myself a small sous vide machine. You can also buy little gadgets to McGyver your own sous vide but this worked better for me.
I don’t have any recipes that we’ve made this year with it, since I haven’t tried it out, but this is the new big thing in home cooking and if you’re buying for a serious home chef, this is something they will love – and probably not have!
Ceramic Pizza Stone
When I first bought a pizza stone, I went with an unsealed version which got ugly-looking fast. These glossy ceramic stones are easier to clean and don’t show their age – because there’s something about eating off of a clean-looking pizza stone that makes it better.
Here are some of the recipes we’ve used our pizza stone for:
- Apple Pie Dessert Pizza
- Maple-Glazed Pecan, Apple & Parmesan Pizza
- Pretzel Rolls
- Homemade Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels
I hate overcooked food – but undercooked food (especially meats) can be dangerous, so I always have a reliable meat thermometer to ensure that the food I’m serving my family is safe. I’ve been using a Thermapen for a couple of years now and love it so much I’ve found them for all of my family members.
They are reliable, sleek and ultra-compact. You don’t have to worry about them getting caught in the drawer!
Kitchen Gifts Under $20
One Click Butter Cutter $12 Perfect little butter pats – for spreading on toast or just measuring out the perfect amount for cooking. (It seems gimmicky but dirtying a knife everytime you need to cut off a piece of butter now seems wasteful – and it serves as a butter keeper. Plus no more annoyance in the morning due to someone else’s toast crumbs being in the butter…)
Breakfast Sandwich Maker $19 If stopping for a breakfast sandwich is part of your daily routine (or the routine of someone you know) this sandwich maker is going to save you tons of money.
Mini Ice Cream Sandwich Cutters $14 These cutters make the perfect mini ice cream sandwiches and are simple enough for kids to use.
Meat Shredder Claws $9 So much easier than the two-fork method (and way less likely to result in meat on your ceiling like the viral hand mixer method…)
Nessie Soup Ladles $9 A kitschy kitchen gadget is always a fun gift – try to make it something they either don’t have or can’t get enough of! (Maybe it’s a cute tea infuser or a bicycle pizza cutter instead of soup ladles?)
Sushi Roll Maker $16 Goodness, this is going to save me a lot of money! I’ll probably use smoked salmon for kid-friendly sushi.
Silicone Baking Mats $10 An essential in my kitchen, this cuts down on waste and burnt cookies. Win-win.
Digital Kitchen Scale $9 Whether you’re using it for portion control or for best baking results, a kitchen scale will make you a better, healthier chef if used properly.
Non-stick Silicone Spatulas $15 for 3 If you have spatulas that come apart, you need to swap them out for these one-piece spatulas! They are much easier to clean and there’s no risk of lurking bacteria.
Stainless Steel Soap Bar $8 If you love cooking with garlic or onions, you need this on your kitchen sink to help remove the smells from your hands after cooking.
Honorable Mention to our Zoku Ice Pop maker. I keep our Zoku in the freezer all summer long and we make fresh popsicles when we want them! (They are ready in minutes.) We own the triple ice pop maker and it’s more than the $20 category, but we’ve gotten a lot of use out of it! Here are some of the recipes we’ve made with our Zoku.
Pin this Collection of the Best Kitchen Tools for Home Chefs – and if you still need more gift inspiration, check out our 20 Best Gifts for Wine Lovers and 20 Best Gifts for Coffee Lovers!