As someone who loves to cook, I have tried a multitude of kitchen appliances, gadgets, and accessories. While I don’t have as much time to dedicate to making elaborate home-cooked meals as I’d like, one of the key things I look for in new items I buy for the kitchen is simplicity and ease of use. Can this make my life easier, help me get meals on the table faster, and is it easy to clean? When it comes to getting a gift for the cook in your life, you should consider these factors, too. Not sure what kitchen and dining gift to get the expert or even novice cook on your list? Here are some great ideas worth considering that any cook, from a beginner to a pro, will appreciate.
Gifts for the cook under $50
A game changer for my family has been homemade pizza. While we admittedly still indulge in take-out every now and then, when we have time, we love to whip up some homemade dough, prep toppings, and make individual, personalized pizzas. We usually make them on the smoker, but if you’re using an oven, toaster oven, or pizza oven that can accommodate one, you’ll want a pizza stone. They help evenly distribute the heat across the base of the pizza so you get a perfectly crisp crust without burnt edges, raw middles, or an uneven texture throughout. There are many from which to choose, but the Breville 13-inch Ceramic Pizza Stone is a great option. It’s perfectly sized for a medium or personal pizza and is safe to use in traditional ovens or dedicated pizza ovens, like Breville’s own Smart Oven.
Pizza dough scraper
A kitchen gadget and utensil I have found to be invaluable in the kitchen is a pizza dough scraper, and, here’s the trick: you can use it for much more than just scraping pizza dough. Also referred to as a bench or dough scraper, they are typically designed to separate large amounts of dough into measured sections: think a roll for cinnamon buns or dividing a big clump of dough evenly for four perfectly sized pizzas. You can also use it to scrape away bits of dough from the counter or cutting board when rolling dough for holiday cookies or other pastries, or even to chop vegetables. I use mine to cut homemade gnocchi from long worm-like strands of dough as it’s a breeze and much easier than using a knife. Made homemade brownies or granola bars? Use one to easily cut them into pieces right in the tray. You’ll find this handy gadget to be more useful than you ever imagined.
A solid, affordable dough scraper is the Chef Pomodoro Multi-Purpose Pizza Dough Scraper, which is made of heavy-duty stainless steel with convenient measuring markings down the side and across the bottom so you can neatly cut dough into consistent sizes.
If you love making homemade scones, croissants, and other butter-based baked goods, a pastry blender is a must-have. It’s much easier and more effective at cutting cold butter into flour so you’ll end up with rich, flaky crusts, just how they should be. The Chef Pomodoro Multi-Purpose Dough Blender has a nice handle for easy gripping, which any cook can appreciate when trying to quickly work butter into flour and get the dough made before it melts.
Premium over $50 gifts for the cook
Cast iron pot or Dutch oven
Most people have a set of pots and pans in their home, unless they’re just starting out. But one item every cook wants in their kitchen is a good, nice-sized cast iron pot or Dutch oven. These are ideal for slow cooking items on the stove, like homemade sauces and stews, boiling pasta or potatoes, and more. The Staub Cast Iron Round Cocotte is a great and stylish option that will make any home cook like they’re whipping up dinner at a five-star restaurant in Paris. Ideal for braising, slow cooking, and making other one-pot dishes, it’ll fit enough to feed the whole family with leftovers to spare, or guests when entertaining. The non-stick surface is a game-changer when it comes to clean-up. Since this cast iron pot is suitable for all cooktops, including induction, and it’s both oven and dishwasher safe (though it’s recommended to hand wash), it’ll quickly become their most-used pot.
Premium knife set
I never understood the value of having a premium knife set until we invested in one for our kitchen. Having a solid and versatile Chef’s knife make every job easier. It cuts through everything from meat and poultry to vegetables and hard fruits like butter. Plus, the other knives that come with a knife set help simplify everything from paring fruit for a presentable salad to cutting steaks for dinner and slicing and dicing like a pro chef. Most knife sets also include a sharpener to keep them in tip-top shape and a useful pair of kitchen scissors. Everything comes neatly housed in a storage block, many of which are beautiful objects sitting on your countertop. While the angled blocks are great for easily pulling a knife out as needed at a comfortable angle, I also love the vertical design of some smaller sets. They take up less depth on the counter, which someone with a small kitchen or minimal free counterspace will appreciate.
A smaller set like the Cuisinart Nonstick Edge 7-Piece Knife Block Set might be the perfect gift for the cook. It could be just what an occasional cook needs if they already have a solid set of steak knives for mealtime but want something to help with prep.
Stand mixer and accessories
I don’t know what I would do without my stand mixer. It’s useful for baking, whipping cream, and mixing ingredients for all kinds of dishes, from holiday cookies to the aforementioned pizza dough, and homemade mini muffins. With KitchenAid stand mixers, in particular, you can get accessories to attach to the hub at the front that allow you to do things like roll and cut pasta noodles, grind meat, spiralize vegetables, and even mix homemade ice cream for dessert. If you know someone who already owns a KitchenAid stand mixer, consider one of these accessories as a great gift for the cook that will help them extend its use.
Treat the cook on your list
There are so many great kitchen and dining items that would make great gifts for the cook on your list that will not only delight them with their functionality but also help make cooking and baking easier and more fun. With the right tools, even novice home cooks will develop a passion for cooking and baking, honing their skills and adding more to their set-up over time as they realize the joy, relaxation, and fun of cooking.
Check out a wide selection of kitchen and dining gifts for the cook at Best Buy Online.