Truly Useful Gifts for Cooks

Want to get a great gift for the cook in your life? Think through the options and choose something useful and avoid the twaddle.

photo source: Roger H. Goun

Sometimes we get so caught up in the idea of crossing the gift-buying off our list that we gift stuff that is going to eventually go to the discard pile. I know this because I found a gift I gave in a friend’s giveaway pile.


As you think through your Christmas list and the foodies in your life, think about what they really need or would enjoy.

1. Gift cards to specialty food shops

When on a budget, it’s hard to splurge on fancy ingredients. But, cooks and foodies love to explore new foods. A gift card to a specialty store or even a regular grocery store can be a welcome gift. You could also get gift certicates to kitchen shops like Sur La Table or King Arthur Flour.

2. A new cookbook

I love a new cookbook! I have several that are near and dear to my heart, particularly any by Beth Hensperger or Susan Branch. One new one that I just got to review is The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen Cookbook. I am really looking forward to trying out some of these recipes. The pictures are so tempting. And the Double-Dipped Potato Chip Chicken is calling my name!

3. A kitchen tool upgrade

Recently, I invested in these baking sheets from Nordicware*. My silpat mats fit them perfectly, making baking a joy. Definitely recommend both for easy baking. Other kitchen tools that I love and use often include:

Apparently, I have a thing for Cuisinart. They didn’t pay me to say that, though. These are the appliances I’ve bought over the years and use very regularly.

4. Kitchen linens

I don’t know about you, but kitchen linens take a beating. Sturdy replacements for hot pads, aprons, and kitchen towels would be welcome assets to any cook.

What do YOU think is a good gift for a cook?

*Edited: 1/5/12 – I am sorry to report that I had to take the baking pans back! Over the holidays, one of them started to flake its coating. Bummer! I will update you when I find a better replacement.

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  1. I second the idea of gift cards to specialty shops. Cooks on limited budgets so appreciate them.

    Another idea is a gift card to a farmer’s market if they have them, or a nice piece of meat. My mom gave my husband a very nice piece of beef which we’ll be cooking on Christmas. We just didn’t need more STUFF.

  2. That’s a great list – I couldn’t add anything to it…..but I did add those cookie sheets to my Amazon wish list. 🙂

  3. Great ideas! I always put kitchen stuff on my list. This year, it was a French press, baking stones, and cast iron pans. And a donut pan:)

  4. Cast iron skillets! Healthy, relatively cheap, awesome! A must have staple in my kitchen. I want more this year! If anyone would like to send me a gift, I’d also love to try a silpat mat! I don’t have one. 🙂 I bought myself a Vitamix this year for Christmas and have already been using it, so I won’t have anything to open… Kitchen gadgets are my absolute favorite Christmas gift to receive. And they help me make yummy gifts to give my family and friends who don’t like to cook.

  5. I think Santa is bringing me that Immersion Blender for Christmas!

  6. I want the cast iron skillet from Costco, it has a ceramic finish, like their Dutch oven which I already have….

  7. Every new year I go to Dillards for the 75% off appliances plus take an additional 50% and see what kind of kitchen goodies I REALLY need. It’s so much fun picking up name brand items for a fraction of the cost.

  8. I think some good cookie sheets, good rubber scrapers, heavy duty (restaurant quality) stainless steel serving spoons, or a gift certificate to the restaurant supply store!

  9. I would love a new baking pan, but the reviews on the one mentioned above speaks of ongoing grey stuff off of it. Concern about alluminum poisoning? Even the description speaks of washing hands.

    • @sona, well, I haven’t had that happen with these. It’s possible I linked to the wrong product (they all look the same). I bought mine at Costco, they say they are aluminized steel with wrapped steel edges.

    • @sona, I am sorry to report that the reviews were correct! 🙁 A week or two after we had this discussion, one of my pans started to flake its coating. I took them all back and am so bummed!

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