11 Essential Kitchen Gifts for the Holidays 2018

Most of us have a person or two on our holiday gift giving list who wants and/or needs some great basics to round out their kitchen cache.

Here are 11 items that I have and love (in one version or another). These are the basics, and the good basics. Some of them are pricey, and some are less so, but if you are shopping for the person in your life who likes to hang out in the kitchen, these are 11 no-fail gifts that every cook would love in his or her kitchen.

1. Classic 8-inch Chef’s Knife 

great kitchen gift ideas for the holidays
J.A. Henckels International CLASSIC 8″ Chef’s Knife / amazon.com

The first thing any cook needs is a solid chef’s knife, an 8-inch workhorse for chopping, slicing, dicing, and mincing. You want one with nice balance and weight, so you have good control. There is a lot of discussion between German and Japanese knives (and plenty of other countries, too, but those are the two big “knife countries” andit absolutely depends on the person and how the knife feels in their hand. This one is solid and very well priced. Some people prefer a 10-inch, but that size can be more intimidating. Like a lot of cooks, I like to have both.


2. All-Clad Stainless Steel 3-Quart Saute Pan with Lid

best 2018 kitchen tools
All-Clad 4403 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe 3-Quart Saute Pan with Lid, Silver / amazon.com

Every mom needs a go-to skillet with a lid. This one is not too big, not too small. This multipurpose pan is shallow enough to make pancakes in, but deep enough to make a one-dish casserole. It’s completely oven safe, so you could bake or roast in it too, and the fact that it has a lid means you can poach or steam as well as sauté.


3. Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French (Dutch) Oven

best 2018 kitchen gifts
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French (Dutch) Oven, Cerise (Cherry Red) / amazon.com

You need a big pot. This one is made of enameled cast iron, so there’s a slightly nonstick quality (and you could absolutely buy a stainless steel one as well, which will probably be less expensive, though not necessarily). This is the pot for pastas, soups, stews, and chilis. And it’s great in the oven, perfect for braising big cuts of meat.


4. Vollrath Aluminum Wear-Ever Heavy-Duty 16-Guage Closed Bead Natural Sheet Pan

Gift Ideas for Cooks
Vollrath (5220) 9-1/2″ x 13″ Quarter Size Sheet Pan / amazon.com

Not only will this pan be used for baking cookies, it will be used for all kinds of baking and roasting. This is the go-to pan for myriad one-dish oven meals. I use a rimmed baking sheet in so many recipes, I can hardly think of a day where it’s not in play in my kitchen. Buy one that is very sturdy and won’t warp.


5. OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set

Gifts for Cooks Amazon
OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Stainless-Steel Mixing Bowl Set, White / amazon.com

These bowls have a stainless steel interior – which chill well when needed, and don’t retain odors — and also boast a non-slip bottom. The three sizes are very handy for everything from mixing up a marinade to making a pasta salad.


6. CC Boards – 3 Piece Nonslip Cutting Board Set

Kitchen Gifts for Friends
CC Boards 3-Piece Nonslip Cutting Board Set, Red / amazon.com

I think I own about 10 cutting boards, and practically have my counter lined with them when I am in full swing. Sturdy plastic cutting boards with grooves to catch juices are a must. I have some that are wooden, which I love, and serve on, but also really use the ones like this that are dishwasher safe.


7. Bellemain Micro-perforated Stainless Steel 5-quart Colander

Housewarming Kitchen Gift Ideas
Bellemain Micro-perforated Stainless Steel 5-quart Colander / amazon.com

A big stainless steel colander for draining pasta and washing vegetables is absolutely on the list.


8. OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs

Practical Housewarming Gifts
OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs / amazon.com

Tongs are extremely useful, for everything from stir frying to flipping chicken breasts, to removing baked potatoes from the oven, even stirring.


9. OXO Good Grips Brushed Stainless Steel Turner

Best Gifts for Cooks and Food Lovers
OXO Good Grips Brushed Stainless Steel Turner / amazon.com

Whether to get a metal or a silicone spatula first is up to you – both have their strong suits (answer: get both!). Necessary for flipping burgers and pancakes and sliding things out of pans.


10. ChefLand 8-Piece Deluxe Stainless Steel Measuring Cup and Measuring Spoon Set

Gift Ideas for Someone Who Likes to Cook
ChefLand 8-Piece Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoon Set / amazon.com

Even seasoned chefs need to measure, and beginner cooks rely on measuring cups to get their bearings when following a recipe. Make sure to get both cups and spoons.


11. Mad Hungry 2-Piece Acacia Wood Spurtle Set

Gifts for Cooks Who Have Everything
Mad Hungry 2-Piece Acacia Wood Spurtle Set (Stirring Spatula/Spoon) – 12-3/4 Inch Solid Spurtle and 8-3/4 Inch Solid Spurtle / amazon.com

My new favorite cooking utensil is the Spurtle. I’m a little obsessed with these guys. They are like curved paddles, perfect for stirring everything, and the edges really get up against the edges and into the corners to pans and bowls.

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