For those of you looking for kitchen gift ideas, I wanted to share the items in my kitchen I use nearly every day.
I depend on these kitchen items for my cooking well-being. If any one of these things broke I’d feel lost and would replace it immediately.
You’ll notice that many of these links go to Amazon and if you buy any of them I will get a small spiff. But, as you can see, all of these kitchen gift ideas are definitely used and worn, by me, so I’m not just fishing for commissions.
Assorted Knives and Cutting Board
Without question, a good set of knives tops my list.
I’ve never really splurged on knives for myself, but you’ll notice one knife is not like the others in this photo (fourth from left). That’s the Shun. It was a gift. When regularly sharpened, this chef’s knife cuts through anything with ease. It’s very balanced and its damascus steel blade and textured handle look great, too. It will do almost anything and is the most versatile of the knives I own.
Aside from the chef’s knife, I also use kitchen shears, a paring knife (this one has a fat, grippy handle that I like), a filet knife, a sharpening steel, and of course, a cutting board. If you buy these things and take care of them you will probably use them the rest of you life.
Stainless and Cast Iron Pots Pans
After a good set of knives, the next thing on any kitchen gift list should be a good set of both stainless and cast iron pots and pans.
Stainless makes a great choice because it does not react with acidic foods like tomato sauce, unlike aluminum. Get a set with heavy metal bottoms to keep hot spots from forming, especially if you use a gas stove. They require a scouring pad and a little elbow grease to stay in good condition but will reward you with a lifetime of service. Mine are Farberware and do a great job for a reasonable price.
Cast iron works for nearly anything and its greatest benefits are its abilities to hold and evenly distribute heat. A properly seasoned cast iron pan can normally be cleaned with hot water and a cloth. We buy Lodge cast iron but you could probably build a good set by visiting a few local estate sales.
Finally, look for pots and pans with metal handles so they can be used both on the stove and in the oven.
Basic Cooking Utensils Make Great Kitchen Gifts
I think anyone could go through their kitchen drawers and pick out variations of these utensils. I believe I can’t live without these: a good whisk; a ladle (I’d buy a stainless ladle next time I need one); bamboo mixing and stirring spoons; and a couple of good tongs (get rid of the wire ones – yuk).
Stainless Mixing Bowls and Measuring Cups
These stainless mixing bowls and measuring cups come out of the cabinets almost every day – much more often than their plastic or glass counterparts. You can drop them, dent them, freeze them, or put blazing hot stuff in them. They’ll last your lifetime unless you really abuse them. Best of all you don’t need buy anything that fancy.
Large Pyrex Measuring Cups and Pyrex Containers as Kitchen Gift Ideas
I know it looks like I have a stainless steel fetish, but glass does have its place in the kitchen. These Pyrex measuring cups are perfect for liquids, especially if you want to heat something in the microwave. Meanwhile, I use pyrex baking dishes constantly. I’ve chipped a few in my lifetime, but these go from the oven, to serving, to fridge, and back to leftovers without fuss. What could be better than that! Get ones with lids.
Colanders and Strainers
These also should be on the top of anyone’s kitchen gift idea list. I have several colanders, but if I were buying one today I’d probably get a stainless one so I would not worry about plastic leaching chemicals into my food. Still, the plastic one has lasted for years and I’m not dead yet. As for strainers – surprise – I prefer these simple stainless ones!
Immersion Blender, Meat Thermometer, Hand Operated Can Opener
These are three items I also use nearly every day.
Unlike a massive jarred blender, an immersion blender works great for blending soups and sauces right in the pot, leaving only its removable head to clean. My current blender is kind of a piece of junk with plastic gears wrapped in fancy stainless. The whisk attachment cracked in its first use. The Cuisinart version I had also fell apart after only a year of use so maybe it’s me! When the one I have expires I’m going for this one next.
I have a very cheap meat thermometer that just keeps working, even when I use it for sugar work or for frying. It’s battery operated and allows you to switch from farenheit to celcius. This thermometer is the closest I could find to the one I have.
Finally, don’t buy an electric can opener. Get a simple hand-held one instead. Modern ones are way easier to use than the old wire ones.
Salt Cellar, Pepper Grinder, Butter Dish as Kitchen Gift Ideas
I literally use these items every day in the kitchen.
I prefer a salt cellar over a shaker because I feel like I have more control over the amount of salt going into my food. If you’re squeamish about using your fingers, then put a small spoon next to it.
For a pepper grinder I always wanted a wooden pepper mill. But my wife got me this one, which is smaller and seems to mimic the functionality. I can grind pepper with the bottom in place and then double-check the amount by pulling it off and looking into it. But I’d still like to have the wooden one with the pepper box.
Finally, pick up a plain porcelain butter dish, or get whatever makes you happy!