Great gifts for home cooks
Want to give Pantry to Plate as a gift? Scroll to the bottom of this post for all the info you need!
Looking for gift for a home cook? A cooking gift for someone who recently got their own place? Or maybe some great kitchen tools for who is learning to cook? Don't worry about getting them the latest expensive kitchen appliance. Go back to basics and keep it simple with these really handy and useful kitchen tools. These make great stocking stuffers, small gifts, or you can bundle them for a great themed gift. I use each of these tools at least three times a week when I'm making dinner for my family. I've included links for purchasing on Amazon to make your holiday shopping super simple!
Zester or micro grater: These are perfect for SO many cooking and baking tasks! They are perfect for zesting lemons, limes and oranges for baking, marinades, homemade seasoning rubs and more. It also turns garlic and fresh ginger into a fine paste so the flavors just melt into the recipe you are adding them to. The micro grater also turns whole nutmeg into the most flavorful dust to top off eggnog, hot chocolate or chai, or to add to greens like creamed spinach or braised kale. Last, it works perfectly for making delicious Parmesan snow to top pasta or asparagus, and is much easier to use than a big box grater since you can grate right onto the dish.
Price range: $10-$15
Kitchen shears. Kitchen shears are designed for food. Good ones have little ridges on one side that help keep food from slipping when you cut it. You want to make sure they also come apart easily so you can throw them in the dishwasher to sanitize all the nooks and crannies. I use mine for everything from chopping spinach to trimming the ends off green beans, to cutting bacon pieces directly into the pan, to cutting pizza! They're one of our most highly-used and loved kitchen tools.
Price range: $10-$25
Photo credit: Bethany Brinkworth Photography
Small melamine spoon. This might seem silly, but these little guys are really so handy. They are perfect for getting things out of cans – even tomato paste, which can be especially tricky with how thick it is and how small the cans are! They also work really well for getting jams or jellies out of the jar (I love jams and jellies as an easy ingredient to sauces and glazes for chicken and pork). These little spoons are rigid (unlike spatulas), so the sharp edges of an open can don’t cut into them. And the corners are just square enough (unlike a regular spoon) to really get every bit out. And since they are plastic, not metal, you can use them to stir ingredients in non-stick skillets and pots, too.
Price range: $10-$15
Fish spatula: These are great for a few reasons. First is the size. These spatulas get under whatever you want to flip – the WHOLE THING – so easily! It really makes an artful flip a breeze. They also are very thin, so they easily slide under fragile food, like fish (obviously), but also pancakes and eggs - when you trying to be gentle so you don't break the yolk. Last, the angle is perfect. With traditional plastic spatulas I always find myself contorting my wrist some weird way to try to get UNDER the food. Not with this baby – I love it.
Price range: $12-$17
Digital probe thermometer: If you want to cook meat properly, you MUST TAKE THE TEMPERATURE. I believe this whole-heartedly! Not only does temping your meat prevent you from undercooking it (so it is safe to eat), it also prevents you from overcooking (so your meat doesn’t get tough and dried out). Also, it sounds crazy, but taking the temperature of baked sweet potatoes or baked potatoes also ensures they are done perfectly – 210 degrees is the magic number! Go for something simple, like this model. You can spend upwards of $50-$100, but it’s unnecessary. This little guy is simple to use and gets the job done.
Price range: $10-12
Reusable silicon baking mats: These are wonderful because they make your baking sheets non-stick and SO MUCH easier to clean! I use these for everything – not just baking or cookies. Roasting meat, vegetables, you name it. And one of my favorite tips this time of year – use two of these mats (one on bottom and one on top) to roll out your sugar cookie or ginger bread dough instead of flour to prevent sticking. If you use flour, your cookies can get really tough. And then just pick up the entire mat and put it on the baking sheet, no trying to move cut-outs of pliable dough from the counter to the cookie sheet.
Price range: $8-$25 (based on size and brand)
Digital timer: A good recipe will tell you how long to cook something and it will be fairly accurate. The digital timer is KEY to having recipes turn out. I prefer the digital timer to using my phone because I am clutsy and would surely drop my phone in a pot of soup or the sink, or even just on the floor. I would much rather drop the timer than my iPhone! Go for something simple, not crazy fancy and expensive, with a magnet so you can stick it on the stove or fridge and keep it off the counter and easily in sight.
Price range: $7-$12
Mini oven mitts: I am very specific about the kind of oven mitts or pot holders I like. I hate the big mitten-style ones – they are too big and difficult to slide off and on and are too long to easily hang inside a cabinet door. I don’t like the little silicon finger-tip style ones because I still manage to burn my palms with those. And I don’t like the flat style ones because, again, I am uncoordinated and manage to burn myself! For me, this style does everything I need it to: it protects my hands, the silicon grippies mean dishes don’t slide out of my hands, it has a hook to hang for storage, I can throw it in the laundry when it gets gross, and it’s easy to get on and off.
Price range: $15-$25