The Best Food Gifts for Curious Cooks, Holiday Hosts, and People Who Just Love to Eat
From berry butter to Dusen Dusen aprons.
Updated Dec 7, 2022 3:32 PM
We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.
We all gotta eat, so why not add a dash of style to your special someone’s meals this holiday season? The best food gifts in (and out) of the kitchen make cooking more colorful, eating more delicious, and entertaining more fun—all very good things in our opinion. From the broadly appealing (a set of the perfect steak knives) to the very specific (overnight soil for your herb garden), our top picks for gifting this year aim to please your cast of characters. Whether they be new apartment dwellers, on-trend pals, hard-to-shop-for siblings, or tiny chefs, the best food gifts await them, below.
Best Food Gifts for Cooks
We’ll follow pro baker Claire Saffitz anywhere, and if that’s right to 100 new recipes, so be it. For the dessert person you know, Saffitz’s latest book will be a revelation; pick one of her nine baking essentials to gift along with it, too.
Drawn up in sweet illustrations of market produce, this oven mitt will make anyone want to put a pot of polenta and vegetables in the oven.
We’re big fans of Fly by Jing, the sauce, dumpling, and pantry goods brand inspired by chef Jing Gao’s hometown of Chengdu. Meet its brand-new, adorable Big Steamy, a fireproof ceramic steamer and nesting bamboo basket that’s dishwasher- and oven-safe. We wouldn’t be surprised if it sells out, so if you have a dumpling lover in your life, this is the pick to go with. To note: Big Steamys will start shipping in early December, and if you decide to add on a set of dumpling packs, those will ship separately.
Stocking stuffers can, and sometimes should, be silly—but if you want to go functional, this under-$10 walnut scraper is versatile and camp-cooking friendly. (Tip: Buy two and gift them together as minimal salad servers instead.)
Cooking shouldn’t be so serious. When the roast is taking a little longer than they’d like, the smiling face on Staff’s newest offering, The Baster, will at least make them crack a grin. Its royal purple cheeks can hold up to 1 ounce of liquid, and the whole thing is heat resistant up to 194 degrees Fahrenheit. The price makes this a smart secret Santa gift or stocking stuffer.
This grinder masquerading as an art-worthy object is the ideal balance of form and function. Made of 100% ash, it’s suitable for everyday use while also being beautiful enough to put out during dinner parties or displayed on a tray of salts and seasonings. Unwrapping this tool will make hosts and those who just love to cook equally delighted.
Maybe you have a niece heading to college or a brother in need of a kitchen upgrade? In either instance, this nonstick skillet, along with its three accessories, makes a cute and thoughtful gift. The 4.8-star-rated set can stand in for up to 12 single pieces of cookware (including a roasting pan and saucier) and neatly stacks to take up as little room as possible. With five colors to choose from and compatibility with all ranges, it’s a fit for a beginner cook and small-space inhabitant.
Whomever is in charge of weekend breakfast will appreciate this get-everyone-in-on-it rotating waffle maker. It was designed for Williams Sonoma by Bronx-based CRUXGG—a collaboration between Crux and Ghetto Gastro’s top-chef collective that uses food to empower communities, fight racism, and advance social justice.
This cheerful bamboo mortar-and-pestle set comes with the smartest little silicone base—which allows you to move the bowl around to any position. It’s part of a new tool line from Latin-owned kitchen and pantry brand Loisa. (A tostonera, masher, and skimmer are also on offer.) Plus 2% of the company’s monthly sales are donated to an organization fighting for food justice.
If you have a budding chef on your hands, this set from Opinel will get them started. It includes a knife and peeler with educational rings to help guide kids in the process, and a finger guard that’ll help them understand how to position their hands while prepping food. Ideal for ages 5 to 10, reviewers appreciate that the knife doesn’t have a pointed tip, and one individual enthusiastically notes “the knife blade doesn’t feel sharp when you touch it, but it cuts like a dream.”
The Lomi might look like a slow cooker and, in part, you’d be right to think that—it can make soil overnight. The electric composter uses patented pods filled with microbes that give you more usable dirt and less waste. It’s the Land Rover of compost bins, if you will. For the vegetable gardener or plant parent.
Best Food Gifts for People Who Love to Eat and Drink
Medjool dates, pecans, and Himalayan salt. Mango, Urfa chili, and black lime. The prettiest packaging. Organic dark chocolate. Whoever gets handed the Spice Market collection from Spring & Mulberry will likely not want to share it.
Covered in cheerful illustrations by Libby VanderPloeg, these eight-cookie holiday tins from cult favorite cookie maker Levain Bakery will delight any sweet tooth (and be reusable after all the crumbs are gone). Choose from three different assortments or go all in on one of six flavors.
Olive oil—a staple kitchen item and the sort of gift that’ll be put to good use. This well-packaged set from Branche includes two options (one bold, one buttery) your recipient can choose from, depending on what they’re cooking.
Fancy coffee is the gift that can’t go wrong. Southdown Coffee, a favorite of ours, sources its beans from around the world and has been featuring Guatemalan coffees from Finca Catalan for six years. We appreciate that the company’s operation includes support for seasonal workers in the form of lodging, meals, and a school for children. This bag of Catalan de las Mercedes features notes of tangerine, vanilla, and cinnamon and comes from San Martin Jilotepeque, Chimaltenango.
For the hot-sauce lovers in your life. This three-bottle set from Barcelona-by-way-of-Kentucky Tyler Mains is all about the Iberian Peninsula. The exclusive trio is the first in Acid League’s Maker Series. We’re particularly into the Il Mig, which plays with two of Spain’s best-known ingredients: olive oil and sherry vinegar.
Have you ever smelled Oishii’s omakase strawberries? If so, then you’ll know why its brand-new berry butter—made in collaboration with Cali-based West~bourne—is going to be snapped up. At just $18 a jar, it’s an ideal gift for everyone from coworkers to teachers to those who deserves a sweet spoonful.
The kind of fancy food gift that won’t sit in the back of their pantry all year. This limited-edition wintry set includes two cartons of A Táche Pistachio Milk, Flamingo Estate Drinking Chocolate, and Mojave Mallows Artisanal Marshmallows. When it’s time to take off the ski pants and slip into chalet chic, it will be waiting.
There’s likely someone in your circle that is a) into wine or b) getting into wine. Cote x Convive Wine Club’s gift packs range from all red to all bubbly, with some reserve options that lean toward the higher end. Its Best Kept Secrets selection, though, balances a bit of cool mystery with really good value. You’ll look like the most in-the-know gifter out there.
Best Food Gifts for Hosts
Sophie Lou Jacobsen designed the cutest glass condiment couple for Areaware, and it’s the finishing touch for a new homeowner’s coffee bar or your friend who makes the best appetizer spreads. To note: They’re sold separately, so just add one of each to your cart.
We love the concept behind Our Place’s Traditionware collection, which is exactly like what it sounds: cookware for celebrating and honoring traditions from around the world. For anyone who celebrates Shabbat, the brand’s recently debuted teal Shabbat Set includes its Oven Pan, a reusable Oven Mat, a challah cover designed in collaboration with Minna, and naturally nondrippy beeswax candlesticks.
This steak knife set is a regular host’s dream. With straight blades made from German stainless steel and matte, grippy, stain-resistant handles that come in four modern colors, the knives are versatile as far as style goes. Choose to gift one color or do the “mixed” selection, which includes each hue. The set of four comes in a maple-wood upright holder, which would sit pretty on any countertop. (If you’re looking for something more classic, be sure to peruse our guide to steak knife sets.)
The asymmetrical edge of this maple cutting board from California-based Isabella Sevv has just the right amount of whimsy without feeling over the top.
Bread knives don’t always double as tomato tacklers, but this beautiful bow made in Kentucky is armed with a serrated carbon steel blade that makes for smooth slicing. It would look just as nice on a shelf next to dishes as it would in action on a table mid-meal.
An apron they wouldn’t mind leaving on during their dinner parties, this Dusen Dusen striped number comes in two color combos and has adjustable neck and waist ties. There are also placemats and napkins to match, if that’s their sort of thing.
Gift a set of these utterly chic wineglasses, in the same style or as a mix, from CB2’s new Milan-inspired collection of Gianfranco Frattini designs. Just right for the friend who didn’t make it to Italy this past summer (and really needs better glassware when you bring a bottle over).
This set of four handmade placemats would bring festivity to someone’s table anytime, particularly now, when colorful and fun entertaining is where it’s at. At just $18 apiece (they are 40% off right now), they’re not much more than what you’d find at a big-box retailer and infinitely more stylish.
Who wouldn’t be excited to turn out platters of Jody Williams and Rita Sodi’s pasta and vegetables at home? The seasonal and ingredient-driven cookbook is for farmers’ market–heads everywhere.
These mouth-blown, handmade wineglasses, designed by Austrian glassmaker Kurt Josef Zalto, are beautiful to look at and make any wine (even beer!) sing. Sure, they’re expensive, but if you’re in the market for an impressive gift, they won’t disappoint.