Hi there! Welcome to Flawed yet Functional! Can you believe the holiday season is almost here?! Sales and promotions are soon to bombard your social media feed and inbox if they haven’t already. Promoting objects is not the focus of Flawed yet Functional, but it does cost money to keep this blog up and running. For that reason, I want to show you my top 10 cooking tools that would make the best gifts for cooks this Christmas! These are products that I use every day and love. And with a save and splurge option, there’s a fit for every budget!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links which just means if you purchase from the links provided, I may get a small commission at no additional cost to you! At Flawed yet Functional, I only reference products that have real value that I actually use.
If you’ve been a reader here long, you know that I love to cook. In this list of products, you will find products that I actually use in my real home kitchen on a regular basis. I value well-made, durable kitchen utensils, and you’ll find that these are timeless tools for every kitchen.
Watch the video below to see the items I use every day in my kitchen and find out why I love them. I’m not kidding around when I say I promote products I use…here they are!
When looking for gifts for cooking enthusiasts, let’s start with that morning hot drink we are all passionate about. I am a firm believer in a hot drink first thing in the morning. These are the tools I use to make coffee on Saturdays. (If you are wondering why I only drink coffee on Saturdays read this post about coffee reintroductions for the AIP diet.)
Don’t skip these tools if you are a tea drinker! These tools are still necessary though for my tea routine the other days of the week (minus the coffee grinder)!
Coffee grinders can get ridiculously expensive. However, the price is not for nothing. The more expensive the coffeemaker the more consistent the grind which allows for a more consistent cup of coffee. On the cheaper end, the OXO BREW Conical Burr Coffee Grinder does an adequate job, although the price tag may still be in the splurge category at $99.
You can totally make do with a $10 grinder from a big box store, but if you want to give your loved one the gift of consistently great coffee, buy them a higher quality grinder!
The Baratza Virtuoso is the coffee grinder that I own. It is definitely in the splurge category at $249 (when I wrote this post). However, if the foodie in your life is a coffee fanatic, this is what he or she needs!
Not only does it have a consistent grind size, but there are also 40 grind settings to grind anything from drip coffee to pour-over to espresso.
A gooseneck kettle is the next necessary tool for supreme pour-over coffee. That curvy, thin pour spout is necessary for the gentle, steady pour needed for a perfect cup of pour-over coffee. This kettle obviously can be used for tea as well, which I do on a daily basis!
The Coffee Gator gooseneck kettle is the one I own, although an older model. Mine has a solid plastic handle on the lid instead of a thermometer.
On my wish list this year is an Electric Pour-over Kettle. This kettle won’t take up stove-top space AND it can heat water to a precise temperature. Wouldn’t that be amazing! No more over or under heating or taking multiple tries to arrive at the right temperature. Set the dial for the temp needed, and the electric kettle will heat the water to that temp then stop!
We like our coffee brewed at 185 degrees, and tea depends on the type of tea you are brewing. The water temperature can range from the 170°s to a full boil at 212°. This gooseneck kettle is top-notch!
The most economical way to brew coffee or tea is to use a French press. We use this Bodum French Press Coffee and Tea Maker every morning when we make tea. Loose leaf tea has the highest quality of flavor and freshness, and the French press pushes down all the tea leaves perfectly so there are no bits in your cup! Before we switched to pour-over coffee, we loved making coffee in the French press as well. It works for whatever you love to drink in the morning!
Buying Tip: If you are looking for gifts for cooks on Amazon, this is one kitchen essential that may have a better price at your local supermarket. My Bodum French press was less than $15 locally, and that is a few dollars less than this one on Amazon. Keep that in mind the next time you are grocery shopping!
We use a Chemex Pour-over Glass Coffeemaker to make our coffee on Saturday mornings. Pour-over coffee is our current favorite way to drink coffee. We control the amount of beans and water with a kitchen scale, the temperature of the water with our gooseneck kettle, the bean grind with our Baratza coffee grinder, and the Chemex coffee maker brings it all together for the perfect cup!
Note: Be sure to spring for the Chemex coffee filters. I tried to save a few dollars one time by purchasing off-brand ones, and they are always too flimsy. They end up in the trash which does not save us any money!
A kitchen scale is invaluable to any home cook. I use my scale daily for things like making tea or coffee, whipping up pancakes, and making sausage. It is a hard-working tool and should be in every kitchen!
The GDEALER Digital Food Scale is the one we use on a daily basis. The model linked is newer than ours. Ours has a glass top, and this one is stainless steel on top. The rest of the features are the same, and it is a good workhorse for any kitchen. Also, the price point is right on at $13!
My favorite feature of this scale is it resets the time to time-out (automatic shutoff) every time the weight is changed. This relieves so much frustration when adding ingredients is slow!
If the cook in your life likes to bake, up the ante for them by purchasing this Bakers Math Kitchen Scale. It can do percentage weighing (as in the liquids should by 20% of the total weight of the recipe)! I’ve never seen this feature in a scale! It would have been so helpful back in our sourdough-starter-fresh-milled-whole-wheat bread making days!
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Moving on to kitchen prep tools! If you are looking for the best kitchen gift ideas, high-quality prep tools are a must!
Good Kitchen Knife
I am a bit fanatical about my knives. My husband, Dan, has learned how to sharpen them himself (something we may need to show you someday!) which has made me a bit of a snob when it comes to the sharpness of my knife. I like it very very sharp, and I am extremely partial to the santoku blade. However, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a nice sharp knife.
Check out these options!
This Calphalon 7in Santoku Knife was my first good knife. It is very reasonable at less than $30, and it can be resharpened for a long time. With proper care (wash and dry immediately after use) and use (always use a cutting board), the blade stays sharp for a good while.
For the best longevity, I would suggest learning how to sharpen it yourself or finding someone local to do it for you to make sure it is safe to use for a long time.
If you are a beginner cook, you may not realize the price range that kitchen tools can run. So if you are shocked by the price of this knife, know that I was too. However, this knife is worth its weight in gold! The ZHEN Thunder Series Santoku Chef Knife is made of Damascus steel which keeps its edge (an even sharper edge than the Calphalon knife!) for a long time. The santoku blade is perfect for all types of food prep and basic kitchen skills. It’s a good every day, every meal knife. I reach for this knife three or more times a day, and I couldn’t recommend it more highly!
Spice up the vegetables by using a spiralizer! When my kids get bored with the same-old-same-old vegetables, it helps to change the way you cut them. Make vegetables fun again with a spiralizer!
Spiralizers come in handy Handheld Spiralizer that are less than $10. I imagine this one will not last quite as long as a larger spiralizer, but if you plan to use it infrequently or just want to have a low-cost trial, this one’s for you!
Enjoy dishes like Spaghetti and Meatballs with low-carb zucchini or butternut squash “noodles.”
The Spiralizer Vegetable Slicer is the one that we currently own. It comes with multiple blades to make different thicknesses of noodles or slices. It can go through hard or soft vegetables and is easy to use (my 4 year old loves to help me with it!) and clean up.
Use this handy tool to easily get more vegetables into your diet!
High Powered Blender
Every kitchen needs a high powered blender and or a good food processor. I have never been happy with the various food processors I have had, so we have made do with a Vitamix high-power blender for both jobs for many years. While they are not the same tool, in a pinch, you can make either one work for your needs.
The NutriBullet gets good reviews and is a high-powered without having the price tag of a Vitamix. It can do single-serving smoothies or blend in a pitcher for larger amounts of food. It comes apart for easy cleaning in the sink or the dishwasher!
If you are buying for a solo cook or one that drinks smoothies on the regular, this high-powered blender is perfect!
The Vitamix 5200 is the model of Vitamix that I currently own. I’ve had it for 10 years now, and we have been happy with its functionality. My husband and I have even worked with the manufacturer for two repairs, and they were wonderful each time completely repairing or replacing the product. This appliance keeps working hard year after year for us!
We use our Vitamix to puree soup base, make smoothies, pulse chickpeas for hummus, and a whole bunch of other uses. It is a great workhorse of the kitchen!
Here’s another area that I am particular about: seasoning food. Yes, you can buy pre-ground black pepper, but you will be sacrificing so much flavor! Peppermills come at all price points, but I would recommend one that can be refilled for the best bang for your buck, longevity, and grind consistency.
The Trudeau Seville Pepper Mill produces a fairly consistent grind of peppercorns for a very reasonable price of $13. If you are looking to save a few dollars, this is a good one for the price.
It is refillable, and the coarseness is adjustable. It is the perfect fit if you want to up your cooking game but aren’t ready for the commitment of a big peppermill.
The peppermill I actually own is a Vic Firth Peppermill, but Vic Firth sold their peppermill making equipment to Fletcher’s Mill. The same great quality and warranty are available in the Fletchers’ Mill Tronco Pepper Mill as they were with Vic Firth.
The peppermills are made in the USA and guaranteed for life! This peppermill is easy to refill and produces a great grind. It is a worthwhile cooking gift for that special someone’s kitchen!
An instant-read thermometer is another tool that I use every single day in my kitchen. When it comes to the best gifts for cooks, a high-quality instant-read thermometer is at the top of my list. It has so many uses and really helps the cook produce consistent results in the kitchen.
Since I do not have a kettle with a thermometer built-in, I use it every morning to test the temperature of the water for my tea or coffee. For breakfast, I do a quick check of our sausage links to make sure they are done before serving. I use it at dinner time to make sure my meat is done. An instant-read thermometer can even be used to test the doneness of baked goods and pies too!
Instant-read thermometers at the grocery store will run $15 to $25. They are not worth a single cent. Don’t waste your money! They will stop working within a few cooks.
I own the Classic Super-Fast Thermapen which I have been using daily for 8+ years. It is worth every penny, and at $79 really isn’t that bad for a small appliance that will last you a very long time. It even comes in fun colors!
Looking for a cooking gift with a little more pizazz? Try the Thermapen IR which is the same awesome instant-read thermometer above plus an infrared sensor!
If the special someone in your life could use a thermometer, why not upgrade to one that has an infrared scanner AND an instant-read probe? Now with one device surface and internal temperature is quickly available!
No need to buy a standard turkey that has a pop-up probe in it! Get a good quality leave-in thermometer that your loved one can use in the oven for any long cook. It will sound an alarm when the meat is at the perfect temperature so they can fix it and forget it!
Once again, do not rely on the leave-in thermometers available at the local supermarket. The quality is extremely low and the probes will stop registering the temperature within a cook or two.
The ChefAlarm Cooking Alarm Thermometer is a high-quality thermometer from ThermoWorks is only $64! Take good care of the probes (don’t let them get wet!), and it will last you for years!
The Smoke leave-in thermometer system is the one we own and use for our holiday cooking (and many BBQs and parties throughout the year!). Since we like to cook our turkey on the grill, having an extra probe to tell us the temperature of the grill, as well as the temperature of the meat, is invaluable. This is the perfect cooking gift for him (or her)…the chef or grill master in your life!
There you have it, my top 10 best gifts for cooks or foodies! Whether you are looking for cooking gifts for him or her, every one of these is sure to bring joy (and years of usefulness!). Rest assured the quality of these is high, and the cook in your life will be happy to receive them! Enjoy and Merry Christmas!