Can you smell what The Rock is cooking? No? OK, how about what your roommate/Hinge date/stepdaddy is stirring on the stove? Would you love to see them grabbing a sheet pan with a handmade suede oven mitt? Handling a razor-sharp mandoline that spits out paper-thin slices of fennel? If you’re being handed a pineapple margarita, would you rather sip it from a Solo cup or an artisanal Mexican glass with a cobalt-blue rim? It’s the details that make the difference when it comes to cooking and entertaining, which is why kitchen supplies make the best gifts, because they’re practical and fun at the same time.
Maybe you took The Cursed Time (cough, 2020, cough) to upgrade your knives, finally buy a decent coffee maker, and consider becoming an Adult With an Instant Pot. But if you didn’t, it’s all good, because the world is full of shiny things that were designed to make the process of cooking for yourself and your loved ones ever more enjoyable, and it’s not too late to gift them to yourself or others. These are our favorite tools, gadgets, cookbooks, and other miscellaneous things that should be in your kitchen cabinets.
The coolest KitchenAid mixer ever
Sigh. As if KitchenAid mixers aren’t already the ultimate in covetable countertop kitchen appliances, the brand had to go and design this limited-edition version with a ridiculously rad studded ceramic bowl?! We’d rather receive this than a car, a diamond necklace, or entry into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Grab one before it’s gone, and make someone really lucky.
A set of shiny seafood tools
Shrimp, oysters, crab: We love it all. And there’s nothing better suited for the shellfish-loving gourmand than a set of tools for cracking, deveining, and getting the most out of that briny meat.
The “it” pan
If you publicly express even a passing interest in cooking, you have likely been inundated with ads for about a bajillion different direct-to-consumer cookware companies—but perhaps most famous of them all is the highly Instagrammable, much sought-after Always Pan, the most aesthetic way to showcase that you’ve perfected a Dutch baby or shakshuka. Available in a variety of soothing Millennial-friendly colors like "Blue Salt" and "Terracotta," it's accrued 4.5 out of 5 stars from more than 14,000 reviews. Good news: it's on sale right now for the first time in a long while. If your cabinets are still full of scratched, Teflon, hand-me-down skillets from discount stores, toss ‘em all out and grab one of these instead.
Misen’s awesome knife set
Speaking from experience, we can tell you that Misen’s elegant knives stay super-sharp for literally years, and are the easiest way to step up your slicing skills while also looking hella #adult. Time for your lucky recipient to banish all those dull-ass IKEA knives they stole from their roommates.
Haden’s stainless steel electric tea kettle
It's baffling that so many people insist on hovering around their stovetops like maniacs, waiting for their old-fashioned kettles to scream at a deafening volume, when they could just get an electric kettle like this Haden bad boy, as handy for Top Ramen fans as for big-time tea drinkers. Hit the switch, and you’ll have piping-hot water in just a couple of minutes. It even has a little old-timey dial to tell you precisely how hot your water is. Most of all, this thing really jazzes up a countertop.
Leather oven mitts
These sexy suede oven mitts are perfect for everyday kitchen use or grabbing skewers off the grill. Dare we say you may even want to wear them in public to keep warm this winter? OK, maybe that's a bit too far, but these fancy mitts are so much prettier than those side towels you usually use to grab the cookies from the oven.
An Ooni pizza oven
We hear you've gotten really into sourdough lately. Well, instead of making bread nonstop, why not make some pizza dough and throw it in Ooni’s cult-fave pizza oven? It heats up quick (reaching 950°F in just 15 minutes), is portable, and cooks pizza in less than two minutes. Sounds way cooler than some stupid bread, if you ask us. Plus, there are wood-burning, gas-burning, and multi-fuel models.
Handcrafted Mexican cocktail glasses
These chic, super-affordable cocktail glasses look straight out of a mezcal bar in Mexico City. They're thick-walled and virtually unbreakable, and just as perfect for everyday water-sipping as they are for enjoying round after round of margaritas with your friends.
OXO mini tongs
Is it weird to be obsessed with a pair of tongs? Because that's how we feel about these little guys. They're perfect for flipping veggies in your cast-iron, serving spaghetti carbonara to the one you love, or pinching the bums of anyone that disturbs you while you're cooking. Take them camping, take them on a picnic, or just leave them home to use everyday.
Microplane’s classic stainless steel zester and cheese grater
If you don't have a microplane yet… it's time. Zest a Meyer lemon into your cookies! Grate some fresh Pecorino Romano onto your spaghetti! Get some fresh nutmeg goin' for your Tom & Jerry!!! You will find a million uses for this thing—and so will whoever is lucky enough to get one in their stocking.
Le Creuset Dutch oven
Everyone always asks us if a Dutch oven is truly necessary… and honestly? Yeah, it is. You'll use this one pan for 90 percent of the things you cook, whether you're braising chicken, sautéeing vegetables, or frying up a hash on the morning of your next hangover. It's easy to clean, and hot damn, all those colors sure are pretty. It's definitely a purchase you won't regret.
The MUNCHIES cookbooks (duh)
Hey, we've got to mention our cookbooks, because they all really are that good. Buy one for your mom; buy one for your roommate; buy one for yourself. This one—the MUNCHIES Guide to Dinner—has a really, really excellent lasagna recipe. You're welcome.
Since the moment we found this spoonula, life just hasn't been the same. It's the ultimate tool for the home cook and baker alike. You thought that merely having a spatula and also owning a spoon was enough, but you were wrong. Get a spoonula for each and every one of your friends, and two for yourself.
Breville’s Bambino espresso maker
Before the work-from-home-forever days, you relied on your office and local cafe to supply a steady stream of oat-milk-laced stimulants. And let's face it, the sludge you're brewing at home isn't cutting it. It's time you upped your caffeine game and invested in a professional-level espresso maker. Embrace your inner barista. And with a name like The Bambino, how can you resist?
An aesthetic set of nonstick bakeware
The MUNCHIES team loves the new ceramic-coated bakeware set from Caraway, which associate producer Virginia Tadini calls “awesome.” After taking the muffin pan and 9” circle pan for a test run, she says, “Both desserts were so easy to remove from the pans and slip onto the cooling rack, thanks to the nonstick ceramic coating. I also love knowing that it’s made with non-toxic materials that are safe for our family and the environment.” She emphasized the cool color options and easy clean up as major pluses, as well as the included organizer for keeping everything tucked away neatly in your kitchen cabinet.
Our favorite vegan cookbooks
Know someone who loves to munch on plants like it’s their job? These top-rated cookbooks are full of genius meat-free recipes, and are just a few of our ideas for the best gifts for vegans.
That dang Benriner mandoline (again)
Yes, we recommended this very same mandoline last year. But it really is that good. It has truly changed the game, and made countless quarantine meals things of beauty instead of sad couch lunches. It has topped our salads with elegant curls of carrot and transformed our fennel into paper-thin slices of semi-translucent vegetal perfection. And isn’t the teal a flex?
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.