The 26 Best Splurge Gifts for Cooks

Big ticket items that are actually worth it, be it a Vitamix or an outdoor pizza oven.

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a few splurge gifts we recommend, including solo stove, blender, sous vide and waffle maker.

Serious Eats / Chloe Jeong

Maybe it’s your friend's (who's an incredible cook) birthday, or perhaps the holidays are fast approaching and you’re in the throes of gift-giving fervor. Whether you’re looking to top off someone’s stocking with a little extra something special (like a set of fine spices) or want to really pull out the stops and surprise them with a Vitamix blender, we’ve got you covered with an assortment of splurge-worthy cookware, gear, and accessories. And if you plan it right, they may just thank you with food. We love gifts that keep on giving.

  • A Wooden Cutting Board

    boardsmith cutting board

    Every cook should own a quality wooden cutting board. And by quality, we mean a board that will last for years to come (and look good doing it). The BoardSmith Maple End-Grain board is an admirable piece of woodwork and comes in a variety of useful sizes. We can attest to the fact that it holds up well over time, and love that it can be special ordered to add finger grooves, a perimeter juice groove, and/or remove the attached feet.

    Price at time of publish: $325

  • Easy to Grow Herbs at Home

    AeroGarden Harvest

    The AeroGarden really is the gift that keeps on giving: it makes growing fresh herbs at home all year long foolproof. Sow the seeds (the garden comes with a starter pack of Genovese basil, curly parsley, dill, thyme, Thai basil, and mint), add water, and let the notifications tell you when to next add more water or nutrients to keep your greens thriving. Never again will your giftee have wilting bags of herbs in their fridge—they can pluck them fresh from the source.

    Price at time of publish: $150

  • A Versatile Toaster Oven

    Breville The Smart Oven 6-slice 1800W

    How many other apparatuses can toast up to six slices of toast at a time, reheat pizza, bake cookies, and cook salmon? We’ll wait. But while you’re trying to come up with an alternative, might we introduce you to the Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven. It flawlessly cooks all of the above, plus it’s straight-forward to use and its stainless steel veneer is pretty easy on the eyes.

    Price at time of publish: $270

  • A Well-Deserved Caffeine Boost

    Price at time of publish: $345

    Breville The Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder

    Price at time of publish: $350

    OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder

    Price at time of publish: $100

    Cooking a large meal can feel draining, especially around the holidays. As such, granting a cook some extra energy to fuel their passion just may be the most thoughtful gift you can give. An automatic drip coffee maker is one way to make good on this promise, and the Ratio Six Coffee Maker is one of the best in the brewing scene. It features a sleek design and it consistently delivers a mean cuppa steaming, full-flavored joe.

    And if your giftee is a coffee connoisseur who likes to experiment with their java, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder may be a good pick. From the finest espresso to the coarsest French Press grind, the Breville has 60 precise grind settings to choose from as well as an 18-ounce hopper capacity. For more budget-friendly pick, we also like this grinder from OXO.

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  • The Best Immersion Blender

    All-Clad Stainless Steel Immersion Blender

    The immersion blender—or as some may know it by it’s more colloquial name, the hand blender—offers a convenient, space-saving alternative to some of the kitchen’s bulkiest appliances. Though a well-equipped cook will never part with their countertop blender or food processor, they’ll be glad to have this compact tool on hand to whip up a quick hollandaise sauce or puree some butternut squash soup. The All-Clad immersion blender stood out amongst the competition through multiple rounds of testing. We also were impressed with its sleek design and powerful blending abilities.

    Price at time of publish: $120

  • A Sturdy, 12-Quart Stock Pot

    Cuisinart 12-Quart MultiClad Pro Stainless Stock Pot With Cover

    No, it's not the flashiest of kitchen equipment, but if you're in the habit of making stock, boiling pasta, or feeling fancy and want to host a lobster boil, you'll need a large-capacity, sturdy-bottomed stock pot. Our winner, from Cuisinart, ain't cheap but it also won't warp when simmering for hours, and the snug fitting lid ensures whatever's inside doesn't evaporate.

    Price at time of publish: $110

  • No-Fuss Homemade Ice Cream

    Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker

    Price at time of publish: $297

    Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker

    As kids, being able to push a button and have ice cream always seemed like a pipe dream — surely this fantasy didn’t exist outside of ice cream parlors and trucks? But turns out you can have your cake (er, ice cream?) and eat it too with a home ice cream machine. Just find a recipe you like, pour the base custard into the machine, and bam, freshly churned ice cream. We like the Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor for it's self-freezing capabilities and smaller, easy-to-store design. Another favorite is the Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Compressor which boasts a myriad of options including 12 hardness settings and pre-cool and keep-cool options (plus its very own ice cream truck melody notifications, cute!).

    Price at time of publish: $466

  • An Outdoor Pizza Oven for Pro-Level Pies

    Roccbox pizza oven

    Price at time of publish: $499

    Price at time of publish: $799

    Encourage someone’s inner pizzaiolo with an outdoor pizza oven. The Roccbox Portable Wood and Gas Pizza Oven is a steady and reliable choice and can be fired up using either gas, wood, or charcoal. After about half an hour, the oven hits temperatures above 900°F and cooks pizza in under 90 seconds. 

    The Ooni Koda 16 Inch Gas Oven, though, gives the Roccbox a run for its money with the promise of reaching 950°F in just 15 minutes and cooking authentic stone baked pizza in just 60 seconds. It’s also incredibly easy to use right out of the box: just unfold the legs, insert the pizza stone baking board, hook it up to a gas tank and you’re good to go. Check out our article about all the different Ooni ovens to learn more about each's pros and cons.

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  • A Dutch Oven That Will Last a Lifetime

    Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron 5.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven

    Price at time of publish: $420

    staub blue dutch oven

    Price at time of publish: $464

    A good Dutch oven can last a lifetime and is endlessly versatile. We use ours to braise, stew, fry, and even bake bread. And while the price tags on our favorites from Le Creuset and Staub are high, these are two trusted brands whose offerings we've tested and loved time after time; and we think you will, too.

  • A Sleek Waffle Maker

    All-Clad Belgian-Style Waffle Maker

    What’s better than going out to brunch? Why, staying in for brunch, of course. A homemade morning meal cuts out the need for reservations or cute attire or driving after one too many mimosas—you can have your brunch and eat it too, all in the comfort of your favorite PJs. And with our favorite All-Clad waffle maker, you can even bring crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside waffles to the home brunch table.

    Price at time of publish: $200

  • The Most-Powerful Kitchen Stand Mixer

    KitchenAid Pro 600 Series 6-Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer KP26M1X

    Though it’s one of the pricier items on this list, the KitchenAid Pro 600 Series 6-Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer’s worth cannot be overstated. Adding this iconic kitchen staple to your giftee’s arsenal will up their recipe potential tenfold. (Don’t believe us? We break down all the possibilities here.) Think one bowl cinnamon buns (ideal for a holiday breakfast), effortless angel food cake, and, with the right attachments, loads of fresh pasta.

    Price at time of publish: $600

  • An Impressive Hand Mixer

    Breville BHM800SIL Handy Mix Scraper Hand Mixer, Silver

    If you’re not looking to spend quite as much, or your giftee doesn’t have quite as much space as a stand mixer requires, a hand mixer is a suitable alternative for simple tasks like beating butter and sugar for cookies or whipping up egg whites. Our pick, the Breville Handy Mix Scraper Hand Mixer, is light, compact, and versatile with a comfortable handle, six attachments, and 9 speed settings.

    Price at time of publish: $150

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  • The Cadillac of Blenders

     Vitamix 5200 Blender Professional-Grade

    A Vitamix is one culinary trend that will never go out of style. And our team will forever stand by the Vitamix 5200 Blender for its no-frills interface and powerful blending capabilities that easily blitz smoothies, soups, purees, and even nut butters. Any passionate cook will be thrilled to let it take up real estate on their counter.

    Price at time of publish: $550

  • Live-Fire Cooking Gear

    Solo Stove Bonfire Pit
    solo stove bonfire cast iron grill grate and hub

    Price at time of publish: $225

    Whether it’s a warm summer night or a cool winter’s eve, lighting up a bonfire (safely) is a fun way to kick back and relax. The Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit with Stand makes it easy. Just put the base on the ground (or on a fire-safe table), place the stove on it, add some kindling and kiln-dried wood, top off with the rim, grab your lighter, and voila! A smokeless (safe) fire is at your fingertips. Plus, if your giftee is an avid outdoor cook (you know the type: they swear by charcoal grills and just invested in a smoker), there’s also the opportunity for some live-fire cooking: when paired with the Solo Cast Iron Grill Top and Hub, we were surprised and delighted by how easy (and fun!) it was to cook whole meals over an open fire. Maybe your giftee will also be pleasantly surprised.

  • Chic Steak Knives

    Laguiole En Aubrac 4-Piece Steak Knives Set

    Behold, a convincing quote from former senior editor Sho Spaeth: "As a person who has never owned a nice set of steak knives in his life, and probably never will, this is a very personal pick. Nice steak knives make me think of nice restaurants, nice houses, nice dining room tables—well, dining rooms, period—basically, all the stuff I have very little experience with and have no hope for in my future, which is bleak because I work in media." If that doesn’t convince you to buy a set of steak knives, we don’t know what will. Plus, one of our favorite steak knives—Laguiole En Aubrac Set of 4 Olivewood Steak Knives—are French and will make your giftee feel ultra luxe as they slice into their holiday prime rib.

    Price at time of publish: $320

  • A High-Quality Juicer

    nutribullet juicer

    We all know that person who can’t start their day without a shot of wheatgrass juice. So why not save them a few bucks while also letting them explore their passion for liquid produce further? NutriBullet Juicer Pro Centrifugal Juicer Machine should do the trick. It extracts a good amount of juice with every use, is easy to clean for a juicer, and is relatively quiet, so your giftee’s partner/roommates/pets hopefully won’t resent you for it.

    Price at time of publish: $160

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  • A Smooth-Stirring Saucier

    Stainless Clad Saucier

    Many people go their whole lives using a simple saucepan for their gravies and demi-glaces, never knowing or experiencing the advantages of a saucier. But you can help the cook in your life avoid such a sad fate and see the light with a Made In Stainless Clad Saucier. It is a highly responsive pan with a wide surface area and a comfortable handle that makes whisking and stirring a breeze.

    Price at time of publish: $129

  • A Precise Sous Vide Machine

    Price at time of publish: $248

    https://www.amazon.com/Anova-Culinary-AN500-US00-Precision-Included/dp/B07WQ4M5TS/?tag=thespruceeats-20

    Price at time of publish: $219

    As you may be well aware, sous vide cooking is no longer reserved for professional chefs or fine dining establishments: it’s now a beloved regular in many homes thanks to its set-and-forget premise. At the moment, our favorites on the market are the Breville Joule Sous Vide and Anova Precision Cooker. The former is sleek, lightweight and compact yet packed with impressive mechanisms that deliver quick and quiet yet precise results and innovative features like a magnetic base that securely clings to most pots. We also liked that it could be controlled by an app—the ultimate set-and-forget cooking experience. The Anova has an on-board display, should you prefer it.

  • A Vacuum Sealer (for Sous Vide!)

    NESCO VS 12 vacuum sealer

    Price at time of publish: $135

    anova pro vacuum sealer

    Price at time of publish: $150

    If your giftee has recently gotten into sous vide cooking and/or are frequently frustrated with how quickly ingredients spoil, a suction vacuum sealer is worth adding to your to-buy list. We’re partial to both the Nesco VS-12 Deluxe Vacuum Sealer and the Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer Pro. Each is simple by design and offers a wide range of useful settings and functions.

  • A Soda Machine for Unlimited Bubbles

    DrinkMate

    Who says the seltzer boom is fizzling out? Once a bubbly fan, always a bubbly fan. If your giftee falls into that category, you can make their day with a countertop soda machine. One of our favorites, the Drinkmate Sparkling Water Maker, can safely carbonate any pulp-free liquid, including fruit juices, wines, and cocktails.

    Price at time of publish: $150

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  • Copper Cookware

    Mauviel 1.9-Quart Copper Saucepan

    We know copper cookware is a bit of a divisive kitchen addition due to its—some would say, outrageous—price tag, but hear us out. Despite being fairly high maintenance, copper has 11,000 years of cooking history to back it up, it has a solid reputation for heating quickly and evenly, and, frankly, it looks really nice. While we don’t recommend purchasing a full set, we do think a cook would enjoy adding a quality piece like the Mauviel 1.9-Quart Copper Saucepan to their collection. Plus, when the light hits just right, this baby is pure glamor.

    Price at time of publish: $220 for 1 1/4 -Qt.

  • A Cute Casserole Dish Set

    Staub Ceramic Baking Dish Set, 3pc, Cherry

    A baking dish set is essential to a frequent cook. As written in our review of the best casserole dishes, they are, “the perfect vessel for bubbling casseroles, cheesy lasagnas, and roasting meat and vegetables. Unlike many roasting dishes or sheet trays, a deep baking dish can go directly from the oven to the dining table, then to the refrigerator with whatever leftovers remain, without skipping a beat.” And while function is obviously important, the aesthetic is equally essential when it comes to serving during the holidays. That’s why we recommend the Staub Ceramic Baking Dish Set. The dishes come in three serving sizes, look great, heat evenly, and keep warm long after they’re taken out of the oven.

    Price at time of publish: $100

  • An Accurate Electric Kettle

    Fellow Corvo EKG

    Can you boil water for a tea in an old pot or even, dare we say, a microwave (we know, we know, it’s sacrilege)? Sure you can. But can you control the precise temperature of said water with either? You sure can’t. Why is the temperature relevant? Well, because different tea varieties can actually benefit from brewing at different temperatures. That’s why the avid tea drinker in your life will love this kettle from Fellow. It bested 12 other models in our recent testing and has an LED screen that allows you to easily toggle from 135 to 212°F (down to the degree!).

    Price at time of publish: $165

  • A Multi-Tasking Instant Pot

    instant-pot-pro-8-qt-10-in-1-pressure-cooker

    Price at time of publish: $190

    Breville Fast Slow Pro Pressure Cooker

    Price at time of publish: $245

    Instant Pot is easily the most well-known multi-cooker of the many brands on the market today, and for good reason. Of all the appliances we tested, the Instant Pot Pro 10-in-1 Pressure Cooker  worked the quickest, sauteed and browned to our standards, and had a number of impressive added features. (It’s worth noting that this particular model also stood its ground in our guide to Instant Pot’s many offerings). We also like this non-Instant Pot: the Breville BPR700BSS Fast-Slow Pro Cooker. It allows the user to select the exact level of pressure in 0.5 psi increments, perfect for someone who geeks out when cooking.

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  • A Powerful Food Processor

    Magimix 14-Cup Food Processor

    Price at time of publish: $449

    Breville Sous Chef 16 Cup Peel

    Price at time of publish: $539

    Only a few food processors have managed to earn the “worth-buying” title in our books, but they definitely make a case for themselves. For instance, the Magimix 14-Cup Food Processor’s design elements are as effective as they are innovative while the Breville 16-Cup Sous Chef Peel & Dice Food Processor is incredibly intuitive to assemble and use.

  • New Knife Storage

    Magnetic Wooden Knife Bar Holder Strip

    A magnetic knife holder is one of our favorite knife storage solutions. And this one from Jonathan Alden pairs performance with a sleek look that'll be at home in pretty much any kitchen. Win-win.

    Price at time of publish: $64

FAQs

What's the best gift for a chef?

We think a chef would appreciate any of the above gifts and the best one would totally depend on their interests. Are they into sous vide? Do they enjoy live-fire cooking? Are they in need of a new storage solution for their knives? We have ideas for all of these! However, when in doubt, you also can't go wrong with a gift card to their favorite local restaurant.

What's a good personalized gift for a chef?

The manufacturers of our favorite wooden cutting board, The Boardsmith, offer personalized boards, which could be a fun idea if you're looking to go that route. Hedley & Bennett, which makes some excellent aprons, also offer embroidery and patch customization.