Shopping & Reviews

Holiday Gift Guide: Kitchen Tools & Gadgets


Lots of cooking tools and appliances come through our test kitchen; some of them wind up gathering dust in a corner, while others quickly become beloved kitchen additions. These are the items that made it to the top of our editors' and contributors' wish lists this year. See the 2014 Holiday Gift Guide for more gift ideas »

"Once you get one of these, you'll never settle for any other spatula ever again. They're seamless, extremely heat resistant, scrape up every last drop, and have a nice heft to them as well." --Laura Wright, blogger at The First Mess, editors' choice winner for Best Special Diets Blog in the 2014 SAVEUR Best Food Blog Awards Gir Spatulas, $9.95-$19.95 from Product of Gir
"Room-temperature eggs are better for many cooking tasks, such as making meringues. The perfect place to keep them as they warm up is in one of these handsome English terra cotta egg holders."--Karen Shimizu English Terra Cotta Egg Rack, $18.95 for half dozen rack from Kaufmann Mercantile
"Every time I visit Bologna, I load up on Christmas presents for my kitchen staff at a tiny shop called Antica Aguzzeria del Cavallo in the heart of the city. It's packed to the rafters with brass cutters designed for every imaginable type of pasta: Cutters for tagliatelle, pappardelle, lasagne, tortelli, ravioli, raviolo, and anolini. My favorite purchase is a heavy-duty brass press for making passatelli, a pasta made from equal proportions of bread crumbs, eggs, grated parmesan, lemon, and a dash of nutmeg. The dough is formed and then is extruded through the die on the bottom. In my restaurant, I poach the passatelli in chicken broth. It's a satisfying dish with a wonderful flavor that reminds me of my first trip to Bologna. The tool itself brings back memories of the store—a place where time has stopped." --Michael Tusk, chef-owner of Quince and Cotogna restaurants, San Francisco Torchietto in Ottone, $150 from Antica Aguzzeria del Cavallo
"I'm a big fan of mixing bowl sets and prep bowls, and this set by Falcon Enamelware is my absolute favorite. They are fully functional for all cooking and baking needs, they're easy on the eyes, and they look beautiful sitting on open shelves." --Ashlae Warner, blogger at Oh Ladycakes, editors' pick for Best Original Recipes in the 2014 SAVEUR Best Food Blog Awards Falcon Enamelware Mixing Bowls and Cups, $100 from Annie's Blue Ribbon General Store
"Le Creuset is still forging their iconic cast-iron Dutch ovens at their original foundry in Fresnoy-Le-Grand, France. And every time they come out with a new color palate, I swoon. This time it's over the mineral blue matte finish. As always, these pots promise excellent heat retention and durability, which we'll need for the cooking we'll do in the cold winter ahead." --Kellie Evans, associate food editor Heritage 4-qt. rectangular casserole, $100 from Le Creuset
"Aprons from Hedley & Bennett are the perfect gift for any chef or home cook. Each apron is handmade with top notch canvas, linen, and denim, so that it's sturdy and built to last while also being pretty fashionable at the same time. They add a nice extra touch to chef's whites, which can get pretty mundane." --Richard Blais, chef, restaurateur, and James Beard-nominated author Chef's Apron, $65-$120 from Hedley and Bennett
"I've been on my feet all day, every day, for the last 8 years: first as a professional cook working in restaurants, catering, and test kitchens, then as a food editor and stylist constantly moving between photo shoots and my standing desk. The GelPro NewLife professional grade mat provides relief for my knees and hip joints, and cushions my heels, offering priceless support that helps maintain proper alignment from toes to head." --Judy Haubert, food & prop stylist GelPro 20"x32" Floor Mat, $70 from GelPro
"The classic zester from Microplane has become a staple in my cook's kit. Originally developed for woodworking, the sleek design and razor sharp blade has made it the ideal tool in the kitchen for grating cheese or zesting citrus. Their new elite series might be even better: the blade guard doubles as a volume measurement for whatever you're grating, and the guard has a blade swiper to help remove zest from the underside of the blade." --Farideh Sadeghin, test kitchen director Microplane Elite Zester, $15.95 from Microplane
"I'm all about good spoons. I started collecting when I lived in NYC, and my small collection of spoons has turned into a massive obsession that my wife may or may not try to secretly 'lose.' Right now I am loving the Michael Ruhlman spoons that are super handy and great for basting. Our household uses them exclusively." --Jonathon Sawyer, chef and owner of Noodlecat, Trentina, and The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland Michael Ruhlman Offset Spoon Set, $19.95 for set of 3 from Ruhlman
"Designed by World Champion Shucker Patrick McMurray, the Oyster Paddy is my new favorite oyster shucker. The ergonomic handle is made for both righties and lefties, and it's easy to use, requiring little effort and almost no force." --Farideh Sadeghin, test kitchen director New Haven-style Oyster Knife, $16.60 from Swiss Army
More accurate and sensitive than digital devices, this English steel counterweight scale has been a go-to for precision-minded English cooks since 1862. It also looks terrific sitting on the counter. —Karen Shimizu English Steel Counterweight Scale, $279 from Kaufmann Mercantile
"This tabletop grinder makes perfect pastes--curry paste, pepper paste--without heating anything up. It's particularly useful for the home gardener, especially here in the South where we grow so many peppers." --Chris Shepherd, chef at Underbelly, Houston Preethi Table Top Stone Wet Grinder, $190 from Amazon
"This is probably my go-to piece of equipment in the kitchen. The 8-cup capacity is perfect for nearly all my kitchen needs; I use it to chop vegetables, make pie dough, or blend soup." --Farideh Sadeghin, associate test kitchen director Cuisinart 8-cup food processor, $99.95 from Cuisinart
"One of my favorite taste memories as a kid is eating my grandparents' housemade sauerkraut; they had pots of it in the basement. This pot allows me to make that same recipe, and it's really easy to use. It makes a great gift for the budding pickler." --Andrew Zimmerman, chef of Sepia, Chicago Fermenting Crock Pot (4-gal.), $169.99 from Sausage Maker
"Every few years, I get obsessed with a new home coffee brewing system, and make a point of giving some version of it to everyone else in my extended family. This year, I'm all about the Sowden Softbrew coffee pot. These sleek ceramic pots contain a micro-etched stainless steel filter; you put the coffee grounds in, pour hot water, and in four minutes, the coffee is ready to pour. The coffee comes out just how I like it--full-bodied and complex--and the filter can be cleaned with a quick rinse in the sink." --Karen Shimizu Sowden SoftBrew Coffee Maker, $59.95 from Williams-Sonoma
Buying something nice for yourself? Put a bow on the new Blue Star Platinum 48-inch Range, featuring 25,000 BTU burners, a stovetop grill, and an infrared broiler that hits 1,850 degrees. —Karen Shimizu Blue Star Platinum 48-inch Range, $10,478 from Blue Star
"I can't wait to use this oval Falk copper skillet to sear a juicy t-bone steak. Its shallow, slopping sides and long handle will make finishing it under the broiler a cinch." --Kellie Evans, associate food editor Falk copper cookware, starting at $70 from Falk USA
"The holidays are when people carve the most meat, and often times they lack the correct knife or their knife is too dull. The Wusthof carving set features nice quality steel knives, yet it's easily accessible." --Erik Blauberg, chef and owner of Culinary Passport, New York City Wusthof Carving Set, $129.95 from Williams-Sonoma
"I'm thinking about redesigning my kitchen, and have been daydreaming of receiving a Big Chill Refrigerator. I'm nuts for the colors and midcentury design, which bring pizzazz to any kitchen." --Karen Shimizu Big Chill Refrigerator, $2,995 from Big Chill
"I adore the simple retro design of the Delonghi kMix Toaster. But beyond its looks, this 2-slice beauty is made from durable die-cast aluminum, has an adjustable thermostat, and my favorite function: a toast cradle that lets me peek at my toast during cooking, and makes for easy transfer when it's perfectly crisp and golden brown." --Kellie Evans, associate food editor DeLonghi kMix Toaster, $99.95 from DeLonghi
"The Imperia hand crank pasta machine is one of the best on the market. I personally used one to test all of the fresh pasta recipes in our cookbook Downtown Italian, and at around $100, it's a great investment for daily use. It makes the perfect gift for everyone from an avid pasta maker who needs the most durable, best product on the market, to a beginner who will only use it once a year for special occasions." --Gabe Thompson, executive chef and partner at L'Artusi, dell'anima, ANFORA and L'Apicio, NYC Imperia Pasta Maker, $79.95 from Williams-Sonoma Correction: An earlier version of this gallery pictured a different model; the photo has been changed to show the correct pasta maker.
"My wine collection is currently housed partially on my rickety home bar, partially on my kitchen floor. Every day I dream of proper storage for it—this freestanding wine cooler from Sub-Zero would be the ultimate." --Laura Sant, assistant digital editor 24" Freestanding Wine Storage Refrigerator, $4,015 from Sub-Zero
Vitamix S30

“Vitamix now has something we have all been craving: a personal blender. The perfect size for my small New York kitchen, it comes with a 20-oz. portable insulated container (I use it to make my breakfast smoothie) and a 40 oz. container that is perfect for pureeing.” —Farideh Sadeghin, associate test kitchen director Vitamix S30, $409 from Vitamix

"This 3-piece set of wood and stainless steel cheese knives are a great gift option for friends whose taste leans toward cheese, along with mid-century modern design. With beveled wooden handles and either cream or black dual-toned tips, they have an updated retro appeal." --Judy Haubert, food & prop stylist Aquarelle Knife Set (3-piece), $89 from Waggo

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