My husband is a professional chef, so when I tasked myself with putting together a gift guide for chefs, I put him to work. He’s worked at 30+ different kitchens at this point, everywhere from fine dining to the largest military mess hall in the U.S., so he’s seen it all — and he knows what works. Obviously, we’re not going to be shopping for industrial-sized ovens, but he knows where to get the good stuff for your own kitchen. And since we’ve lived in six different apartment/houses in our 9-year relationship, he’s also conscious about space-saving and not owning too many products that will clutter your kitchen. Not everyone has a celeb-sized kitchen island, ya know?
With that said, if you’re looking for gifts for the chef in your life, whether it’s your significant other, or maybe a friend or family member who just loves being in the kitchen, here’s a list of chef-approved products they’ll actually use.
Best Gifts for Chefs and the Cooks Who Have Everything
The Dash Chef Series convection toaster oven is so much more than a toaster oven. Sure, it’ll make the best damn toast of your life (you can choose how golden or brown you want it), but you can also use it to air fry, cook a whole chicken, a pie, make rotisserie chicken (we still love you, $5 Costco rotisserie chicken), and more. My husband and I personally used this to make our Thanksgiving meal (okay, the turkey got the standard oven treatment because it was so big). It’s really nice not having to use your oven and stove for everything, so it’s a smart alternative that saves time.
It’s so much more economical and more delicious to just grow your own herbs. But not everyone has a backyard to grow a garden, so this hydroponic garden is the next best alternative, and it’s actually low- maintenance (which is good, considering your chef probably works crazy hours and may not have time to tend to a garden). You can grow up to six herbs at a time, and it comes with LED growing light and a seed starter kit.
Chefs and home cooks usually have a full spice cabinet, but we’re pretty sure they don’t have any spices like these! The Spice Up Your Life Set from Red Clay comes with five different spices — perfect for seasoning and even adding to the rim of a cocktail! The set includes Spicy Everything Salt, Spicy Red Mash, Charleston Harbor, Spicy Margarita Salt (a Scary Mommy favorite!), and Spicy Bloody Mary Salt. Trust us, your chef giftee will love it.
If your chef travels a lot for work, or just prefers to use their own knives in the kitchen (it’s a thing), they may carry their knives to work with them every day. Knife storage is incredibly important, since absolutely no harm must come to a professional chef’s knife. This one has pockets for 30+ knives, as well as pockets for notebooks and tablets (for recipes and notes).
If you want to grill, but don’t have a grill (or the space for a grill), get a Lodge cast iron reversible grill. It has grill ridges so you can give your steaks or portobello mushrooms grill marks and you can flip it on its smooth side if you want to make a grilled cheese. The heat distributing is super even, so you don’t have to worry about overcooking or undercooking any part of the meal.
The key to good knives is maintaining the ones you have. Never put them in the dishwasher, and always sharpen them if you notice it’s getting slightly more annoying to slice something (chefs will already know all this). This sharpening tool is double-sided, providing and coarse side (to create sharpness) and fine side (great for finishing and polishing).
Time to upgrade that meat thermometer (you can use it for all kinds of food, not just meat). Made with an FDA food grade stainless thermometer probe, this thermometers will measure temps almost instantly, which allows you to cook the perfect chicken breast or steak without guessing.
These storage containers don’t collapse or have straining features, but they’re perfect for things like flour, pasta, cereal, and other goods you want to keep in an air-tight container (for freshness, but also in case you have critters — it happens in apartments!).
A high-quality cutting board for any chef is a must — and it’s ideal if they have several to work with, since they’ll be prepping for multiple parts of the meal. Most real wooden boards have anti-bacterial properties and are beloved by professional chefs, like this one. It’s made from one solid slab of timber, making it smooth as well as the perfect size. After you’re done washing it, just make sure to use your cutting board oil!
Yes, you can just use olive oil (or whatever oil of choice) to smooth down and protect your cutting boards from warping. But you can also get oil specifically made for cutting boards, and like regular oil, it doesn’t go bad — so it’ll last a long time.
This 30-inch digital smoker comes with four racks for you to stack various meats and veggies and a patented side wood chip loading system that lets you add wood chips without even opening the door. This is one gift the chef in your life probably doesn’t have but desperately wants to play with.
Sure, nobody really *needs* a torch at home, but chefs love playing with fire. And this way, they can create creme brûlées and other toasted desserts.
This stainless steel scale is made with tempered glass, so it’s easy to clean, first of all. Second, it’s incredibly precise, which is *very* important for cooks and bakers. It even lets you subtract the weight of packaging or a plate, for instance, if you need to. Your chef may already have a scale, but they may not have one this smart.
Chefs’ backs always hurt. Aside from giving them a gift card so they can get a massage (not so easy these days), get them this neck and back massager that comes with heat features.
After standing all day long, your chef’s feet will be aching by the end of the day. I’d recommend a good pair of non-slip shoes as well, but that’s usually a very personal choice. For now, get ’em this foot massager and they’ll thank you endlessly.
If you don’t have an herb garden, the next best thing is to get a tool that preserves herbs as long as possible. This BPA-free container triples the life of herbs and is super compact, fitting anywhere in your fridge.
Chefs’ hands always smell like garlic or onion. It’s just the way it is. The only thing that really solves that is a stainless steel bar of soap — it washes the smell right off!
If you miss getting your regular matcha latte at your go-to coffee shop, now you can make your own with Cuzen’s starter kit, which comes with a state-of-the-art matcha machine, and several packets of matcha. The machine (which looks like modern art, by the way) will grind down the tea so that it pours into a cup of whirling water — in powder form so fine, you can barely see it. The end result is a smooth and delicious cup of matcha. I add oatmilk and ice to it and make a latte, but you can drink yours however you like. We basically guarantee the foodie in your life doesn’t have this in their kitchen.
If you have dough to spend (ha!), and you know the chef in your life somehow doesn’t own a dutch oven (or let’s be real, just needs a new one), *this* is the ultimate product every chef will love. Anyone who cooks often should own one of these dutch ovens from Chantal. It’s extremely versatile, allowing you to sauté, sear, bake, and more, with cast iron that withstands heat up to 450 degrees. We use our Chantal Dutch oven at least a couple times a week — so you know it’s super worth it.
Personalized Gifts for Chefs
German steel is some of the best steel, and the Ikon line has especially comfortable handles, so if your chef is chopping and dicing all day long, they’ll want a knife that doesn’t give them even more callouses. And bonus!: this knife is customizable too. Add a sweet message to make it extra special
Gifts for Home Cooks
This is considered the chef’s holy scripture and the Culinary Institute of America uses it to teach students. Aside from recipes, you get culinary theory and technique, as well as the basic tools to become a master chef.
You know how freshly cracked pepper just tastes better than regular pepper you get from a shaker? It’s kind of a small thing, but chefs depend on the potency of spices to really put their meals together. As a bonus, this grinder grinds coffee *and* spices, and chances are, your chef will be happy to use both functions.
This cast iron pot can handle extreme heat and evenly distributes the heat with no hot spots. You can use it as a wok, sauté pan, and put it in the oven. It’ll last you a lifetime (and will be one of those things you end up giving your kids instead of china).
Hate it when you open a snack or ingredient and find that it went bad after not properly sealing it back up? This tool, which looks like a straight iron, singes the plastic back together, so it keeps your food fresh for longer. Get this instead of buying airtight bags anymore and reuse the same one you’ve got.
Prepare for a stand mixer upgrade. The Wolf 7-qt. stand mixer is a no-joke kitchen appliance that will forever change how you bake. The electric mixer motor and gearing system is just far superior to any other stand mixer, hands down. The user has more control over speeds, and the bowl lift makes adjustment seamless. Whether you’re baking bread or making cookies, the Wolf stand mixer saves your hands from doing the tough work — and the results are always excellent.
Chances are, the chef in your life is using the same old cookware they’ve had for years, if not decades. For good reason! Chefs and dedicated cooks likely have their go-to pans and pots that have served them well, and getting all new stuff seems a little frivolous. Which is why you can step in and treat them to a super luxe set they’ll 100% salivate over. Viking creates top of the line kitchen appliances, and their cookware is no exception. We tested this set (which includes two saucepans, two skillets, one saute pan, and one Dutch oven) and were thoroughly impressed by the quality. The pieces are oven safe, have cool touch handles, are dishwasher safe, metal utensil safe, and free from PTFE and PFOA. May we add, the set is supremely gorgeous.
According to my husband, “Everyone forgets these types of measuring cups exist.” They’re super handy for measuring liquids, and you can stack ingredients in it and only have to wash one thing.
Chefs just want simple towels that’ll get the job done. And yes, white is actually ideal because you can toss them in the washer and bleach them if they get stained. These 100% ring spun cotton towels are lightweight, yet extremely absorbent, and you get 12 for under $15, which is a really good deal. Not the most “glam” present, but a super useful one.
It’s not the shiniest or glammest gift in the world, but all cooks need storage, and this comes with straining capabilities, which makes it a nifty 2-in-1 gadget. Best of all, the containers collapse, so you don’t run in the problem you probably have right now with all your Tupperware containers (as in, you have 5,000 containers and 5,000 lids that just take up an entire drawer).