Most people enjoy cooking to some extent. Some love it with a passion while others try to avoid it at all costs, but most of us like to cook at least a few special dishes.
If you’re shopping for a creative yet useful gift idea, you can’t go wrong with these must-have kitchen accessories. Aspiring chefs will love every piece. Broke college students and young newlyweds will appreciate the convenience and money-saving potential of a good-quality kitchen accessory. And your spouse of many years will be thrilled to finally get that one thing they’ve always wanted but never got around to buying for themselves.
So here you have it – 17 must-have kitchen accessories that are also brilliant gift ideas for just about anybody.
Below we’ll look at kitchen accessories that are truly classic, but a step beyond basics like plates, silverware, baking pans, microwaves, and blenders.
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First, the Must-Have Kitchen Basics
Before we get into the 17 kitchen accessories that make brilliant gift ideas, let’s make sure they have the basics. If the person you’re shopping for doesn’t have some of these items, make that your gift!
These 17 must-have kitchen basics will include items like:
(Each link will take you to one of the best-rated and most affordable options out there)
- Dinnerware set
- Cooking utensils
- Can opener
- Rolling pin
- Set of kitchen knives
- Measuring cups
- Mixing bowls
- Stove top cookware set
- Bakeware set
- Food storage (glass tupperware)
- Kitchen towels
- Oven mitts
- Coffee pot
Start with these as kitchen gifts for the ones who are just starting out! Freshman college student, newlyweds, first apartment, housewarming, cross-country move, those types. They will appreciate the practicality and thoughtfulness of any of those kitchen gifts.
Ok, with that out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff!
17 Must-Have Kitchen Accessories
Now we get into the best gifts for anyone who cooks. Premium gift ideas that also work as “buy it for life” products, each of these are must-have kitchen accessories and really will make a brilliant gift idea.
1. Premium Chef’s Knife
A high quality chef’s knife is the starting point for a kitchen that is serious about cooking good food.
While you can always go crazy on high-end chef’s knives, the Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8″ Chef’s Knife will be a winner for just about everyone. At a pretty affordable price, too.
2. Cutting Board
Anyone with a great chef’s knife is going to need a surface on which to use it. Why not get a gorgeous bamboo wood cutting board, custom laser etched as a beautifully personalized kitchen gift?
Most mid-range wooden cutting boards are “face” or “edge” grain, meaning that the grain runs along the length of the board. (The personalized bamboo cutting board pictured above is an edge-grain board.)
Over time, using an edge-grain board will slowly dull the blades of your knives. The solution is to go with a high-end “end grain” cutting board that is made from wood chunks on their ends. This allows the knife to slice down between the wood grain, keeping it sharp and serviceable. Plus, they look beautiful.
For a top-notch end-grain board, try this one from Michigan Maple Block. End-grain boards require extra care, cost much more, and typically can’t be personalized, so consider the recipient and choose the one that makes the most sense.
3. Stand Mixer
The Tilt-Head Stand Mixer from KitchenAid is the ultimate must-have appliance for any kitchen. It’s moderately pricey, but a true “buy it for life” item that will get plenty of use and still stand the test of time. Plus, it’s enough of a luxury item that they probably don’t already have one.
Tilt-head functionality means that doughs, batters, and mixes can come out easily when ready without undue fiddling with the blade. With accessories a pouring shield along with beater, dough hook, and whisk, this is the kitchen gadget the cook in your life really wants.
4. Carbon Steel or Cast Iron Pan
Carbon steel and cast iron have similar characteristics, chiefly great heat retention and the ability to withstand high temperatures (meaning that they can go from stovetop to oven, unlike teflon-coated pans). Both are more “natural” than the cheap non-stick pans, made from solid metals without chemical additives.
The main difference between the two is the amount of carbon; cast iron will typically have 2-3% carbon, while carbon steel has 1% or less. This makes carbon steel much lighter and easier to handle.
So we suggest a good carbon steel frying pan as a great addition to any kitchen. Of course you can always go with the more traditional cast iron pan, and that makes an endearingly timeless gift as well.
5. Dutch Oven
Dutch ovens are amazing. You can do anything with them, from frying meat or cooking soups on the stove top to baking bread or casseroles in the oven. And if you are going camping, you can get lost on Pinterest for hours browsing through campfire dutch oven recipes.
Anyone will use and treasure a good dutch oven for their kitchen. If you want to save a few bucks there are several cheaper options, but this one from Cuisinart comes with time-tested quality, a cool blue color, and an extra-spacious capacity of 7 quarts (most others are 6). The extra room will come in handy when your gift recipient is making a double batch of soup for your family get-together!
6. Mortar and Pestle
Maybe it’s just me, but a mortar and pestle set seems like one of those weirdly affordable kitchen accessories that everyone wants but never actually gets around to purchasing. So why not get it for them?
This set is crafted from unpolished granite in a classic 6-inch size. The contrasting gray and black granite gives it a contemporary look that still feels classy.
7. Quality Tea Kettle
This is a kitchen gift that pairs perfectly with a delightful Tea of the Month club membership.
8. Premium Coffee Maker
Pourover coffee is the ultimate connoisseur’s way to brew. A premium pourover setup like this one is a lovely gift idea and a great addition to any kitchen.
9. Waffle Iron
Waffles are delicious. Starting with a simple waffle batter, you can create the classic syrupy breakfast dish or go hipster with an unending variety of unexpected waffle sandwich combinations.
Waffles freeze well, too. So whether it’s a carb-loading Saturday breakfast for the kids, a quite bite before school, or a tasty lunch centerpiece with stuff like arugula and grilled goat cheese, a waffle iron is a must-have accessory for any contemporary kitchen.
10. Vacuum Sealer
When you can vacuum seal your food, you come to realize that anything is possible.
Food prep is a breeze, and you can do multiple meals in advance in the same amount of time. You are now free to stock up and save big on those great meat sales. Leftovers can be kept and taken to work. Marinades are incredible. You can even make your own little Go-Gurts and other snack packs.
Actually, the more I thought about all these gift ideas, the more convinced I became that a vacuum sealer may in fact be the greatest gift idea of all time. See why here.
Fine barware for serving whiskey, scotch, or cocktails is a must-have for any classy kitchen. This set includes a pineapple-design whiskey decanter plus six glasses.
Another option is to go with personalized glassware. You can get sets of custom laser etched pilsners, pint glasses, beer mugs, stemware, champagne flutes and more engraved with the recipient’s name or initials. Custom engraving adds a nice personal touch to a classy kitchen gift.
12. Bottle Openers
A ready, easy way to open beer is a must-have for any kitchen. Even better if it’s custom laser engraved. The wall mounted bottle opener shown above is handcrafted in Oregon in a rustic style with real wood, a cast iron bottle opener, and personalized laser etching.
Another great choice is this stainless steel corkscrew opener, which is
handheld and includes all the functions you need to open any bottle plus custom laser engraving.
13. Pressure Cooker
You’ve probably heard of these by now, they’re all the rage. InstaPot, Instant Pot, pressure cookers, etc. Gone are the days of manual pressure cooking; instead, these insanely popular kitchen appliances are super easy to work with at the touch of a button.
With an Instant Pot, you can easily make:
- Slow cooked soups, meats, and meals
- Steamed vegetables
…and tons more. Anything you “slow cook” takes way less time than a slow cooker. There’s a reason why these are trending, and that makes it a great must-have kitchen gift idea.
14. Spiralizer Veggie Slicer
A Spiralizer Veggie Slicer is one of those things that looks like a piece of junk from “As Seen On TV”. But it’s actually pretty sweet.
Not only does it work well and is actually pretty easy to use, but it will also inspire you to use more veggies in more and more creative ways. What’s not to like?
Zoodles (zucchini noodles), salad toppings, deep-fried curly fries, riced vegetables, soup ingredients, and healthy bread substitutes are all on the table with a good veggie slicer.
15. Food Processor
In my family (both growing up and in married life) a food processor has been a staple that is just always around. But I’ve slowly realized that not everyone has one, and they have thus missed out on how handy a food processor can be.
We have both a mini and a standard sized one. The mini (we got this one 12 years ago on our wedding registry and it’s still going strong) gets used for pesto, single batches of hummus, shredding carrots for an instant salad topping, and other quick, small-batch tasks like those.
The larger unit (an old Cuisinart DLC-10 Plus my wife’s grandparents got in the 80’s*) is used for pretty much everything else, from salsa to chopped nuts to epic batches of hummus to be snacked on throughout the week.
*Yes, the 1980s. The 1980s. They used it all the way into the 2000s, when they passed it on to us, and we still use it regularly. What a beast!
That one, obviously, is no longer made but you can get the current model, which is the DLC-10SY Pro Classic.
In the words of Woody from Toy Story, “If you don’t have one, get one.”
16. Salt & Pepper Grinders
Anyone will love a good salt and pepper grinder set. It’s one of those things that everyone needs but not everyone has.
Or, if you want a super-special upgrade, consider a gorgeous Personalized Pepper Mill, crafted from solid wood in the shape of a wine bottle with customized laser etching. A different “twist” on a classic kitchen accessory that makes an equally brilliant gift!
17. Immersion Blender
Oh, the joys of an immersion blender! Mix your batters, whip up a protein shake, whisk eggs, or use it for perfect salsa, pesto, guacamole, whipped cream, and much more.
You can find a good one for only about thirty bucks, no one expects to get an immersion blender, and to top it off they will use it all the time! Those are all the ingredients you need to whip up a great gift idea.
So those are the 17 must-have kitchen accessories that also make brilliant and unexpected gift ideas. As a little bonus for making it all the way through the list, we have two more for you. Not really “accessories,” but what the hey.
Personalized Master Chef Sign
Made in the USA, this all-wood plaque is crafted in vintage style and features a hand-carved toque blanche centerpiece. The optional hanging name board is personalized with the name and title of your choice.
Wine Bottle Decorative Fire Extinguisher
Perhaps more apropos to many aspiring chefs, the fire extinguisher is an important addition to any kitchen – for safety’s sake!
These ones are unique because they are decorated in fun and exciting themes, including kitchen utensils, Salvadore Dali, colorful stripes, and more. Or you could keep it boring by going with the classic red extinguisher – it’s totally up to you, but c’mon, why not get creative!