So many of us are shopping for gifts for the home cooks and foodies on our holiday lists, and we thought we’d get a little creative with our gift ideas for cooks this year by finding practical but still very cool gifts all supporting for smaller businesses and the independent makers and shops we love.
Of course you can always run to the chain stores at the mall — but it’s always special to find a gift for a cook that you know they’ll adore, but they wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves.
This post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission from certain purchases to help support the work we do at no additional cost to you. Also note that some shops have Amazon storefronts; you are still supporting a small business with your purchase!
This post has been updated for 2023.
More Holiday Gift Ideas for Cooks and Foodies:
Favorite NYC food gifts supporting the city’s culinary institutions
The ultimate guide to 16 favorite gourmet gift boxes for everyone on your list
10 tasty gifts for fans of the Great British Baking Show
14 AAPI-owned food companies offering terrific food gifts
15 fabulous gourmet gift ideas for dads who love to cook, grill, eat, or drink
Holiday gifts inspired by Jennifer Garner’s Pretend Cooking Show
Outrageous gifts for cooks who have (or want) it all
Gift ideas for cooks: Specialty ingredients and spice blends they might not buy themselves
A serious home cook will appreciate being able to use ingredients they can’t find on their regular grocery-store shelves — or might not splurge on for themselves. Indulge them with the high quality Brightland olive oil — the Brightland Mini Artist Series Gift Box of olive oils shown here is a hot ticket each year and will sell out!
We also love the handcrafted sauces from Chilau Foods; authentic vanilla-bean sugar for bakers at Lola’s Cocina, or gorgeous Diaspora spices (above) indigenous to India, and supporting the actual farmers at the source. A lucky friend or relative will think of you every time they reach for one of those bottles.
We also love the gift boxes at Penzeys, whether you’re shopping for a salad lover or a baker–or pretty much any spice lover in between. Their mini gift boxes start under $20.
A collection of spices is always a thoughtful gift for a home cook, but if you want to get more festive, check out Spice House’s Cinnamon Collection Gift Box. The combo of Ceylon cinnamon, classic Korintje, and fiery Saigon cinnamon plus Maple Cinnamon Sugar will be put to great use, whether for baking pies or making a comforting slice of cinnamon toast a little more fancy.
One more option: Our team recently tried out the Chili Oil Crunch Mix from Spice House and wow, does it turn dumplings, rice or noodles into the ultimate comfort food! Add your own heated oil to this sweet, savory, umami and spicy blend that includes garlic, sesame, onion, and the surprising hint of cinnamon and star anise and you’ll be addicted. (We went through it so fast!) The packet is under $9 making it an affordable hostess gift or even a stocking stuffer.Just add ribbon!
Gift ideas for cooks: A beautiful handmade serving dish
Liz recently discovered the beautiful handmade pottery from Brooklyn’s Jessica Capone of Positive Pottery Co, featuring her trademark hand-painted polka dot pattern over recycled English porcelain. It looks incredible with nearly any decor style and best of all, it’s really made to be used! Don’t just keep it on a shelf — fill it with salad, pasta, or slices of baguettes for dipping in cheese fondue. Yum.
Gift ideas for cooks: A fresh apron that wasn’t a freebie with a big logo on it
If there’s one thing I really need in the kitchen this year, it’s a fresh apron.There are a lot of great brands out there, but I’m excited about these minimalist, modern aprons from Rendall Co, which not only look amazing, but the company sources all their materials from small businesses in the Los Angeles area. In other words, you’re really supporting lots of small businesses with one gift to one lucky cook. Also check out their tool belts that can double as practical half-aprons like the one featured at very top.
If your budget is a little tighter, we also love the gorgeous, bold aprons from Soul Phoodie in African prints, and they’re so affordable starting at just $19.99.
Gift ideas for cooks: A handmade cutting board pretty enough for the table
A cutting board that’s beautiful enough to set out for guests as a beloved charcuterie board? Yes! This beautiful cutting boardfrom New Hampshire’s Jeff Milos of Milos Millworks is an Etsy editors pick (and ours!) for its balanced blend of black walnut, sugar maple, and jatoba woods. Look around — he’s got all kinds of handmade cutting boards in his shop, and takes custom orders too (if you hurry).
Gift ideas for cooks: A new cookbook supporting a favorite indie bookstore
Support your local indie bookstore and your favorite cooks by giving a new cookbook as a practical gift for a home cook this holiday. A few years back, we created a Cookbook of the Month club featuring a new fantastic cookbook each month if you want ideas. Or this year, check out the new Basics with Babish: Recipes for Screwing Up, Trying Again, and Hitting It Out of the Park by Andrew Rea — perfect for home cooks at any level. Plus purchasing through bookhop.org helps support local indie bookstores and small businesses.
Gift ideas for cooks: A cookbook holder for that beautiful printed cookbook
With more and more friends returning to their printed cookbook collection for trusted, tested, family-pleasing ideas, a cookbook holder could be a terrific gift for the home cook. If you know a (ahem) disorganized home cook like me, they’ll appreciate this 100% recycled Italian lucite cookbook holder from Newly. It protects your cookbook pages while still letting you see them–which is more than I can say for the dish towel, or whatever else I may grab to prop my cookbook pages open.
Gift ideas for cooks: Gorgeous handmade dish towels or new oven mitts
A refresh (and perhaps, an upgrade) on kitchen linens, like oven mitts and dish towels, are always a lovely gift. These lovely linen dish towels at The High Fiber make an excellent hostess or host gift, and, cut back on waste!
Even better — follow these instructions for wrapping a bottle of wine with a reusable dish towel, and just add a favorite bottle of…whatever from a small distillery or vineyard. (May we recommend a bottle of Breckenridge Bourbon from Colorado, or the delicious O.P.P. Pinot Noir from Black-owned winery Maison Noir?)
The vibrant, handmade Kantha oven mitts at Pipalily’s are so cheery with a modern boho look–like they were cut right out of an Anthropologie catalog, only they support a small business directly. Check her shop for tons of styles and patterns.
Gift ideas for cooks: Specialty cooking tools aligned with their own cooking speciality
Visit your local, indie cookware supply company — like Whisk in Brooklyn, Northwestern Cutlery in Chicago, or the high-end home store Hugh in Detroit — to pick out the perfect specialty cooking tool that will help them with whatever they love making. There are so many dishes you just can’t cook or bake without very specific tools, so a popover pan for a baker, a tofu press for a vegan, or a chef’s torch for a French pastry fan can actually inspire a home cook to discover a whole new world of recipes and cooking styles.
Other ideas: Think about what someone is really into eating or cooking if you want a great gift for a home cook. If they have a sweet tooth, a digital candy thermometer is so cool and affordable. Got a vegetarian cook in mind? Think about a hand-forged Korean vegetable knife that will be put to excellent use every time they cook. (But note: It’s a generous splurge!)
Gift ideas for cooks: A special knife not yet in their collection
Speaking of kitchen knives, they make fantastic gifts for a cook. I sheepishly admit I have just one really good all-purpose kitchen knife, and wow, would some new ones up my home-cooking game! I just discovered the heirloom quality kitchen knives from esteemed bladesmith Ben Nafzger and wow. A knife like this Santoku chef’s knife would be amazing — and while you’re at it, I’d like a good paring knife, a nice serrated knife for bread, and maybe a good cheese knife.
This extra-long pizza and cheese knife by Dutch designer award-winning Boska supports a sustainable B Corp, and would be a perfect gift for a cook who’s into homemade pizzas for the kids, or beautiful cheese plates for adult company. Check out the whole selection of knives at Food 52 for knifes from all over the world like this one.
Gift ideas for cooks: Private cooking lessons in a new cuisine (online or in person)
Give an adventurous home cook the gift of a private cooking lesson via the fantastic League of Kitchens. This idea is so cool: woman who have immigrated to the US each teach the culinary secrets of their countries of origin, either online or right from their own New York City kitchens if you’re in the area. Their stories are pretty incredible and I’ve been obsessed with this concept for so long. As someone not in New York, I love that the Zoom lessons make lessons on authentic Mexican tamales, classic Ukranian blini, or Greek spanikopita accessible to anyone on your list.