Whether you’re looking for a special gift for a coworker, want to thank a neighbor for a favor, or need a special pick-me-up for someone going through a difficult season, a gift basket is a great option. After all, who doesn’t love it when the doorbell rings with a surprise gift basket filled to the brim with fruit, cheese, crackers, meats, and a few chocolates for dessert?
We sent more than a dozen gift baskets to our editors to test at home—it's a hard job, but someone has to do it—rating them on their variety, value, freshness, presentation, and size. Just like you, our editors have different preferences and requirements for an edible gift. Some of us are gluten-free, some prefer savory over sweet, and some would choose tea over coffee. All of us, however, have high standards for food (it's what we're paid to do) and want to make sure we maximize what we paid for, especially if it's a gift. We also researched top-rated food gift baskets in all categories across the internet, adding a few more top picks we'd overlooked.
We have something for everyone here, from comforting tea to wine and cheese to specialized coffee—there’s a personalized gift basket for everyone in your life.
Harry & David Grand Favorites Gift Basket
The best gift baskets have something for everyone, from fresh fruit to a few sweet treats. This one from Harry & David is curated with gourmet products for every kind of snacking.
Giftees will be thrilled with over three pounds of Harry & David’s special pears, hickory-smoked summer sausage, four ounces of sharp white cheddar cheese, party snack mix, pepper-and-onion relish, and three-seed crackers. And that's before you get to the sweet stuff, which includes Moose Munch chocolate-covered popcorn, chocolate swirl cake, raspberry galettes, and nearly a pound of chocolates—truffles, mints, and chocolate-covered cherries.
Our Associate Food Editor, Lauryn, also loved the brass basket that the food came in. "It's so lovely that I can definitely use it either to regift something or as decor," she said. She raved about all the included food and was delighted that she found some new favorites to add to her pantry.
Price at time of publish: $140
Includes: Pears, summer sausage, cheddar cheese, snack mix, crackers, pepper and onion relish, raspberry galettes, chocolate popcorn, chocolate swirl cake, chocolate-covered cherries, chocolate truffles, milk chocolate mini-mints
Shipping: Standard shipping arrives in 4-7 business days; express and overnight available
"Everything was so tasty. I even found new products that I love, like the pepper relish and summer sausage. I feel like there's true variety in the basket—from savory to sweets—that hit all the right notes." — Lauryn Bodden, Associate Food Editor
Murray’s Cheese The Ultimate Cheese Board Collection
Murray’s is one of the world’s best cheese shops, so it’s no surprise that it creates some of the world’s best cheese boards. Its Ultimate Cheese Board Collection brings the dairy—2 pounds of cheese—but also includes a lovely selection of cured meats and accoutrements for an entire charcuterie board in a box.
The collection offers a rotating assortment of four cheeses, which now includes nutty and firm Hornbacher from Switzerland; a blue-veined Italian Gorgonzola in the more intense "mountain" style; soft, oozy, Brie-style Harbison from Jasper Hill in Vermont; and Sainte-Maure goat cheese from France's Loire Valley. For the meats (10.5 ounces in all), there's some of the famed Spanish jamón ibérico de bellota as well as some spicy Spanish chorizo, and Murray's own house sopressata salami. And of course, there are plenty of extras and garnishes: two kinds of crisp flatbread, cornichons, almonds, dried apricots, and chocolate-covered figs. Murray's says the full board will feed 14 to 16 people, or it could provide snacks for a whole family for a week or so.
Siobhan, our Commerce Editor, was impressed with each ingredient's freshness and the care that went into making sure all the included products went well together. "The crackers went with all four kinds of cheese, there's fig jam to dollop on every bite, the dried fruit and almonds paired well to cleanse the palate between bites, and there's even a little box of chocolate-covered figs for dessert," she said.
Price at time of publish: $245
Includes: 4 cheeses, 3 meats, cornichons, flatbreads, almonds, apricots, chocolate-covered figs
Shipping: Ships in insulated box with reusable cold packs; standard shipping via FedEx Ground; overnight available for some destinations
"All of the products are top-end products, from a full wheel of Jasper Hill's Harbison cheese to the Jan's Farmhouse Cranberry Pistachio Crisps to a full bottle of salty Marcona almonds." — Siobhan Wallace, Commer Editor
Hickory Farms Thank You Treats Gift Box
When you figure in shipping and other add-ons, sending even a small food gift basket can cost a pretty penny. But the all-purpose Thank You Treats box from Hickory Farms is just the ticket for those on a budget. It's filled with classic savory treats, including Hickory Farms’ signature summer sausage, smoked Gouda cheese, and farmhouse cheddar cheese; sweet hot mustard and crackers to enjoy them with; and dark chocolate sea salt caramels for dessert.
This may not be an over-the-top box, but the presentation is still pleasing. Taysha, our Editorial Director, said it arrived with "each item nestled in its intended place." And while you might not want to gift this to a cheese connoisseur, the affordable gift basket will definitely be a winner with some. "This is a pretty standard spread, with approachable flavors for those who might be on the pickier side or new to cheese-tasting," Taysha commented. She particularly liked the gouda cheese and sweet hot mustard. Her one complaint was that she wished for more crackers.
Price at time of publish: $40
Includes: Summer sausage, 2 cheeses, mustard, crackers, dark chocolate sea salt caramels
Shipping: Standard shipping arrives in 3-5 days; expedited and express available
"This board is nothing fancy, but it's precisely what some people like, and you can't beat the price. I especially enjoyed the Gouda cheese and sweet hot mustard, which were delightful atop one of the crispy crackers." — Taysha Murtaugh, Editorial Director
Vosges Dark Chocolate Truffle Collection
A box of chocolates is a classic option, but artistic Chicago chocolatier Vosges Haut-Chocolate takes things a step further with this luxe 16-piece truffle box. It offers a tour of the brand's creative creations to give your giftee a truly unique tasting experience. Flavor combinations you'll find here include balsamic vinegar and hazelnuts; absinthe, star anise, and fennel; and ancho chiles and cinnamon. The dark-chocolate coatings range from 62 to 75 percent cacao.
"These chocolates were the fanciest chocolates I've ever received. They're almost too pretty to eat," said Associate Commerce Editor Taylor. She thought these truffles were a great option for someone that doesn't want to indulge in chocolate that's too sweet or overpowering.
Price at time of publish: $50
Includes: 16 total truffles in 10 varieties
Shipping: Standard shipping via UPS Ground; 1-day and 2-day available
"They were really chic, each with a vibrant peppering of flavor on top: matcha, paprika, coconut ash, and more. If I had to pick just one way to describe them, it would be that they look expensive." — Taylor Rock, Editor
Bean Box World Coffee Tour
Coffee is grown in varied locations all around the globe, then processed and roasted using a wide variety of techniques, for an astounding array of flavors you can find in different beans. For the serious coffee lovers in your life, this box takes recipients on a true world tour, with 16 different beans sourced from across Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia. Each 1.8-ounce bag has been specially selected by the experts at Bean Box and roasted by award-winning roasters, and is printed with tasting notes and brewing tips. You can also choose either whole-bean or pre-ground coffee.
In addition to a nice variety in taste—everything from earthy to fruit-forward to decadent chocolate—the bags come with cute messages like "love at first sip" and "good morning, sunshine") that truly make this feel like a personalized gift. "I appreciate the paper packaging and informative labels," said Taysha, our Commerce Editorial Director.
You'll work your way around the world, but just remember each bag is only enough to brew a small pot. Our editor gave the coffees the highest marks for fresh smell and taste, though, so maybe having only a small quantity on hand at a time is a good thing.
Price at time of publish: $90
Includes: 16 (1.8-ounce) bags of coffee
Shipping: Free shipping in the U.S.; there is also an e-gift option the recipient can redeem at their leisure
"As a coffee lover, I would be thrilled to receive this gift that keeps giving every morning." — Taysha Murtaugh, Editorial Director
Jasper Hill Farm Cheese Tasting Box
We've always been big fans of Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, Vermont, and this box continues to prove that the dairy's cheese cellars turn out stellar products. The Merrill's Top Picks box (Merrill Stubbs is a co-founder of Food52) is a nice tour of Jasper Hill's creations that Senior Commerce Editor Mary Kate got to enjoy. There are five cheeses here: soft-ripened, spoonable Little Hosmer and Harbison; nutty, Alpine-style Alpha Tolman; classic Cabot Clouthbound mature cheddar; and sweet-and-savory Bridgman Blue.
Each individually wrapped cheese comes with a serving or pairing suggestion. "For example, Jasper Hill Farm recommends pairing the Little Hosmer with cider or riesling," she said. "I went with cider and it was a divine combination."
Food52 offers a full range of Jasper Hill samplers at various prices, from the three-cheese Starter Kit to The Full Spread, which comes with seven cheeses plus crackers, pickles, and spreads.
Price at time of publish: $90
Includes: 5 cheeses
Shipping: Ships in a padded, insulated sleeve surrounded by ice packs; must ship via express shipping (adds $10 surcharge)
"All of the cheese was exceptional—and quite different. I honestly couldn't pick a favorite, and I think that was my favorite part. There was a cheese for every occasion, pairing, and mood. This would be a great gift for someone who truly appreciates cheese or someone who likes to entertain, because it came with plenty of variety for a great cheese board." — Mary Kate Hoban, Associate Editorial Director
Melissa’s Produce Baby Veggie Gift Basket
When you need a gift for a friend who loves to cook or want to help new parents skip grocery shopping, a basket full of fresh vegetables is an unexpected but much appreciated choice.
California-based Melissa’s Produce is known for freshness and variety, and this 7-pound box includes teeny versions of veggies. The assortment varies seasonally but might include everything from baby carrots, potatoes, and beets to exotic varieties of squash and radish. The box tested by Associate Commerce Editor Fran included baby French carrots, pearl onions, summer green squash, yellow sunburst squash, French beans, baby red beets, baby zucchini, gemstone potatoes, and Easter Egg radishes, from various farms in Mexico and Idaho. She told us that these veggies looked like they were straight from the farm—with soil remnants and all. Luckily, the package also included Melissa's Fruit & Veggie Wash so she was able to clean everything before putting it away.
Price at time of publish: $95
Includes: 7 pounds of seasonal baby vegetables
Shipping: Price includes shipping; you select a delivery date
"I'm not a baby carrot person, but these ones did not taste at all like grocery store baby carrots. I prefer carrots peeled, so after I washed and peeled them, I just ate them fresh. They were delicious! Crunchy and slightly sweet (but not too much). [The carrots] were my favorite, closely followed by the French beans." — Fran Sales, Associate Editor
Knack Build a Gift
Many gift basket sellers allow a few customization options—multiple sizes, ground or whole-bean coffee, milk or dark chocolate—but with Knack, you can literally build an entire gift basket from scratch. There are hundreds of options, from fancy jams and jellies to salamis to chocolates, as well as cheese boards, mugs, and glassware. There are even lots of non-food choices, like candles, bath bombs, pens, and journals. You fill your basket with as many items as you want, and Knack will package it up and add a personalized card (or a link to a video message).
You can add any product to any basket, but Knack has guides to help build themed baskets like a holiday present, college care package, bridesmaid thank-you box, or gift for new parents. There are also lists by "ethos," including products from BIPOC-, Black-, and woman-owned businesses; handmade items; and sustainable or charitable brands.
We sent our Commerce Producer, Rachel, a box including Parmesan and Chive Raincoast Cheese Crisps, a small marble cheese board, Jonboy Fleur de Sel Caramels, and Dark Chocolate Cocoa SkinnyDipped Almonds. She was impressed by the quality of the products, especially the marble cheese board. "It's very beautiful and a nice surprise to include," she said.
Price at time of publish: Priced by item (plus $10 for gift packaging)
Includes: Gift packaging, personalized card, and video message
Shipping: Standard shipping via FedEx Ground; express available
"Everything tasted good. The cheese crisps were simple, the caramels were decadent, and the chocolate almonds were the perfect amount of sweetness." — Rachel Lee, Associate Editor
Tea Forte Tea Chest Classic Blends Collection
Tea is a comforting gift for anyone, for any reason, year-round, and this assortment. This Classic Blend tea samplers gift basket from Tea Forte combines a selection of black, white, green, and flavored teas good for any occasion. The sturdy box contains 40 of Tea Forté's distinctive pyramid-shaped brewers—two each in 20 varieties. Those include traditional sencha, oolong, and Darjeeling, along with gourmet infusions like green mango peach, orchid vanilla, and hazelnut truffle.
While we love a hot cup of tea on a cold day, our Senior Editor, Adriana, was most impressed with the packaging. "The packaging is a whole experience in of itself," she said. She admired how each tea was packaged in individual, gold-lined boxes and how each infuser was transparent "to show the quality of the leaves inside." Adriana did note that she doesn't think this gift would be right for a "serious tea connoisseur," but we think it would be perfect for someone who wants to explore the world of tea more than the basic cup of English breakfast.
Price at time of publish: $90
Includes: 40 total tea infusers, in 20 varieties
Shipping: Standard shipping within 4 business days; expedited and Saturday delivery available
"Overall, this is a really fun box. It turns tea brewing into a whole experience. The packaging is both aesthetically pleasing and extremely useful." — Adriana Velez, Senior Editor
Wine.com 90 Point Red Wine Trio & Vintage Styled Gift Basket
The wine lineup in this basket varies as vintages come and go, but you can rest assured that each of its three bottles of red will be a hit: All were rated at least 90 out of 100 by top wine critics, earning Wine.com's official stamp as "outstanding." The selection currently includes a 2018 Chateau de Landiras French red blend, a 2018 Bodegas Breca grenache from Spain, and a 2020 Martin Ray cabernet sauvignon from Napa and Sonoma in California.
But a great wine gift basket is about more than just wine, and the noshes in this one don't disappoint. It comes with a dozen-plus different snack options, including crackers and cheese and well as chocolate truffles and assorted cookies. Our own wine, beer, and spirits expert, Prairie Rose, enjoyed the entire selection and even made pairings from the included items. "I tried the savory items like the nuts, cheese, and bruschetta with the Spanish rioja, and the chocolate truffles and brownie cookies with the Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. The last wine, a French Bordeaux, went beautifully with both the cashew toffee and the trail mix," she said.
Price at time of publish: $125
Includes: 3 bottles of wine, crackers, cheese wedges, snack mix, olives, cookies, chocolates, reusable metal basket
Shipping: Standard and overnight shipping available (note that alcohol cannot be shipped to all states)
"I was impressed with the basket overall. The wine selection was especially nice. It's a varied assortment of quality picks. I think, for the price, this makes for a very good gift for the red wine lovers in your life." — Prairie Rose Free, Editor
Magnolia Bakery Best of Magnolia Bakery Small Sampler Pack
Magnolia Bakery is a New York City institution, and its cupcakes and banana pudding are particularly famous. With this sampler pack, you can send a taste of its beloved desserts to friends, family, and coworkers anywhere in the United States. Whether you know someone who loves a good sweet or you want to surprise someone who is missing NYC, this four-piece best-of will not disappoint.
It comes with two large cups of that banana pudding, each of which can serve two, and a pair of cupckaes: chocolate with chocolate buttercream and vanilla with vanilla buttercream. Our Commerce Producer Alice was wowed by the taste of all the treats: "The cake part of the cupcakes was flavorful and a good level of moist. There was a lot of icing," she said. Plus, even though this is labeled the "small" sampler, she was impressed with the size of the desserts.
The cupcakes and pudding come packaged inside a temperature-controlled foam box with ice packs. While everything arrived fresh, our producer did note that the cupcakes were slightly damaged in transit—a common risk when it comes to shipping baked goods. Still, any true sweet lover knows it's the taste that counts: "Taking away initial presentation, this was a delicious gift box that satisfied my sweet tooth," she concluded.
Price at time of publish: $45
Includes: 2 (16-ounce) banana pudding cups, 2 cupcakes
Shipping: Overnight shipping required; you select a delivery date
"There were two containers of banana pudding that were sweet, but didn't feel artificial." — Alice Sungurov, Producer
Baked By Melissa The Mac Macarons
Baked By Melissa is famous for its picture-perfect bite-sized treats, and its The Mac mini macarons are both adorable and delicious. Made with almond flour, they're ideal for anyone on your list with a gluten sensitivity. (Just keep in mind that they contain nuts and dairy.) Available as a 25-, 50-, or 100-piece assortment, the macarons come in six (all gluten-free, despite the "cookie" names) flavors: sugar cookie, cookie dough, double chocolate, snickerdoodle, red velvet, and salted caramel.
"The double-stuffed meringue-based treats, which are about 1-inch in diameter each, are loaded with sweetness, though not cloyingly sweet," Collier, our Food and Drink Review Editor, said. "For how bite-sized they are, they're definitely rich and satiated a sugar craving." Thanks to the custom packaging, she said they arrived in perfect condition, and she also appreciated that you can freeze them in their packaging for up to two weeks to preserve them.
Price at time of publish: $55-215
Includes: 25-100 total bite-sized macarons, in six flavors
Shipping: Standard shipping via FedEx Ground; expedited and overnight available
"It doesn't look very fancy by any means, but it looks like it's ready to gift and neatly wrapped to ship anywhere—and full of color. What did look fancy were the actual macarons! They each looked like a work of art with detail and an assortment of colors." — Collier Sutter, Food and Drink Review Editor
Harry & David "Nut'n But Love for You" Gift Crate
Nuts are often thrown into gift baskets as an afterthought, but for some people they truly are the main event. For those who can't get enough of that salty and savory snacking, the "Nut'n But Love for You" Gift Crate makes a wonderful surprise. The adorably named wooden crate includes individually wrapped 4-ounce packages of cashews, pistachios, almonds, pecans, and a mixed assortment of cashews, almonds, walnuts, and pecans. It's great for any occasion but makes an especially good host or hostess gift because nuts can be served alongside wine, cheese, or any other appetizer.
Victoria, our Editorial Project Manner, said the package arrived in great condition. (With roasted nuts, you don't have to worry too much about anything spoiling even if you aren't sure when the recipient will be home.) Keep in mind that the servings are fairly small, so the presentation inside the gift box isn't overwhelming. Still, good things come in small packages and she said all five nut options tasted good. Three are salty and two are unsalted. The gift basket is on the pricier side, but we still think a true nut lover will appreciate the variety, quality, and thoughtfulness.
Price at time of publish: $60
Includes: 5 (4-ounce) bags of nuts, wooden crate
Shipping: Standard shipping arrives in 4-7 business days; express and overnight available
"All of the nuts tasted good. They are very salty, with two of the five packages being unsalted." — Victoria Heydt, Editorial Project Manager
Olive & Cocoa Treats for the Team Gift Basket
A basket of treats is a great thank-you, holiday, or just-because present for the office. But a spread of perishable meats and cheeses probably isn't the best choice to sit out in the break room all day. Olive & Cocoa came up with a perfect solution with this box of nuts, chocolates, and candies a big group can enjoy by the handful. It includes chocolate-covered pretzels, trail mix, gummy bears, and more items both sweet and salty. It's available in three sizes, the bigger ones with a wider variety of items, like jelly beans, chocolate-covered almonds, Swedish fish, licorice, and toffee.
Price at time of publish: $54-140
Includes: Chocolate-covered pretzels, gummy bears, nuts, fruit and nut trail mix, and more
Shipping: Standard shipping arrives within 7 business days; expedited and overnight available
Williams Sonoma Five Days of Entrées
A basket of coffee, chocolates, or fancy cheeses is great, but none of those things is really a full, hearty meal. This is a great gift basket alternative for new parents, or someone recovering from surgery or illness, or really anyone who'd enjoy dinner being taken care of for a while. This package includes five frozen meals from Elephants Deli in Portland, Oregon, each of which feeds two to four: lasagna, beef stroganoff, meatloaf, cheesy polenta, and butternut squash stew. To prepare, you just thaw in the fridge and bake for 40 minutes. The meals will last up to two months frozen or four days refrigerated.
Shipping is extra-important with anything frozen, and these entrées are packed with dry ice and shipped to arrive within three days. Just keep in mind that the food is made to order, and it can take up to a week for processing between when you pay and when the basket actually ships out so it's a good idea to order this one fairly early.
Price at time of publish: $210
Includes: 5 frozen entrées (about 2 pounds each)
Shipping: 3-day select only
D'Artagnan Classic Charcuterie Gift Collection
Named for one of the Three Musketeers and founded by the daughter of a French chef, D'Artagnan began almost 40 years ago as the first domestic producer of foie gras in the U.S. Since then, it's expanded into gourmet smoked and cured meats of all kinds, along with high-end beef, pork, poultry, and game. This box is essentially a best-of from the brand's charcuterie collection, including saucisson sec, French garlic sausage, a whole prosciutto-style duck breast, spicy chorizo, a tub of duck rillettes, and a few garnishes.
Everything in the Classic Charcuterie Collection comes fully cooked or cured and ready to eat right out of the package, but these items aren't necessarily meant to be consumed all at once as a single charcuterie board. The garlic sausage and chorizo are great grilled or browned in a pan on their own, with potatoes and eggs for breakfast, or in a dish like cassoulet or paella.
Price at time of publish: $100
Includes: 7 ounces saucisson sec, 1 pound garlic sausage, 12 ounces chorizo, 10-12 ounces duck prosciutto, 7 ounces duck rillettes, crackers, pecans, balsamic glaze
Shipping: Standard shipping via FedEx or UPS overnight; overnight priority available
Russ & Daughters New York Brunch
Russ & Daughters is a century-old Lower East Side institution famous for its bagels, cream cheese, and smoked fish, and this Goldbelly package lets you send a taste of its best to anywhere in the country. With a half-dozen bagels, a pound each of cream cheese, smoked salmon, and coffee, and a chocolate babka, it's a generous weekend meal for six. And you don't have to ride the subway.
Price at time of publish: $195
Includes: 6 assorted bagels, 1 pound smoked salmon, 1 pound cream cheese, 1 pound coffee, 1 chocolate babka, reusable insulated tote bag
Shipping: Price includes shipping; you select a delivery date
Lokum Turkish Delight Rolls Deluxe Gift Box
Known as lokum in Turkish, Turkish delight is a chewy candy that's centuries old, the ancestor of the modern jelly bean. The Santa Barbara, California shop Lokum crafts some incredible gourmet versions of the classic, with creative flavors, creamy fillings, and coatings of nuts, flowers, and other—well—delights. This gift box offers a generous taste of six different flavors, from rose petal–coated pomegranate and pistachio to chocolate-berry with almond cream filling. (There are several other flavor assortments available, too.)
"I discovered (and fell in love with) Lokum's Turkish delight when I visited the location in San Luis Obispo, but I was pretty worried about how it would taste after shipping," said Commerce Writer Jason. "I'm happy to report that everything showed up in great condition, just as delicious as it was in person!"
Price at time of publish: $95
Includes: 6 flavors of Turkish delight, 4-6 pieces of each
Shipping: Standard shipping via U.S. Postal Service
Cúrate by Katie Button Signature Spanish Tapas Kit
Four-time James Beard Award nominee Katie Button specializes in tapas, the small plates that make up many a Spanish meal, at her restaurant Cúrate in Asheville, North Carolina. This kit includes an eight-course feast, plus an adorable handmade pig-shaped toothpick holder for serving. Some of the items—anchovies, manchego cheese, gazpacho—come ready-to-eat, while others—lamb skewers, chicken croquettes, pan con tomate—are frozen and need to be cooked. If you're sending to a serious cook, you can also add an autographed copy of Button's cookbook Cúrate: Authentic Spanish Food from an American Kitchen for $40 extra.
Price at time of publish: $180
Includes: Pan con tomate kit, 5 ounces anchovies, 5 ounces boquerones, 6 ounces manchego cheese, 12 chicken croquettes, 6 stuffed piquillo peppers, 1 quart gazpacho, 4 lamb skewers, toothpick holder
Shipping: Price includes shipping; you select a delivery date
Shatila Bakery Baklava Full Elegant Gold Box
For more than 40 years, Lebanese immigrants Riad and Zeinat Shatila have been making Middle Eastern pastries of all kinds at their bakery just outside Detroit. No less an expert source than Food & Wine put Shatila Bakery on its list of the top 100 bakeries in the U.S., and many other publications have called its baklava the country's best. This deluxe box includes 55 pieces of the bakery's baklava in a variety of shapes and configurations—traditional squares, cashew rolls, "bird nests" filled with pistachio halves, and more. It even comes with a little bag of chopped pistachio for a pop of fresh color when you serve.
Price at time of publish: $50
Includes: 55 assorted pieces of baklava
Shipping: Method and price based on selected delivery date
The tested-and-approved Harry & David Grand Favorites Gift Basket has something for everyone, as it includes a delicious array of fruit, meat, cheese, and more. However, if you're shopping for someone who loves chocolate, get them the Vosges Dark Chocolate Truffle Collection for a great collection of truffles.
How We Tested
We bought most of the gift baskets on this list and sent each one to a different editor at home. We asked everyone to evaluate the shipping process, the variety of the items in the basket, the value for what they received, the freshness of the food, the presentation, and the size. The two most important questions we had to ask ourselves were "would you be happy if you received this basket as a gift?" and "would you actually spend the money to send this to someone else?" If the answer was no to either, we wouldn't include the basket on our list. Thankfully, we had done hours of research before deciding what to test, so all of the baskets we tried passed our review with flying colors. The list also includes a few other top-rated gift baskets from our research we weren't able to test in-person.
What to Look for in a Gift Basket
Shipping, Perishability, and Freshness
While something like coffee beans or roasted nuts might not be as delicate as fresh fruits or soft cheeses, any gift basket full of edible items is perishable, which makes shipping an important consideration. Many retailers only ship orders early in the week to avoid baskets sitting in a delivery company's warehouse over the weekend, which means an order submitted on a Thursday might not actually go out until the next Monday. Thankfully, a lot of websites let you choose a delivery date and work backwards from there to figure out the shipping date—it's a convenient way to get the drop on gift-giving without your gift arriving too early. On the other hand, last-minute deliveries will cost you: Overnight or two-day shipping is usually available but can be very expensive. Whichever seller you choose, be sure to check processing and shipping times before ordering to ensure the basket gets there in time.
If your gift basket includes perishables like baked goods, fruit, or cheese, be sure to coordinate with the recipient. Sure, it might spoil the surprise of finding a gift basket on the doorstep, but coming home to a basket you didn't know to look for that's been sitting in the sun for a few days is a much worse surprise. It's a good idea to inspect all the items as soon as you receive a gift basket, for breakage as well as spoilage. If anything looks or smells off, don't risk it; just toss it. (Since gift baskets are meant to be shipped, most of them are packed very securely, but if something shows up cracked or smashed, let the seller know—they'll usually be happy to send a replacement.)
Variety and Size
The whole idea of a food gift basket is to offer the recipient lots of different yummy choices, but if there's only a single bite or tiny bag of each choice it might make for a disappointing experience. You'll definitely want to read the list of what's included carefully before ordering, taking note of both how many things are on it and their size and quantity. Baskets with a smaller range of items tend to include more of each, and vice-versa. Beyond that, your choice really depends on the recipient's taste. Some gift baskets are super-niche—all cheese or all nuts, for example—while others include a wider variety of items.
A food gift basket is about the food, but it's also about the basket. A beautifully hand-packaged basket tied up with luxurious ribbon will make the recipient feel more special than a cardboard box full of plastic bags. (But if the plastic bags are full of tastier food that fits the recipient's tastes, they still might be a better choice.) Many gift baskets also come in reusable baskets or boxes, which is a nice added bonus.
Gift baskets tend to be fairly expensive: Their cost includes not only the food and drinks inside but also the effort and expertise to assemble a curated assortment and package everything up in a way that has visual appeal and can survive shipment across the country. Beyond that, the rules are pretty obvious: A bigger basket with more stuff, or fancier stuff, will be more expensive. Many sellers have access to specialty items—small-production cheeses, house-roasted coffees, that kind of thing—you can't get anywhere else, which also raises the price. Another factor to consider is shipping. Sending a several-pound basket across the country can add a significant cost, especially if it's sent via overnight, which runs $60 or more for shipping alone. To add to the confusion, some retailers include shipping in the initial price while others don't add it to the bill until the end of the checkout process. And, of course, shipping costs vary depending on exactly where the basket's going and where it's shipping from.
What are the most popular types of gift baskets?
There is an incredible variety of gift baskets available. Popular ones include snacks and foods, wine and cheese, gourmet candies and chocolate, holiday-themed goodies, spa care, and much more.
How can I customize a gift basket?
Many retailers allow customizable options. Some may let you swap out a few items for something else, add on extras, include a personalized gift message, or even embroider names onto items. Check for customization options in your online order.
How much do gift baskets cost?
The cost of a gift basket entirely depends on what’s included within it. Gourmet items, like wines and artisan cheeses or chocolates, will likely cost more. There are budget-friendly gift baskets available that collect store-bought items. Size is also a factor. Smaller gift baskets will be more affordable than larger ones, for example.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This gift guide was written by Julia Warren, the VP of Commerce for The Spruce Eats. Julia has over a decade of experience writing about food and the best kitchen products available. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University and a culinary degree from the French Culinary Institute.
Allison Wignall, who updated this article, is a writer who focuses on food and travel. During her globetrotting she has tasted some of the sweetest confections–from macarons in Paris to fresh gourmet chocolates in Ecuador. Her work has been featured in publications, such as Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and Southern Living. The Spruce Eats commerce writer Jason Horn further updated and added to the list. In nearly 20 years as a food and drink writer, he's gotten to try more than his fair share of fancy mail-order foods.