Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Salt blocks can be used for cooking in the oven or for seasoning and serving foods. The food picks up the salt flavor as it sits on the block, so this type of cooking requires recipes designed for the block. It’s great for cooks who want to experiment with methods that are a little unusual. As it is used, the block gets thinner. When it is too thin for cooking, it can be broken up into smaller chunks and used in a salt grinder for seasoning foods.
Sous vide is a cooking method that’s becoming more popular among adventurous cooks. It involves cooking vacuum-sealed foods at precise temperatures in gently circulating water, sometimes for long periods of time. The food cooks through, but doesn’t overcook, so steaks or roasts are always perfect. This unique cooking method can yield results that can’t be had with any other method, so it’s great for adventurous cooks who want to try something completely new. This model has both Bluetooth and Wifi connectivity, so you can control and monitor it from your phone.
Bundt pans can create beautiful, decorative cakes that don’t need a lot of decorating with frosting. A sprinkle of powdered sugar is often enough, but this pan creates cakes with nooks that could be filled with chocolate, icing, crushed nuts, or other tasty decorations. This pan is made from cast aluminum for even baking and it holds 10 cups of batter. The nonstick surface releases cakes easily, and the resulting confections can be quite impressive. Your friends will think it took you hours to create such an intricate cake.
For the person who is ready to take their dessert decorating to the next level, this airbrush makes it easy to add color to cakes and cupcakes, and since the color is just on the outside, there’s less food coloring needed than when frosting is colored. This also produces more vibrant color, since it doesn’t mix with the frosting. An artistic baker can use the airbrush to draw or write, but it can be just as useful for less-artistic bakers who simply want to add swaths of color or shaded designs.
The Pizzacraft Pizza Stone is the key to making the tastiest pizza imaginable. This popular pizza stone uses ThermaBond technology to distribute heat as evenly as possible, so that your pies always come out crispy, with a nicely browned crust. Crafted from a thick piece of natural stone that requires no conditioning or seasoning, the Pizzacraft Pizza Stone can be used in an indoor oven or on an outdoor grill. Plus, it’s not just for making pizza. You can use it for making bread and other baked goods, or for reheating frozen pizza. Customers report that this pizza stone makes the pizza crust come out much better, and it's just the right size for both the oven and a five-burner gas grill.
The Zeroll ice cream scoop is a classic that has often been copied for a good reason—it just works. Made from aluminum with an antifreeze liquid in the handle, the heat of your hand transfers to the bowl of the scoop to help it glide through the ice cream with ease. This ice cream scoop can be used with your right or left hand (major bonus), and the one piece design is virtually impossible to break. The end cap on this scoop is gold, to indicate the 2-ounce size. Other sizes are also available, with different colored end caps, in case you have a need for different sized scoops of ice cream.
Outdoor smokers are large and expensive, but that doesn’t mean an apartment-dweller can’t take advantage of smoke flavor. This kettle smoker is designed for use on the stovetop or on a smaller grill, and produces smoked flavor in meats, fish, and poultry. It can also be used for smoking salts, cheese, or other unusual ingredients. It’s great for someone who isn’t sure if they want to invest in a large smoker as well as someone who doesn’t have outdoor space to use.
An essential piece of cookware for any gourmet cook is a dutch oven. The Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven is perfect for simmering soups, making homemade stock, searing meats and veggies, and doing pretty much any other cooking task you can think of. Crafted from porcelain enamel that becomes bonded to cast iron, this popular Dutch oven can withstand the highest temperatures, regardless of whether you’re frying, boiling, or braising your food. Boasting a smooth glass surface that won’t react to any ingredients, the Lodge 6 Dutch Oven also comes in an array of cheery colors, from emerald green to bright red.
A good nutcracker comes in handy when faced with bowls of shelled nuts, and this cracker is sturdy enough to handle all of them. It can handle nuts as small as almonds or as large as walnuts. The lever handle cracks the nuts easily and shell bits fall into the nutcracker rather than flinging themselves all over, so they’re easy to dispose of. The streamlined design is available in three different colors, and it looks attractive enough to leave on display in your kitchen. This model is detachable for easy cleaning.
For the bakers, cupcake chefs, and cake lovers out there, being able to create and decorate your own cakes is a fun way to express your creativity and hone your baking skills. The Kootek 42-Piece Cake Decorating Supplies Kit includes everything you need to turn your cookies and cakes into works of art, including 36 stainless steel icing tips, two reusable silicone pastry bags, two reusable plastic couplers, and two flower nails. All supplies are corrosion-resistant, non-toxic, easy to clean, and dishwasher-friendly.
A banneton is a classic basket that’s used for bread making. When the dough is left in a floured banneton to rise, the basket’s design is impressed into the dough, which leaves a pattern on the finished bread. This proofing basket, made of natural rattan cane material, holds 1.5 pounds of dough and measures 9" x 9" x 3.4". The high-quality material won't splinter or develop mold like cheaper baskets. This kind of banneton is often used for making sourdough breads, but it can be used for other types of bread as well. A dough cutter and flax proofing couche cloth linen are included in this set.
Most folks don’t think about making cheese at home, but there are many simple cheeses that can be produced without a lot of special equipment. This kit includes everything you need (except the milk) to make mozzarella, cream cheese, ricotta, chèvre, or other fresh cheeses. There are detailed instructions that walk you through the process, and there are enough ingredients to turn 25-30 gallons of milk into cheese. It can be a fun project for a rainy day and a good introduction to more complicated cheese making!
If someone is serious about pie-making, they might want a decorative pie plate to display their gorgeous creations. Crafted of high-fired ceramic with a scratch-free glaze that's resistant to cracking, this pie plate from award-winning baker Rose Levy Beranbaum is made to last. The deep fluted edge will make your pies look unique, and the wide rims make it easy to pull in and out of the oven. The plate can be used for other baked goods too, like cornbread, pull-apart rolls, or even small casseroles or baked lasagna. It comes in five different colors.
A wood chopping block is a useful splurge for any gourmet cook who needs more than a basic cutting board. Chopping blocks are thicker, so you can chop on them using a cleaver without worry about cracking the board. The end-grain design is self-healing, so knife marks will be less visible. This chopping block measures 25.4" x 15" x 3.6" and weighs about 27 pounds. While this item is very useful for food prep, the rustic design is very attractive, so it can easily be used for serving too.
Any good cook will tell you that freshly ground pepper is much better than pre-ground, so a grinder is essential. This pepper mill has a clear acrylic cylinder, so you can always see how much pepper remains, and a stainless steel grinding mechanism that won't corrode. The 2-stage grinding mechanism cracks the peppercorns first, then grinds them for optimum flavor. It's adjustable so you can choose from six pre-defined grind settings, from powdery-fine to course. It’s attractive enough to display at a fancy dinner party, but sturdy enough for kitchen duty.
The Instant Pot Ace 60 Cooking Blender is the perfect tool for whipping up smoothies, milkshakes, drinks, velvety soups, and virtually anything else you want to puree or liquefy. This top-rated blender boasts eight smart built-in programs—they include Smoothie, Puree, Ice Cream, Crushed Ice, Soy Milk, Rice Milk, Almond, Nut/Oat Milk, and Soup. There are three manual blending speeds, so that you can perfect the consistency of your favorite foods and beverages. The Ace boasts a quiet yet powerful motor with a speed of 23,000 RPM, and an easy-to-read display that provides you with real-time cooking temperatures as you prepare your meals.
With the ChefSofi Mortar and Pestle Set, you’ll be able to crush and grind your cooking ingredients, transforming their texture and releasing their full-bodied aromas and flavors. This incredibly versatile and durable tool is made from the sturdiest unpolished granite, which ensures that your mortar won’t slip around on your counter while you’re using it. You’ll be able to grind seeds, fresh spices and herbs, fruit, pills, and any other ingredients you choose—resulting in better-tasting and higher-quality food.