The best holiday gifts for cooks and foodies, according to experts | CNN Underscored

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Whether you’re shopping for gifts for someone who loves to cook, loves to entertain or just loves to eat, it’s a breeze to whip up a foodie-themed gift this holiday season. With so many fabulous cookbooks, cocktail sets, kitchen supplies and food-themed items, you could easily spend your whole day hunting down the best gifts ideas for the culinary-obsessed. To make it easier, we reached out to four experts and rounded up more than two dozen of their favorite foodie finds.

Need more ideas? Check out our favorite gift ideas for mengift ideas for womenAmazon gifts, Nordstrom gifts, ultra-practical gifts and gifts under $25.

Molly Yeh, a New York Times bestselling cookbook author and star of the Food Network TV series “Girl Meets Farm,” now in its 10th season, says her latest cookbook, “Home Is Where the Eggs Are,” is “perfect for every home cook and fully packed with cozy recipes that feel like celebrations.”

Know someone who has been extra nice this year? Reward them with this KitchenAid thyme-green stand mixer that’s as functional as it is beautiful. “It’s the copper bowl that does it for me,” Yeh says, adding it’s “like a piece of art in my kitchen. Just stunning.”

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Remi Cruz, whose blog “Cooking with Remi” includes recipes for Korean classics, junk food alternatives, everyday meals and more, has a social media following of more than 5 million who tune in to her TikTok and YouTube videos. She says a Dutch oven is the perfect gift to give any time of the year but especially during the holidays. “It’s the best vessel for cooking any sort of hearty and warming soup, and creates the coziest and most delicious meals,” she says. “It’s an investment kitchen piece that can be used for a lifetime.” Le Creuset’s round version comes in 2-quart to 13.5-quart sizes and a wide array of colors, and we named it the best luxury Dutch oven out there.

“I believe a good knife is an absolute staple in any kitchen,” Cruz says. “This knife is incredible because it can basically accomplish any task you might have, and cuts the need for an entire knife block of knives you might not utilize.” Check out our favorite knife sets here.

“I have absolutely fallen in love with all Caraway products,” Cruz says. “My whole family uses them now, and they are truly the best pans I’ve ever used. They’re incredibly nonstick and durable, come in gorgeous colors and are of incredible quality. These would make a fantastic gift that would last the receiver a very long time.” Check out our favorite nonstick pans here.

“I grew up with my mom making Korean barbecue weekly, and this pan makes it so easy to have the restaurant experience in your kitchen,” Cruz says. “It’s a great reason to have friends over and enjoy some delicious food together.”

“This is the best gift for anyone in your life who is constantly in the kitchen,” Cruz says. “Standing on a hard floor for long periods of time ends up causing body pain, and this mat alleviates so much pressure in the back and knees. After putting one of these in my kitchen, I can cook all day without any pain whatsoever!

“This might sound crazy, but I grew up without a salad spinner so I didn’t even know this existed until recently,” Cruz says. “I love growing leafy greens in my garden and using this tool to save time and paper products. I think it’s a fabulous gift for anyone who loves salads or just wants to get more greens in.”

With 75-plus seasonally inspired, approachable snack boards, recipes and cocktails, Olivia Carney’s “The Art of the Board” is just the thing for fun, stress-free holiday entertaining (and is even better when paired with a bottle of wine or cheese board). Perfect for your favorite host or hostess, or even for yourself as you gear up for the welcomed hecticness of the holidays. “This book truly has something for everyone,” Carney says. “Whether it’s for someone who always raises their hand to bring the cheese board, the person who loves having a cookbook displayed on their countertop or the mom who wants to have a little fun with weeknight meals, this book has it all.”

Carney calls this 6-inch skillet the must-have kitchen accessory you didn’t know you needed, perfect for serving warm dips and baked cheese or to help make breakfast fun for the kids. “This mini cast iron is my go-to for serving warm cheese dips or baked Brie on my holiday food boards,” she says. “The size is perfect for an 8-ounce round of Brie, and you can assemble, bake and serve all in one.” See more of our favorite cast-iron skillets here.

We’ve made no secret of our love of Brightland products — they really are that good — and this holiday gift package includes all of the bestsellers. They’ll get the Alive and Awake olive oils, two raw vinegars, two jars of small-batch honey, a spout for the oils and a mini whisk.

The perfect gift for your favorite cook who loves to challenge themselves in the kitchen (unless they grew up making them with their nǎi nai), this kit has everything they’ll need to make perfect soup dumplings — a steamer, parchment paper rounds, dumpling dough roller, wooden spatula and recipes.

If you want to make your favorite home cook really feel the holiday spirit this season, splash out for hand-finished sand-cast enamel-coated cookware from Le Creuset. This Dutch oven is perfect for stews, casseroles, soups and even brownies!

The more adventurous cooks on your shopping list will love this mix of all-natural, sustainable, unrefined, flavored Icelandic salts. The salts are made with geothermal energy, leaving zero carbon footprint — and did we mention they enhance just about every meal?

We first tried Mike’s as a condiment for pizza in Brooklyn (shout-out to Paulie Gee’s!) and we’ve been hooked ever since. Spicy and sweet, this elevated honey is the perfect way to elevate so many dishes. Drizzle it on pizza, yogurt, cheese, sandwiches — the possibilities are endless.

If they’re into experimenting, this kit will let them turn their kitchen into a food laboratory. It teaches how to transform liquids like honey into jelly-like cubes, jellify chopped produce into flavor-packed beads or even morph melted chocolate into a delicate powder or spaghetti-like strands.

Send them a delightful brunch kit for two they can whip up themselves with amazing ingredients and mixes from famed brunch spot Friend of a Farmer. They’ll get buttermilk pancake mix, homemade cornbread, apple chutney, bacon and just-baked granola.

Roasted garlic adds so much flavor when thrown in soups, tossed with veggies or even spread on bread, and this darling little roaster gets the roast just right. They can use it in the oven or on the grill. It even comes with a silicone tool that helps squeeze each golden clove out of its husk without burning fingers.

Baking (and cooking) can involve a lot of standing, but can also be so messy! That’s why we love giving your favorite baker this machine-washable rug with a cushioned pad, so they can stand comfortably in the kitchen and clean up any spills easily. Check out our review of Ruggable here.

For the person who keeps saying they want to bake bread like everyone did in quarantine, here’s the final nudge they need to get cooking. This kit comes with a proofing basket, a baguette couche, a scoring tool and more.

Who among us hasn’t been covered in flour after baking just about anything? If your favorite amateur cake-maker is constantly ruining their clothes with flour, butter and eggs, this bistro apron will keep them protected and chic. This apron’s deep patch pockets can hold a dish towel, your phone or even that folded magazine with your new recipe, and it’s available in three colorways.

Does your favorite baker have stacks of dinged-up pans? Upgrade their whole life with this comprehensive set from Caraway that has everything they need — baking sheets, pans, cooling racks, storage and more. And it’s all nontoxic and available in five chic colorways.

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Stand mixers are overrated and take up a lot of space. For a home baker with a smaller space, our pick for the best hand mixer scored top marks across the board for function — easily mixing, whisking, beating and kneading — as well as ease of use and storage.

“If you’re looking to splurge on a special someone who loves to host, this olivewood board is a striking addition to any host or hostess’ collection,” Carney says. She says olivewood has a unique fine-textured grain that lends an air of prestige. “Its creamy, golden color is unmatched by other woods and instantly elevates any presentation.“ It does, however, require a bit more TLC than others, Carney adds, so she recommends pairing it with a board oil to protect its quality.

“These adorable charcuterie board earrings from BaubleBar are sure to be the talk of any party this season,” Carney says. “They’re a great gift for your charcu-loving friend or someone who just likes to push the boundaries with their jewelry choices. They also have pineapple earrings, cocktail earrings and so much more. … I love the personalized feel of this gift without going through the trouble of actually personalizing it, saving you time and money.”

Yeh partnered with East Fork to design this limited-edition collection of glazed bowls in a rainbow of colors. “I use these bowls for everything from hotdish to salads to grain bowls,” she says. “They are the best and they’re also so pretty to store on open shelving.”

“For that person in your life that enjoys the occasional night in, this monthly wine and cheese subscription from Harry & David is the perfect way to indulge and introduce new pairings,” Carney says. “Harry & David carries a lot of high-quality cheese from some of the best cheesemakers and dairy farms in the country.”

“Top Chef” fan fave and James Beard Award-winning chef Karen Akunowicz has been creating incredible pasta dishes at her enoteca Fox & the Knife since 2019, and your fave foodie can cook up a meal (three meals, honestly) from the restaurant at home with this kit that includes bucatini, creste de gallo, rich wild boar bolognese and spicy, prosciutto-kicked amatriciana. Don’t skip the harissa marinated olives, trust us.

If you want to really spoil your favorite foodie this holiday season, go big with this luxe box from Harry & David that’s packed with meats and cheeses like Creminelli Fine Meats Casalingo salami and Sartori BellaVitano Tennessee Whiskey cheese, as well as tasty preserves, olives and nuts to complement the spread, which they can display on the included acacia wood tray.

The perfect gift for the condiment- and umami-obsessed foodie, this barbecue sauce is made in small batches in the US, with non-GMO and preservative-free ingredients and BPA-free packaging. This vegan sauce enhances pizza, bowls, eggs and more.

If your foodie friend enjoys sampling snacks and candy from around the globe, this is the gift for them. This editor-favorite subscription box comes jam-packed with all things sour, sweet and savory from Japan.

The best way to eat lobster during the cold months? In this classic pot pie from Boston favorite Summer Shack. They’ll get two hearty pies with potatoes, carrots, dry sherry, heavy cream, green peas, shallots, garlic, thyme and, of course, fresh lobster meat, all packed into a soft buttery puff pastry.

Health-conscious types love this “Costco of healthy eating.” The direct-to-consumer subscription site offers deals on everything organic, from handwash to steaks to popcorn.

Best gifts for cocktail, coffee and tea enthusiasts

Charles Joly, co-founder of Crafthouse Cocktails and world-champion mixologist, recommends this in-depth look at the world of spirits and cocktails, calling it “the ultimate tome for the cocktail enthusiast in your life, compiled by the most respected voices in the industry. You’ll be able to endlessly revisit this reference piece that touches on every nook and cranny related to libations. Naturally, it’s best perused with a cocktail in hand.”

“A nugget ice maker is for the person in your life who wants to take their drinks to the next level,” Cruz says. “It’s a fun gadget to elevate your drink experience or step up your cocktail bar. I use it for everything from water and iced coffee to shaking up espresso martinis.”

“A ridiculous amount of flavor is packed into one little box with six different artisanal bitters,” Joly says. “This is the perfect one-stop shop to add the finishing touch to your cocktails, crafted by a master mixologist and chef team. Bartenders often view bitters as the ‘salt and pepper’ of the beverage world; this gift pack is the entire spice cabinet.”

Great for craft cocktail lovers or new homeowners, Carney says this 10-piece cocktail shaker set includes everything needed to set up a home bar for success this holiday season (plus, it’s all dishwasher-safe!). “It even comes with a beautiful mahogany stand to keep the tools organized and looking beautiful,” she adds.

“I think a milk frother is a fabulous way to spice up your morning coffee or matcha,” Cruz says. “This frother is great because you can either make hot or cold foam, so you can create your perfect morning drink or afternoon pick-me-up.” From the makers of Instant Pot, this 4-in-1 frother allows you to make cold, light warm and thick foam or hot milk for coffee or hot chocolate.

“This matcha machine has absolutely changed the game for me,” Cruz says. “I’m a big matcha drinker, and this is extra special because it actually freshly grinds matcha leaves to give you an extra boost of antioxidants you can’t get from the pre-ground stuff. It also automatically whisks it so that there are never lumps, and you’re always left with a delicious shot of matcha.” The starter kit includes a matcha maker and three 4-gram packets of matcha leaf blend, plus a booklet with operating instructions, tips, farm information and recipes.

“For the baker that has all of the baking tools, I bet you they don’t have this yet,” Yeh says of this adjustable, five-wheel accordion dough cutter that will keep your pie crusts, brownings and other baked goods perfectly consistent and uniform.

Yeh collaborated with Ground Up to create this dreamy marzipan almond and cashew nut butter swirled with colorful sprinkles. She’s also a fan of Hebel & Co.’s halva, a combo of sesame seeds and a sweetener. She partnered with the brand on the Molly Yeh Peanut Butter Chocolate Crisp Halva, $14 for a half pound, that mixes peanut butter, dark chocolate, puffed crispy quinoa and sea salt. Yeh says both make for “tasty stocking stuffers.”

“Obviously I’m a little biased, but my Nutpods collection is a great stocking stuffer this holiday season,” Cruz says. “These dairy-free coffee creamers are perfect because there’s something for everyone. There’s Oat French Vanilla, Classic Chocolate and the Cookie Butter flavor feels like a warm hug on a winter morning.”

Carney loves this engraved olivewood spoon and spatula set as a hostess gift this season. “A handmade, eco-friendly and personalized gift will always make a recipient feel most appreciated,” she says, noting it will make a lovely addition to any kitchen aesthetic.

“This charcuterie knife set makes a great gift for your family gift exchange or paired with a small cheese board for the host of this year’s Friendsgiving,” Carney says. She also notes that the brass finish and marble handles elevate any serving platter they’re paired with, whether it’s wood, slate, marble or ceramic. “They’re also a great size for tucking directly onto a board without overwhelming the display.”

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