Newlyweds, college grads, and new to the kitchen cooks have to start from scratch on furnishing their kitchens. This list of the 10 best gifts for beginning cooks are my recommendations for some of the things new cooks need to have but might not necessarily get for themselves. I’ve tried to provide different options for different budgets because, let’s face it, outfitting a kitchen is expensive! Welcome to Week 2 of my gift guide series and be sure to enter to giveaway at the end. Each week I’ll be giving away something that I either have and love or would love to have! No sponsors – this is out of my pocket as a thank you for making Restless Chipotle wonderful.
Shall we begin?
Best Gifts for Beginning Cooks
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You know, most people know that they are going to need a sharp knife, a pan, and maybe a mixing bowl in order to cook – that’s the easy part. What they don’t always know about are the other things like immersion blenders, high quality knives, and other things that make cooking easier and more fun.
For much of my adult life I did’t have a very large budget for kitchen things and I chopped and diced with the knives I got for a wedding present for 30 years. By the end of it all I swear, the ex didn’t have to worry about me stabbing him – the knives wouldn’t have cut potato soup. I would have LOVED a new set of knives – especially the good ones I couldn’t afford.
And no, I didn’t stab my ex.
So, while you are checking out the list keep in mind that there are some things we just won’t buy ourselves. Who knows, you might find something you love in this list of the best gifts for beginning cooks!
Just click on the image to get more information!
Cast Iron Skillet
I love my cast iron skillet SO much. If cleaned correctly (just wipe out and rinse with hot water. Scrub with salt if necessary) it will last for centuries and nothing will ever stick to it. Lodge is my preferred brand and they are not paying me to say that. It is a high quality product that lasts. Definitely something every cook should have.
Pretty Mixing Bowls
I like pretty things. I think that when I have pretty kitchen tools to use then life just looks better. These mixing bowls are melamine – they won’t break. Plus just look at them – they make me smile. They’re red so you know they will make the BEST cookies ever.
Ok.. you don’t have to get red if you don’t want to. BUT a rice cooker doesn’t have to be expensive and it makes perfect rice every single time. It’s a simple appliance that lasts forever and really works. I’d shy away from the bells and whistles and the $100.00 rice cookers – you just want it to cook rice NOT play a shakuhachi while it’s doing it!
Kitchen Aid or Bosch
So, I have both. Here’s how to choose – if you are going to be making cakes, cookies, and light batters definitely go for the Kitchen Aid, it will handle smaller amounts MUCH better than the Bosch. BUT if you are going to be making bread, especially whole grain breads, then definitely go with the Bosch. I hear all the time how Kitchen Aid mixes bread just fine but one of these days I’m going to make a loaf of bread with each and show you the difference.
And if you get one? Ask Santa for the other next year.
There is absolutely NO better way to cut and mince fresh herbs quickly and easily. You put the herbs down in the bowl part and just rock the mezzaluna. Minces garlic better than anything. Seriously, buy two. You’ll want one for yourself. This is probably one of the best gifts for beginning cooks!
It’s a southern thing. Everyone needs a punch bowl set. Crystal, copper, plain glass – it doesn’t matter. It goes right next to the monogrammed napkins.
Seriously, I like this one because it is simple and would fit any occasion. Plus it won’t be easily broken like a footed or stemmed punch bowl set.
Copper helps stabilize egg whites. Whisking egg whites in a good copper bowl makes them fluffier, lighter, and easier to do. Plus, seriously… copper looks perfect in the kitchen. Caution – do not add acidic ingredients to the copper bowl.
This is an all around basic cookbook that’s easy to follow and… :::drumroll::: engineered for two people. You don’t have to do an hour of math to make dinner! You won’t have tons of leftovers. Includes sections on how to store leftovers/extra unprepared food, food/emergency substitutions, how to put leftover ingredients into other meals, essential kitchen tools, and ingredient prep. There are recipes for everything from main dishes to cakes and pies. AND it’s America’s Test Kitchen. Love this!
French Pressed Coffee is the best, hands down. You make just a little at a time and the flavor is perfect. I like the stainless steel presses because they don’t break.
I couldn’t cook without one. They are perfect for checking the doneness of meats and poultry (no more dry chicken) but also for testing the temperature of liquids when you’re making bread. I even use them to test the doneness of cake (210F)!
And that’s it! How many of the things on the 10 Best Gifts for Beginning Cooks list do you have? How many do you want, now?
Other Gift Guides
Week 1 Best Gifts for Bread Bakers
Week 4 nothing because it was Thanksgiving