Killing Thyme Kitchen Holiday Gift Guide
Wondering what to buy the home cook in your life? In this kitchen holiday gift guide, I’m recommending my most trusted culinary devices.
I tout kitchen tools and products to friends, family, and readers all year long. What can I say? I get excited about the things I like. Whether it’s a new gadget or an inspiring cookbook, if I’m into it, you’re gonna hear about it, and probably more than once! So, it only makes sense to drop everything I’ve been loving into one spot for you to peruse at your own leisure. In this holiday kitchen gift guide, you’ll find everything from the investment-worthy appliances (colorful KitchenAid stand mixer, anyone?) to little—but useful!—gizmos you can chuck in your drawer.
Small (But Mighty) Appliances
Let’s just get the big stuff out of the way! Now listen. I’m a skeptic when it comes to trendy cooking gadgets. It took me a long time to give in to the Instant Pot, and it took me even longer to succumb to the air fryer—but I’ve never looked back. These small appliances are all useful, durable, and pretty life-changing! Which is why I’m excited to include them in this gift guide.
- KitchenAid KSB4027PA K400 Countertop Blender – My personal first choice for a blender. It’s awesome for smoothies, soups, and salad dressings!
- Vitamix Explorian Blender, Professional-Grade – My second choice for a high-powered blender.
- KitchenAid Stand Mixer – A must-have for anyone who enjoys baking! It’s sturdy, durable, and let’s be honest, it looks damn sexy just sitting there on the countertop.
- GoWISE USA 7-Quart Air Fryer & Dehydrator – Imagine your food fried to a beautiful golden crisp without the extra calories, mess, and stink that comes with deep frying. Worth it? I’d say so!
- Instant Pot – There isn’t much this contraption can’t do. Soup, pasta, mashed potatoes, rice—all to perfection with half the effort and half the time.
- Slow Cooker – I’m sure we all have a slow cooker kickin’ around in our cupboards, but in case it’s time for a new one, this model is great and has a really fair price tag!
Knives + Cutting Boards
Having a good collection of knives is incredibly important—but buying an entire set at once can be awfully pricey. Here are some solo buys I have and swear by.
- Shun Classic 7” Hollow-Ground Santoku All-Purpose Kitchen Knife – Looking to go big and fancy? This one is durable, steady, easy to handle, and cuts through everything as if its butter. Just watch your fingers, it’s so sharp it hardly takes any pressure at all to knick yourself. (I speak from experience.)
- MOSFiATA 7″ Santoku Knife Chef Cutting Knife – Another great all-purpose knife with a smaller price tag and more approachable blade for beginners, or those who aren’t comfortable around really sharp knives like the one listed above. This one also conveniently comes with its own little sharpener.
- Victorinox Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife, 8-Inch Chef’s – This knife has an ergonomic non-slip handle which offers a comfortable experience. It has a nice weight to it, too. It’s low-maintenance and hardly needs sharpening, so it’s great for amateur home cooks or those off to college!
- 7-inch Professional Damascus Santoku Knife by Kamosoto – Here’s another high-end knife marketed for the more experienced home cook. But with the ease and versatility of it, I’d say most home cooks could enjoy this one. You can slice, dice, chop, or mince with it—it’s one of my favorites! It’s also incredibly pleasing to the eye with its 67 wavy layers of Damascus steel.
- 5-inch Professional Damascus Utility Knife by Kamosoto – Much like the one listed above, this knife is multi-purpose but smaller in size, which is super useful to have around. Especially when it comes to cutting up fruit or more delicate meats, like fish.
- HENCKELS CLASSIC 4-inch Paring Knife – Everyone should have a paring knife kicking around. They’re perfect for more precise cuts where you want to be holding the object in one hand and the knife in the other—like when scoring a mango or deveining shrimp.
- Mercer Culinary Millennia Black Handle, 10-Inch Wide Wavy Edge, Bread Knife – A bread knife, or any serrated knife, is a must in any kitchen. They’re essential for cutting through fresh loaves of bread, certain cuts of meat, and I personally love them for slicing tomatoes.
- Bamboo Cutting Board Set with Juice Groove (3 Pieces) – This would be my first recommendation. Bamboo, like wood, is much easier on your knives than plastic cutting boards. Additionally, these boards have side handles to act as serving trays as well (hello, charcuterie board!), and deep grooves along the edges to catch juices and scraps, so you don’t mess up your counters. And the price point is fantastic!
- John Boos Maple Classic Reversible Wood End Grain Chopping Block – A hefty chopping block for the more adept cook. Any Boos board is going to be durable, beautiful, and easy on your blades—but also expensive. This type of chopping block is great for those who do a lot of their own butchering with meats and bones.
Kitchen Drawer Gadgets
A lot of kitchen drawer gadgets are a total waste of space. But there are a few I swear by, and I think they could benefit all home cooks.
- OXO Good Grips Chef’s Precision Digital Instant Read Thermometer – A meat thermometer! You’ll see me push these in my posts often, and I’m completely genuine about my love for them. Getting the right temperature for your meat isn’t just important to avoid foodborne illness—it’s also incredibly important to avoid overcooking! Getting your fish to a perfect 145º F and your poultry to a succulent 165ºF will make your meals more enjoyable. Plain and simple. Not to mention this one’s durability; I’ve had my OXO instant read thermometer for YEARS, and I’ve even accidentally left it out in the rain a few times when grilling. Yet, it’s still going!
- Prepara Juicy Juice Reamer – This easy handheld is my go-to juicer. I’ve tried the open press squeezers and the juicers with the dishes attached and for me, this one is the way to go. It’s unfussy, easy to handle, and straight to the point. Also see: dishwasher friendly.
- Microplane Classic Zester/Grater – Another little gizmo I swear by and use almost daily: the microplane. I use this for zesting citrus rinds and grating my garlic and ginger to a paste, which is just better for some recipes. It’s also fantastic for shredding that small amount of parmesan over pasta rather than lugging out your big ol’ cheese grater.
- OXO Good Grips Pro Swivel Peeler – I hate peeling fruits and vegetables, so comfort and flexibility are important. (Especially when peeling potatoes.) This peeler has a comfy handle and the swivel top helps with motion, making things go more quickly and smoothly.
- OXO Good Grips Prep Julienne Y-Peeler – I love my Y-Peeler! Perfectly thin julienne strips are awesome for salads, bowl meals, soups, and summer rolls. It’s a much more efficient way to julienne, and all of the pieces end up perfectly uniform.
Whether you’re a food photographer looking for eye-catching props, a hotshot dinner host looking to have the prettiest tablescape, or if you just need new dishes because your family keeps chipping your current wares, this list has it all: pretty, practical, and dependable.
Servingware + Tableware
- Acacia Wood Salad Bowls, Set of 4 Individual Large Wood Bowls – I love these bowls for entertaining. Especially in the summertime—they’re perfect for al fresco meals! They’re gorgeous, easy to clean, and easy to store.
- Acacia Wood Salad Bowl with Servers Set, Solid Hardwood Salad Wooden Bowl with Spoon – And to go with the above bowls, the matching serving bowl with mixing utensils, of course.
- Sweese Porcelain Salad Pasta Bowls – 22 Ounce – Set of 6 – These salad and pasta bowls are superb for entertaining and adding a pop of color to your collection, though they’re also available in a clean and crisp white. They’re long-lasting, too! I’ve had my collection for over two years and they remain chip-free.
- Sweese Porcelain Bowls – 18 Ounce – Set of 6 – If you’re looking for durable cereal and soup bowls, Sweese has those too, and to match your pasta/salad bowls. These are easy to cradle in your hands, walk around with, and curl up on the couch with.
- Sweese Porcelain Round Dinner Plates – 10 Inch – Set of 6 – I guess it would be weird if I didn’t point you in the direction of Sweese’s dinner plates to go with all of those gorgeous bowls…
- roro Ceramic Stoneware Hand-Molded Speckled Spotted Bowls – If you want something unique to impress, these speckled stoneware bowls are it. They’re gorgeous for photos and alluring on the table while in use.
- roro Ceramic Stoneware Hand-Molded Speckled Spotted Glossy White Appetizer Plate – Keeping with the unique and impressive theme, these speckled plates will definitely bring wow factor to your table.
- Gourmet Basics by Mikasa Kaylee 8-Piece Stainless Steel Hostess Serving Utensil Set – Your one-stop shop for all things to serve your food. Stainless steel is easy to clean and goes well with any style of serving dish you have, so they’re a practical and sensible option. The price point is also great for an 8-piece set!
- CorningWare French White Round and Oval Ceramic Bakeware, 12-Piece – Grandma’s got’em, mom’s got’em, I’d be silly to not include CorningWare in my gift guide. Not to seem morbid, but they’ll probably last longer than you and I.
- Bekith 6 Pack Drinking Glasses, 9.5 oz Romantic Water Glasses Tumblers – These are absolutely perfect for the vintage lover in your life! These glasses are perfect for anything from water to fancy cocktails.
- Fortessa Jupiter Collection Iced Beverage Cocktail Glass, Set of 6 – More vintage glassware, but make it COLORFUL. I love mixing colors up when entertaining—for brunches, especially!
- Godinger Wine Glasses Goblets, Stemmed Wine Glass – I absolutely love the shape of these long-stemmed wine glasses. They’re decently sturdy, but like any wine glasses, you want to be careful when washing. I suggest hand-washing them. If you are putting them in the dishwasher, make sure they’re secure and that nothing will bump into them.
- SUNWILL Insulated Wine Tumbler with Lid Rose Gold, Double Wall Stainless Steel Stemless Insulated Wine Glass – You know, for when you want to stroll around the neighborhood and keep your drink cold but discreet.
Unique Pottery Pieces + Supporting Small
Calling out anyone with a weakness for handmade artisanal kitchen pieces! I’m a sucker for such things, and I’m SO grateful that my gal pal Teri has a pottery line of her very own. Head on over and take a peep! Each of these pieces is handcrafted and they’re all absolutely STUNNING. (I have so many pieces from her shop—you’ve probably noticed them in a lot of my recipe photos.) They’re easy to clean, durable, and they’re not just pretty—they’re extremely functional.
Cookbooks + Stands
Over the last few years, I’ve been trying to make a point to cook from cookbooks a lot more. Finding recipes online is super convenient, and obviously I wouldn’t want you to stop doing that! But there are some stellar cookbooks out there that just cannot be matched. Not to mention, they make great coffee table books with their brilliant photos. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Dinner: Changing the Game: A Cookbook – Melissa Clark, American food writer and New York Times columnist, is hands down my favorite cookbook author. Her meals are as approachable as they are beautiful. Even the fancier seeming recipes are totally doable!
- Dinner in an Instant: 75 Modern Recipes for Your Pressure Cooker, Multicooker, and Instant Pot® : A Cookbook – More Melissa Clark magic, but in the Instant Pot®.
- No Crumbs Left: Whole30 Endorsed, Recipes for Everyday Food Made Marvelous – Whether partaking in the Whole30 lifestyle or not, this cookbook is a win. It’s full of delicious and easy-to-make recipes for us everyday folk.
- How to Bake for Beginners: An Easy Cookbook for Baking the Basics – If you or someone you care about is like me and enjoys baking, but totally sucks at it, this book is incredibly helpful! I refer to it when I bake sweets and it saves me every time.
- To Asia, With Love: Everyday Asian Recipes and Stories From the Heart – If you love and appreciate those that cook from the heart and offer up heartwarming stories to go with the dishes, grab this one. I mean, who doesn’t want to cook more Asian at home anyway? Hetty McKinnon is the person to do it with.
- Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking – Not just a good cookbook, but a good book that you can read cover to cover and learn a whole lot in the process.
- Cookbook Stand, Rustic Wood Cookbook Holder Cutting Board Style, Adjustable – Designed like a beautiful rustic cutting board, this cookbook stand is stylish and super useful. You can use it with your cookbook or your tablet!
- Bamboo Tablet Stand Adjustable Stand Holder — Cell phone, tablet, Kindle – Looking for something more minimalist? This sleek bamboo holder is on the basic side and will support whatever electronic device you’re following your recipes on.
Don’t forget, Amazon isn’t the only place to shop. Check out small-owned shops on Etsy or around town to support small and/or local businesses this Christmas.
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