Our Favorite Culinary Gifts Under $50

'Tis the season for giving gifts. 'Tis also the season for running up credit card debt. But if your wallet's feeling pinched, worry not: There are plenty of high-quality kitchen tools, tableware, and cookware out there—not to mention some pretty delicious specialty foods—that will cost you less than $50. We've added a whole bunch of new picks to our holiday gift guide that will please even the most discerning of recipients without breaking the bank. Here's a peek at what we're recommending this year.

Beautiful Serveware

At Serious Eats, we're all about finding and sharing the most reliable cooking techniques and the best kitchen equipment. But when you pour so much energy into making your food, you want it to look as good as it tastes. That's why we're upgrading our recommendations for the dining room, starting with an assortment of elegant-but-functional platters.

We like to complement neutral serving dishes with some color, like these assorted napkins made by Hedley & Bennett (industry beloved apron-makers) in collaboration with Parachute Home (whose super soft sheets will honestly blow your mind). Throw in a perfectly packaged candle in a scent like saffron or Champagne for some extra ambience.

A Cast Iron Pan

Every home should have at least one cast iron pan. They're affordable, durable, and great for a wide range of applications, from searing steaks to baking and serving dessert. Unfortunately, there's a lot of misinformation about cast iron pans out there to scare people away. If your giftee is feeling stressed about caring for their new piece of equipment, send them right here to quell all their fears. A reminder that you can bake this unbelievably rich chocolate skillet cake in the pan will probably make them feel better, too.

A Wok

This carbon steel wok, which features a flat bottom designed to accommodate Western stoves, isn't just a gateway to the stir-fry recipes for which woks are best known. It's also a great vessel for steaming, deep-frying, and indoor smoking, too. You might even say that it's a gift that keeps on giving. We wouldn't say something that cliché, though.

A Great Chef's Knife

We spent a lot of time this year testing an assortment of knives, including chef's knives and santoku knives. And lucky for you, we discovered that not all good knives need to be super expensive. There are plenty that will help you slice and dice like a pro that are also extremely affordable, like this Western-style chef's knife from Mercer Culinary. Pair the knife with a handsome magnetic rack to help your giftee display their new gift for all to see.

An Exclusive Serious Eats Gift Box

Yes, we have our very own gift box! This year, we partnered with CrateChef to bring our readers some of our favorite ingredients and tools. Inside, you'll find a very useful instant-read thermometer and perfect-for-spatchcocking poultry shears, along with cocktail ingredients, fish sauce, recipes, and more—all at an unbeatable price.

Head on over to our gift guide to see the rest »