Straight to the Point
The majority of our gift recommendations in this guide come from our product reviews. We provide the links to our full reviews when applicable, to give you the option to read how we tested and a more in-depth summary of the product.
As gift-giving season approaches and your wallet begins to tremble, fear not. There’s a plethora of kitchen tools, cookware, specialty foods, and nifty trinkets available to surprise and delight the food lovers in your life—all for under $50. Scroll through to see our top picks for budget-friendly, food-centric gifting that might even leave you with enough cash to pick up something for yourself, too.
A Sharp Chef’s Knife
Mercer Culinary 8-Inch Genesis Chef's Knife
We’ve tested lots of chef’s knives and if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that a great knife doesn’t have to be expensive. This Western-style chef’s knife from Mercer Culinary can slice, dice, and chop with the best of ‘em—no bank-breaking necessary. Want to throw in a little something extra? Pair the knife with a magnetic strip for easy storage.
Price at time of publish: $46.
A Really Great Spatula (or Two)
OXO Good Grips Silicone Everyday Spatula
Tovolo Flex-Core All Silicone Spatula Turner
You really can’t go wrong with a great silicone spatula—for scrambling eggs, scraping batters out of the bowl, or swooping down the sides of a blender to get every last bit of sauce out. Might we suggest gifting two of them and tying them together with a piece of ribbon?
Price at time of publish: $14 and $9, respectively.
A Very Good Balloon Whisk
GIR Premium Stainless Steel Whisk
The GIR Ultimate Whisk took top honors in our recent balloon whisk test thanks to its comfortable silicone handle and perfectly taut wires. A whisk is one of those utensils that most of us probably don’t give much thought to, but as soon as you use a really good one, you’ll realize what you’ve been missing out on. Grab a sleek-yet-utilitarian mixing bowl to gift alongside and you’re still well below the $50 threshold.
Price at time of publish: $14.
A Poppin’ Thermometer
ThermoWorks ThermoPop Thermometer
We do love the ThermoPop—it gets a lot of airtime around here, as you may have noticed—but how can you blame us when an instant-read thermometer is so reliable and reasonably priced? The ThermoPop has a big display, reads in under four seconds, and comes in a bunch of snazzy colors. It’s the perfect gift, even for the home cook who has everything.
Price at time of publish: $21.Continue to 5 of 50 below.
An Elegant Bread Lame
Wire Monkey Goose Lame
You probably have a friend who bakes sourdough, so why not give them an ultra-precise, safe, and swanky-looking bread lame this holiday season? Wire Monkey’s bread lames are sure to help your favorite baker level-up their scoring game.
Price at time of publish: $45.
A Perfect Pasta Pan
Winco Aluminum Stir Fry Pan, 11-Inch
This delightfully deep pan is a Serious Eats favorite. And we especially love it for finishing pastas. Its heat conduction and sloping sides create ideal conditions for tossing—ensuring that every piece of pasta is perfectly coated in silky, saucy goodness.
Price at time of publish: $44.
A Trusty Cast Iron Pan
Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron
Cast iron pans are durable, versatile, and not nearly as intimidating as the internet loves to make people think. Every home cook should have at least one cast iron pan, and this one from Lodge is both affordable and practical with its dual pouring spouts. Gift this to your cousin who thinks cast iron is too much work to maintain, and enjoy proving them wrong in the coming year.
Price at time of publish: $34.
Stemless Glasses for Casual Drinks
Schott Zwiesel Tritan Forte Universal Tumbler
Casual wine drinkers will surely appreciate a set of stemless wine glasses. And these ones were our top picks after we reviewed eight different sets. For about $50, you get six glasses that are comfortable to hold and drink from. They're also excellent for cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks.
Price at time of publish: $48.Continue to 9 of 50 below.
A Chef’s Press (or Two)
The Chef's Press 8-Ounce Chef's Press
Whether you’re toasting a sandwich or smashing a burger, chef’s presses are awesome. We love this one for its pleasing weight and no-frills design—it’s the perfect way to give someone the gift of a great sear all year long.
Price at time of publish: $19.
A Well-Priced Digital Scale
Escali Primo Digital Food Scale
As far as we’re concerned, a digital food scale is non-negotiable in the kitchen whether you're making coffee or baking a cake. Measuring ingredients with a scale is easier, faster, and far more precise, and this one from Escali Primo is a great value.
Price at time of publish: $27.
A Moka Pot For Express Espresso
Bialetti Moka Express Espresso Maker, 3-Cup
If you’re going to give someone a Nespresso machine for the holidays, they better be someone you like a lot because those things don’t come cheap. For recipients who make it onto your gift list but perhaps aren’t in the running for a small appliance, consider the Bialetti Moka Express. Moka pots make a mean pot of espresso for a fraction of the price, and they look pretty darn cool while doing it.
Price at time of publish: $30.
An Insulated French Press
Coffee Gator 34-Ounce French Press Coffee Maker
When we tested French press coffee makers this year, Coffee Gator’s insulated vessel made it onto our best-of list thanks to its durable construction and dual filter press. Say goodbye to the fragile glass French press and hello to heat-retaining sturdy stainless steel. This is a great gift for the camper in your life or even that colleague who always has a cup of coffee in hand.
Price at time of publish: $55.Continue to 13 of 50 below.
A Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker
OXO Compact Cold Brew Coffee Maker
For your friend who drops a fiver on cold coffee multiple times per week, may we suggest OXO’s own cold brew coffee maker? It’s easy, it’s efficient—brew a week’s worth of coffee in one go!—it’s giving the most thoughtful-friend vibes.
Price at time of publish: $35.
Precise Culinary Tweezers
Mercer Culinary Offset Tip Tweezers
Tweezers are one of those kitchen tools you didn’t know you were missing until you actually have them, which is what makes them such a perfect gift. Kitchen tweezers are handy for garnishing, retrieving wayward bits of eggshell, or even flipping a piece of meat in place of tongs.
Price at time of publish: $11.
A Salt Storage Solution
Emile Henry Salt Pig
Salt pigs—or salt cellars, as they’re also called—have a fun name and serve a practical purpose: They keep salt at the ready. Having to navigate a grinder, box, or shaker just isn’t as efficient as being able to reach into a purpose-built container and grab a pinch.
Price at time of publish: $45.
Useful Reusable Food Bags
Homelux Theory Reusable Silicone Food Storage Bags
Are reusable bags a sexy gift? No. Are they likely to inspire a “Just what I’ve always wanted!” response from the lucky recipient? Also no. But is it a money-saving, environmentally-friendly, actually-quite-useful present? Totally. These bags come in different sizes and keep food fresh without the bulk of boxes or the waste of single-use plastic. Pair it with a set of reusable food wraps for double the excitement.
Price at time of publish: $33.Continue to 17 of 50 below.
A Pair of Cut-Resistant Gloves
DEX FIT Level 5 Cut Resistant Gloves Cru553
This is another gift that is less “Wow!!” and more “Actually, these will come in handy,” which means they’re perfect for the home cook in your life who is prone to using a mandoline without a guard. Grab a pair for yourself while you’re at it—these gloves are literally a form of self-care.
Price at time of publish: $13.
Reusable Swedish Dishcloths
Wettex Swedish Dishcloths, 10-Pack
Once you go Swedish dishcloth, paper towels you may protest doth. These aren’t quite towels and they’re not quite sponges; they’re just really versatile, super-absorbent, and come in fun colors. They make cleaning a breeze, whether you’re hand-washing glassware or wiping down countertops.
Price at time of publish: $13.
A Beautiful Cookbook
Mooncakes and Milk Bread: Sweet and Savory Recipes Inspired by Chinese Bakeries
This book is an ode to Chinese bakeries and cafes, and it won author Kristina Cho two James Beard Awards in 2022. Give Mooncakes and Milkbread to the baker in your life and hopefully, you’ll get to enjoy the fruits of their labor as they make their way through it.
Price at time of publish: $30.
An Indoor Herb Growing Kit
Ivation 7-Pod Indoor Hydroponics Growing System Kit
Hydroponic kits can be expensive, but this one from Ivation gets you started without a hefty investment. (We do love the AeroGarden if you’re looking to spend up.) It’s an especially suitable gift for an apartment-dwelling friend or family member, who will inevitably think of you each time they snip some fresh herbs from their well-lit, properly watered indoor garden.
Price at time of publish: $80.Continue to 21 of 50 below.
A Top-of-the-Line Tumbler
Zojirushi SM-SA36-BA Stainless Steel Vacuum-Insulated Mug, 20oz
There are loads of travel mugs on the market, but it’s tough to beat Zojirushi for keeping liquids at a desirable temperature. This tumbler excels for both hot and cold beverages, it has a lid that locks and can be opened and closed with one hand, and it comes in some fun colors.
Price at time of publish: $40.
A Pair of Half Sheet Pans
Nordic Ware Naturals Baker's Half Sheet
Baking sheets are for so much more than just baking cookies. From sheet pan dinners to roasting meats, a quality baking sheet shines with its multipurposeness. To really amp up its versatility, pair it with a cooling rack.
Price at time of publish: $25.
A Mess-Preventing Lid Stand
Yamazaki Home Ladle & Lid Rest
You know that quandary of what to do with a lid that is hot (and probably dripping with condensation) as you tend to a sauce or soup? Yamazaki’s lid stand solves this problem in style, keeping the lid upright and catching all the drips in the tray below.
Price at time of publish: $26.
A Flavor-Packed Trio
Fly By Jing Triple Threat
Yep, you can (and should!) make spicy chili crisp at home, but for gifting purposes it’s tough to beat a trio of Sichuan sauces and spices from woman-owned Fly By Jing. This set includes their Sichuan Chili Crisp. Zhong Sauce, and Mala Spice Mix.
Price at time of publish: $45.Continue to 25 of 50 below.
A Fragrant Finishing Oil
La Tourangelle Roasted Hazelnut Oil
Artisanal oils are more than just pretty packaging—they’re an easy way to boost flavor and give dishes a little something extra. Add a few drops of this hazelnut oil to salad dressings or chocolatey desserts (or make your own Nutella) and see for yourself how oils and extracts can boost your baking. And at $9, why not grab a bottle of La Tourangelle’s roasted pistachio oil and give them both as a gift?
Price at time of publish: $10.
An Antidote to Wasted Wine
Vacu Vin Wine Saver Pump with 2 Vacuum Bottle Stoppers
Stuffing a cork back into an open bottle of wine is better than nothing, but if you really want to save the good stuff for later, you’ve got to get the air out. This set from Vacu Vin (which our Senior Editorial Director, Tess Koman, is a fan of) comes with four bottle stoppers and an easy-to-use vacuum pump—just put the pump over the stopper and lift the handle until you hear a clicking sound. Enjoy optimal wine for up to a week (if the bottle lasts that long…).
Price at time of publish: $17.
A Proper Piece of Servingware
Open Kitchen by Williams Sonoma Serving Platter
A nice platter It is not only useful for entertaining but also perfect for serving roast chicken on any old weeknight. This one from Williams Sonoma has practical handles and a curved design to keep juices contained, and its neutral color means it’ll fit nicely into any kitchen. It’s a fancy—without being too fancy—gift for your favorite home cook.
Price at time of publish: $90.
A Pourover Pair
Hario V60 Mugen Coffee Dripper
Hario V60 Glass Range Coffee Server, 600ml, Clear
If your giftee is a coffee person who enjoys tinkering with their brewing equipment, a pour over maker is a great present. One of our favorite pourover makers and its glass serving carafe are about $24 each—which brings the whole setup to less than $50. Not bad!
Price at time of publish: $27 and $28, respectively.Continue to 29 of 50 below.
A Two-Piece Boston Shaker
Modern Mixologist Tin on Tin Shakers
We’ve raved about the Modern Mixologist Boston shaker before—calling it the best Boston shaker in head-to-head tests—which is why we think it’s a great gift for that friend who keeps a well-stocked bar cart. The two stainless steel pieces fit together to create a strong seal for mess-free shaking, and they’re nicely balanced so they’re a pleasure to use.
Price at time of publish: $30
A Bucket of Flaky Salt
Maldon 3.1 lb Sea Salt Flakes
Few things conjure abundance like a literal bucket of everyone’s favorite finishing salt. This is a practical gift made all the more fun by its sheer quantity. Enough said.
Price at time of publish: $25
A Knife Sharpener
King Sharpening Stone
A whetstone may not seem very exciting, but a knife is only as good as its edge. We’ve tested more than a few knife sharpeners and can confirm that using a whetstone is the way to go for maintaining your blades, so pairing a nice knife with a flattening stone to keep it in great shape is a more thoughtful gift than you might expect.
Price at time of publish: $42
A Classic Compendium
Mastering the Art of French Cooking (2 Volume Set)
No cookbook collection is complete without the finest works of Julia Child, and it just makes sense to give both volumes at once. This set even comes in a nice little sleeve to hold them together and serve double duty as a gift box.
Price at time of publish: $110Continue to 33 of 50 below.
A Centrifugal Juicer
Hamilton Beach Centrifugal Juicer Machine
Does juicing feel like a trend from 10 years ago? Maybe a little, but bottles of the stuff still line the shelves at what can only be considered an egregious markup, so if you know someone who’s dropping too much cash on green juice, a centrifugal juicer just might be the perfect gift. This one is powerful and easy to clean without a massive price tag, so it’s a great place to start an at-home juicing journey.
Price at time of publish: $78
A Big Piece Of Marble
Crate & Barrel French Kitchen Marble Pastry Slab
If you’ve ever tried to roll out a buttery pie crust, it can feel like a race against the clock with butter melting at an unreasonable rate of speed. A pastry slab will help keep things cool while you work, whether you’re laminating croissants or tempering chocolate. And by “you” we definitely mean “the person you give this to as a gift.”
Price at time of publish: $60
A More-Than-Fine Fine Mesh Strainer
Rösle Stainless Steel Round Handle Kitchen Strainer, 7.9-Inch
This incredibly sturdy, fine mesh strainer is our top-top pick. It has a wide bowl hook so it’ll rest on a mixing bowl or pot with ease. While it clocks in just over $50, we think it’s truly the best strainer out there.
Price at time of publish: $56
For Keeping Stock of Stock
Souper Cubes Extra-Large Silicone Ice Cube Tray
Souper Cubes are really just big ice cube trays, but the one-cup capacity is designed with stocks, soups, and sauces in mind. This is a great way to keep chicken stock at the ready, or at least to portion out last night’s beef stew until you remember it three months later.
Price at time of publish: $20Continue to 37 of 50 below.
A Truly Great Wooden Spoon
Le Creuset Revolution Scraping Spoon
Yes, you can buy wooden spoons for next to nothing, but they won’t perform like Le Creuset’s Revolution. Even Kenji likes this spoon so much he wrote about it, praising the corner-cruising edges and long, comfortable handle. It’s a simple gift that’ll offer a real upgrade.
Price at time of publish: $36
An Upgraded Colander
RSVP International Endurance Stainless Steel Colander
Commerce Editor, Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm, called this colander one of her best kitchen buys last year, and we’re pretty sure she’s still into it. The tiny perforations prevent the loss of small grains, while the tall base means you (or your gift recipient, of course) can skip the pour-and-lift sink dance that is otherwise necessary to avoid the water you’re trying to drain off flowing back into your squatty colander. Plus, it recently came out on top of our extensive testing.
Price at time of publish: $28
A Powerful Cleaver
Dexter-Russell 8-Inch Cleaver With Wooden Handle
It’s tough to top a knife as a gift for someone who likes to cook, but knives are also kind of a personal thing. What feels nice in one person’s hand may be unpleasant to someone else, but when it comes to a Chinese cleaver, this one from Dexter-Russell is a safe bet. It’s sharp, nicely balanced, and ready to work.
Price at time of publish: $50
A Truly Excellent Pepper Mill
Fletchers' Mill Federal Pepper Mill
A high-quality pepper mill will grind efficiently and stand up to constant use, which is how this one from Fletchers’ Mill ended up at the top of our list when we tested pepper mills. It performs well and its classic shape (and variety of available finishes) means it’ll look right at home in any kitchen. It’s priced slightly over $50, but the extra few dollars are truly worth the price.
Price at time of publish: $55Continue to 41 of 50 below.
A Multi-Use Bowl Scraper
Indigo True Flexible Bowl Scraper
Integral for bakers who specialize in batters and sticky doughs, a great bowl scraper needs to be able to clear your mixing bowl while keeping your hands clean. This model from Indigo True, however, was also sturdy enough to fold together a gnocchi dough, and act as a bench scraper while cutting the dough and moving it to a pot of boiling water, making it an easy choice for our top pick.
Price at time of publish: $9
A Precision Coffee Scale
OXO BREW Precision Scale with Timer
With a .1-gram resolution and a built in timer, this scale is a great option for any pourover enthusiast. Its precision, however, is also notable for bakers who have issues with lightweight powdered ingredients. It may not have the weight capacity of its sibling for bigger baking projects, but for coffee nerds and precise cooks, the OXO BREW precision scale is tough to beat at this price.
Price at time of publish: $56
An All-Purpose Offset Turner
MANNKITCHEN Professional Grade Stainless Steel Spatula
Perfect for role-playing as a short-order cook in your own kitchen, this offset turner adeptly smashed burger patties, flipped pancakes, and neatly served lasagna. It’s a heavy-duty champ ready to tackle all the tough jobs that your favorite fish spatula just isn’t up to.
Price at time of publish: $25
Professional-Style Food Storage
Cambro 2 Qt. Clear Square Polycarbonate Food Storage Container with Winter Rose Gradations
Help your kitchen go pro with these stackable storage containers that are great for leftovers and dry pantry ingredients. The built-in volume markings are easy to read and the crystal clear sides let you know exactly how many chocolate chips are in your pantry or how much pasta e fagioli is left in the fridge for tomorrow’s lunch.
Price at time of publish: $4Continue to 45 of 50 below.
A Classic Rasp-Style Grater
Microplane Premium Classic Series Zester/Grater
For fluffy shreds of parmesan or perfectly zested lemons, it’s hard to beat this classic rasp-style grater. With a name synonymous with the style of tool itself, we weren’t surprised that the Microplane outperformed the competition during testing.
Price at time of publish: $17
A Versatile Mandoline
OXO V-Blade Mandoline Slicer
Anyone who does a lot of slicing deserves an effective mandoline, and this model from OXO features tons of user-friendly features at an affordable price point, with clearly marked thickness settings, foldable legs, and secure blade storage.
Price at time of publish: $46
A Miniature Measuring Cup
OXO Mini Angled Measuring Cup
We’ve talked at length about the many uses of this mini measuring cup, and it was also recently our top pick for a cocktail jigger. It's stackable and easy to store and has multiple measurements that are easy to read. Give three of them as a gift: they’re that useful.
Price at time of publish: $7
A Simple Set of Sheet Pans
Nordic Ware Naturals Baker's Half Sheet
You can do almost anything on a half-sheet pan, and these aluminized steel pans from Nordic Ware proved just that in our testing. From baking to roasting to extra food prep surfaces, truly great half-sheet pans are a must-have for every home cook.
Price at time of publish: $25Continue to 49 of 50 below.
A Go-To Bread Knife
Tojiro F-737 Bread Slicer
Whether it’s a crusty sourdough or a soft-as-a-cloud milkbread, the Tojiro slicer is sharp enough and lightweight enough to slice with ease. It’s extra-long blade can tackle even the widest loaves. However, it’s also delicate enough to thinly slice tomatoes and flexible-yet-sturdy enough to peel a butternut squash.
Price at time of publish: $25
A Sturdy Bench Scraper
Oxo Bench Scraper
Bench scrapers are indispensable in a busy kitchen, and with all their multiple uses, a comfortable handle is an absolute must. Whether it’s cleaning a cutting board, splitting and moving dough, or portioning gnocchi dough, this model from OXO maneuvered its way through our testing with ease.
Price at time of publish: $12
What's the best gift for a chef?
The answer to this is highly subjective! Might we suggest something super useful and practical (because they likely have their basic kitchen gear covered), like a pack of Swedish dishcloths, or something ingredient-focused like a bucket of flakey salt?
Where should I shop for kitchen gifts?
Well, we think (for gifts under $50) this guide is a nice place to start! The majority of the products on this page can be purchased off of Amazon.