Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is once again upon us. While the most commercialized version of this holiday insists upon romantic dinners and tear-jerkingly thoughtful gift exchanges with our beloved, it’s also a great excuse to buy something fun or useful (or both!) and use Valentine’s Day as the justification.
With this varied perspective in mind, we’ve assembled a collection of gift ideas that range from cute to clever, ready to suit any Valentine you have in mind—your partner, your friends, yourself.
Attractive Organizational Tools
Mepal Microwavable Nested Storage Bowls
Le Creuset 2.5-Quart Stoneware Canister
Whitmor 4-Tier Chrome Shelving
Clutter isn’t sexy, but organization definitely is. Or can be, at least. This colorful container set by Mepal is perfect for storing leftovers and nests nicely for when they're not in use. They're also microwave- and dishwasher-safe, so you can spend less time at the sink and more time doing literally anything else.
For something that will de-clutter your coffee corner and look nice out on the counter, try these stoneware canisters from Le Creuset. As always, they come in a number of colors and sizes. As always, they are beautiful. And if your Valentine’s storage system is in need of a serious organizational overhaul, why not give them a metro rack?
A Great Coffee Grinder
OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
If your favorite coffee drinker is still using a blade grinder for their coffee beans, then they're missing out on better brew. Solve that by getting them a burr grinder! After extensive testing, we have five favorites, but think this grinder from OXO is the best for most people.
An Instant-Read Thermometer
ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE
Every cook needs a great instant-read thermometer. And if your special someone doesn't have one, well, then it's a no-brainer gift. This one from ThermoWorks is our favorite. You can read all about why having an instant-read thermometer around is well, well worthwhile here.
A Waffle Iron
All-Clad Belgian-Style Waffle Maker
Breville No-Mess Waffle Maker
No giftee will ever turn their nose up at a nice waffle maker (and perhaps a heaping stack of waffles to go along with it). We tested a whole bunch of waffle irons, both Belgian-style and American, and our winners will not disappoint. Pick up either of our winning picks for perfectly crisp waffles with fluffy insides and plenty of divots for maple syrup and melted butter. Should you be needing a great recipe, we can help you there, too. I'm partial to these buttermilk vanilla ones, but we have plenty of options to choose from.Continue to 5 of 28 below.
A Beautiful Braiser
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Braiser
For braising, shallow-frying, roasting a chicken, or browning and simmering meatballs, a braiser is a worthwhile purchase. Our favorite braiser is made from enamaled cast iron (excellent heat retention!) and comes in a range of colors, making it a great display piece in any kitchen and suitable for going from the stovetop to the table.
Spicewalla Valentines Haute Chocolate Collection
La Nicchia Zibibbo Grape Elixir
Pralus Pyramide des Tropiques Dark Chocolates
Sweet gifts are always acceptable on Valentine's Day, but make sure they're the right ones. Skip the grocery store boxes and pick up chocolate that is actually good, like these tins of hot chocolate from Spicewalla or the deep, dark Pralus chocolates that Stella likes to gift. Or try something a little different like this grape jelly from Gustiamo. (We've used it as jelly on toast but also as a sweetener in tea.) It's the little things that'll make your partner's day a bit better. With these, you really can't go wrong.
Really, Really Nice Copper Cookware
Mauviel 1.9-Quart Copper Saucepan
De Buyer 1.9-Quart Copper Saucepan
Copper cookware is expensive; it requires a fair amount of maintenance; and it's absolutely gorgeous. If you have the capital and are looking for a truly special gift for someone who's devoted to having the very finest cookware (and who will delight in the maintenance process), a copper saucepan is the ultimate choice.
Our recommendations for quality copper cookware brands—ones so reliable, they may even outlive your relationship (sorry)—include Mauviel, de Buyer, and Duparquet. They're so pretty that gift wrap should be optional.
An Affordable Pasta Pot
Winco Aluminum Stir Fry Pan, 11-Inch
That being said, you shouldn't have to shell out big for a useful piece of cookware. Take Daniel's favorite pasta pan, for example. It's about $50 and the perfect vessel for achieving superbly sauced pasta (you know, glossy from all that starchy pasta water) right at home.Continue to 9 of 28 below.
An Air Fryer (Really!)
Ninja 4-Quart Air Fryer
Haters will tell you a convection oven can do the same thing as an air fryer, but, no. That’s not quite how it works, and we should know—we’ve tested loads of air fryers to see if they’re worth the purchase. They are, and this one from Ninja makes a fantastic gift (especially if you live with the person you’re gifting it to, just saying!) thanks to its just-right size and fair price point. You can splash out with a Philips Premium digital air fryer if you really want to spoil yourself—or, uh, your Valentine.
A Few Baking Gadgets
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale
SFBI Linen Couche
Wire Monkey Goose Lame
A valid perk of gifting someone baking tools is that it increases your odds of the recipient baking a loaf of bread for you. And while baking doesn’t have to be the intimidating science project it's sometimes made out to be, a good digital scale goes a long way in increasing accuracy, just like a nice linen couche helps keep dough in shape while it rests. And if your favorite baker is going to score their dough before baking, they might as well do it with one of the best lames in the biz.
Wilton Heart-Mold 9-Inch Springform Pan
Imagine a Valentine’s Day gift guide for food lovers that didn’t include at least one heart-shaped offering—impossible! Which is why we’re leaving you with this nonstick springform pan that will have you prepared for romantic-themed cakes all year round. You’re welcome.
A Gift Box Made By Us
Gustiamo Serious Eats X Gustiamo Holiday Gift Box
If you want to spice up your giftee's pantry, try out this two gift box customized especially for our readers. How can you be bored if you're whipping up spaghetti con la colatura with colatura straight from Italy?Continue to 13 of 28 below.
D'Artagnan Whole Rohan Duck
Another way to beef up your cooking repertoire? (Heh!) More meat. Start with some 'nduja, our favorite spreadable salami. Spoon it into mac and cheese, spludge some onto your cheese plate, whizz it into your mayo. (Can you think of anything more romantic?)
Actually, yes. We can. The only thing more romantic is our duck project. For less of an extended time commitment, pick up a whole duck and either roast it whole or pan-sear the breasts and confit the legs. It's a labor of love for your love...that you will also love.
A New Salt Box
Zero Japan Salt Box
Emile Henry Salt Pig
A good gift shouldn't have to be expensive. Take this salt box, for example. It's pink (so it fits our theme), it's functional, and it's an under-$50 gift that your special someone will reach for every day. Of course, if you're not into pink, there are plenty of other colors available. We're also fans of this salt pig from Emile Henry.
Need more convincing? Daniel made the case for why every house needs a salt crock, and this lidded version in particular will serve you well. It'll keep unwanted moisture or dust from making its way into your salt. And since you might care, it'll look really nice sitting by your stove.
A Cocktail Smoker
Breville PolyScience The Smoking Gun Pro
Recently, we tested a bunch of cocktail smokers and came up with a clear winner: this one from PolyScience. Sure, it’s pricey for a non-essential kitchen gadget, but if your Special Person enjoys playing bartender, a cocktail smoker that operates with actual wood chips is a pretty cool gift.
Better Cocktail Glassware
Schott Zwiesel Dancing Party Tumblers (Set of 2)
Like they always say, the couple that drink together...drink together. So why not make your happy hours a bit more sophisticated with a set of new glassware? We love these shapely whiskey glasses by Schott Zwiesel. Sure they call for whiskey, but you can use them for any type of cocktail you want to mix up.Continue to 17 of 28 below.
Something to Pour Wine Into
Made In Decanter
Wine decanters are actually a great gift, because they fall squarely into that category known as “things someone can appreciate but probably won’t buy for themselves.” A nice decanter looks great on the table during dinner parties—or a romantic candlelight dinner for two because, you know, Valentine’s Day—and our tests determined this one from Made In is an excellent all-rounder.
Shaquanda Will Feed You Hot Pepper Sauce
Mama Lam's Malaysian Traditional Hot Sauce
Should your giftee be a hot sauce lover, we have quite a few suggestions. There's Shaquanda's Hot Pepper Sauce, a Brooklyn-born brand founded by Andre Singer (Shaquanda Coco Mulatta). There's also Mama Lam's, a Malaysian hot sauce with a dried chile kick. Of course, you could also heat things up yourself by making a batch of chili crisp. Just prepare for the inevitable fight when there's only a spoonful left.
A Timeless Classic
Hickory Farms Valentine’s Day Gift Baskets
Does everyone associate Hickory Farms gift baskets with Christmas, or is it just us? In either case, the brand has been shilling tasty boxes for decades and as it turns out, their cheeses, sausages, and spreads package up just as nicely for Valentine’s Day as they do at the end of the year.
Give the Hot Stuff sausage and cheese box to your crush, or pick up a few of the Little Bit of Love samplers for your sweet friends who endure all those terrible memes you insist on sending to the group chat.
A Quality Paring Knife
New West Knife Works 3” Paring
A good paring knife is kind of a special thing. Considerably smaller than a chef’s knife, paring knives are ideal for tedious tasks like peeling garlic or harvesting a lemon twist for your martini, but having one isn’t essential to your lineup of kitchen tools. Which—like the decanter—is why a paring knife actually makes an ultra-thoughtful gift. While we usually recommend just buying a cheap paring knife, this is a gift! This is special! And this one from New West Knife Works is made in the US, carries a lifetime warranty, and comes in eight different colors so you can choose the one that best suits your beloved.Continue to 21 of 28 below.
A Moka Pot
Bialetti Moka Express Espresso Maker, 3-Cup
Speaking of coffee, a Moka pot is the affordable alternative to swanky Nespresso machines or other pricey, countertop-hogging investments. Pair a shiny new Moka pot with a bag of espresso beans—maybe even add a grinder if you’re feeling generous—and you’ve got yourself a lovely present any time of year.
An Actual Bucket of Salt
Maldon 3.1 lb Sea Salt Flakes
We’ll probably never stop recommending this majestic bucket of flaky salt as a gift simply because it ticks all the boxes: it’s useful, it’s whimsical, it’s iconic. Give someone three pounds of nice salt and they’re sure to love you forever.
A Butter Bell
L. Tremain Original Butter Bell Crock
If you’ve ever pulled a slab of butter out of the fridge and proceeded to decimate an innocent piece of toast with the unspreadable disaster clumped at the end of your knife, allow us to introduce you to the butter bell. Basically, a butter bell is a nice-looking way to store butter on the counter without it getting gross, which means it makes a great gift—it’s the ideal combination of useful and thoughtful.
Fancy Beverage Flavorings
Monin Gourmet Flavorings Floral Collection
Give someone the gift of flavor this Valentine’s Day with a variety pack of gourmet flavorings. This floral-inspired pack from Monin includes violet, lavender, rose, hibiscus, and elderflower—perfect for lemonades or adding to sparkling water. Or, jazz up happy hour with the cocktail pack, or make mornings more interesting with the coffee flavoring pack.Continue to 25 of 28 below.
A Beastly Blender
NutriBullet 600W Personal Blender
Personal-size blenders are for so much more than just green juice for one, and when we tested the Beast, it passed our challenges with flying colors. Smoothies? No problem. Pesto? Easy. Caesar dressing? Please. This little blender is pretty great and we think it’s worth the cash, but the Nutribullet is still a solid contender if you’re looking for something a little easier on the wallet.
A Breakfast-Ready Griddle
Presto Electric Tilt-N-Fold Griddle
You know what goes well with Valentine’s Day? A really nice breakfast. Especially one that’s made at home so you can pop a bottle of bubbly, eat your pancakes and bacon, then hang out on the couch. It’s not lost on us that the holiday falls on a Tuesday this year, but lucky for you, this griddle—which we’ve tested and approved—works just as well on the weekends for a belated celebration.
Something to Spice Things Up
Cuisinart Electric Spice and Nut Grinder
There’s a lot of opportunity here for bad Valentine’s Day jokes, but we’re rising above the temptation and instead gently suggesting that an electric spice grinder is both practical and sure to inspire culinary creativity in the coming weeks. Sohla likes this one from Cuisinart, but also gave a stamp of approval to this budget-friendly Krups alternative.
A Nice Matcha Kit
Golde Make Your Matcha Kit
Matcha is delicious, and this nicely packaged kit includes 40 grams of the good stuff, plus a whisk. What a great gift for the tea enthusiast in your life, right?
When is Valentine's Day this year?
Valentine's Day is February 14, 2023, which is a Tuesday.
What do you get a chef for Valentine's Day?
We think a lot of our above gift recommendations would be good for someone with professional cooking experience. You could try something practical-ish (like a bucket of flakey, finishing salt) or more of a gadget (like a cocktail smoker).