The Best Valentine's Day Gifts for Cooks and Food Lovers

Including both budget-friendly and splurge-worthy ideas.

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Overhead of spooning duck jus over sliced soy-maltose roast duck breast.

Vicky Wasik

Like most celebrations in the past two-ish years, Valentine's Day 2022 is going to look a bit different. That means you'll likely be enjoying time with your special someone at you've been doing for almost two years now. So, how can you make it special?

Forget the giant teddy bear, the long-stemmed roses, and that sad supermarket box of mystery chocolates. This Valentine's Day, get your loved one something they really want, like great food or beautiful cookware that will make time in the kitchen even more enjoyable.

Below you'll find our gift recommendations that will hopefully do just that. We have ideas for everyone, whether you're looking to splurge on your longtime honey or snap up something cheap and sweet.

  • Attractive Organizational Tools

    Metro shelving storage

    Vicky Wasik

    If you've been living in a tight space with your partner, the clutter is probably starting to feel like little piles of chaos all over your house. That's why this Valentine's Day, no gift is sexier than organization solutions. 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 on the couch where you belong.

    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 their storage system is in need of a serious organizational overhaul, why not give them a metro rack?

    Le Creuset 2.5-Quart Stoneware Canister
    Whitmor 4-Tier Chrome Shelving
  • An Instant-Read Thermometer

    Thermometer taking temperature of a roast in the oven
    J. Kenji López-Alt

    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.

    Thermapen One
  • A Waffle Iron

    Photo: Vicky Wasik

    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.

    All-Clad Belgian-Style Waffle Maker
    Breville No-Mess Waffle
  • Something Sweet

    pieces of milk chocolate on a white background
    Vicky Wasik

    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. (I'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.

    Trio of hot chocolate tins in its brand packaging
    Pralus Pyramide des Tropiques Dark Chocolates
    Continue to 5 of 13 below.
  • A Great Coffee Grinder

    Testing coffee grinders at Joe Pro coffee shop
    Liz Clayman

    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.

    OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
  • Really, Really Nice Copper Cookware

    many copper skillets hanging on hooks

    Vicky Wasik

    Last year, Daniel did a deep dive into copper cookware: how copper pans are made, the pros and cons of owning one, and how to clean and care for it if you do. Here are some things we learned: 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.

    Daniel's 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.

    Mauviel 1.9-Quart Copper Saucepan
    De Buyer 1.9-Quart Copper Saucepan
  • An Affordable Pasta Pot

    Photo: Vicky Wasik

    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 under $40 and the perfect vessel for achieving superbly sauced pasta (you know, glossy from all that starchy pasta water) right at home.

    Winco Aluminum Stir Fry Pan,11-Inch
  • A Gift Box Made By Us

    Photo: Vicky Wasik

    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 or spooning pistachio paste straight from the jar?

    Continue to 9 of 13 below.
  • Meat

    Photo: Vicky Wasik

    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. I 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

    Hand reaching in to grab salt from a salt cellar

    Vicky Wasik

    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.

    Zero Japan Salt Box
  • For the Kids: A New Book

    Illustration: Gianna Ruggiero

    While I don't myself have children, I am reminded that kids like to receive Valentine's Day gifts, too. If you want to skip the chocolates (do they really need so much sugar every day?), pick up Kenji's book, Every Night Is Pizza Night. I read pretty often for my four-year-old niece and this book is a welcome reprieve from Disney. Plus, the illustrations and story are fun enough for any adult to enjoy.

    Every Night is Pizza Night
  • For the Adults: Better Cocktails

    five cocktails sitting on a tray
    Vicky Wasik

    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.

    Schott Zwiesel Dancing Party Tumblers
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  • Something Hot

    Photo: Vicky Wasik

    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.

    Mama Lam's Malaysian Traditional Hot Sauce