Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

That adage about the way to someone’s heart being through food feels…conditional. What kind of food? Was it cooked well? Did they follow a recipe from a reputable website (like, ahem, Serious Eats) or go rogue, adding ingredients willy-nilly? 

See, conditional! But what is certain is that everyone appreciates excellent food—and pricey pantry ingredients are a surefire great gift. I’ll warn you, though, that the list below is very much a buy one for you, one for me, sort of deal. As in: These vetted ingredients are all so highly awesome that you’ll want them, too.

Tie a ribbon around the neck of this bottle and you’re done. A tablespoon or two of it is incredible in a latte (or a matcha latte or steamer). It tastes like real-deal vanilla, with none of the cloying sweetness you get from artificial flavoring.

Siesto Co. makes some of our favorite tinned fish. Everything is sustainably sourced, delicious, and best paired with good bread and marinated olives. The variety 5-pack will give you a little bit of everything, but gifting a 500-gram (over a pound!) tin of anchovies is really fun too. 

Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

This ceremonial-grade matcha makes a great stocking stuffer. It’s also a good all-arounder and nice in both hot and iced preparations. For a fleshed-out gift, you can get it in a kit that includes a whisk, too.

I’ve heard numerous Serious Eats staffers proclaim their love for Burlap and Barrel. And with good reason: The single-origin spices are uber-fresh and truly fantastic. For a gift, the Fundamentals Set comes with six spices for under $55. It’s housed in a nice box, too—built-in gift wrap!

This has been one of my favorite coffees of late. For a real treat, the barrel-aged coffee is delightfully spicy and tastes like rum. 

Aesthetics! Taste! This olive oil has it all! The set comes with robust and smooth olive oils. For easier pouring, add in this equally eye-pleasing gold spout.

Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

This is one of my favorite olive oils and for a gift that keeps on giving for literal months, you can buy this 3-liter box. It has a spout so you can easily decant the olive oil into a dispenser.

Nothing quite says “I’m treating you” like five-and-a-half pounds of pasta. Gustiamo sells several behemoth bags in different shapes, including bucatini. Print out this recipe for spicy tomato sauce and you’re good to go in gift land.

Serious Eats / Maureen Celestine

I try to go booze-free during the week and having alcohol-less, pre-mixed drinks like this on hand helps me do so. Coincidently, they’re pricey enough that they make for a great gift. There are a number of flavors available, but I like the No. 1, which is inspired by a Negroni Sbagliato and has pomegranate and orange.

I’ve extolled my love for Ghia before, and it’s another great booze-free bottle. Maybe pair it with some nice stemless wine glasses, huh?

This is one special dessert, which I gifted to my dad once and he now asks me to re-order regularly. It has layers of pecans, caramel, and sugar dough. Every slice is enrobed in chocolate and has a chocolate Andre’s logo on top (stunnin’).

These packets of spices are single-origin from Vietnam and can be rehydrated and used in place of fresh herbs. For example, the sliced Northern Mountain Garlic would be excellent in this fried rice.

Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Twelve months, 12 bottles of hot sauce, and everlasting, fiery joy: This is the ideal gift for the hot sauce lover in your life. With this subscription, you get three bottles every four months for a year. The first box even includes a “hot sauce log”—a journal for hot sauce tasting notes.

Freshly made tortillas are a gift in and of themselves. This set includes white, yellow, blue, and red heirloom masa. You can even pair the flours with one of our favorite tortilla presses (perhaps our top colorful option, also from Masienda?). 

Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

There’s a huge difference between great honey and the supermarket stuff. A jar of lavender honey from France and some nice tea and your gift is done and done.

Instant coffee is an excellent gift for the friend who’s always running out of Joe and having to rush out in the early morning hours to buy a bag. It lasts a really long time, so it’s smart to have some packets on hand for an emergency stash of caffeine. And guess what: There’s some great instant coffee out there! Like one of our favorites from Verve Coffee Roasters, which is bright and balanced. 

Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

Compartes always has fun flavors, like this donut chocolate bar or this one with brownies. This box of 20 ganache-filled truffles is no different. They have a real Art Deco vibe.

These frozen dough balls have been my savior as I’ve tested pizza ovens. They’re supremely easy to work with: just thaw them in the fridge overnight, proof at room temperature, and then stretch and top them. The dough is so supple and easy to work with. And for someone who makes pizza regularly (or has been wanting to), they’re a real time-saving treat.

Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

A salami bouquet! Cute! You can choose between a three- or six-stem bouquet. It’s not just playful either: Olympia Provisions makes incredible salami, be it their chorizo or Cacciatore, which has spices like caraway, coriander, and red chili. 

The Cheesemonger’s Picks club comes with three to four cheeses and is available via 3-, 6-, or 12-month subscriptions, depending on how much you want to spend. The cheese arrives in pristine condition, with each one wrapped in Murray’s emblazoned paper.

Great vanilla extract is…expensive. Which also makes it an excellent gift. Heilala’s vanilla bean pasta has more vanilla bean seeds than most other brands, and they even have a vanilla extract packed with flecks of seeds!

Serious Eats / Emily Dryden

My local wine shop sells these giandujotto chocolates by the piece near the checkout counter and I always grab a handful. They literally melt in your mouth and are so wonderfully hazelnutty. For any of my friends reading this, buy me a bag! (Please?!)


What food gifts are best for beginner cooks? 

A beginner cook can surely use a good bottle of olive oil. We also have this gift guide dedicated to cooking gifts for beginners.

What are the best mail-order food gifts? 

Any of the above gifts can be ordered by mail, be it a one-off bottle of vanilla extract or a cheese subscription.

Why We’re the Experts

Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm is the senior commerce editor at Serious Eats.Riddley’s reviewed kitchen equipment professionally for more than five years and previously worked at America’s Test Kitchen and Food52.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *