Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The holiday season is upon us. From baking seasonal desserts to spending extra time with friends and family, there are some things we come to expect as the end of the year approaches. One thing we especially look forward to? Opening our stockings.

No matter what age we are, it is always exciting to unveil the small, sweet items picked out for us. And if you are the one doing the stocking stuffing, here are our top favorite kitchen-related stocking stuffers for the cooks in your life. 

We’d bet you have a few tea drinkers on your holiday gift list. Whether they are just testing the (hot) waters of loose leaf or already have an impressive collection of tea-infusing vessels, we recommend gifting them our top ball tea infuser by Norpro. It is easy to load and clean and rarely lets even a tiny bit of tea dust escape. We love the cute miniature teapot on the end of the chain, too.

Price at time of publish: $7.

Serious Eats / Abigail Clarkin

An excellent wine opener is a must in many of our kitchens. This classic Trudeau opener does the job quickly and efficiently, has a grippy handle, and we love that it is small enough to fit in a drawer at home or to tuck into a picnic basket before heading out of the house. Pair it with an amazing wine subscription, and you’ll definitely be in your giftee’s good graces. 

Price at time of publish: $13. 

Carrots, potatoes, apples…fruits and veggies will not just peel themselves, so let this sleek, easy-to-grip vegetable peeler make the activity much easier. Plus, it comes in many colors, and is ultra-small and light—the perfect stocking stuffer! 

Price at time of publish: $8. 

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Meat–we could not help ourselves–one of our favorite thermometers, the ThermoPop 2. It’s quick, accurate, and easy to use. Plus, it’s only $35.

Price at time of publish: $35.

There’s just something so satisfying about using tiny tools in the kitchen (when they’re efficient, of course). The OXO Mini Angled Measuring Cup is not only adorable, but also useful for a plethora of things, including measuring small amounts of liquids (for cocktails and vinaigrettes), skimming the top off of simmering dishes, taking up less space in the dishwasher, and so many other tasks.

Price at time of publish: $6. 

It is no secret we are fans of space savers in the kitchen, so we absolutely love this small but super handy whisk. Mix that personal batch of pancakes, beat an egg or two, or tackle any other recipe that does not require the use of a cumbersome, full-sized whisk.

Price at time of publish: $11. 

Dessert is important. So, of course, we think people deserve a dessert tool all year round: an ice cream scoop. We love this lightweight, round-scooping utensil from Zerrol, which creates beautiful curls of ice cream with ease.

Price at time of publish: $24.

Serious Eats / Will Dickey

There is nothing quite like topping a slice of radish toast with a sprinkle of flakey salt. Though we think the larger 3.1-pound tub makes a great gift, it won’t quite fit in a stocking.

Price at time of publish: $7. 

Is any stocking stuffer list truly complete if it does not include candy? This creamy, decadent, caramelized white chocolate bar is one of our top choices.

Price at time of publish: $19. 

Nielsen-Massey’s pure Mexican vanilla is one of our favorites. It’s rich and flavorful, and a great gift for an avid baker. 

Price at time of publish: $27. 

Tinned fish has had quite a comeback in recent years. We recommend grabbing this delightful trio of smoked rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, and albacore tuna in all their sweet and salty glory. Each tin’s contents make a fantastic snack, and we think the art on the tin wrappers is cute, too.

Price at time of publish: $33. 

Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

For those who just want a glass or two of wine without committing to an entire bottle in one go, the Vacu Vin wine stopper does an excellent job of preserving wine in a bottle that’s already opened. Simply use the handy vacuum pump to remove all the air from within the bottle and secure it with a rubber stopper that can be used time and time again.

Price at time of publish: $11.

Serious Eats/Irvin Lin

We highly recommend this julep strainer for all those cocktail crafters in your life. It’s simple, easy to handle, and fits well on a variety of mixing vessels.

Price at time of publish: $14.

Wrap this stocking stuffer well for those oyster slurpers in your life. (We know you have those who cannot resist those salty bivalves.) While there are many excellent oyster knives to choose from, this one is great for its affordability, grip, and ability to handle every oyster thrown its way.

Price at time of publish: $11. 

Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

For those who love the earthy, slightly bitter flavor of matcha tea–or those who prefer a caffeinated alternative to coffee–a tin of this bright blend is a real treat.

Price at time of publish: $13. 

Whether scraping the sides of the blender or scrambling eggs, a spatula is an irreplaceable tool in every kitchen. This colorful version from OXO is not only incredibly easy to maneuver, but it can also withstand up to 600°F—perfect for stirring a pot of hot, spiced cider, no?

Price at time of publish: $11. 

Aesthetically pleasing storage is a fun, functional way to decorate a kitchen. When it comes to a classic ingredient like salt, look no further than a bamboo salt cellar (also known as a salt pig) to keep salt clean, within reach, and looking pretty.

Price at time of publish: $10. 

Sometimes one set of measuring spoons just is not enough. But if there can be only one set, these shiny, rectangular spoons are great at reaching into the nooks and crannies of spice jars.

Price at time of publish: $21. 

There is nothing quite like sipping a warm mug of tea while the morning light streams through the windows. Some of us cannot begin a day without a cuppa, and Teapig’s Earl Grey makes that easy. Each flavorful sachet brews a rich, strong cup of tea with all the bergamot we dream of.     

Price at time of publish: $14. 

Wooden spoons have a multitude of perks, including sporting handles that don’t get hot and being gentle on a variety of pot and pan surfaces. Who also does not just love the rustic, classic look of wooden utensils? This “spootle” is one of our favorites, and it is excellent for scraping, scooping, and stirring.

Price at time of publish: $28. 

Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

Some kitchen items are always worth the splurge, and quality spices especially can change the flavor profile of any dish. The cooks in your life will likely appreciate a fresh store of cardamom seeds in their stockings.

Price at time of publish: $17. 

Next time a recipe calls for fresh lemon juice, there’s no need to look around at random kitchen items to be used as a stand-in juicer (we have gotten pretty desperate before). Instead, this top-performing, brightly colored handheld citrus reamer is easy to store and easy to use.

Price at time of publish: $12. 

Move aside Nutella, peanut butter, or even avocado: whipped honey is a delicious spread for sweetening any type of toast. This type of honey is crystallized so it is sweet, thick, and easily spreadable. Savannah Bee Company has a plethora of flavor options, but we are partial to the original flavor.

Price at time of publish: $8. 

Keep those hands, as well as the countertop, protected while taking dishes in and out of the oven. This durable suede pot holder is one of our top picks for its insulation (it can withstand temperatures up to 500°F); soft feel; and, of course, its classy appearance.

Price at time of publish: $34. 

Hot sauce is in style all year long. Give this sweet, spicy, and slightly smoky hot sauce a try, as recommended by Kenji.

Price at time of publish: $13.

This chocolate bar is perfect for splitting between dark chocolate and milk chocolate lovers. Sweetened with coconut sugar rather than cane sugar, the simplicity of its ingredients does not take away from the complexity and richness of its flavor.

Price at time of publish: $5. 

Who couldn’t use a few more dishcloths around the kitchen? These reusable and compostable Swedish dishcloths are a fantastic alternative to traditional sponges and paper towels. Plus, we love the brightness they add to our cooking space.

Price at time of publish: $16. 

Anyone who makes lattes at home can benefit from having a reliable milk frother. Our favorite handheld frother is lightweight, easy to store, and has two speed settings that set up the user for success when making both hot and cold drinks. It’s also great for making matcha lattes and London Fogs, if your giftee isn’t into coffee as much. 

Price at time of publish: $25. 

Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore

Not every recipe calls for the use of our grandmother’s hefty heirloom rolling pin (no offense, Grandma, we love you). When we are crafting something delicate, such as individual mini pie crusts, we like to use this smaller wooden rolling pin. It is also easy to store if there is limited kitchen space.

Price at time of publish: $8. 

While instant coffee might bring back memories of watery, burnt-tasting brews, our resident coffee expert, Jesse Raub, has vetted this modern iteration. In our tasting, he noted it had “a clean finish with flavors reminiscent of caramel, brown sugar, and pear,” and he thinks it’s a well-rounded option for most coffee drinkers. This would also be a great gift for the avid camper who likes to wake up campside with a cup of Joe.

Price at time of publish: $12.

Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

Paring knives are great for small-scale kitchen tasks, like coring and cutting strawberries or supreming citrus. And these affordable ones from Victorinox make a great stocking stuffer for anyone who likes to cook (or who has been whittling away at ingredients with a dull knife for too long).

Price at time of publish: $15.

This cute wine tumbler keeps chilled wine, well, chilled, and also features a slider lid to prevent bugs from getting in and wine from getting out. It kept wine cold for four hours in our testing and is durable enough for oopsy-daisies.

Price at time of publish: $25.

Serious Eats / Eric King

Maybe you have a friend or family member who likes to indulge—you know, a nice bottle of bubbly, some oysters, perhaps a spa visit? Well, you can add to their lush inclinations with a tin of caviar stuffed into their stocking (with an ice pack), maybe with a pearl spoon for serving to round out the gift.

Price at time of publish: $180.

This is a FANTASTIC gift for a coffee lover, especially one who travels frequently and complains all too often about mediocre hotel coffee. The Aeropress is light and compact, and brews a mean cup of Joe (and espresso!).

Price at time of publish: $40.

Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

This backpacking stove weighs a mere seven ounces (that’s less than your average avocado) and folds up to be smaller than a deck of cards. But don’t let its tiny specs fool you—it’s a powerhouse, boiling water in a mere two minutes. This set comes with a pot (fuel is not provided), and maybe throw in a packet of truly good backpacking food for good measure.

Price at time of publish: $145.

Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

While they might poke out from the top of a stocking, these tongs are truly a wonderful stocking stuffer (Serious Eats staffers swear by them and their 16-inch sibling). They grip assuredly, unlock and lock readily, and really act like an extension of your hand.

Price at time of publish: $16.

These small but mighty sheet pans are great for food prep, cooking up a small batch of sides, holding kitchen tools, and salting meat. Plus, at $6 a pop, you could “splurge” and get yourself a few, too.

Price at time of publish: $6.

A tiny strainer might seem akin in utility to an apple corer or tortilla warmer, but trust us—they’re mighty useful. It’s great for double-straining cocktails, catching citrus pulp, or even tapping small amounts of cocoa powder on desserts.

Price at time of publish: $23.

Maybe your giftee likes making dainty hand pies, or perhaps they are renowned for their shellacked, shiny barbecue chicken legs—either way, a pastry/basting brush is a handy tool to have in your pocket (er, stocking?).

Price at time of publish: $8.

If your giftee is getting into sourdough (when they’ve named their starter, you know they’re in deep), consider bequeathing them a pretty bread lame to score their loaves. Not only is the handle on this one from Breadtopia shaped like a baguette (cute!), but it was actually nice to grip and let us get precise with our cuts and slashes in our review.

Price at time of publish: $13.

Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

FAQs

What are some ideas for cooking stocking stuffers?

For those people who cannot get enough of creating masterpieces in the kitchen, we recommend some small tools that will make their lives easier. Some of our favorites are the Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler, Sur La Table Spice Measuring Spoons, and Jonathan’s Spoons Spootle. Adding flavor with special ingredients is also always a good idea. Order Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, or splurge a little bit on Nielsen-Massey Mexican Pure Vanilla Extract.

How much should you spend on a stocking stuffer?

Stocking stuffers are a wonderful way to share small gifts or simply ease into gift-giving during the holidays, so we don’t recommend breaking the bank. A range of products that cost between $5 and $20 is a great idea. And perhaps an extra special item above the $20 range, if you’re feeling fancy.

Why We’re the Experts

Abigail Clarkin has written multiple reviews for Serious Eats, including tea infusers, water filter pitchers, personal blenders, and many more. Serious Eats has been testing kitchen gear and gadgets for more than ten years, so we have the scoop on kitchen equipment.

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