Looking for Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers for cooks? Maybe you know a foodie who seems to have everything? No worries — you’re bound to find something on this list they need!
Growing up, my favorite part of opening gifts on Christmas was finding out what Santa had tucked into my stocking. My mom was great about filling mine with little treasures: small glass figurines, miniature books, beautifully wrapped European chocolates, and many other special treats.
You can imagine my surprise the first time we stayed with relatives at Christmas, and I watched my cousin pull tubes of toothpaste, pairs of socks, hairbrushes and other practical stuff out of his stocking. I figured he must have been particularly horrid that year for Santa to punish him so.
The truth is, although my cousin probably was horrid (he was an awful kid), their family tradition favored practical stocking stuffers while our tradition was more extravagant. Our family now prefers a mixture of special trinkets and useful things, but never, ever toothpaste.
This list reflects some of the great stocking stuffers my husband and kids have given me over the years. Every item has delighted me, and was something I probably would never buy for myself (making them special) but also something helpful that made my life easier (making them practical, too).
If you know an avid home cook, I heartily recommend tucking one or two (or ALL!) of these into his or her stocking then sit back and watch their eyes light up in glee.
Stocking Stuffers For Cooks
1. Silicone Baking Mats: Providing a true non-stick surface for baking or roasting up to 480° F, one or more silicone baking mats can replace entire rolls of parchment paper or foil. They’re great for baking cookies but work just as well under meatballs, chicken breasts, vegetables, even bread.
2. A Cookie Scoop: A cookie scoop stopped my family from fighting over who gets the biggest cookie. It also stopped me from burning the smaller ones on the pan since every cookie is now the same size. It’s not just for cookies, though: I use it to scoop rice, make meatballs, and even to serve diet-friendly scoops of ice cream or sorbet. This model doesn’t hurt my hands, either, which is vital given the hundreds of cookies I make around this time of year.
3. Mini-Whisks: I had NO idea how useful a mini-whisk could be until I received one. Now it’s the first thing I reach for when whipping up an omelet for one, mixing a late-night cup of cocoa, making a slurry to thicken a sauce, or emulsifying the ingredients for a quick homemade salad dressing.
4. Mini-funnels: The perfect size for transferring homemade spice mixes to small bottles or transferring spices from store-bought containers to decorative ones — these mini-funnels are indispensable in the kitchen!
5. The Ove Glove: I know, I know: “You mean that thing on TV?!” Yes, the very one and, yes, I was stunned that it works just as well as those commercials promise. My son gave me an Ove Glove six years ago and I’m still using it! They DO protect your hands, and they’re easier to use than potholders. Plus, you can just toss them in the washing machine, and food stains come right out.
6. Stainless Steel “Soap”: Rubbing your hands on stainless steel will get rid of cooking odors from garlic, onions and more. If you don’t have a sink made of the stuff this stainless steel soap works just as well.
7. Silicone Spatula Set: A busy cook can never, ever have enough silicone spatulas. They’re handy for stirring and great for scraping those last bits out of bowls. In fact, I’m often surprised at just how much more batter I can get out of a mixing bowl with a spatula than a spoon: sometimes enough to make an entire pancake or muffin! This set has three sizes, making it a great starter set.
8. Mini-Prep Bowls: Everyone who’s watched a cooking show knows the first rule of cooking is mise en place — having ingredients ready, in pre-measured amounts, before you start cooking. These mini-prep bowls are the ideal size for that task, but they can be used for much more. Use them to serve sensible-sized snacks, or to hold toppings for a baked potato, taco or make-your-own pizza bar.
9. A Potato Ricer: My kids used to complain that my mashed potatoes were lumpy, gummy and stiff. Then someone gave me a potato ricer and now my kids will tell you I make the best mashed potatoes EVER. But it’s not a one-hit wonder: you can use it to juice citrus, puree vegetables for baby food, squeeze water out of cooked spinach, and more.
Also see: Hostess Gift Ideas and Etiquette
10. Dough Guides: Anyone who bakes has encountered that persnickety recipe which calls for dough rolled to 1/16″, 1/8″ or 1/4″. You can try winging it, or you can get reliable results with this rolling pin with multiple discs to get the correct thickness you need. Only one way will get you reliable results every time — hint: it’s not winging it!
So there you have it, 10 Stocking Stuffers for Home Cooks… or just for yourself. (What, am I the only one who buys myself goodies this time of year?!)
Know what else makes great stocking stuffers? My books!