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2021 Holiday Gift Ideas for Cooks, Bakers + Food Lovers

Cook up a great holiday gift.

It’s Unpeeled Journal’s second annual Holiday Gift Guide for Home Cooks, Lovers of Food, and Baking Enthusiasts! Basically, if there’s someone in your life who loves to cook, bake, or eat in 2021, then we have some creative holiday gift ideas for you. Read on.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Cooking Lovers, Home Bakers + Foodies
Photo by Kira auf der Heide, via Unsplash

The Best Gift Ideas for Home Cooks, Bakers, and Food Lovers

Holiday shopping can be tricky. But thankfully, great gift ideas abound for the food and cooking lover in your life. Whether you want to gift someone a practical, high-quality kitchen equipment upgrade, or just some fun food-themed socks and PJs to put a smile on your loved one’s face, this food-lovers gift guide has you covered in every price range.

Ed. Note: Each of these items is a personal, independent selection. No paid promotions, benefits, or profits. 

Holiday Gift Ideas for Cooking Lovers, Home Bakers + Foodies
Photo by Mel Poole via Unsplash

2021 Holiday Gift Ideas for Cooking Enthusiasts + Food Lovers

Category 1: Holiday Food and Cooking Gifts Under $30

1. A Bucket of Maldon Salt

This will be on my holiday gift ideas list every year. The finishing salt of finishing salts, this large flakey sea salt has a lovely, not-too-salty flavor and adds that little special touch to everything from pastas to avocado toast. An essential for every chef ever.

bucket of maldon salt holiday 2020 gift guide for home cooks

2. A Beautiful Olive Wood Ladle

This homey ladle, crafted by high-quality butcher block makers Boos, would look fantastic in a countertop utensil crock, and makes sturdy work of any soup or stock project. At $29.95, the price is also very good for a ladle of this quality (compare: this $49.00 ladle from Sur La Table).

Olivewood ladle

3. A Good Cookbook

Always a good call for cooks. There are always essential classics any home cook deserves to own, and this year had some fantastic new cookbooks to add to an existing collection.

My favorite cookbooks of 2021 include:

  • Don Angie restaurant’s Italian-American: upscale Italian-American food from an N.Y.C. “it” restaurant
  • Baking With Dorrie, by Dorrie Greenspan: accessible, French-leaning desserts from the beloved cook and baker
  • Once Upon a Chef: Weeknight/Weekend is Jenn Segal’s second cookbook, once again featuring a collection of trusted recipes you’ll want to make, from easy weeknight dinners to special-occasion feasts
  • To Asia With Love, by Hetty McKinnon: I’m cooking my way through this entire collection of wholesome, delicious Asian home-cooking recipes (all of which happen to be vegetarian). You should, too.
  • Cook This Book, by Molly Baz: Any cooking Millennial in your life would love to get this collection of fun, modern, can-do recipes.
  • The Arabesque Table, by Reem Kassis: Reem’s collection of 130 Arabic home cooking recipes (organized by main ingredient) will certainly enliven your home-cooking repertoire — and offer fascinating look at history and culture, too.

My all-time essential cookbooks are listed in this roundup, including Alice Waters, Maida Heatter, and Jacques Pépin.

cookbooks in stack with tulips and eggs

4. Salt-Packed Anchovies

Not everyone would be excited about receiving a jar of salted little fish. But a gourmet cook definitely would be. Salt-packed anchovies are heads and fish tails above the plain, canned supermarket variety, and make a briny and melt-in-your-mouth addition to everything from Caesar salad to pastas.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Cooking Lovers, Home Bakers + Foodies salt packed anchoview

5. Deluxe Pasta

If you love cooking Italian food, it’s time you discovered Gustiamo, the source for all things Italian gourmet. I would personally love a package or two of gourmet pasta stuffed in my stocking. Martelli’s is a particular favorite.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies pasta shapes

6. A Banneton

For those into making artisanal loaves at home, this bread proofing basket is essential. It also makes an attractive serving bowl for sliced bread.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies banneton

7. A Food Christmas Tree Ornament

My Christmas tree ornament philosophy is that too much is never enough. There’s always room for more ornaments — especially those like a stick of butter, s’mores, or a short stack of pancakes.

Many shops and online retailers offer food Christmas tree ornaments, but the best and largest ornament selection I’ve found online is at Old World Christmas. It’s hard not to buy too many; the food ornament selection is so large, it’s organized by category!

best food christmas ornaments

8. A Faux Food Candle

John Derian is the king of kitchy-but-classy faux food candles. This year’s collection is guaranteed to bring smiles. These add a fun, whimsical boost to any food-lover’s holiday spirit.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Food Lovers, Cooks and Bakers like John Derian faux food candles

9. A Trivia Game

Foodie Fight is one of my favorite food trivia games. Attempt to stump even the most accomplished home cook and baker with questions about ingredients, food science, food history, famous chefs, and more.

foodie fight trivia game

10. A Blow Torch

Think mile-high meringue, crême brulée, and under-broiled roasts. Julia Child is (falsely) attributed as saying, “Every woman should own a blowtorch.” She may not have actually said it, but I completely agree. This blow torch from the Web Restaurant Store is a best buy. Amazon has some good options, too.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies blow torch

Gift Ideas for Cooking Enthusiasts + Food Lovers: $31 to $100

1. A Champagne Saber

Nothing says “party!” like popping a cork in ultimate style.

A French champagne saber is surprisingly easy to master (don’t tell your guests) but makes a celebratory and fun occasion even more memorable. This is one of the best-quality-for-the-price options I’ve found. Great for wine enthusiasts, people who love hosting, and cooks who have everything.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies champagne saber

2. Stylish Chopsticks

Whether you’re diving into takeout or serving up homemade Asian food, elevate your chopsticks game with these colorful, modern chopsticks from Hay, a go-to spot for trendy and fun Danish design.

nice trendy multicolored minimalist Danish modern chopsticks from Hay for holiday gifts

3. A Professional’s Apron

Hedley & Bennett is the woman-owned apron company making huge inroads in professional and home kitchens alike. They are beautifully made in the U.S.A., and come in a variety of sizes and designs.

H&B has multiple styles and prints, but their Essential collection is a no-fail way to go. The company also carries canvas totes and other accessories.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies hedley bennett apron

4. A Wine Decanter

If you’re not decanting your wine, it’s time to start. Anyone can aerate their holiday wine in style with this modern decanter.

wine decanters from Crate + Barrel is a Holiday Gift Ideas for Cooking Lovers, Home Bakers + Foodies

5. Quality Casseroles

I was very excited to see that this set of Staub casseroles reduced (at the time of this writing) to $99 from $243. This is a steal. Staub is great quality, and these will last forever.Holiday Gift Ideas for Cooking Lovers, Home Bakers + Foodies Staub casserole on Sur la Table

6. A Gorgeous Bundt Pan

Anyone who loves to bake cakes deserves to have something beautiful to bake them in. Nordic Ware makes a large variety of beautiful, sturdy bundt cake molds, many of which are currently on sale. This year, I’m partial to this Brilliance bundt pan.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Cooking Lovers, Home Bakers + Foodies BUNDT PAN from Nordicware

7. A Lovely Serving Tray

This Anthropologie serving platter would make a beautiful addition to any tablescape. So pretty it’s almost a shame to cover it with food.

Gift Ideas for Cooking Enthusiasts + Food Lovers: $100 and Up

1. The Cadillac of Toasters

The Dualit toaster will deliver even, reliable toast with a side of sleek, classic design for your countertop. It’s uncomplicated (just an up/down lever and dial) and will last a lifetime. I like the full chrome, but it’s available in lots of colors. There’s also a 4-slice option.

Dualit toaster for holiday gift for cooks and food lovers

2. Gorgeous Grill Tools

Who wouldn’t love a set of high-quality grill tools that come in their own case? These grill tools are a Williams-Sonoma bestseller for good reason.

Williams-Sonoma Grill Tool set Christmas gift for dad

3. A Better Cup of Coffee

For the serious coffee enthusiast in your life, a Technivorm Mocca Master coffee maker brews smooth, pour-over coffee that rivals any coffee house.

Best Coffee Maker for holiday gift for coffee lover Technivorm Mocca Master

4. Bedhead Pajamas in a Fun Food Prints

My favorite brand of high-quality pajamas is Los Angeles-based Bedhead. The company offers several food-themed prints each year. This year, gift the food lover in your life a pajama set like margaritas, brunch, macarons, milk and cookies, or (my favorite) tacos, below.

bedhead pajamas food print tacos for holiday gift ideas for food lovers

5. A “You’ll Have It Forever” Cutting Board from Boos

A John Boos cutting block is the thick, high-quality cutting board preferred by many chefs and talented home cooks. The shop offers multiple sizes and woods, but I love this rather large, solid workhorse in maple.

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Cooking Enthusiasts and Foodies Boos cutting block

Have other gift ideas for cooking enthusiasts or food lovers? Share below! And if you need more ideas, check out:

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