- December 7, 2022
- Modified On: September 26, 2022
- by Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
- 0 Comments
41 Unusual Cooking Gifts
Looking for unusual cooking gifts for foodie friends or loved ones? This round-up of 41 out-of-the-box ideas won’t disappoint.
I’m a sucker for kitchen products. I love receiving and giving them. And I know my way around the block when it comes to coming up with unusual cooking gifts ideas.
You may already own the basics like a set of cast iron pans, a Dutch oven for high heat cooking, kitchen shears, fancy ice cube trays, and a slotted spoon.
The next time you’re shopping for a foodie friend or relative, use this list to come up with unusual cooking gift ideas for them.
Meal prep gift ideas
When it comes to unusual cooking gifts, these meal prep ideas are certainly out of the box!
1. Garlic chopper
“Since I put garlic in just about every dish I make, a garlic chopper is a great time saver,” says Janet Brancato, MS, RDN, owner of Nutopia Nutrition. “I use it daily, and it chops the garlic fine and evenly.”
2. Salad spinner
“We eat a large salad every night, so I use my salad spinner every day,” says Elena Paravantes, RDN, author of The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Beginners.
“I use the bowl to soak the greens—and then after a few spins, they are dry and ready to eat. It is also useful for drying herbs,” she says.
Liv Lee, MS, RDN, a dietitian in Philadelphia, agrees. “It makes using fresh greens easy and fun, because wet lettuce and dressing don’t mix!” she says. “I eat salads more frequently after I bought this low-budget gadget.”
3. Mini spatulas
“It seems simple, but I have a collection of mini whisks and spatulas,” says Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, author of Eat to Beat Disease Cookbook. “When I’m cooking, I use them all! They’re so great for transferring and blending.”
4. Food processor
“My food processor is a very useful tool in my kitchen,” says Tracee Yablon Brenner, RDN, CHHC, co-author of Simple Foods for Busy Families. “It’s also great to make hummus, pesto, curry sauces, muffins, and baked goods.”
“The interchangeable blades and discs makes it easy to grate and chop onions and other vegetables, as well as to chop nuts and make nut butter,” she adds.
Yablon Brenner says she also uses the gadget to make nice cream, ice cream, and different types of snack bites containing nuts and dried fruit.
Jennifer Hunt, RDN, healthy recipes blogger at Healthy-Inspiration.com, love her food processor, too, noting that she uses it to make mashed cauliflower.
Here’s an item to add to your kitchen utensils list, pronto. “I love to make low-carb alternatives of my favorite pasta dishes,” says Lara Clevenger, MSH, RD, CPT, author of Freezer-Friendly Family Dinner Recipes.
“It’s an easy and delicious way to get more veggies into your diet,” she adds.
6. Steamer pot
“My favorite gadget is my steamer pot,” says Kate Wilson McGowan, RD, a dietitian in New York City.
“As a new mom, this has steamed my son’s first foods!” she says. “Feeding your child food for the first time can seem very overwhelming, but steaming in this pot is so easy. And a bonus: You can boil pasta at the same time!”
7. Immersion blender
“My favorite tool is my immersion blender,” says Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD, owner of Kelly Jones Nutrition, who suggests using the gadget to prep a Creamy Dairy-Free Tomato Sauce.
“It’s so much easier and safer to use it over the stovetop to make soups and sauces creamy, versus transferring hot liquid to a blender. It’s also quick and fun to use—and clean up is super easy.”
Marie Dittmer, MA, RDN, a nutrition blogger at HealthyIdeasPlace.com, notes that you can also use an immersion blender to prep smoothies and vinaigrettes.
8. Garlic press
“We are an Air Force family and recently rented a furnished house for a few months while doing some training in another state,” says Savannah Thaler, RDN, owner of Savvy Wellness and Health.
“The kitchen had the necessities but not all my usual gadgets and tools,” she says. “The thing I missed the very most was my garlic press! I love using fresh garlic and cook with it almost every night.”
“Quickly mincing garlic with a garlic is so much more efficient than hand chopping each tiny clove. I will never travel without it again!”
9. Egg poacher
If this item isn’t on your list of kitchen items, add it immediately. “I love using these egg poach pods,” says Tawnie Kroll, RDN, owner of Kroll’s Korner.
Make poached eggs for an eggs Benedict recipe or to serve with fruit and whole-grain toast. “I love it for the ease and because they actually work really well!”
10. High-speed blender
Kathy LaBella, RDN, CSSD, owner of Peak Performance, says that she couldn’t live without her high-speed blender. “I use it daily for smoothies, soups, and other recipes!” she says.
11. Countertop microwave
“Along with our salad spinner, the microwave is a completely useful and practical tool in my kitchen,” says Zach Cordell, RDN, owner of Cordell Nutrition.
“Being a box, it’s not as sexy as other gadgets but can do the job of reducing time serving up meals for the family,” he says.
Flavor enhancer gifts
When it comes to unusual cooking gifts, low-calorie ways to add flavor win the prize.
12. Mortar and pestle
“I like my good old mortar and pestle,” says Lisa Bruno, RD, a dietitian in Union City, NJ. “I use it to crush together olive oil, garlic, and herbs. It makes everything so much more fragrant.”
13. Coffee grinder
Nothing tastes as good as freshly ground coffee beans. And this stainless steel beauty makes your coffee routine even more picture perfect. Add it to your list of kitchen items today.
“I always buy whole coffee beans because they stay fresher longer,” says Natalie Rizzo, MS, RDN, author of Planted Performance. “I grind about one cup at a time. That way, I can adjust the coarseness of the bean based on the type of coffee maker I’m using.”
“My favorite gadget is my Microplane,” says Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RDN, co-author of Born to Eat. “Even when I do cooking shows on the road, my zester goes with me. I love a pop of lemon, lime, or orange.”
Joan Salge Blake, EdD, RD, author of Nutrition & You and clinical associate professor of nutrition at Boston University, uses her zester in a different way. “I use it to put a fine dusting of Parmigiano Reggiano on everything.
Chicken, fish, veggies, rice, and of course pasta all get a light coating of this flavorful cheese.” Rachel Begun, MS, RDN, a culinary nutritionist at RachelBegun.com, uses hers to grate ginger, turmeric, chocolate, and mushrooms.
15. Air Fryer
“I love my Actifry for roasting veggies and making all sorts of ‘fries’ like sweet potato, parsnip, and butternut squash ones with only one Tablespoon of oil for two pounds of produce,” says Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club.
“The moving arm inside this air fryer allows you to set it and forget it without having to stir or turn your veggies during cooking,” she says.
16. Citrus juicer
If you don’t already own a juicer, add this one to your list of must have kitchen items. “In addition to sauces and salad dressings, I use fresh-squeezed citrus juices in a variety of dishes,” says Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, co-author of We Can Cook.
“Citrus adds so much flavor without bumping up the sodium and fat content of recipes. And unlike an electric juicer, the hand juicer is quick and easy to clean!” she says.
17. Milk steamer
Here’s a kitchen gadget that I’m rather obsessed with at the moment. I’ve stopped making so many runs to the coffee shop for steamed and foamed milk, since this appliance allows me to easily do the job myself.
The best part? Steamed milk feels like a treat, yet it contains no added sugar.
18. Milk frother
If an electric milk steamer isn’t in your current budget, add a handheld milk foamer to your must have kitchen items list. You’ll have to steam the milk first (you can do this over the stovetop), but the gadget is a lot more economical.
19. Sous vide cooker
“I’m obsessed with the sous vide,” says Bruno. “It is an amazing way to cook fish and meat, and it has so many other uses. You just need the time.”
20. Indoor grill
Yup, you can grill indoors anytime of year! When you grill, you get that amazing BBQ taste without loads of calories from butter or oil. Plus, the City Grill pairs with the Cook with Kenyon app for lots and lots of grilled-food recipes!
Portion control gifts
When it comes to unusual cooking gifts, you can buy presents that help your loved ones eat healthier.
21. Oil mister
“I use an olive-oil sprayer in place of non-stick spray on popcorn and when toasting bread or croutons,” says Laura Rutledge, MA, RDN, CSO, nutrition blogger at NourishingPlate.com. “It helps disperse the oil evenly without dousing the item with oil!”
22. Olive oil pourer
“I can’t live without my olive oil pourer, which I transfer to a new bottle each time I start one,” says Sharon Palmer, RD, author of Plant-Powered for Life and a plant-based blogger at SharonPalmer.com.
“It helps control the amount of olive oil you pour over foods,” she says
23. Measuring cups
“My favorite kitchen gadget is the measuring cup—and not only for measuring food,” says Jessica Spiro, RD, owner of Jessica Spiro Nutrition.
“I use a measuring cup as a scoop when I make cookies or veggie burgers for consistently manageable sizes,” she says. Also, measuring cups are great tools for toddlers!”
“I love to have my 1-year-old daughter help in the kitchen, and I’ve found that the handles on measuring cups make it easy for her to put ingredients into the blender, pot, pan, or mixing bowl.” Don’t forget to buy matching measuring spoons!
Creative food prep gifts
Having fun with food is part of the joy of eating it. Add these unusual food gifts to your shopping list.
24. Yoga pose cookie cutters
“My family loves to have fun with our food,” says Lacy Ngo, MS, RDN, author of The Nourishing Meal Builder. “One way we do this is to collect cookie cutters.”
“We use them to cut out shapes in our whole-wheat bread when we make fun sandwiches or whole-wheat tortillas when we make quesadillas,” she says.
Ngo says her kids love yoga-inspired cookie cutters, nicknaming them “exercise sandwich cutters.”
25. Cookie press
I’m a little obsessed with this product, which allows you to imprint designs like flowers, owls, and the word “love” onto cookies. It’s on my kitchen supplies list for baking!
26. Apple corer
“I’ve been loving my apple corer,” says Stephanie Langdon, RD, creator of WhatRDsDo.com.
“It makes prep work quicker and less messy but also makes snack time fun for my toddler. We core apples, slice them into rounds, and decorate them with peanut butter, yogurt, granola, and dried fruit.”
Functional cooking gifts
When it comes to unusual cooking fits, functional presents are very out of the box.
27. High-quality knives
“I use a chef’s knife and a paring knife for everything,” says Rebecca Livingstone, RD, nutrition blogger at FoodsandThoughts.com.
Use a chef’s knife to slice vegetables and mince herbs—and a paring knife to peel produce or remove seeds from jalapenos. She says she loves multi-tasking items because she has limited space.
Judy Barbe, RD, author of Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest, notes that she takes her knives with her even when she camps!
28. Vegetable peeler
“I love my veggie peeler,” says Therese Bonanni, MS, RDN, a dietitian at Navesink Wellness Center in Rumson, NJ.
“I often use it to make zoodles, without having to store a large spiralizer. I also use it to grate hard cheeses like Parmesan to add a little bit of extra flavor on top of soups and salads without breaking the calorie bank!”
“I love using chopsticks for all kinds of things in the kitchen,” says Ann Dunaway Teh, MS, RDN, CSSD co-owner of My Menu Pal. “They’re my go-to before tongs or even wooden spoons.
“They’re great for flipping foods in a pan, either on the stovetop or when roasting vegetables in the oven,” she says.
30. Multi-use cooker
“I finally caved and bought a multi-use cooker, aka Instant Pot,” says Jessica Cording, RD, author of The Little Book of Game Changers and owner of Jessica Cording Nutrition. “It can slow cook, pressure cook, sauté, and steam.”
The Instant Pot can also make rice, risotto, and yogurt (get many more Instant Pot recipes)!
“I’ve been having a great time playing around with my new kitchen toy, and already it’s become a valuable tool that doesn’t take up a ton of space—key for New York City apartment living,” says Cording.
Kelli Shallal, RD, author of Make Ahead High Protein Breakfast Recipes and healthy living blogger at HungryHobby.net adds, “I’m pretty obsessed with my Instant Pot for food prep.”
31. Rice cooker
“I love my three-cup rice cooker,” says Darla Balthaser, RDN, nutrition blogger at ecoRDN.com. “It is great for tiny kitchens. I make all kinds of rice, grains, and lentils in it—but it is actually used most to make cake!”
32. Stackable cooling racks
When Diana Dugan Richards, RD, owner of Namaste Nutrition, saw stackable cooking racks at a friend’s house, she knew she had to own her own set and that they’d top her list of must-have kitchen tools.
“They’re sturdy, stackable, and great for small kitchens,” she says. “They’re also easy to clean and very long lasting—think decades!” Bonus: Richards say her cookies cool evenly with the racks.
Food safety presents
When it comes to unusual cooking gifts, food safety ones are no-brainers!
33. Color-coded cutting boards
Cutting boards in multiple colors and styles are a staple in the kitchen of Amy Reed, RD, owner of Amy Reed Nutrition. “I line them up when making a big meal or when my kids are prepping their lunches. I can never have too many.”
Using separate cutting boards for meat and produce prep is essential for food safety.
34. Knife sharpener
“Dull knives have no place in the kitchen,” says Pat Baird, MA, RDN, author of Be Good to Your Gut and founder of Confident Health. “Sharp ones make the dullest chores a breeze!”
35. Food thermometer
“An oven-safe meat thermometer ensures perfectly cooked food and preserves food safety,” says Jenna Braddock, RD, co-author of 200 Surefire Ways to Eat Well and Feel Better a sports dietitian at MakeHealthyEasy.com.
“I have one with two thermometers so you can always know the temp of two individual items in the oven,” she says.
“Buying a high-quality one that can withstand temps up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit is crucial. I use this tool all the time. It helps anyone be an expert cook.”
Presents that help keep your kitchen tidy. Your recipients will love these unusual cooking gifts.
36. Prevent spills
Talk about genius kitchen gadgets! Evelyn Gezo, MS, RDN, professor emerita at Fordham University in Bronx, New York says she swears by her Kuhn Rikon Kochblume Spill Stopper when boiling pasta or cooking beans.
“The water never spills over,” she notes.
37. Tablet stand
Gone are the days when you need to wipe off your smartphone or tablet after you cook. Prevent spills and splatters with a tablet holder.
“Keeping my tablet in the kitchen helps me explore new flavors, techniques, foods, and trends,” says Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN, senior nutritionist at Price Chopper Supermarkets in Schenectady, NY.
38. Dish soap wand
“One of my favorite kitchen gadgets is a soap-dispensing dish wand,” says Shaylyn Lynch, MS, RDN, a cystic fibrosis dietitian at Drexel College of Medicine in Philadelphia.
“Having a sponge with a handle makes clean up easy and quick—without getting your hands dirty,” she says.
Food storage gifts
Here are additional items to add to your list of unusual cooking gifts!
39. Food huggers
“I just got a set of these food huggers for Christmas and love them so much!” says Rebecca Clyde, MS, RDN, a healthy food blogger a NourishNutritionBlog.com.
“You slip them on half-used round foods like onions, citrus, apples, and even canned goods if you’re too lazy to transfer leftovers into sealed containers,” she says.
” I’ve been trying to reduce food waste and spoilage, and this has been a great way to do so.” Grab a set of this dishwasher-safe storage!
40. Display canisters
I have several sets of these in my kitchen, and they display everything from pasta to nuts and seeds. The air-tight container helps items stay good for the long haul, definitely ranking it high on my list for must-have kitchen tools!
41. Glass cups with lids
I love a multi-use product, and these custard cups allow me to serve up anything from yogurt parfaits to chia pudding. They come with a lid, making it a cinch to store leftovers.
When it comes to shopping for unusual cooking gifts, you have so many ideas at your disposal. You can choose from gifts for meal prep, gifts that add flavor, food safety gifts, and more.
- Janet Brancato, MS, RDN, owner of Nutopia Nutrition
- Elena Paravantes, RDN, healthy recipe blogger at OliveTomato.com
- Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, CSO, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a healthy recipe blogger at ChampagneNutrition.com
- Tracee Yablon Brenner, RDN, CHHC, co-author of Simple Foods for Busy Families and culinary director at Triad to Wellness
- Lara Clevenger, MSH, RD, CPT, author of Freezer-Friendly Family Dinner Recipes
- Kate Wilson McGowan, RD, a dietitian in New York City
- Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD, owner of Kelly Jones Nutrition
- Savannah Thaler, RDN, owner of Savvy Wellness and Health
- Tawnie Kroll, RDN, owner of Kroll’s Korner
- Kathy LaBella, RDN, CSSD, owner of Peak Performance
- Zach Cordell, RDN, owner of Cordell Nutrition
- Lisa Bruno, RD, a dietitian in Union City, NJ
- Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RDN, co-author of Born to Eat
- Joan Salge Blake, EdD, RD, author of Nutrition & You and clinical associate professor of nutrition at Boston University
- Rachel Begun, MS, RDN, a culinary nutritionist at RachelBegun.com
- Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club
- Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, co-author of We Can Cook and nutrition blogger at JessicaLevinson.com
- Natalie Rizzo, MS, RDN, a dietitian in New York City
- Laura Rutledge, MA, RDN, CSO, nutrition blogger at NourishingPlate.com
- Sharon Palmer, RD, author of Plant-Powered for Life and a plant-based blogger at SharonPalmer.com
- Jessica Spiro, RD, owner of Jessica Spiro Nutrition
- Lacy Ngo, MS, RDN, nutrition blogger at MindfulnessinFaithandFood.com
- Stephanie Langdon, RD, creator of WhatRDsDo.com
- Rebecca Livingstone, RD, nutrition blogger at FoodsandThoughts.com
- Therese Bonanni, MS, RDN, a dietitian at Navesink Wellness Center in Rumson, NJ
- Ann Dunaway Teh, MS, RDN, CSSD co-owner of My Menu Pal
- Jessica Cording, RD, author of The Little Book of Game Changers and owner of Jessica Cording Nutrition
- Kelli Shallal, RD, author of Make Ahead High Protein Breakfast Recipes and healthy living blogger at HungryHobby.net
- Darla Balthaser, RDN, nutrition blogger at ecoRDN.com
- Diana Dugan Richards, RD, owner of Namaste Nutrition
- Amy Reed, RD, owner of Amy Reed Nutrition
- Pat Baird, MA, RDN, author of Be Good to Your Gut and founder of Confident Health
- Jenna Braddock, RD, co-author of 200 Surefire Ways to Eat Well and Feel Better a sports dietitian at MakeHealthyEasy.com
- Evelyn Gezo, MS, RDN, professor emerita at Fordham University in Bronx, New York
- Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN, senior nutritionist at Price Chopper Supermarkets in Schenectady, NY
- Shaylyn Lynch, MS, RDN, a cystic fibrosis dietitian at Drexel College of Medicine in Philadelphia
- Rebecca Clyde, MS, RDN, a healthy food blogger a NourishNutritionBlog.com
I’d love to hear from you! What will you add to this list of unusual cooking gifts?
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