You don't have to spend a fortune on your holiday gifts to make a big impact. In fact, some of the best kitchen gifts are under $25. We've rounded up our favorite ones, including pitchers, beautiful glassware, useful cooking tools for beginners—and, of course, delicious stuff that you can eat. Here are the best gifts under $25 to show your eating-and-cooking loving friends you care:
All products featured on Epicurious are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn a small affiliate commission.
A Modern Pitcher
This handmade pitcher is simple and modern with a science beaker vibe perfect for the friend who approaches cocktails with the seriousness of an A.P. chem class. It's also super versatile and able to fit on virtually any tablescape. It's perfect for a hostess whose style you might not have nailed yet, because who wouldn't love something so streamlined and simple? Still it's far from boring: It has a striking tall and slender look and comes in multiple heights. Serve juice in it. Serve water in it. Serve booze in it. You do you.
BUY IT: Beaker Pitchers, $6–8 at CB2
EAtCO NULU Butter Spreader
For the impatient butter-lover in your life, gift a tool that will make it easy to spread cold butter on toast without waiting for it to come to room temperature. It's a small piece of stainless steel, made in Japan. The metal is bent at a little more than a 90-degree angle—you hold on to one arm, while the other skims off the butter and spreads it on a piece of toast. The Ginkgo knife makes it possible to cut into even the coldest butter and spread it in a thin, instantly-melting layer because it has a series of small perforations along its sharp, scalloped edge—a bit like an overgrown version of an old-fashioned citrus zester. You slide the scalloped edge along the top of a stick of butter, inviting up these gloriously odd thin little coils of dairy product. They're like tiny, spreadable butter-pasta strands. They glide across the surface, melting immediately as if you'd used room temperature butter.
Umami Bomb: 75 Vegetarian Recipes That Explode with Flavor by Raquel Pelzel
Cookbooks always make great gifts, and this vegetarian one teaches flavor-building in a way that'll appeal to the vegetarian and the omnivore on your list equally. "The food in this book is cheesy and smoky and earthy and packed with miso, mushrooms, and soy sauce—and (surprise!) it's all vegetarian," says our Digital Director David Tamarkin. You'll learn to do crazy things like drizzle soy sauce into a chocolate cake batter, and you'll add aged cheese and caramelized onions to pretty much everything. All of that is to say: Pelzel's path to tasty vegetarian food is more thrilling than, say, another basic salad book.
Chile Crunch was created by a Mexico City-born cook who wanted to showcase Mexico’s most essential flavors. Comprised of roasted arbol chilies, garlic, onion, and spices sautéed in canola oil, this one has a more smoky flavor than Asian chile crisps. And, it’s exceptionally crunchy. Gift this condiment to someone who loves layers of roasted flavor, extra crunch, and the perfect amount of spice.
BUY IT: Chile Crunch, $20 on Amazon
Microplane Ginger Tool
This is the most superior ginger grating tool out there. The biggest difference between this grater and the classic zester-grater is the shape of its razor-like teeth. Instead of rectangles, they’re triangles, which are far more efficient at cutting through the root’s fibers. As a result, the ginger bits retained their juice, so all the ginger goodness could go in the dish and not be left on the cutting board.
An Olive Oil Cruet
A pretty cruet for olive oil is not only a stylish gift—it will also ensure that the person you give it to will be storing their oil away from air and light, thus keeping it fresher for longer. In a sea of ceramic options, this stainless steel cruet from the industry's go-to restaurant supply store stood out for its modernist look. It's on the larger side with a 24 ounce capacity, but it boasts a thin spout for a carefully-placed finishing drizzle.
Stainless Steel Place Cards
These shiny place cards add a sleek look to the table—and you can use them endlessly since they can be written on with dry erase marker. You can also use them to label dishes on a buffet or meats and cheeses on a charcuterie plate. Perfect for anyone you know who entertains a lot.
A Fish Spatula
A fish spatula isn't just for fish. It's quite simply the best spatula there is. What sets it apart? A sturdy, slotted plane of stainless steel with an asymmetrical beveled edge, the fish spatula has a much longer head than your typical plastic variety, allowing you the right leverage to flip any delicate item perfectly. It also feels good in the hand thanks to a wide wooden handle. It has a nice bit of springy give. And the spatula is thinner than many other varieties, with a sharp edge—which, again, makes it easy to slide under thin foods like fried eggs. Our Associate Editor Joe Sevier says it's quite simply the best device for flipping anything delicate. Read more about why we love it here—and gift it to the beginner cook in your life.
A Reusable Coffee Filter
This reusable coffee filter cuts down on waste from paper coffee filters. And it makes a smooth morning cup, too. Read more about why we love it here.
The Ringer Cast-Iron Cleaner
For the person on your list obsessed with cooking in their cast-iron: This chainmail scrubber is hands-down the best tool for cleaning a cast-iron skillet. It removes stubborn pieces of caked-on food, all while maintaining your pan's natural nonstick patina.
A Cookbook That Inspires Activism
Julia Turshen's 2017 cookbook is also a handbook for political activism. The recipes, from Turshen and a handful of other chefs, will foster community and provide the nourishment you and your friends need to make a plan and go out in the world swinging.
Flour Sack Towels
I guarantee that no one in your life replaces their dish towels as much as they should. It's about to be a new decade—out with the stained, burned old rags and in with these pretty, utilitarian, dish towels for your loved ones! By the way, they're a favorite of our food editor Anna.
These swatches of reusable cloth coated in tacky beeswax can be used to wrap foods, cover bowls, even contain a handful of nuts—in theory, anyway. Earlier in the year I tested six widely-available brands to see if they could do everything that plastic wrap can. My first choice for reusable beeswax wrap looks great and works for everything—from carrying around sliced apples to covering a bowl of whipped cream. Buy it for the friend who's trying to be more sustainable in the kitchen in 2020.
Kishibori Shoyu Premium Imported Soy
Kishibori is a type of shoyu—a variety of Japanese soy sauce brewed with roasted wheat. To make it, soybeans, sun-dried salt, and mineral water are combined with roasted wheat and left to ferment in 100-year-old cider barrels for a year. The slow fermentation process produces an extremely nuanced, smooth, complex sauce. It's basically pure, liquid umami, and I can't get enough.When you taste Kishibori alongside a mass-produced brand of soy sauce, there really is no comparison. Most soy sauce tastes like salt with some malty flavor added. Kishibori is slowly, naturally brewed. It's free of preservatives and other additives. The result is a fuller flavor and just a hint of a natural sweetness. It also comes in a beautiful bottle, making it a perfect gift.
Bean Envy Milk Frother
This inexpensive tool transforms a serviceable cup of French-press coffee into the sort of fancy brew—piping hot, balanced, and finished with a blanket of sweet, soft, fine-grained foam on top—that I have happily dropped 5 bucks on at a fancy coffee shop. There are no bells and whistles involved—the frother itself is really just a teensy whisk—but its battery-powered motor is brawny enough to whip a small cupful of milk into a creamy, foamy cloud in seconds.
This is another great gift for the beginner cook in your life. The beauty of the Kyocera is multifold. The tool offers straight cuts in four thicknesses (.5mm, 1.3mm, 3mm, and 2mm). And, thanks to an ergonomic handle, it’s easy to wield over a bowl, a cutting board, or a composed dish. There are no extra blades or Transformer-like moving parts. It’s an uncomplicated tool that elegantly delivers what you want out of a mandoline, with ease of use that takes the guesswork out of a potentially intimidating gadget.
Bormiolo Rocco Bodega Glasses
If you've ever been to Europe or a Brooklyn apartment, you've probably seen a bodega glass. Made of thin, tempered glass, it has a wide mouth, straight sides, and an overall look that manages to be unassuming and inexplicably chic at the same time, like a French teenager in jeans and white sneakers. They're lightweight but durable; elegant enough for serveware but functional enough to used as a kitchen tool. You can serve a très chic panna cotta in them, or a scoop of ice cream drizzled in olive oil and flaky salt. You can use them to mis out prepped ingredients or to serve sauce alongside a main. You can store hundreds of them in a tiny cabinet, stacked on top of one another. And, of course, they're great for serving wine or small cocktails.
BUY IT: Bormioli Rocco Essential Decor Glassware, Set Of 12 Mini 7.5 Ounce Drinking Glasses, $20 on Amazon
Champagne Bottle Stopper
Speaking of wine, these sparkling wine stoppers make great stocking stuffers for toasting season. They're simple tools that allow you to preserve the bubbles in a bottle of sparkling. Everyone should have one, or two, or four on hand. You pop open the wings and then clamp them down over the bottle. Pop it in the fridge and it traps all those bubbles in place. When it’s spritz ‘o clock, pull the wings up (it takes a little bit of force because the tool creates such a powerful seal) and pop! you’re ready to go again. Repeat for up to a week until the bottle is empty.
A Spice Grinder
I bet a lot of your friends don't have spice grinders. But they need them, especially if they're really into baking. A spice grinder will allow you to use fresh, beautiful spices that will transform the flavor of your foods. And, this one is so pretty and small that it won't take up valuable counter space.
Fancy Barbecue Sauce
This mustard-based barbecue sauce is tangy and delicious, and has a minimalist label that makes it a simple hostess gift. Each bottle represents a different Southern region and its barbecue style, including Eastern North Carolina vinegar-based sauce and a Memphis-inspired smoky sauce with brown sugar.
Is there someone you know whose utensil drawer is filled with cobbled-together, mismatching wooden spoons and spatulas? Be a benevolent problem-solver and give them this bamboo set in bright colors.
Fancy tonic water is just what the G&T lover in your life needs. This one has extra quinine for that pleasing bitterness you want, plus beautiful floral notes from added elderflower. Its robust flavor means it can be paired with heavier spirits like tequila and rum, while still being a great companion to gin. Bonus points for how nice it'll look on your friends' bar carts.
An Embossing Rolling Pin
This handmade rolling pin is beautiful enough to be put on display, but it actually rolls designs into your cookie dough. Make cookies with seasonal patterns like snow flakes and Christmas trees, or choose a theme like dog paws and uh, penguins.
Originally Appeared on Epicurious