We see a lot of new products on a daily basis. (It’s all part of the job!) Some are good, others are not-so-good, and some are total game-changers — meaning they have the power to help you finish a task in less time and with less effort (usually while taking up less space, too). It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while we get our hands on something that makes us stop and think, “Well, that’s smart,” or, “Where has this been all my life?”
This is a list of those super-brilliant products. Here, you’ll find gifts to make time spent in the kitchen easier, cleaner, more organized, and a heck of a lot more fun — the way it’s meant to be! We found tools for better baking, cooking, caffeinating, cleaning, and organizing, and we’ve got something for everyone on your list. Shop for yourself or pick out some things for a loved one who could use an upgrade (or three).
2021 K Gift Guide: Game-Changing Tools & Gadgets - Cookware
This tabletop-worthy 4-cup measuring cup is fab because of its pink and blue hue, sure. But it's also because it's made of super durable borosilicate glass and has measurement marks for ounces, milimeters, and cups.
The perfect gift for a college student or any other busy working bodies who need quick but nutrient-rich solo meals, this microwave egg maker holds a single serving of scramble. The ceramic handle makes eating straight from the pot easy and civilized.
Don't leave your favorite griller in the dark. These grilling tools have LED lights that shed helpful light on the grill — and are easier to find after sunset.
Perfect for the air fryer lover in your life, the Ninja Foodi 15-in-1 digital oven is the do-it-all device they'll love making a part of their daily routine. This mighty machine does the work of several different appliances, so you can bake, toast, roast, air fry, and even sear. Best of all, it's a small-space-friendly find, too: when done cooking, simply flip the oven up for vertical, space-saving storage and a clutter-free countertop.
This brilliant popcorn bowl sifts out the unpopped kernels so your favorite movie-watcher can snack while fully absorbed in the show. This stoneware has just the right amount of heft and fits beautifully in the hand.
Show your favorite tea drinker that you really get them with this double-walled glass mug. Infuser? Check. But there's also a lid that doubles as a saucer, it holds a whole 16 ounces, and it's microwave and dishwasher safe.
Lots of us are big fans of the bestselling Holy Sheet. It performs beautifully, it will not warp, it's nonstick, and it's stunning. The only thing that could make the Holy Sheet better is having more than one. This collection includes the classic half-sheet pan and two quarter-sheet pans, so there’s plenty of room to roast veggies, bake cookies, and more.
Help the holiday host keep their floors tidy after the festivities by gifting this powerful three-in-one cleaning machine by Shark. The cordless mop and vacuum works on surfaces of all kinds to suck up dirt and debris, lift stubborn spots, and eliminate unwanted odors. An anti-microbial brush roll cleans itself so you don't have to get your hands dirty, and the HydroVac's two-tank water system separates the dirty solution for quick disposal. Plus, just turn on the self-clean cycle to clean the brushroll, nozzle, and interior tubing — it doesn't get any easier than that!
Lots of pans have one or two cool features such as high sides, a truly nonstick surface, or a built-in spoon rest. But this one has ALL of those features and more in one attractive piece of cookware. It replaces eight common pieces in the kitchen and it works on induction cooktops, too. Proof that it's really a game-changer? It's often sold out and you've likely seen it all over Insta this past year.
No doubt, a huge part of this toaster's appeal is its touchscreen display and sleek design. But, you'll also be pleased to discover that the appliance browns your bread in way less time than it would take with a traditional toaster. (You can even defrost frozen bagels, waffles, pastries, and more.) Cleanups are also made simple with its removable crumb tray.
It's already been established that Vitamix is the Rolls-Royce of the blender world. Well, their 12-cup food processor is no joke, either — this smart machine cuts prep time in half by mixing, chopping, and mincing ingredients in no time. Its SELF-DETECT technology also allows the processor to adjust its settings based on what type of container you're using. It's actually kind of genius, and your giftee is bound to be impressed.
One way to elevate your giftee's water experience is to give them this stylish carafe. The tapered glass design and easy-to-use filter are beautifully simple — plus, it filters out more than 30 different contaminants, including bacteria, lead, PFAS, and microplastics, making every home's water taste extra refreshing.
Help someone set up a new kitchen or replace their hodgepodge collection of pots and pans with this Instagram-famous set. Available in a variety of beautiful colors, this cookware doesn’t just look good, it performs beautifully, too. The ceramic-coated interior provides a nonstick surface that is free of PTFEs (that’s the bad stuff you’ve read about in the news), it’s oven safe, and it’s surprisingly lightweight.
This cast iron skillet gets made with a special triple seasoning process, which means the pan will arrive perfectly seasoned out of the box, ready to take on anything. This feature eliminates the learning curve many beginners need when first starting to cook with cast iron.
Simplify cooking on weeknights and holidays with Yummly's Smart Thermometer, which has app-based cooking assistance, timers, and alerts, so you can focus on other dishes at hand. All you need to do is tap what you're cooking, choose your preferred doneness, and the connected Yummly app will guide the way from there — from up to 150 feet away. It can handle grilling, smoking, roasting, and stovetop cooking when you're making meat, fish, and poultry dishes.
Air fryers became so ubiquitous so quickly that a lot of brands seemingly started releasing ones whose design clearly hadn't been carefully considered. That's definitely not the case with Breville's smart oven air fryer, which looks like it belongs in a professional chef's kitchen. In addition to air frying, this product has 10 other cooking settings, as well as a dual-speed mode for quick results. Really, anyone would be lucky to receive this!
Keurig has always been ahead of the game when it comes to coffee machine innovation, but the K-Supreme Plus SMART coffee maker is on another level. Like its original single-serve predecessor, this product will still accept your beloved pods — now, though, you can connect your Keurig to Wi-Fi to brew from anywhere and get beverage recipes based on your choice of bean. This coffee maker would make a wonderful present for young adults in particular, as well as dorm dwellers.
A roasting pan is a versatile piece of kitchen equipment — it works equally as well when used for quick weeknight dinners as it does when someone's hosting a holiday party. This one is made from carbon steel, an excellent conductor of heat, so veggies and meat will get a nice sear every single time it’s used.
If you're looking for a unique kitchen gift, this pasta maker is a truly novel idea. As much as your friends might say they're trying to lay off the carbs, no one can resist homemade spaghetti, fettuccine, or penne. And, this machine makes all of those — as well as five other types of pasta! It's so easy to use once you get the hang of it, and the final product tastes unequivocally better than store-bought noodles.
At first, this simple bamboo cutting board looks like any other board in its category. The reason why this one is extra-nice for gifting, though, is because its design features "juice grooves" around the perimeter, so produce isn't sloshing and sliding around as it's being cut. There's also a carved-out slot for phones, so your giftee can watch recipes and other content while working. The board is thin enough to not be bulky but significantly sturdy nonetheless.
As a smaller gift, get your loved one this ingenious wooden spoon. Although this tool has been around for centuries, there was the glaring conundrum: where to place the spoon when it's not in use and how to do that without making a mess? The Totally Bamboo spoon has a notch on one side, which allows it to conveniently sit on the rim of the pot or pan in use. Simple, yet genius.
You might be thinking, Food storage containers? As a holiday present? But, whoever receives these will truly appreciate them. This set comes with eight silicone bags, cups, and dishes in your choice of peach, teal, lavender, white, or gray. Unlike wasteful plastic baggies, these will hold up no matter how many times they go through the fridge, freezer, or microwave. And, they're completely non-toxic.
Presumably, most of our giftees probably already own kitchen knives. So, instead of gifting a basic cutlery set, opt for this $11 knife sharpener. This is one of those finds that people usually don't know they need until they have it, so your friends will no doubt appreciate you for it. The sharpener is also compact, so no worries if its recipient lives in a small space!
If you're feeling extra-generous this holiday season, get your bestie a Dyson stick vac. Even if they already own a floor cleaner, this one is likely lighter and easier to maneuver thanks to its cordless design and slim build. (They can even relegate the Omni-Glide to just the kitchen for cleaning up after cooking!) The vacuum also comes with its own docking station that attaches to the wall, so it's not in the way when not in use.
Our staff swears by Yamazaki products, so trust us when we say that this magnetic organizer will upgrade any kitchen. (It's especially great if your giftee struggles with storage space.) Simply stick the organizer onto the fridge — no assembly or drilling required — and revel in all the extra shelving that suddenly appears. And, we can't ignore how chic that wood and white steel design is.
There are tons of innovative and space-saving dish racks on the market now, so your giftee shouldn't have to stick with the same one they've had for years. This rack by OXO is a great gift because you can fold it flat for when you just have cookware and glassware that needs drying. For plates, though, the aluminum frame pops up, giving you an extra surface. And, this item is rust-proof, so it's built to last.
Stick blenders are unsung kitchen heroes. They do just about everything a regular stand blender does and make it possible for you to puree soups and sauces right in the pot. Plus, these easily fit in a drawer without taking up any counter space.
A microplane grater is perfect for gifting because whoever you get it for will keep finding more uses for it over time. It starts as an occasional tool for zesting lemons and limes, then quickly becomes an everyday essential for garlic and cheeses. This one is dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning, too!
Help upgrade a special someone's entire cooking arsenal with this one "do everything" pan. It offers the even heating and durability of a Dutch oven with a shallower, easier-to-clean design. Take it from stovetop to oven and choose between vibrant colors like red or blue.
A reliable coffee grinder is always in demand, and for coffee drinkers who don't have one, it's the easiest way to make their homemade coffee taste much fresher. Grab an extra one for grinding spices, too!
Opening the fridge and realizing you've run out of cold brew is the worst. Empower your loved ones to replenish their iced coffee carafes on their own with this foolproof cold brew maker. The pitcher is BPA-free and fits easily into most fridge doors.
This expandable wooden shelf is the next best thing to booking someone a private consultation with Marie Kondo. It's versatile enough to fit inside cupboards or on countertops, and the wood construction adds a calming touch to anyone's kitchen.
No kitchen sponge is as hardworking or self-reliant as this refillable soap-dispensing scrub brush. It's the kind of practical gift that people will appreciate more and more over time, and rest assured, they will let you know how game-changing it is.
The angled slots are what make this organizer a game-changer. They let you neatly stack different utensils so you can fit all your spoons, forks, and knives in one drawer.
This is a dream gadget for home cooks who take spices seriously. The electric handle swaps between refillable containers, so having freshly ground pepper, salt, or literally any dried spice is super easy.
We don't know why it took until now for someone to make a coffee canister that lets you set the expiration date right on the lid. We're just glad this upgrade exists, and so will the coffee lovers in your life.
When you can help someone replace two tools with one, you're a genius. When you give someone this four-in-one colander/steamer/splatter guard/pot rest, you're a genius and a really, really good friend.
Need to chill a glass of wine quickly? There's a product for that! The VoChill wine chiller comes with two parts; the stand and the detachable cradle. The latter is freezable and when in use, perfectly fits around a range of stemmed wine glasses to keep your reds or whites perfectly chilled.
Roller carts are game-changers when it comes to storage because you can put just about anything in them. No room for that bag of potatoes? Need a spot for some boxed spaghetti? This three-tier cart is prime real estate. Of course, whoever receives this item doesn't have to use it in the kitchen — the best thing about the cart is that it can go in the bathroom, laundry room, or anywhere else you can think of.