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I write about kitchen products for a living, and these are the 11 cooking tools I'm giving as stocking stuffers

kitchen stocking stuffers: a leaf-shaped herb stripper, blue le creuset cocotte, red microplane
Looking for stocking stuffers they won't want to return? These practical kitchen tools will appeal to any home cook on your list.

How many of us have received stocking stuffers that just seem like, well, filler? Cheesy little gifts we know we'll never use, promptly shoved in a drawer and forgot about by January. But as a kitchen product writer who used to bake professionally, I'm all about filling those socks on the fireplace with handy cooking tools. Whether you're shopping for aspiring chefs or cooking novices, these are my 11 picks — from a bestselling digital kitchen thermometer to a crab-shaped spoon rest. They're practical, sometimes fun and entirely giftable. Happy holidays!

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This No. 1 bestseller sharpens, straightens, repairs and polishes to keep old blades looking and functioning like their former selves. Plus, it comes with a protective glove to help prevent cuts!

$15 at Amazon

"Old knives turned into new," raved a user. "I used it for some older, cheap knives and luckily, I now do not need to buy a newer set ... I can easily slice up tomatoes again, and if the blade gets dull again, at least I have this new, effective sharpening tool to remedy the dull blade!"

Yes, this bestseller might technically be called a meat thermometer, but don't underestimate its value when it comes to liquids and baked goods, too. The most accurate way to tell if food is done cooking is by taking its temperature, and this gizmo presents a reading in seconds.

$15 at Amazon

"You remember sticking a fork/toothpick in a pan of brownies to see if they are finished yet? Think of this as a more advanced fork!" joked a home cook. "I've found the readings to be very accurate for cooking quiche, baking cakes, as well as cooking steak and chicken. This is a good tool to have in the kitchen for food safety, as well as making better food, since you'll be less likely to overcook when ensuring food safety temperatures are met. Recommended temperatures are printed on the back as well for quick reference."

A can opener might seem like a strange gift, but trust me — this one's like the Rolls-Royce of kitchen tools. It doesn't pierce through the lid, it cuts around it to eliminate any sharp edges. Genius! Oh, and the coolest feature? There's a set of teeny built-in claws that can be used to pick up messy lids and toss them into the trash.

$26 at Amazon

"I love this can opener like family," joked one satisfied shopper. "This thing does all the work for you. It turns so smoothly, the little pinchers take the top off and the edges are completely smooth. And the best part is it never comes in contact with the stuff in the can, so it's not going to get all rusted and make you think you'll get tetanus from touching it. ... Who knew you could get so much joy from a kitchen gadget?"

You could also go the electric can opener route for recipients who could use a completely hands-off tool. Well, almost hands-off — all they'll have to do is place it on top of the can, press the button and let it do the rest. 

$30 at Amazon

"This product has been such a lifesaver in our kitchen!" exclaimed one happy user. "Arthritis has hit us both hard, and opening cans has become an issue for us both. ... Oh my, what a game-changer it is. ... You are left with the lid and no sharp edges! I would recommend this item to anyone, arthritis or not!"

Know a home baker? Using a cookie scoop is the best way to portion out dough to ensure each of their cookies are the same size. Not only will they look prettier this way, keeping everything as uniform as possible will help ensure they all finish baking at the same time, too. 

$17 at Sur La Table

"I'm so glad I finally decided to buy a cookie scoop, and I wish I'd done it years earlier," shared a satisfied shopper. "Each year for Christmas, I make a soft ginger cookie, and this scoop made it so easy this year. Cookies were uniform in size, and looked so perfect I could have bought them at a bakery. The scoop is easy to use, fits comfortably in my hand and works beautifully. My repaired carpal tunnel hands were so happy to have something which made the job easy."

Whisks might be more commonly associated with baking, but I find myself reaching for a silicone spatula like this much more often. The flexible design and rounded corner gets into the curves of the bowl while mixing, and for more delicate batters, it allows for gently folding the ingredients in. Plus, it can be used to smooth the top out once everything's been poured into the baking vessel. Get it in six colors!

$14 at Amazon

"Easily my favorite kitchen tool," gushed a fan. "It's sturdy enough to cut cold butter, soft enough to lightly caress ganache, flexible enough to get every last drop of oil/melted butter/batter out of the bowl in single schliiiick and there isn't anything that doesn't wash off after the briefest rinse — not even hardened caramel."

Grease is not the word with this nifty gizmo. I love using it to lightly coat my pans with oil to keep food from sticking without being too rich — and it's never once gotten clogged. Plus, it's really pretty! Sometimes, practical gifts really are the best.

$22 at Amazon

"I bought an oil mister from a different brand that was constantly clogging, dripping and generally making a mess," shared a Flairosol fan. "I finally gave up and tried the Olivia oil mister, and man did it make a difference. First, one or two sprays absolutely coats a pan or veggies or whatever with your oil of choice ... and it has shown no signs of slowing down or clogging. The best part? It doesn't drip or make a mess. It's very easy to fill, and despite the plastic top not being the most sturdy thing I've ever seen, it seems durable enough."

My culinary life was changed when I discovered the Microplane, which makes quick and easy work of everything from zesting citrus to grating cheese. It's far less bulky than a box grater, and its handheld design offers much more control (meaning, less chance of nicking your fingers). It comes in 27 colors/prints!

$17 at Amazon

"I'm in love!" wrote a five-star reviewer. "I had no idea zesting could be this quick and easy, and the results were a PILE of light, fluffy zest that didn't pick up any bitter pith like my old grater. I was very careful and am ecstatic that I managed from start to finish without loosing ANY flesh and no blood was shed — for a change! ... I've always dreaded using my grater because I ALWAYS got hurt, but now I'm excited to use this much more."

How adorable is this personal-size pot? Le Creuset can cost a pretty penny, but if you're looking for a more affordable gift, this darling 8-ounce cocotte is the perfect find. It's perfect for heating up individual servings of cozy favorites like mac and cheese and oatmeal, or for storing butter at a spreadable room temperature. Get it in 14 colors. 

$22 at Sur La Table

"I ordered this item with the hopes of using it as a salt crock and can say I am delighted with the choice," shared a satisfied shopper. "It’s the perfect size and looks fantastic sitting on my stove. And the convenience of having salt so close at hand while cooking is the desired outcome."

Who says kitchen tools can't be fun? This adorable crab can be used as a spoon/utensil rest or be clipped onto the side of a pot to prop open the lid. It's like having one's own little crustacean cheerleader while cooking. 

$20 at Amazon

"I got this as a gift for our family's Secret Santa gift exchange," explained one happy recipient. "Not only did it make me laugh, but it's also been incredibly useful! No more dirty spoons laying all over the stove; this is easy to affix to the side of a pot or pan and keep a stirring utensil handy while keeping it out of the way."

No one likes having to pick each and every little leaf off of their herbs or removing the stems from their kale. And with this top-rated herb stripper, your recipient won't have to. They'll just slide the stems through the hole that fits best, and the leaves will come off in one fell swoop. 

$7 at Amazon

"This is one of those random kitchen gadgets that you would never even think about existing, but it's brilliant!" raved a fan. "We grew kale in our garden this fall and I was spending way too much time cutting the leaves off the stems. Then I stumbled across this tool ... I immediately ordered one and was very impressed! It saves me so much time stripping those leaves. I also use it for rosemary, oregano and other herbs. It really has come in handy way more than I would have thought, especially since we have a garden and I have lots of fresh, leafy veggies and herbs!"

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The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.