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!
Kitchellence 3-Stage Knife Sharpener
ThermoPro Digital Meat Thermometer
Oxo Good Grips Smooth Edge Can Opener
Kitchen Mama Electric Can Opener
Oxo Good Grips Cookie Scoop
Di Oro Silicone Spatula
Flairosol Olivia Oil Sprayer
Microplane Zester and Grater
Le Creuset Stoneware Mini Round Cocotte
Ototo Crab Utensil Rest
Chef'n Herb Stripper
"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!"
"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."
"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?"
"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!"
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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.