For some, pushing a microwave button counts as cooking, and then there are those who enjoy spending a Saturday afternoon leafing through cookbooks and trying new recipes, or rolling out dough for dessert. Here’s a look at the best gifts for cooks that impressed the testers at Consumer Reports and that your favorite cook will appreciate.

Cookware 
The 10-piece nonstick Swiss Diamond Reinforced cookware set is made of aluminum and comes with a lifetime warranty. It was the best set in our cookware tests and, at $600, the most expensive. The pots and pans were very good, when new, at evenly heating food and releasing food, and the sturdy handles stay cool to the touch. Our nonstick durability tests are tough—steel wool is rubbed over a pan for up to 2,000 strokes—and the Swiss Diamond nonstick surface held up very well. If your favorite cook is a fan of Ree Drummond, we also tested the Pioneer Woman cookware

Toaster Ovens 
For cooks who have the counter space, the top-rated Breville Smart Oven Pro BOV845BSS is $270. It was very good at baking, excellent at broiling, and it actually makes good toast. The toaster oven ratings offer you more choices. 

Stand Mixers
The $300 Breville BEM800XL was excellent at whipping cream, mixing large batches of cookie dough, and kneading bread dough. It beat out such favorites as the KitchenAid Classic and the KitchenAid Artisan, which we also recommend, as well as other brands, thanks to a bevy of convenience features. But the KitchenAid Professional 6500 Design Series, $550, was tops overall, just slightly better than the Breville.


Go to Consumer Reports' 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more. Be sure to check our Daily Gift Guide, and sign up to get an e-newsletter with top picks, trusted product reviews, and the latest news.
 


Waffle Makers
The $100 Cuisinart Breakfast Central Belgian Waffle Maker WAF-300 served up plate after plate of Belgian waffles that were nicely browned and evenly cooked on both sides, whether on low or high heat. And you'll hear a beep when the waffle maker is ready to go and when the waffles are done. That's useful if the caffeine hasn't kicked in. Our tests found that the recipe does make a difference, read the details in "Waffle Makers That Make Your Morning."

Multi-Cookers
A souped-up slow cooker, the $100 T-Fal 10-in-1 Rice & Multi Cooker RK70851 has 10 preset programs, including slow cook, steam, risotto, browning, and baking. The programmable timer lets you set cooking functions up to 24 hours in advance. The removable metal pot has a 2.5-quart capacity and a nonstick cooking surface. The T-Fal made excellent rice and quinoa, and the yogurt was creamy and delicious. For more choices, find a multi-cooker that will win you over

Pressure Cookers
Food that's fast and healthy? That's where a pressure cooker is handy. The Fissler VitaQuick was the fastest of the five pressure cookers tested. It's $200, and this stovetop model holds six quarts, has a gentle setting for delicate foods such as fish, and a speed setting for meats and stews. It's made of stainless steel, works with any range, including induction, and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Want more options? Find out whether you should buy a stovetop or electric pressure cooker.

Cookbooks
Giving a cookbook together with cooking gear may get you invited back for dinner. Some of our favorites include anything from "Food52," “Gourmet Today,” “Around My French Table,” and Cook’s Illustrated's “The New Best Recipe,” which all feature recipes that are easy to follow with impressive results. Or you can check out cooking classes offered by top restaurants and bakeries in food-crazy ZIP codes or by culinary schools such as the boot camps and artisan bread baking classes at the Culinary Institute of America.