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Holiday Gifts for the Family Chef


The fastest way to a cook’s heart is with a gift that makes meal prep easy and delicious. Show your appreciation by giving one of these culinary wonders.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the December 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

1
Panasonic FlashXpress NB-G110P Oven

Panasonic FlashXpress NB-G110P Oven

The world of toaster ovens is not exactly a hotbed of innovation. That’s why we’re excited about the groundbreaking Panasonic FlashXpress NB-G1110P toaster oven. Its quartz and ceramic elements deliver infrared heat instantly. The result? That morning English muffin hits the table faster—and evenly browned every time. 

    2
    Krups 2-Slice KH732D50

    Krups 2-Slice KH732D50

    You might imagine all toasters are created equal, with walls of filaments that turn red hot when electricity flows through. Yet many models struggle to serve up evenly browned toast. Enter this top-scoring Krups KH732D50 toaster. Thanks to the layout of its heating coils, it delivers consistent results, whether set for light or dark.

      3
      Breville Smart Oven Pro BOV845BSS

      Breville Smart Oven Pro BOV845BSS

      Our number-one-rated countertop cooker, the Breville Smart Oven Pro BOV845BSS, lives up to its name with a combination of intuitive controls and pinpoint temperature performance. In addition to the morning toast, it’ll turn out perfectly roasted meats, broiled vegetables, baked goods, and 13-inch pizzas—making any family chef look clever. 

        4
        Proctor-Silex Cool-Touch 22203

        Proctor-Silex Cool-Touch 22203

        The simple plastic housing keeps the price low, but the performance is not com­promised. In terms of toasting consistency, the humble Proctor Silex Cool Touch 22203 two-slice toaster outperformed models that cost many times more. It’s perfect for a college student or that first-time apartment renter in your life. 

          5
          Sur La Table Citrus Reamer

          Sur La Table Citrus Reamer

          "It's small but pleasing to the palm–with nice heft–and it gets every last drop out of your fruit. It's so easy to use and clean that I find I use fresh juice much more often."—Amy Keating, R.D., a dietician in our food testing lab

          6
          Cuisinart CastLite Non-Stick 10" CIL22-26R

          Cuisinart CastLite Non-Stick 10"...

          The 10-inch Cuisinart CastLite Nonstick pan turns out evenly browned pancakes, and fried eggs slide out like silk when done, without any scraping or sticking. The handle stays cool to the touch, too, so with all hassles removed, the only thing left is to eat and enjoy.

            7
            Swiss Diamond Reinforced 10 pc #6010

            Swiss Diamond Reinforced 10 pc #6010

            It wasn’t merely the diamond particles in the nonstick coating used in this 10-piece Swiss Diamond Reinforced cook set that dazzled us. Food cooked evenly, the pots and pans have heft, the handles are sturdy, and a lifetime warranty backs it all up.

              8
              Pioneer Woman Vintage Speckle Non-stick 10 pc

              Pioneer Woman Vintage Speckle...

              Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman blogger and Food Network star, lends her name to this 10-piece Pioneer Woman Vintage Speckle porcelain-enamel nonstick cookware set. Cooking evenness and nonstick durability were among the best we tested, and most pieces are relatively lightweight. Read more about Pioneer Woman cookware.

                9
                All-Clad Stainless 10 in

                All-Clad Stainless 10 in

                Not a fan of nonstick coatings? The 10-inch All-Clad Stainless fry pan doesn’t have one. But it does have a handle that stays cool to the touch, no matter how hot the pan itself gets, and its magnetic material means this versatile model also works with an induction cooktop or range.

                  10
                  Cuisinart Classic Knife Set

                  Cuisinart Classic Knife Set

                  "The lightweight design of the knives in this 15-piece set makes them easy on your hands, and the price makes them just as easy on your wallet."—Bernie Deitrick, Senior Product Tester

                  11
                  Philippe Richard 6-Quart Pressure Cooker, Aluminum TTUI9554

                  Philippe Richard 6-Quart Pressure...

                  Costing less than a single night of takeout, this stovetop model cooks even faster than electric pressure cookers, especially on gas burners. But however speedy it may be, its limited lifetime warranty means it should be around for the long haul.

                  12
                  Fagor Premium 6 Quart Pressure & Rice Cooker

                  Fagor Premium 6 Quart Pressure &...

                  Save time, eat well. That’s the pressure-cooker promise, and this one is the fastest of three electric models we tested—much speedier than using a stovetop to prepare some foods. Any family chef lucky enough to receive it can cook braised ribs, bouillabaisse, and more, with recipes included.

                  13
                  Microplane Premium Classic Zester/Grater

                  Microplane Premium Classic...

                  "It's so much easier to zest any kind of citrus with my Microplane than with a box grater. The zest doesn't stick–it just falls right off. And it's just as good for hard cheeses, too. I have one at home, and I just bought another one to use at work!"–Claudia Gallo, CR Recipe Developer

                  14
                  Oregon Scientific Wireless BBQ/Oven AW131

                  Oregon Scientific Wireless...

                  No more need for a host to linger near the grill or oven with one eye on the meat. The Oregon Scientific Wireless BBQ/Oven AW131 is a leave-in digital thermometer that frees the family chef for higher-level tasks such as enjoying some eggnog. All he has to do is select meat type and doneness, insert the probe, and wait for the portable receiver to prompt him.

                    15
                    ThermoWorks Pocket RT600C

                    ThermoWorks Pocket RT600C

                    Tired of guessing or poking your way to the answer of whether your festive roast is perfectly done? With this battery-operated, instant-read ThermoWorks Pocket RT600C digital thermometer, all the cook has to do is turn it on and stick it in the meat as the end of the cooking time nears. It provides quick, accurate, reliable results in an easily readable display. 

                      16
                      Weber Spirit S-210 46110001

                      Weber Spirit S-210 46110001

                      Grilling should be fun, but tempers can flare if the propane tank is empty or the burners conk out. This small Weber Spirit S-210 46110001 grill guards against both crises with a fuel gauge and a 10-year warranty on its burners. Plus, it heats evenly, a rarity among small models we tested.

                        17
                        Electrolux Expressionist ELJB56B8PS

                        Electrolux Expressionist ELJB56B8PS

                        It’s not quite the poor man’s Vitamix, but the Electrolux Expressionist ELJB56B8PS blender does cost hundreds less than most über-blenders while delivering performance in the same league, especially when it comes to making smoothies and other frozen drinks. Its compact design—just 16 inches tall—means it’s simple to store, too.

                          18
                          Cuisinart Power Advantage HM-50

                          Cuisinart Power Advantage HM-50

                          In our lab tests, this nicely priced Cuisinart Power Advantage HM-50 hand mixer outperformed models costing twice as much. It’ll turn whipping cream into fluffy peaks in seconds. Stiff cookie dough, which undoes many bargain mixers, proved no problem. You won’t get much in the way of add-ons, but its wire beaters do just fine.

                            19
                            Kitchen Grips Chef's Mitt

                            Kitchen Grips Chef's Mitt

                            "These oven mitts are so much better than the cloth kind that feel like mittens. They're thin and flexible, so I can still move my hands."–Maxine Siegel, R.D., Head of Food Testing

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