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Holiday Gifts for the Family Chef

Standouts from CR's tests, and our experts' favorite kitchen tools

Want to know the fastest way to a cook’s heart? Give a gift that makes food prep easier, with delicious results. Here are 16 gift ideas from Consumer Reports' tests, including inexpensive kitchen tools our experts use, and recommend. 

If you're the family chef, then all the better. You can buy these for yourself or, if you're considered hard to shop for, give one of your relatives a few helpful hints.

Visit Consumer Reports' 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more. And be sure to check our Daily Gift Guide.

1
Panasonic FlashXpress NB-G110P Oven

Panasonic FlashXpress NB-G110P Oven

The world of toaster ovens is not often 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 it's evenly browned every time. 




    2
    Cuisinart CPT-620 2-slice

    Cuisinart CPT-620 2-slice

    This countertop staple consistently serves up evenly browned toast, as a toaster should. Beyond bread, the Cuisinart CPT-620 2-slice model has settings for bagels, English muffins, frozen waffles, and pastries. Even sweeter, the warranty lasts 3 years. 




      3
      Breville Smart Oven Pro BOV845BSS

      Breville Smart Oven Pro BOV845BSS

      Our top-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
        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

        5
        Cuisinart CastLite Nonstick CIL22-26RN

        Cuisinart CastLite Nonstick...

        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.

          6
          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. 




            7
            Scanpan Classic 11 pc

            Scanpan Classic 11 pc

            Cooking evenness is among the best we tested, and the sturdy handles stay cool to the touch. This Scanpan Classic  nonstick set is made of aluminum and includes a 10-inch skillet, saute pan, three sauce pans, Dutch oven, and glass lids. There's a lifetime warranty.




              8
              All-Clad TK Stainless Steel

              All-Clad TK Stainless Steel

              Not a fan of nonstick coatings? The All-Clad TK 10-inch Stainless Steel pan doesn’t have one. But it does have a sturdy 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.

                9
                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

                10
                Philippe Richard TTUI9554 Pressure Cooker

                Philippe Richard TTUI9554 Pressure...

                This stovetop aluminum 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.

                11
                Fagor Premium 6 Quart Pressure & Rice Cooker

                Fagor Premium 6 Quart Pressure &...

                Save time, eat well. That’s the pressure-cooker promise, and this is the fastest of three electric models we tested—and much speedier than cooking on a stovetop. The Fagor's exterior is stainless, and the removable pot has a nonstick coating. Any family chef lucky enough to receive it can cook braised ribs, bouillabaisse, and more, with recipes included.

                12
                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

                13
                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 the small grills in our tests.




                  14
                  Vitamix 5200

                  Vitamix 5200

                  Is a Vitamix blender on the wish list? The Vitamix 5200 performs nearly as well as the top-rated Vitamix Professional Series 750 in most tests, and costs about $200 less. Both blenders hold 8 cups and have the same warranty. It covers the motor for 7 years, and the other parts for a year. And here's something to consider: Our brand reliability survey found that Vitamix is more reliable than most other full-size blender brands. 




                   

                    15
                    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.




                      16
                      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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                      Kimberly Janeway

                      For years I've covered the increasing water and energy efficiency of washers and what it means to consumers, along with innovations in a variety of products, and whether manufacturers deliver on their promises. What I'm really trying to do is to help consumers, and consumers help me by posting comments and posing questions. So thanks!