kitchen tools that make you feel like a professional chef

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Between endless excuses to indulge in the very best food has to offer, and the chance to step up your kitchen game courtesy of friends and family who are eager to find you the perfect gift, the holidays are one season we wish would never end. If you’re anything like us, your kitchen wishlist is probably miles long—that’s why we rounded up the most essential kitchen gadgets, appliances, and culinary odds and ends that some of your favorite chef idols always keep on hand.

A Thermometer

Thermapen Mk4 Professional Thermocouple Cooking Thermometer, $91 at ThermoWorks

Thermapen meat thermometer

Thermapen

Overcooked or undercooked meat is not very chef-like. That’s why a quality thermometer is essential to ensure your steak, chicken, or turkey is heated to the ideal temp. “I love the Thermapen Mk4 thermometer,” says Alex Guarnaschelli, Food Network star and executive chef of Butter in New York City. “It might not be the cheapest but it’s reliable, folds up, is waterproof, and most importantly, it displays temperature clearly.” Find it online at thermoworks.com or Amazon.See It

Fresh Herbs

AeroGarden Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit, $59.99 and up on Amazon

AeroGarden indoor herb garden

AeroGarden/Amazon

The pros always have fresh herbs on hand, and one way to avoid a last minute grocery run is to grow your own. The AeroGarden is one of the easiest home gardening systems on the market, harnessing the power of hydroponics and grow lights to produce fresh basil, mint, thyme, and more with minimal effort from you. Simply feed and refill the water when prompted and watch your garden grow! Choose from a variety of sizes and seed selections at aerogarden.com, Macy’s, Kohl’s, or Amazon.See It

An Air Fryer

GoWISE USA 5.8-Quart Electric Air Fryer, $79.99 on Amazon

extra large electric air fryer

GoWISE/Amazon

Gift-giving season is the perfect time to join the air fryer craze. These gadgets allow you to produce crunchy, crispy foods without dealing with the messy, stinky, unhealthy process of deep frying. Cat Cora, Food Network Iron Chef and host of ABC’s new show “Family Food Fight,” likes the Gourmia GAF575. “It’s the perfect gift for making anybody feel like a chef because it’s large enough for a family but compact enough to store easily. Plus, it’s simple to use,” she says.See It

Seasonal Dessert Gear

Cookie Cutters, Cake Pans, and Festive Sprinkles, $4.99 and up at NYCake

sugar cookies

Chowhound

A professional chef is prepared for any special occasion, and one way is to keep themed items that are easily storable on hand. For holiday gear, cookie cutters and cake molds are a must. NY CAKE, the largest baking supply store in the world, has all your baking needs covered. Our favorites? Christmas tree cookie cutters, a snowflake-shaped silicone cake pan, and festive sprinkles.See It

“Bring the Sweet” Gold Pie Server, $6 at Edwards

gold pie server

Edwards

The holidays are also an excuse to pull out all the fancy stops. Fool your guests into thinking you spent hundreds with the Gold Pie Server from Edwards Desserts.See It

A Juicer

Hurom H-AA Slow Juicer in Rose Gold, $413.99 on Amazon

Hurom Juicer in rose gold

Amazon

You don’t need to be a health nut to own a juicer. These days, juicers can squeeze out everything from fruit and veggie juices to smoothies, ice cream, nut milks, and even hummus! Check out HUROM for a variety of styles, sizes, and colors (hello, matte black and rose gold!) that are sure to make your countertop pop.See It

A Wine Accessory

Üllo Wine Purifier, $79.99 on Amazon

Ullo Wine Purifier

Ullo/Amazon

Wine is essential, for both cooking and entertaining. Impress your guests with restaurant-quality vino by investing in a wine purifier, which aerates and purifies (aka removes sulfites that are responsible for that next morning wine headache) to create a smoother, tastier sip. The Üllo Wine Purifier is one of the best and is widely available at Amazon, CrateandBarrel.com, Bloomingdales.com, and more.See It

A Blender

Vitamix 5200 Professional-Grade 64-Ounce Blender, $399.95 on Amazon

Vitamix blender

Vitamix/Amazon

Whether you’re whipping up pesto, salad dressing, sauce, or a soup, you’ll need a blender to do so. Guy Vaknin, chef and founder of Beyond Sushi in New York City, opts for a Vitamix blender that’s 3-horsepower and up. “There’s no better tool that I have come across that will bind, combine, and force flavors and ingredients together to create a silky smooth texture for any of the dishes I create,” he says.See It

Braun Multiquick 9 ACTIVEBlade Technology Hand Blender, $130 on Amazon

Braun quiet stick immersion blender

Braun/Amazon

If you don’t have room for a full-size unit, an immersion blender is the way to go. One great option is the Braun MultiQuick MQ9037 Hand Blender—not only does it get the job done and come with extra attachments like a whisk and a masher, it’s Quiet Mark certified, which means it meets the company’s standards for noiseless or noise-cancelling products. Translation: If you get a hankering for homemade hummus at 3 a.m., blend away!See It

Quality Cookware

Lagostina Giada Stainless Steel 4-Quart. Dutch Oven with Hammered Copper Lid, $39.99 at Macy’s (originally $99.99)

Lagostina Giada Stainless Steel 4-Quart. Dutch Oven with Hammered Copper Lid

Macy’s

Give (or beg for) the gift of high-end cookware. Lagostina offers a variety of pots, pans, and any other cooking vessel you can imagine, made from materials likes stainless steel and copper (to really feel like a pro, we love the Lagostina Giada 4 Qt. Dutch Oven, a versatile product that’s part of a collaboration with chef and Food Network mainstay Giada De Laurentiis).See It

Looking to browse a bit more? Kohl’s and kohls.com offers cookware sets from Food Network, Calphalon, Rachael Ray, and more, and Target and target.com carry Ayesha Curry’s new line—all perfect for the namedroppers on your list!

Good Olive Oil

Premium Olive Oil, $21.95 and up at Domenica Fiore

premium olive oil

Domeinca Fiore

Any foodie will appreciate the gift of quality olive oil that they won’t find at Costco. Try Domenica Fiore, which offers high-end extra virgin olive oil from Italy, or Greek olive-oil brand Gaea.See It

Coffee Gear

KRUPS Programmable Digital 12-Cup Coffee Maker, $51.91 on Amazon (originally $99.99)

KRUPS digital 12 cup coffee maker

KRUPS/Amazon

No professional kitchen is complete without coffee on-demand. For traditional drip machines, fancy espresso machines, or grinders, Krups is your one-stop-shop.See It

Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe by Breville, $99.96 at Sur La Table

Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe by Breville

Sur La Table

Too lazy to measure and pack your espresso shot? Pod machines like Nespresso (the OG that offers dozens of pod flavors) or Espressotoria were made for you.See It

Nice Knives

Culinario Series Knives, $39.95 and up at Princess House

Princess House knives

Princess House

Professional chefs love their knives, so shove those dull blades in the back of a drawer and replace them with shiny, sharp ones that make chopping and slicing easier, safer, and more satisfying. For a splurge gift, shop the Culinario series at princesshouse.com—you can find singles and full sets made from German stainless steel.See It

For familiar brands like Calphalon, Farberware, and more, Target and Kohl’s are the way to go.

Multicookers, Slow Cookers, and Pressure Cookers

These days, there’s a “cooker” for everything.

Crock-Pot 6-Quart Cook & Carry Slow Cooker, $23.84 on Amazon (originally $44.40)

Crock-Pot Cook & Carry slow cooker

Crock-Pot/Amazon

Crock-Pot is the beloved brand-name slow cooker and now comes in a variety of models, including the Cook & Carry, which you can take on-the-go (tailgating essential!).See It

Aroma Houseware Professional 16-Cup Turbo Convection Multicooker, $140.34 on Amazon

Aroma Houseware Professional 16-Cup Turbo Convection Multicooker

Aroma Housewares

But you can also get multicookers from companies like AROMA—you can cook via turbo convection heat or induction heat, and its sleek design almost begs to be displayed on the countertop.See It

Ninja Foodi, $199.80 on Ninja Kitchen

Nija Foodi pressure cooker and air fryer multicooker

Ninja

There’s also a new member of the Ninja family, the Ninja Foodi. It lets you pressure cook or air fry, making it the ultimate gadget.See It

Spices

spices

Shutterstock

A professional kitchen isn’t complete without spices galore. Turn your loved ones’ kitchens (or your own!) into spice cabinet goals by stocking it with high quality spices you might not pick up on your regular grocery run. We love brands like Spice Island, Pereg, and Gustus Vitae for their unique variety and quality source ingredients (everything bagel spice or ground ancho chile, anyone?!).

Related Video: 5 Ways to Take Better Care of Your Knives, According to Chefs

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