If you want to nab a stylish, high-quality Christmas present, you don’t have to look to the same old brands. This year was a good one for direct-to-consumer kitchen startups. These companies offer high-quality kitchen goods at affordable prices by cutting out the middlemen in the distribution chain (think retailers and resellers) and happy shoppers—ourselves included—just can’t get enough of their new wares. After all, who doesn’t want top-notch cookware for a fraction of the price?
If you want to spread some DTC joy this holiday season, our favorite kitchen startups offer a wide range of products that would make amazing gifts. Whether you’re shopping for friends, family, coworkers, or even a Secret Santa, there’s something on this list of DTC kitchen presents that’s perfect for everyone on your list.
- Best Overall: Made In Personalized 8-inch Chef’s Knife
- Best Under $25: Field Company Leather Handle Cover
- Best Under $50: Five Two Ultimate Apron
- Best Under $100: Material Kitchen The Base Knife and Utensil Holder
- Best Splurge: Great Jones The Dutchess
- Best Cookware Set: Potluck Cookware Set
- Best Utensil Set: Five Two Wooden Spoons
- Best Cutting Board: Material Kitchen The Angled Board
- Best for New Cooks: Misen Essential Knives Set
- Best for Hosts: Snow Home Cheese Board Set
It’s useful. It’s thoughtful. It’s personal. Basically, this chef’s knife from Made In is the ultimate holiday present. The 8-inch French-made knife is 100 percent fully forged—aka, it’s made from a single rod of metal—and it has a riveted handle that’s available in red, black, or white. However, the best part of this product, hands down, is that you can have it personalized for free! That’s right: Made In will engrave the recipient’s name into the handle, making it that much more thoughtful a gift.
Engraved knives take around two to three weeks to ship, so make sure you plan ahead of time. You won’t regret purchasing this custom knife, though, as reviewers say it’s incredibly well-balanced and strong, writing that they “would buy this knife over and over.” It’s sure to become a favorite utensil in anyone’s kitchen.
Best Under $25
Looking for a stocking stuffer or Yankee swap gift? You can keep your budget low and still deliver an enviable gift with this cool handle cover for cast iron pans. Cast iron is a favorite among many home chefs, but the downside of this material is the handles of your pans can get quite hot. That’s why a leather handle cover is such a great purchase: It allows you to grab the pan without worry, saving you the hassle of searching for pot holders.
This handle cover is made from vegetable-tanned leather and is hand-stitched in the U.S. It’s inner dimensions are 1-¼ by 5 inches, so it will fit on many cast iron pans, including the ones made by Field Company. Reviewers say this product is “a handsome cover and makes working with cast iron that much more convenient.” Plus, it’s so affordable that you might want to grab one for yourself.
Best Under $50
The Five Two Ultimate Apron makes for a thoughtful gift under $50. This unique kitchen apron was designed by Food52 with input from thousands of readers, and the end result is a multifunctional kitchen coverup that your friends are sure to love. The Ultimate Apron is made from 100 percent cotton with a metal buckle on its tie, and it comes in five pretty colors to suit anyone’s style.
What makes this apron unique? For one, it has built-in pot holders at the bottom corners, as well as a handy hanging loop, extra-long waist ties, an adjustable neck strap, and three spacious pockets. There’s even a conversion chart inside one of the pockets to help cooks adjust recipes on the fly. Buyers absolutely rave about the handy design of this product, calling it “the smartest apron that has ever existed.”
Best Under $75
Normal utensil holders pale in comparison to the sleek, super-functional Base from Material Kitchen. This wooden design is both a knife and utensil holder, and it would make a stunning addition to anyone’s kitchen. The Base comes in walnut, maple, and black finishes, and it hides a few unique features that make it a chef’s best friend.
For instance, the inner wall of The Base has a magnetic strip that holds knives in place, allowing you to keep them organized without dulling the blade’s tip. It can hold up to three knives, and it also has a separate compartment for other kitchen tools that need to be within arm’s reach at all times.
Even our “splurge” pick is not all that expensive—that’s the beauty of DTC brands. If you want to spend a little more on a gift for someone special, The Dutchess is a stunning Dutch oven from the trendy brand Great Jones, and we can’t see anyone not loving this gift. The enameled cast iron pot has an oval shape to give you extra room for browning meats, and it comes in seven pretty colors.
The Dutchess has a 6-¾ quart capacity, and it weighs 15 pounds. Naturally, it comes with a tight-fitting lid, and its smooth enamel finish makes it easy to deglaze and clean. This Dutch oven has roomy handles, is dishwasher-safe, and is oven-safe to 500 degrees. Reviewers are quite smitten with The Dutchess, saying, “she is gorgeous and versatile—she’ll be a workhorse in my kitchen over the fall/winter months for sure.”
Best Cookware Set
If you’re shopping for someone who’s outfitting their first kitchen or is in desperate need of all new cookware, you can make their year with this seven-piece cookware set from Potluck. The surprisingly affordable set includes 1.5- and 3-quart saucepans, a 10-inch skillet, and 8-quart stock pot and three lids—all the essentials of a well-stocked kitchen.
These pans are made from triple-ply stainless steel with riveted steel handles. They’re oven-safe up to 600 degrees, and they won’t react to acidic ingredients. The pans all feature rolled edges for easy pouring, and the lids have a subtle dome shape that directs condensation back into the pan.
Don’t believe us about how good this set is? Just read what reviewers have to say: “For the past couple of years, I’ve been searching for the ideal set of cookware, something with both form and function, and Potluck has nailed it! I’m in love.”
Best Utensil Set
We all know someone who collects kitchen utensils—and someone in dire need of new ones. Either way, this set of five Two Wooden Spoons would make an ideal addition to their kitchen. After all, wooden spoons are jacks-of-all-trades when cooking.
This set comes with five teak spoons, including the Mix Master, the 2-in-1, the Big Dipper, the Corner-Getter, and the Flip and Scrape. As you may have guessed from their names, each utensil is designed with specific tasks in mind, from flipping fish fillets to scraping food from the corners of a pan. With these five lightweight, sturdy spoons in the drawer, your recipient will always have the perfect tool for the job. And it also helps that they’re quite pretty!
Best Cutting Board
This is more than just a cutting board; it’s a beautiful accent for any kitchen. The Angled Board from Material is an update to the classic wood cutting board, and it comes in both walnut and maple finishes. On one side of the double-sided cutting board is a groove around the edge to catch liquids, and people love the unique angled edge that makes it easier to collect chopped ingredients.
The Angled Board measures 17 by 12 inches, and it’s 1-inch thick. While it’s amazingly functional and will make dinner prep much easier, it’s also pretty enough to use as a serving board at a party. Seriously, reviewers go as far as to call it the “most beautiful cutting board” they’ve ever owned and a “kitchen dream come true.” If that doesn’t sell you on this product, we don’t know what will.
Best for New Cooks
If there’s one thing new chefs are generally lacking, it’s a high-quality set of kitchen knives. For that reason, there’s no better gift for the budding chef in your life than a set of amazing Misen knives. This brand started out as a crazy-successful Kickstarter campaign, and now it sells a range of cookware, including an Essential Knives Set.
This three-piece set comes with a chef’s knife, paring knife and serrated knife, all of which are made from premium high-carbon stainless steel. (There’s also a five-piece set that adds a santoku knife and utility knife.) The knives have a unique sloped bolster to help chefs master their pinch grip, and the 15-degree blade angle provides a noticeably sharper cutting face.
Best for Frequent Hosts
If you’re shopping for someone who’s always hosting get-togethers, you can’t go wrong with a product like this Cheese Board Set from Snowe. The American-made cheese board is crafted from beautiful walnut wood, and it comes with three sturdy cheese knives.
There are several colorways to choose from, including walnut and oxidized walnut finishes for the board and brushed gold, black satin and stainless utensils. The board itself is a hexagon shape, and it has finger rests on two of its corners for easy transport. Reviewers say the craftsmanship of this piece is excellent: “It’s simple, but elegant and looks quite expensive.” Many also note it makes a great hostess gift.
See all our favorite gourmet food and drink gifts for 2019.
Header image courtesy of Snowe