kitchen essentials gift guide © 2017 theCrackerBoxKitchen. All rights reserved.

Kitchen Essentials Holiday Gift Guide

The holiday season is upon us once and again, and with a mere 14(!) days until Christmas, no doubt the scramble is on to mark off the last names on your shopping list.

A go-to gift category is often “kitchen stuff”. Be it the latest gadgets and gizmos or a tea towel stenciled with a cheeky quote. This year I say throw out the novelty items and go for the good stuff: the kitchen essentials that offer both utility and longevity.

In my opinion, everyone deserves a well-equipped kitchen. But that doesn’t mean owning every kitchen utensil and unitasker under the sun, nor does it mean you have to break the bank to outfit your scullery. Below is my list of the top five kitchen essentials that every home chef should own… plus a few bonus items just for fun.

Whether you’re shopping for yourself (*wink-wink*) or someone you love; culinary goddess or a kitchen novice, I promise neither the getter nor the giver with be disappointed!


#1 Chef’s Knife

Functional knives don’t have to be expensive, but they do need to be sharp. The biggest difference in a “cheap” knife and a “quality” (perceived as “expensive”) knife is the knife’s ability to hold its blade. But even a “quality” knife will dull with time. A great companion to a  Chef’s nice is a decent knife and a knife sharpener like an easy-to-use diamond sharpener. (Stay away from the ones with the steel wheels that look like to overlapping washers as they can damage your knives over time.)

Other Great Knives to Have

    • kitchen shears – I’ve cut everything from raw chicken, to chives, to cellophane noodles with mine!

5" utility knife




#1.5 While We’re Talking About Knives… A Word On Cutting Boards

Wood, bamboo, plastic, whatever your budget will allow, a worth-your-money cutting board simply needs to be: 1) big enough for the job,  2) can be easily cleaned, and 3) NOT GLASS.  Yes, a glass cutting board is “so pretty”, but it will absolutely ruin that nice Chef’s knife you just bought.


#2 Spatulas and/or Silicone Coated spoons

An inexpensive, but oft-used kitchen implement. Silicone is easy to use, easy to clean, and it doesn’t absorb flavors/odors like wood.. Look for spatulas shaped like this. They’re rigid enough to handle heavy batters or sautés, and they have two scraping edges, which works for lefties and righties. I’m a big fan of a brand called “Starpack”. I love their mixing spoon and slotted spoon. I also have the turner spatula.  They come in “standard” size and XL in black, red, and teal.

silicone utensils

#3 Heavy Metal (AKA Pots & Pans)

If you’re even considering pots and pans, then a) you must really love the person you’re buying for, and b) you already know they’re the kind of person who would appreciate a gift of pots and pans. If you’re dealing with a seasoned cook (pun intended), go ahead and skip to the non stick fry pan.  If you’ve got a young cook who just needs the basics, go with the three-piece starter set: sauté pan, sauce pan, and a stock pot.


Start with:


    • 11-12″ nonstick deep (key word “deep”)  fry pan
      This happens to the new “toughened” non-stick from Le Creuset and it is absolutely amazing. I cannot sing highly enough the praises of this pan; worth every penny. Nothing, and I mean nothing sticks and it cleans up like a charm. And on top of all that, LC has a lifetime warranty.  (I can vouch that they honor their warranty as I used it to replace my “original” non-stick pan and received this one, completely free of charge.) 
      deep nonstick
    • 1.5 – 2 quart sauce pan (or one of each…)
    • 10-11 quart stock pot
    • colander insert for said stock pot

If you opt for nonstick, you’re definitely going to need to invest in some of those silicone spoon/spatulas. Otherwise for the stainless, “say hello to my little [Bar Keeper’s] Friend”.

#4 Half Sheet Pan (Two Is Even Better Than One)

What might just be the true work horse of the kitchen. Forget “cookie sheets”. An aluminum half sheet pan is the way to go. It has more all-around utility and will out last any cookie pan you could ever buy. I have two and they get used almost every day. I even take them with me when I go on vacation (along with my knives and French press.)

#5 A Large Metal Colander

Great for washing veggies, steaming said veggies, and straining pasta or potatoes out of that 10 quart stock pot. Should be big enough to hold 2 lbs of pasta. And if you buy one that’s deep, not wide, you can skip the aforementioned colander insert and just use your colander!

metal colander

Accessorize Your Kitchen

Dream Big Or Go Home

    • Viking Range (Cuz nothing says “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” like a $10,000 stove, amiright?)
      viking range

Fun Stuff I Like

BYO BagsBYO Bags  Reusable produce bags. I should really list these as #6 under kitchen essentials. I love them that much. I think you can buy them elsewhere online, but this link is directly to the original maker.



snack taxiSnackTaxi (reusable sandwich and snack bags)




Matryoshka doll measuring cups and spoons, cuz why not?




Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Note: Below I have also linked directly to the manufacturer’s website. In most cases, these are the exact products that I use in my own kitchen, and have been using since long before I joined the affiliate program. Affiliate links are provided both for your convenience and for the program intention mentioned in the disclaimer above.

EdgeCraft (knife sharpeners)
Rada Cutlery (tomato knife)
StarPack (silicone spoons)
Unicorn Peppermills

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  1. By Easy Fudge, 3 Ways | theCrackerBoxKitchen 20 December, 2017 at 1:25 PM

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