The Under-$30 Kitchen And Cookware Gifts That We Swear Will Actually Get Used

These gifts are genuinely helpful for home cooks — and they won’t just add to the clutter.
A Kuhn Rikon Colori paring knife with a safety sheath, a Starfrit Rotato electric potato peeler and a meat chopper.

If you have a passionate home cook in your life, then there’s nothing as joy-inducing as giving the gift of gorgeous cookware or splurge-worthy kitchen gadgets they’d otherwise never buy for themselves. However, the last thing any of us want to do is contribute to kitchen clutter, which is why it’s a good idea to make sure the item in question is a tried-and-true, high-quality and extremely useful product.

Space permitting, items like air fryers, new cookware sets, beautiful vintage-inspired baking dishes and even kitschy gadgets like garlic peelers and veggie choppers can help make the lives of home cooks exponentially easier. Below, we’ve rounded up a list of popular, HuffPost reader-beloved and expert-recommended kitchen tools so you can share these lovely gifts with loved ones during the holiday season. Get ready to make someone’s day this holiday season.

HuffPost and its publishing partners may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change. The experts consulted for this story do not necessarily endorse the products ahead unless otherwise noted.

A set of six stainless steel mixing bowls
John Lechleidner, a chef and 20-year alum of the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, previously told HuffPost that one of the best cooking implements you can have is a set of metal mixing bowls, as they are “probably the most used, abused, versatile and underrated tool in the kitchen.”
A Fullstar veggie chopper
Fullstar’s extraordinarily handy vegetable chopper is a HuffPost reader- and editor-beloved kitchen item that makes life easy and convenient. The chopper includes four interchangeable blades. Two grid-shaped stainless steel blades (which are very sharp, according to both the brand and reviewers) evenly dice vegetables in two different sizes, and two round-bladed inserts are included for turning veggies like zucchini into elegant curls or ribbons. Cut vegetables will drop into the attached container, making prep (and cleanup) an absolute breeze. It also has soft-grip handle and a non-skid base for safe operations, along with a safety lock.
A set of two Maxracy silicone garlic peelers
This little tool was an absolute game-changer for me. It's ideal for the person who loves to cook but loathes clean-up. This innocuous little tool makes peeling garlic — something I consider to be tedious, sticky and, frankly, dangerous — an absolute breeze. You simply pop a garlic clove into the tube, roll it on the countertop or between two hands and voila! Perfectly peeled garlic emerges. This lovely little tool quickly and easily strips garlic of its outer layer in mere seconds. My favorite bit is that it requires almost zero cleanup. You can just shake the peels out of the tube straight into your trash can or compost bin and rinse the tube under running water. Every kitchen needs one. It's also compact and affordable, making it ideal for people with small kitchens and the perfect stocking stuffer.
World Market
A lava stone molcajete
This traditional molcajete is hand-chiseled to resemble a pig and has a flat tejolete pestle, ideal for grinding spices and other ingredients. Made in Mexico using a single piece of lava stone and measuring just over 10 inches across and almost 5 inches deep, this durable and time-honored design is great for prepping and serving authentic Mexican dishes. Every enthusiastic home cook could use one of these.
A pair of KitchenAid multipurpose kitchen shears
These KitchenAid shears come in a variety of un-boring colors and are accompanied by a plastic sheath for safe storage. The stainless steel blades are micro-serrated for effective cutting and reviewers say the ergonomic handles are easy on the hands (even arthritic ones). At around $9, they won't cost much more than a few pounds of chicken, and they’ve earned 4.8 stars across over 49,000 ratings on Amazon. HuffPost food editor and culinary school graduate Kristen Aiken said these affordable implements are a “an essential part of every chef’s tool bag.”
A JB Prince bowl scraper
Ryan Bartlow, chef-owner of Ernesto’s in New York City, previously told HuffPost that his “favorite kitchen tool is a plastic bench or bowl scraper from JB Prince! It’s super easy to keep clean! It can be used to scrape all the herbs, garlic or onions off your cutting board. It doubles as a rubber spatula in need. To get the last bit of batter out of a bowl, or moving dough off a wooden board, this is the most essential tool.”
A Zulay metal two-in-one lemon and lime squeezer
This versatile citrus squeezer can be used on lemons, limes and even small oranges, and it's Pooja Bavishi's favorite tool from Amazon. She's a home cook who is also the CEO and founder of Malai ice cream in Brooklyn, New York. She "used to think it was a 'nice to have' not a 'need to have' because, as we know, we can squeeze lemons by hand," she previously told HuffPost. "But after getting one from Amazon, I realized how much of a game changer it is! It obviously speeds up my process in both my home kitchen and commercial kitchen (think about how many lemons we have to squeeze for our lemon cardamom ice cream!), but it also makes use of those hard lemons that seem to have zero juice (turns out they can be just as juicy with a lemon squeezer!). It has ended up being the most 'need to have' tool in my kitchen these days.”
An OXO Good Grips 9-inch whisk
A good whisk is worth its weight in gold, and Jake Leiber, chef-partner at Chez Ma Tante and Le Crocodile in Brooklyn, New York agrees. "I saw one of my sous chefs with this little whisk in his kit and I had to have it,” he previously told HuffPost. “It’s adorable, ergonomic and well constructed. I use it everyday to make anything from aioli and vinaigrettes to beurre blanc, sabayon and bernaise." The comfy shape of the handle makes it easy to grip while the narrow whisk makes it easy to use in a bowl, cup or other container.
An Ideal Gangy can opener
Alex Napolitano, executive chef at The Maker in Hudson, New York, previously told HuffPost that a Japanese can opener is one of the handiest tools you can have in your kitchen. He mentioned that "these can openers have no moving parts and are extremely durable. I make it a point to keep a few on-hand in every kitchen I occupy, and keep one at home as well. They also make great stocking stuffers for line cooks when the holidays come around!"
Sur La Table
Edlund's stainless steel tongs
Lachlan Sands, campus president at the Institute of Culinary Education in Los Angeles, has been in culinary education for nearly two decades. When it comes to affordable kitchen recommendations, Sands vouched for these 12-inch heavy-duty tongs by Edlund.

“These aren’t the flimsy, thin, flat-ended knock-offs you might be used to,” Sands previously told HuffPost. “They are a precision instrument capable of extreme delicacy and mass clutching. They grip, stir, scrape, flip, poke and place. Strong and durable, mine have lasted 20 years and counting. They are an indispensable extension to my hand while cooking.”
Kiwi Chef's knives
Gil Payumo is the co-founder and culinary director of Señor Sisig, a fleet of Filipino fusion food trucks in San Francisco. His affordable kitchen tool of choice proves you don’t need to pay a lot of money for a quality knife: “This [Kiwi] knife is what I’ve always had in the knife drawer in my kitchen growing up,” Payumo previously told HuffPost. “The blade is super sharp and can cut a fully ripe tomato better than any other knife in my bag. Before culinary school, I thought it was crazy [that] anyone would have to spend at least $100 to get a decent knife. Don’t get me wrong, I have a couple pricier knives in my knife bag right now, but I still have this knife ready for any challenge it has to endure. This is the tool I used almost 20 years ago when I started cooking, and it’s still going strong slicing and dicing the competition.”
A Javelin instant read meat thermometer
Bob Bennett, head chef at Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan, previously told HuffPost that one of his Amazon faves is the Javelin digital thermometer. "I have bought this for myself, for my crew and for most folks who cook. It is heavy-duty, quick and accurate – everything you need in a busy kitchen,” he explained.
A Chef'n PalmPeeler
Karen Rosenbloom, a chef and content creator, previously told HuffPost that this palm peeler is one of her favorite kitchen tools, and one she gets asked about very frequently in her videos. "The peeler is built for your hand and makes peeling vegetables extremely easy!" she said.
A five-piece Carote nonstick cookware set with detachable handle
A good set of cookware is essential for home cooks, and if you know someone who needs a replacement set, then these are wonderful options that won't break the bank. The set includes three pots and pans with corresponding lids and a removable handle. They are made with a high-quality granite coating that provides an even heat and non-stick surface, and can be used on gas, electric and halogen cooktops.

A julienne peeler
New York-based chef Courtnee Futchpreviously named the julienne peeler as one of her most-loved kitchen tools. The handheld device has serrated teeth and is designed to create consistently shaped ribbons and thin strips out of vegetables. It's a kitchen essential and a great gift for anyone starting out on their cooking journey.

"When I'm looking for a way to garnish a dish or quickly prepare some gorgeous thinly sliced veggies for even cooking, I turn to the julienne peeler in a hurry. Because I clean as I go, I may have already washed my cutting board when I remember I'd like to add some shredded scallion, or carrots. It's easy to use and a great tool for knife skill beginners," she said.
A Starfrit Rotato electric potato peeler
Know someone who is always in charge of making the potato salad or mashed potatoes during the holidays? If so, they'll find great use in this easy-to-use electric potato peeler that peels away skin without wasting the parts they want to use. But it's not just for potatoes; it can be used to peel tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis, eggplant, onions and more.

"This little gadget is my favorite unconventional kitchen gadget. I use it for everything, to zest citrus in bulk, peel a bunch of potatoes of course, spiralizing semi-soft veggies, and it makes fruit peeling a breeze!" Futch previously told HuffPost.
An Ateco offset spatula
Know someone who lives for baked goods? This offset spatula will make all of their cake-related tasks easier. It's a must for home bakers.

"It is a very essential kitchen tool for pastries. We use it for moving or placing cakes, plating cakes on the plates, and spreading pastry cream," Eunji Lee, founder and pastry chef at Lysée in New York City, told Huffpost last year.

The knife has a flat design ideal for cake decorating and applying frosting. It comes in three blade sizes: 4.5 inches, 7.63 inches and 9.75 inches.
Ateco cake testers
Momofuku Ssam Bar alum Nick Wong previously told HuffPost that his favorite cheap kitchen tools — Ateco cake testers — can fill many needs beyond their original purposes. “In our kitchen we use cake testers for testing doneness of foods without compromising the structural integrity of whatever we’re checking, from steak to potatoes,” Wong said. “We also use them to prick sausage casings when making sausages.”

Wong added that the number of times he’s had to repurchase these cake testers speaks to their usefulness in the kitchen. “The true test of an industry-standard tool is how many times you’ve had to replace it,” he said. “When other cooks ‘accidentally’ take your cake tester or borrow one and forget to give it back, you don’t just go without. You buy some new ones or you get yours back from someone else.”
A TempPro E30 digital meat thermometer
Carla Henriques, executive pastry chef at Hawksmoor in New York City, considers this simple tool an essential for any kitchen. "A thermometer is key regardless of if you’re grilling meat, preparing something savory or whipping up dessert to make sure everything is at the appropriate temperature – from chocolate to caramel to ice cream bases," she previously told HuffPost.

This digital thermometer has a 4.72-inch stainless steel probe and a wide temperature range of -58 to 572 degrees.
A GIR Spoonula
A good spatula is worth it's weight in gold, and this mashup between a spoon and a spatula is a multipurpose tool anyone will want in their kitchen, according to Maya Ferrante, co-founder of Pecking House in Brooklyn, New York.

"I love how sturdy this spatula is and its curved bowl design is great for scooping and can really hold up to heavier mixtures, sweet or savory. It's a go-to for batters, flipping, scooping, scraping, stirring sweet or savory dishes. An added bonus is it comes in so many beautiful colors!" she previously told us.
A Microplane classic zester
Every kitchen needs a good zester, and this zester that Ferrante uses is exactly what your foodie pal needs.

"This is our go-to in the house for grating parmesan. It's also super handy for grating fresh nutmeg and easily zesting citrus. When I really don't feel like taking out chopping board and knife, using this tool instead is a quick way to grate garlic and ginger into recipes," she said.

The blade on the zester is designed to specifically take the flavor from fruit rinds without bringing bitterness with it. It comes in an array of colors like black, yellow, light blue, orange, red and purple.
A Kuhn Rikon paring knife with safety sheath
We love a fun kicky color that packs a punch, and Ferrante appreciates this paring knife not only for its fun hue, but because of its functionality.

"This is a super sharp paring knife that holds edge and is perfect for everyday use. I'm a sucker for fun vibrant colors (also why I love GIR products) so again, added bonus for this knife. I have a bunch of them, straight and serrated, and they're so handy for everyday peeling fruit, slicing bread and cheese and chopping vegetables. They are really lightweight and the handles are super comfy," she said.
A meat chopper
Celebrity vegan chef Adjoa Courtney previously told HuffPost that this chopping tool is one of her favorite kitchen gadgets that she loves and has shared with her social media followers.

"It’s a handheld stick that easily mashes things like potatoes and chickpeas, and it breaks apart meat. I’m vegan so I use vegan meat and it helps shred jackfruit and more. It’s heat-resistant so it works well while cooking at the same time," Courtney said.

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