Our Top 10 Cooking Gifts for Grads

May 13, 2016

Our Top 10 Cooking Gifts for Grads

It’s graduation season! Are you wondering what to get for your favorite college grad? They’re in an exciting transition time as they head out into the world, move into a grown-up apartment, start work, and have to figure out what’s for dinner every night.

Help them graduate from their ramen-noodle, boxed-mac-and-cheese, and take-out habits and give them the gift of cooking! Our top gifts include a mix of practical yet inspirational ideas that will help set up your grad for basic cooking while also getting them excited about it.

1. Cookbooks

Instructional cookbooks are a great place to start for both how-to’s and recipe inspiration. Some wonderful choices include Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything” or the classic “Joy of Cooking.” Include a set of measuring cups, measuring spoons, and a glass liquid measuring cup to get them going in the kitchen.

2. Cookware

Chances are your grad has only a few hand-me-down pots and pans to pack. A mid-priced starter cookware set would definitely be appreciated, or indulge them and splurge on a few high-quality essentials. A heavy-bottomed sauté pan, soup pot, or cast iron skillet are tools they’ll turn to again and again in the years to come.

3. Spice Rack

New cooks often feel discouraged with recipes they don’t have ingredients for. Not to mention that it’s expensive and confusing to stock a pantry with spices. Go for a sleek, modern spice rack (with spices included!) and add in a pepper grinder to help them season with style.

4. Cooking Utensils

These workhorses help make the magic happen in the kitchen, and a fresh set is always appreciated. Skip the college-apartment plastic and treat your budding cook to a sturdy whisk, flexible metal spatula, silicon baking spatulas, wooden spoons, a microplane grater, vegetable peeler, can opener, and locking tongs. Put them all in a countertop canister for easy access and to help maximize storage space in the kitchen.

5. Knives

Most beginning cooks don’t need a full set of knives yet—just sharp ones! A good chef’s and paring knife set will get them started. Add in a beautiful wooden cutting board to make it a full gift and help the knives keep their edge longer.

6. Baking Gear

One of the ways many people fall in love with cooking is through relaxed weekend baking projects. A set of nesting mixing bowls, muffin pans, cookie sheets, and a loaf pan will give them the incentive they need to get into the kitchen to bake up some treats.

7. Essential Electrics

You can’t go wrong with basic appliances. A toaster or toaster oven, blender, hand mixer, or mini food processor is useful for day-to-day meal prep.

8. Specialty Gear

Does your grad already like to cook or entertain? Give them gear to get into it even more. Fun ideas include an immersion blender to improve their sauce game, a pizza stone and peel for do-it-yourself deliciousness, a waffle iron to make brunch for friends, or a cocktail shaker and glasses to host happy hour.

(Not sure what immersion blenders are for? Here is why we think they’re amazing!)

9. A Splurge Item

If you really want to treat your grad to something special, give them an heirloom-quality big impact item. A five- or six-quart enamel Dutch oven, countertop stand mixer, or a full-sized food processor will be with them long past that first post-college apartment.

10. Gourmet Coffee

An early alarm for work every morning is probably the toughest transition of all for college grads! Replace their tiny dorm-sized coffee maker with a luxury espresso maker, or a trendy and pretty pour-over coffee carafe to use when entertaining.


When did you first start cooking for yourself, and what was your most helpful gear?

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