Cookware Christmas gifts are well received when they are thoughtful and useful. As the founder of the Home Cooking Academy offering online cooking classes, I do a good job of stress testing cookware. I've discovered cookware that is durable and useful in the kitchen. I only recommend cookware as gifts that are functional or something I would use. The list below is cookware or related kitchen items I use or recommend giving as a gift and the reason why I recommend it. As a cook, I love to receive cookware and give it as gifts. With Christmas around the corner, this is my "12 Most Useful Cookware Christmas Gifts." The list is organized by price starting with the lowest. The price quoted is a November 11, 2012 price on Amazon.com.
1) Serving Platters from Pfaltzgraff or Clay Art - $20 - $50
We eat with our eyes first. Any dish can whet the appetite when served on a nice platter and arranged beautifully. Pfaltzgraff and Clay Art make beautiful serving platters that can make any dish look fantastic. I use them when taking pictures of my work for the Academy. For the best prices on Amazon, and to see the selection, please use these links: Pfaltzgraff Serving Platters AND Clay Art Serving Platters.
2) Kitchen Supply 16” Round Pizza Stone - $50
I use a pizza stone for a lot more foods than pizza. A good thick pizza stone is great for re-heating roasted or fried foods. With a convection oven the foods will crisp up nicely. Preheat the pizza stone and you can get nice browning and crisp bottoms. I use mine at least once a week. Kitchen Supply Round Pizza Stone 16"
3) Combo – Nordic Ware Bakers Half Sheet, CIA Masters Collection Wire Cooling Rack, and Silpat - $54
This is a 3-item combo. Each are great, but when given as a gift together, the possibilities are endless. The Nordic Ware baking sheet is very durable. When friends see this they think it's commercial grade. It is. I love it. The CIA Masters Collection cooling rack is also commercial strength and very strong. The Silpat sheet is a nonstick layer that will keep the baking sheet clean and free of scrubbing. I use them inter-changeably. Here are the 3 items: Nordic Ware Bakers Half Sheet, 13 by 18 by 1 Inch, CIA Masters Collection 12 Inch x 17 Inch Wire Cooling Rack, Chrome Plate Steel, and Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat, 11 5/8 x 16 1/2-inches, Half Sheet Size.
4) Lodge Color 6qt Dutch Oven - $50 - $80
Lodge makes terrific enameled cast iron cookware rivaling the French Le Creuset or Staub and at significantly less money. A 6qt Dutch Oven is a versatile piece of cookware that can be used on top of the stove or in the oven. They come in a variety of attractive colors and are a steal at these prices. The price varies depending on color. Check them out here: Lodge Color Dutch Oven, Island Spice Red, 6-Quart.
5) Circulon Infinite Hard Anodized Nonstick 10" and 12" Skillet Pack - $55
If you've been to this site before, you know I love Circulon Infinite products. It is durable hard anodized cookware coated with a tough nonstick surface that is dishwasher safe. The thick bottom is perfect for flat top stoves. I've used mine for 4 years already and the nonstick surface is still in pretty good shape. I like that this combo pack includes the larger 12" skillet: Circulon Infinite Hard Anodized Nonstick 10-Inch and 12-Inch Skillets Twin Pack.
6) Lodge Enamel Cast Iron 2qt Oval Casserole – Patriot Red - $70
Like the Dutch Oven previously, the 2qt serving dish is enameled cast iron. It will keep the food warm for a long time. Serve food sizzling and you'll get a great reaction from family and friends. Beautiful colors make a great presentation from oven to table. Lodge L Series Oval Casserole, Patriot Red, 2-Quart.
7) All-Clad Brushed Stainless Steel D5 11-Inch French Skillet w/Domed Lid - $153
All-Clad is the absolute best American stainless steel cookware manufacturer. If you need to get a gift for someone you know who likes to cook and is adventurous, this is a fantastic gift! This is the new D5 brushed stainless steel outside. It has 5 layers to evenly distribute heat. You not only need but also can't beat stainless steel skillets for saute and degalzing sauces. I recommend folks who want a nonstick cookware set to also get a stainless steel skillet for sauteeing. With a domed lid, this skillet can be used for pan frying, pan roasting, and braising. Highly recommended: All-Clad Brushed Stainless D5 11-Inch French Skillet with Domed Lid.
8) Scanpan CTX 12 ¾" Nonstick Eco-Friendly PFOA-Free Skillet - $160
When it comes to healthy or eco-friendly cookware, I like Scanpan. While the surface still uses PTFE in the manufacturing process it is PFOA free and uses an environmentally friendly cast aluminum core. It is a very good nonstick surface given it does not have the PFOA's. Best of all, it is also dishwasher safe. Scanpan CTX 12-3/4-Inch PFOA Free Fry Pan.
9) Emile Henry Flame Top 12" Brazier - $170
I love emile Henry Flame Top products. This is the only clay cookware that can be used on the stove top as well as in the stove since the old Cornflower Corningware cookware. It is pretty, useful, and the clay surrounds the food with a steady even heat that is great for braising or slow cooking. This braizier is very versatile and makes a great presentation from stove to table. Emile Henry Flame Top 12-Inch Brazier Red.
10) Circulon Infinite Hard Anodized Nonstick 10-Pc Cookware Set - $210
This is the full cookware set as the skillets in #5 above. It is very sturdy, dishwasher safe, and has an excellent nonstick surface. I've awarded the Circulon Infinite with 2 cookware set awards. I use mine almost daily. At this price it is an unbeatable by a far margin. Circulon Infinite Hard Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set.
11) Cuisinart MultiClad Pro 12-Pc Stainless Steel Cookware Set - $250
I love stainless steel for cooking. It is healthy, durable, easy to clean, and dishwasher safe. As I've stated before the best brand is All-Clad. They are next on this list. As you see, All-Clad is premium quality and premium priced. For a near performance equivalent the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro is unbeatable for performance and price. I use Cuisinart MultiClad Pro and love it. To complete the set I recommend the Circulon nonstick skillets above to provide a very complete and dishwasher safe cookware set. Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set.
12) All-Clad Brushed Stainless D5 10-Piece Cookware Set - $900
For the discerning cook who wants the best, this is it. At $900 it is not cheap, but the new D5 stainless steel from All-Clad is unbelievable. A brushed stainless steel outside, 5 layers to spread heat evenly, and new ergonomic features makes the D5 stainless steel line a coveted cookware line. Check it out here: All-Clad Brushed Stainless D5 10-Piece Cookware Set.
Last Updated on Sunday, 11 November 2012 19:29