Do you have a new cook or someone just setting up their kitchen on your holiday gift list? Perhaps a seasoned cook whose kitchen arsenal could use an update? Check out these 10 budget-friendly kitchen basics. No gadgets here! Just tried and true essentials.
1. Casserole dishes
are a must for every cook. This classic Pyrex set includes 8-inch square and 3-quart baking dishes with lids to make them even more versatile. Plus, two additional lidded bowls, pefect for storing leftovers. Pyrex 8-piece set, $18.79
2. Glass prep bowls
are helpful for setting up your mis en place
. Plus, they're just so cute. This set of 8 is $24
If you're like us, you can never have too many cutting boards
. This over-the-sink version is great if you have limited counter space. Lipper International Bamboo Cutting Board, $24.99
4. A good knife
can be a pricey investment, but we've been pleased with the inexpensive Victorinox 8-inch chef's knife
, available for $24.95 at Chef's Resource
As Sara Kate has noted, "You have no idea how much you will use a mandoline
until you have one." Here at The Kitchn, we're longtime fans of the Benriner mandoline and slicer. I (Joanna), just gave one to myself as an early Christmas present, so my friends and family will be getting the gift of beautifully sliced vegetables in my holiday dishes this year. Find the Benriner slicer for $20.62
6. A Microplane is great for zesting citrus, grating cheese and grating spices like nutmeg. As one reader pointed out earlier this year, with so many Microplane products now available, it can be hard to know which one to choose. For the most versatile tool, Faith recommends the original fine rasp grater. Find it for $14.95 at Williams-Sonoma.
7. Jelly roll pans aren't the sexiest gift, but they are indispensable in the kitchen. We use ours constantly for baking and roasting. This set of 2 from Chicago Metallic is $24.99 at Amazon.
8. Protect those baking pans, and your tasty creations, with a classic Silpat silicone baking sheet. Find the Silpat for $21.95 at Cooking.com.
9. Shape dough like a professional with a straight rolling pin, available for $18 at Williams-Sonoma.
10. Expensive pots and pans are on many of our dream wish lists, but there isn't much you can't do with a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. This 10-inch Lodge Logic Skillet is $15.29 at Amazon.
2009 Holiday Gift Guides
15 Small Luxuries for Home Cooks
(Images: Amazon, Williams-Sonoma, Chef's Resource, Cooking.com)