Anova Precision Cooker w/ Bluetooth + Wi-Fi - $200 with Stasher Silicone Storage Bags - $20
Is that steak at your butcher’s begging you to cook it like one of your French meals? Sous vide systems have infiltrated home kitchens in a major way to make every meal perfect. While there is a gentle learning curve, the Anova Precision Cooker connects to smartphones to make your job even easier with temperature guides, recipes, and other helpful information so your foodie friend can become a quality chef at home. Pair it with Stasher reusable silicone bags, which can withstand being placed in a freezer or cooked in temperatures up to 400 degrees, and save them all the woes of plastic bags.
Get it for: aspiring chefs looking to up their game and clean-eating health nuts worried about plastic migration.
Paragon Smart Cooking System - $200
Looking for a kitchen tool that serves more than one function? The Paragon induction cooktop and Bluetooth-connected temperature probe works with pots you probably already have in your arsenal (any that are induction compatible) and keeps the temperature evenly distributed and consistent for sous vide cooking, deep frying, sauteing, or stir-frying. When you can control with precision like this, you’ll never burn food to the bottom of the pan again.
Get it for: any chef with an eye on their environmental footprint.
Philips Avance Digital Turbostar Airfryer - $160
Some days you just want french fries. Thankfully, air fryers provide all the fun of deep frying with a fraction of the fat. The Philips Turbostar HD9641/96 Airfryer has a digital display that is clear and legible, a simple dial that rotates to set the temperature and timer, and clicks to get the cooking started. Reviewers praise the machine’s easy clean-up and its ability to get that perfect crisp on fries, seafood, chicken, and other traditionally fried foods.
Get it for: Americans.
Thermomix TM5 - $1,450
The Thermomix TM5 is not cheap by anyone’s standards, but when you consider all of the appliances it replaces, you understand why it’s a smart buy. The universal machine can cook, grind, emulsify, whip, steam, mix, stir, blend, chop, knead, heat, and weigh food, so it’s basically like having a countertop chef-bot at your disposal. The TM5 also comes with a 6-month membership to an extensive library of recipes so that the new owner isn’t just thrown into the deep end without a little culinary guidance.
Get it for: your rich friend who doesn’t have the time or skill set to operate an array of appliances.
SmartPlate TopView - $80
Counting calories, measuring portions, and keeping track of every meal can be a chore, but the SmartPlate was designed to simplify things. Advertised as a “personal nutritionist,” the system allows users to plate their meal like they normally would, place the plate on its base, and take a photo so that the app’s photo recognition and artificial intelligence can detect the food and calculate the amount of calories being consumed. It also helps the user set goals for weight loss, blood glucose & carb management, and other health & dietary plans. Downside: for accuracy, you’re probably going to have to scale back the butter in your mashed potatoes to what SmartPlate considers a reasonable amount.
Get it for: fitness nuts seeking to apply some precision to their discipline.
Meater Wireless Meat Thermometer - $70
This stainless steel leave-in smart thermometer features two sensors: one for internal temperature and another for ambient temperature. It’s wireless up to 33 feet and connects to a handy app that lets the grillmaster monitor cooking progress without having to stand over the meat and stab in a probe every five minutes.
Get it for: whoever’s cooking the big holiday meal. If you’re lucky, they’ll invite you back for New Year’s.
Zera Food Recycler - $1,200
Composting can take a very long time, but reducing food waste and producing ready-to-use fertilizer with the Zera Food Recycler only takes 24 hours. The fully automated system features an internal mixing motor and blade that goes to work when the lid is closed. The coir additive packs that go into the machine before each new load break down almost all types of food, including meat and dairy, leaving the owner with a tray of fertilizer that can go straight to the garden. Yeah, it’s pricey, but it’s super cool, and you can’t beat the thrill of a thumbs up from your conscience for living clean and green.
Get it for: the homesteader or home gardener who spends too much on potting soil and fertilizer every year.
Uncommon Goods Custom Cookie Stamp - $15
Know someone who is really into baking? This cookie stamp has interchangeable symbols, letters, and numbers for anyone who needs to make personalized treats for those special occasions.
Get it for: grandma, or anyone who will soon be making you a batch of “Thank you!” cookies.
Solsource Sport Solar Oven - $175
This portable oven harnesses the power of the sun to cook food quickly without the use of fuels or flames. The reflectors remain cool to the touch as all of the heat is directed to the cooking surface, and there is no smoke, which makes the oven perfect for those places where traditional grilling would be dangerous.
Get it for: ecologically minded friends looking to reduce their carbon footprint or reduce their utility bills.
June Smart Oven - $1,495
This smart convection oven features carbon fiber heating elements that preheat and cook food faster and more uniformly than other ovens. There are presets for common foods as well as a Food ID system that recognizes what you place inside, the interior is big enough to fit an 11 inch x 16 inch dish, the exterior remains cool even when the oven is cranked to 500 degrees, and with the mobile app you can control the June from anywhere.
Get it for: silicon valley bachelors.
Aldi Stand Mixer - $60
Just about every review of the Aldi Stand Mixer calls it a competently made and affordable machine that can hold its own in a battle against more expensive mixers from bigger name brands. It’s only available for a limited time and only at Aldi stores.
Get it for: college students who like to bake.