ATK-Approved Gifts for Mother's Day

We’ve hand selected gifts that are sure to impress the moms in your life.

Every Mother’s Day I try to think of a creative kitchen-themed gift for my mom who loves to cook, but her kitchen is well stocked. Thankfully our team tested some cool new gear over the past year that I think all the moms in our lives will love. My first idea: a milk frother. My colleague Chase fell in love with them during testing. They froth milk for perfect lattes and cappuccinos at home. We have winners at two price points: the Zulay Kitchen Milk Boss Electric Milk Frother ($13) and the Breville Milk Cafe ($130). And my second idea: an outdoor pizza oven. If you’re looking for something a little more splurge worthy, Kate tested and approved of four pizza ovens. They’re available with different capabilities, so you can find the one that suits your loved one best. For more ideas, check out this week’s buying guide.

—Carolyn Grillo, Associate Editor, ATK Reviews

Compact and reliable, this gas-fired oven is our recommendation for most home cooks who want to cook excellent pizzas outdoors quickly and easily. A gas flame located at the rear of the oven heated up the baking stone relatively evenly while also heating the inside of the oven. An angled heat deflector on the roof of the oven helped direct heat to the tops of the pizzas as they baked. It was easy to ignite the flame and adjust the heat using a dial located at the rear of the oven.

  More on this test

This fairly compact oven fits 12-inch pizzas and is a good choice for people who like cooking with wood, charcoal, or gas and want to move their pizza oven with relative ease. We loved that the tall chimney—which is essential for wood and charcoal cooking—can be removed and replaced with a small cap while using propane and when transporting or storing the oven. The gas flame, which is located at the rear of the oven and arcs over the stone, is powerful and easy to ignite. Pizzas had nicely melted and bubbly cheese on top while the sides and bottom of the crusts had good char and spotting. Wood must be cut down to size, and maintaining the heat with both wood and charcoal is messy and requires some vigilance. But if you enjoy both the challenges and potential rewards of using those fuels, including the ability to slow-roast foods, this model is fun and easier to use than others we’ve tested.

  More on this test

This frother consistently made satisfying foam at the push of a button. As with all the handheld models, we had to operate it for longer than the manufacturer instructions recommended when making cold foam, but once we did, it created the richest cold foam of the handheld bunch. Since it was our winner, we put it through additional testing, mixing up small batches of whipped cream, beating one or two eggs, and emulsifying vinaigrette. In addition to being a great milk frother, it’s a handy tool for small cooking tasks. We loved the comfortable grip, and we appreciated that it took little effort to rinse the wand clean.

  More on this test

This frother was the most convenient and versatile of the bunch. It created perfect foam for both lattes and cappuccinos using its interchangeable disk-shaped whisks. It features a temperature dial for selecting exact heat levels, which will surely please coffee perfectionists. There’s also an opening in the lid meant for cleanly adding hot chocolate mix while the milk whirls below, resulting in a full 3 cups of smooth cocoa. With its dishwasher-safe detachable stainless-steel pitcher, this model was easy to use and clean, and it held up well to our abuse testing.

  More on this test

Lightweight and easy to fill with its wide opening, good interior visibility, and handle that folds out of the way, this kettle was pleasant to use and has a generous capacity. Its whistle is assertive, its grippy handle is comfortable, and its spout has a gentle curve that lends itself to smooth pouring. It survived abuse tests with only the faintest dents, and the brushed-steel surface was easy to clean. A quibble: The lever on the whistling spout cover is stiff and snappy, and the pointy hinge underneath the lever sometimes poked our fingers when closing the spout. Also, it is not induction-compatible.

  More on this test

This large, sleek glass kettle was one of the quickest in our lineup. The power switch lights up in an icy blue when it’s activated, the handle is wide and comfortable, and the kettle sits securely on its base. We also liked its slow-open lid, which prevents accidental burns from steam and splashing water. It has a removable filter in its spout which, while not strictly necessary, is a handy feature in areas where the water has sediment.

  More on this test

This basket-style tea strainer had the biggest capacity in our testing, equivalent to 13.5 tablespoons—more than enough for good water circulation. With a 2.5-inch opening, it was easy to fill and clean. And its tightly woven mesh basket kept even the finest leaves out of the finished tea. As a bonus, it has a top that can also be used as a saucer, holding the basket and catching any drips after or between infusions.

  More on this test

This continuous-turn corkscrew was astonishingly easy to use, requiring no expertise and removing corks in an average of 12 seconds. Its 4.75-inch worm accommodates corks of any length, and its nonstick coating helped ensure that it pierced even brittle older corks almost as smoothly and neatly as our waiter’s corkscrew. It’s slim and lightweight—nearly as compact as our favorite waiter’s corkscrew—making it easy to handle and store.

  More on this test

This pan performed just as well as our favorite braiser but had smaller handles that were tough to grasp. Because of its thicker cooking surface, it took a bit longer to heat up and to brown chicken thighs. This braiser had the largest cooking surface area, which ensured proper liquid reduction and a rich, flavorful ragu. It was easy to clean and withstood being whacked with a spoon and having its lid slammed down repeatedly. This pan delivered excellent results at a bargain price.

  More on this test

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

  More on this test