Lisa’s Holiday Gift Guide

As the resident gadget expert at America’s Test Kitchen, Lisa McManus is dedicated to helping home cooks find the very best kitchen equipment.

In this week’s guide, Lisa shares her holiday gift picks for 2019. From reliable tools such as the OXO Good Grips 11" Balloon Whisk and the Wüsthof Gourmet 12" Fish Spatula to the splurge-worthy Breville Pizzaiolo, each item on Lisa’s guide has been thoroughly evaluated and approved by our diligent team of product testers. Every single one is a top performer in its category. Another gift on Lisa’s list is the just-released America’s Test Kitchen Twentieth Anniversary TV Show Cookbook. It contains more than 500 recipes from the show’s 500+ episodes, plus behind-the-scenes looks at the show’s cast members. No matter who you’re shopping for this year, the gifts on Lisa’s list are sure to please.

"When I recently tested woks, this one won my heart. Made of thin but sturdy carbon steel, it heats and cools quickly for responsive cooking. Lightweight with a stay-cool wooden handle, it’s simple to lift and manipulate. A heat pretreatment in the factory gives the steel a gorgeous blue color that helps it resist rust and acquire seasoning more quickly. It also comes with a lid, which is handy for many recipes." -LM  More on this test

"This coffee maker is a bit pricey, but you should taste the coffee. It’s engineered to bring out full, rounded flavor from your coffee beans and give you perfect drip coffee every time. It’s like a tiny pour-over barista on your countertop. Here’s what you can’t see: Handbuilt in the Netherlands, it heats up the water with copper coils almost instantly to the optimal temperature. Copper heats much faster than aluminum, which is what most coffee makers have inside." -LM  More on this test

"If you frequently bake bread at home or buy big rustic loaves, why shouldn’t it fit in your toaster? This model’s long, wide slots accommodate bread of any size—including standard white sandwich bread—and do a beautiful job of toasting. I love the “a bit more” button, so you can toast bread slightly darker without burning it, and the “lift and look” lever, so you can peek at the toast in progress without stopping the cycle." -LM  More on this test

"This is a wonderful hostess gift or smaller gift for your favorite cook, and it comes in several gorgeous colors (mine is cherry red). The sturdy box has a hinged cedar lid that you can flick open with one hand—it stays up!—so you can grab a pinch of salt as you cook. Pick up a box of Maldon sea salt to round out the gift." -LM  More on this test

"Too many “smart” kitchen devices just aren’t smart. This one actually helps you cook better food. You can use it like a regular oven by controlling it right on the front, but the app is easy and helpful. Its Food ID function recognizes dozens of foods as soon as you put them in, its built-in cooking programs work, the attached temperature probe monitors doneness for you, and it slow-cooks, roasts, bakes, broils, air-fries, and dehydrates." -LM  More on this test

"After many rounds of testing stand mixers, I think of our winning inexpensive stand mixer as “The Little Engine That Could.” It’s compact but tough and keeps up with the priciest mixers on even the stiffest, stickiest doughs. All KitchenAid attachments—such as the meat grinder, pasta maker, spiralizer, ice cream maker, and more—fit into the port on the front, making this machine even more versatile." -LM  More on this test

"I enjoyed testing this smart cocktail app and scale. The app has a huge library of cocktails, many from famous bars, and it guides you through every step. You put the shaker or glass on the scale, it measures ingredients as you pour, and then it sends you to the next step, sets a timer as you shake, and tells you how to serve and garnish the drink. The scale can double as your kitchen scale, too." -LM  More on this test

"Each of these tools—whisks, spatulas, tongs, and more—is the very best performer of its category; after all, we extensively tested the competition. Any one of them would make a great stocking stuffer. Bundled together, they’re a wonderful gift, and if you pick out a pretty crock to put them in, all the better." -LM  More on this test

With an ergonomic Santoprene rubber handle and a balanced, lightweight feel, this whisk was like an extension of a hand. It whipped cream and egg whites quickly, thanks to 10 wires that were thin enough to move through the liquid quickly but thick enough to push through heavy mixtures and blend pan sauces to smoothness.  More on this test

Our former winner continues its reign: Its perfectly proportioned head supported foods of all shapes and sizes and maneuvered nimbly even in tight spaces. And because it's also moderately thin and flexible, it excelled at getting under food. The head's pronounced curve provided extra leverage for prying up food and kept our hands higher above hot pans. All users found its handle easy to hold, though some wished the otherwise comfortable plastic were grippier.  More on this test