The Best Gifts for Dads Who Love to Cook
If your dad is king of the kitchen (or the grill), then you’ve come to the right place for Father’s Day inspiration. In this year’s gift guide, we’ve selected something for every kind of dad. The design lover is sure to appreciate the handsome carbon-steel knife that topped our testing. The gadget guy will get a kick out of our favorite wearable timer or our top-rated clip-on probe thermometer. And if your dad prefers eating to cooking, then treat him to a set of the best steak knives on the market.
Does your father geek out over the science of a great steak or get excited to try new cooking techniques such as sous vide? Our book Cook’s Science takes a deep dive into 50 of our favorite ingredients and shares how to unlock their flavor. Each chapter includes test kitchen experiments and recipes engineered for success, ranging from the best crispy fried chicken wings to the ultimate omelet.
This affordable pan had it all: thick, solid construction; a smooth interior with no handle rivets to bump the spatula or trap food; an ergonomically angled handle; and sides flared just right for easy access but high enough to contain splashes. Steaks formed a deeply crisp crust, tarte Tatin caramelized beautifully and released neatly, and fried eggs just slipped around in the pan.
BUY FOR $50
Looking more like a pair of bear-sized combs than actual paws, this device has thick, sharp tines and stay-cool plastic handles that helped us lift hot meat easily and safely. Its widely spaced tines allowed shredded meat to pass through them without getting stuck.
These sleek, sharp knives sliced effortlessly through even the toughest steaks, and their good-looking contoured rosewood handles were secure and comfortable to hold. Though the blades dulled slightly after many cuts, sharpening easily brought them back to life.
BUY FOR $132
Pizza baked up perfectly and the pan’s looped handles made it easy to move in and out of the oven. The pan’s size and shape limits it use when compared with a rectangular baking stone, but the cast iron heated up to temperature in record time (30 minutes) and retained the heat as we baked four pizzas in a row. The surface is preseasoned but, like all cast-iron cookware, must be maintained to avoid rusting.
BUY FOR $40
This kit converted our Weber charcoal grill into a pizza oven that sent temperatures inside the dome above 900 degrees, allowing us to crank out impressive restaurant-caliber pizzas. Its tombstone-shaped baking stone and custom-grate replacement have openings in the side that made adding more coals and wood chips easy, letting us keep the temperature in the optimal range and crank out multiple pizzas. A “fire basket” held wood chips right next to the baking stone, ensuring crispy, charred crust with wood-fired flavor.
BUY FOR $300
This model combines a clock, timer (count down), and stopwatch (count up); has direct numerical entry; and easily toggles between the three settings with a clearly marked mode button. Because it’s oriented vertically, it fits comfortably in hand. It’s also lightweight and slim enough to fit in a pocket, and its 38-inch lanyard is both comfortable and long enough to slip easily overhead.
The Ferrari of the pasta machine world, this model was a little more expensive than the others, but it sure was a pleasure to handle. It sported both the widest and the narrowest thickness settings in our lineup; we barely had to roll dough out to fit it through the machine, and we could effortlessly dial the machine down to produce gossamer-thin sheets. Its laser-sharp noodle attachment produced perfect fettuccine and angel hair every time.
BUY FOR $68
This roomy clay stone remains our top choice. It reliably browns and crisps dough evenly and at a moderate pace, and small feet slightly elevate the 10-pound rectangle for easy handling.
Four inches longer than our winner, this stone was plenty roomy, but it was also somewhat cumbersome to pick up, maneuver, and store, since it is very large. If you have the space for it, this is a good bargain stone. Pizza and bread came out nicely browned and crisp.
Traditional Cast-Iron - Highly Recommended
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.
BUY FOR $39
This thermometer, with an oven-safe probe, was the most accurate among those we tested, plus it had an intuitive design. It’s the only model we tested that can be calibrated; we also liked the programmable high- and low-temperature alarms, the adjustable brightness and volume, the on/off switch, and the small knob on the probe that stayed cool for over-the-pot adjustments.
With plenty of long bristles and a head fixed at a slight angle to the 12-inch handle, this brush quickly coated chicken with sauce and bread with oil. While its head was slightly narrower than the runner-up’s and thus offered slightly less coverage on a single stroke, this brush was nimbler and more precise as a result; it excelled at basting areas of chicken that were hard to reach without dripping too much sauce all over the grill. Our only gripe? The handle melted a little when left touching the side of the grill.
BUY FOR $9
With diamond abrasives and a spring-loaded chamber that precisely and gently guided the blade, this sharpener “purred” with perfection, consistently producing edges that were sharper than on brand-new knives from edge to tip. “I’m cutting this paper into confetti,” said one tester. It was the only sharpener to quickly remove nicks in the blade; in 10 minutes, a severely damaged knife looked and cut like a brand-new blade. A big perk: It can convert a 20-degree edge to a sharper 15 degrees.
BUY FOR $132
With this knife’s “precise” tip and “samurai-sharp,” ultrathin blade, parsley “jumped to pieces” and whole chickens seemed to butcher themselves. More impressively, it maintained that edge throughout testing. Its ultracomfortable handle was also a gorgeous piece of craftsmanship.
The Mk4 takes all the accuracy and speed of the Classic Thermapen and adds a couple of nifty features that improve the user experience: its display now auto-rotates, lights up in low light, and wakes up when the unit is picked up. It takes a single AAA alkaline battery and is also more water-resistant than the Classic, capable of surviving a half-hour bath.
Testers of all sizes loved this spatula’s slim, rounded, offset handle, remarking on the agility, sense of control, and confidence that it inspired. Particularly when the grill is really packed, this is your spatula. Its relatively small head was also able to lift and move large swordfish steaks, but we noticed a bit of flex where the steaks weren’t completely supported.
This light was the brightest of the bunch, with an even, wide spread of warm light that allowed us to easily see char and gauge the doneness of the food. While this light stood freely on side tables and clipped on effortlessly to handles, it was easily jostled and displaced whenever we moved the grill or lid. We also noticed that many online reviewers complained that this light stopped working after just a few months of normal use (though ours was still functioning after more than two weeks of heavy usage).
Roomy, knife-friendly, and exceptionally durable, this teak slab was worth every penny. It resisted warping and cracking, showed only minor scratches, never seemed “thirsty,” and—despite its heft—was easy to lift and clean, thanks to handholds on each end.
BUY FOR $105
All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.