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Useful (and Fun!) Kitchen Gifts for New Grads

It's graduation season! If you're looking for a first-rate gift to mark the occasion, we've created a shortlist of products that not only have aced our tests but also balance practicality with performance. (And who knows? You might find something special for yourself, too.) Our America's Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook is also a perfect gift as well as a dependable reference for any cook. Congratulations from the test kitchen to the Class of 2016.
Useful (and Fun!) Kitchen Gifts for New Grads
Cuisinart 4-Quart Cook Central 3-in-1 Multicooker
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Recommended
Cuisinart 4-Quart Cook Central 3-in-1 Multicooker

Anyone can appreciate the hands-off convenience of a slow cooker, but this scaled-down version is perfect for a starter kitchen. This 4-quart "multicooker"—a slow cooker that can also brown/saute and steam food—produced perfect chicken, steaks, and ribs, with no scorching or hot spots. Its programmable timer can be set to cook for up to 24 hours and then automatically switches over to “keep warm." We liked its lightweight, easy-to-clean, unbreakable metal insert with extra-large, comfy handles, and its oval shape, clear lid, and intuitive controls.

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BUY FOR $95
Purchased for $129.95 at time of testing
Breville Mini Smart Oven with Element IQ
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Highly Recommended
Breville Mini Smart Oven with Element IQ

For smaller spaces and budgets, this oven is a great choice. With four highly responsive quartz heating elements for even, consistent browning; an easy-to-use dial for selecting from eight cooking functions (including bake, roast, broil, and toast); three baking rack positions; and a front slide-out crumb tray that simplifies cleanup, this mini version (it’s about 25 percent smaller) of our favorite toaster oven, the Smart Oven by Breville, is well designed and a solid performer.

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BUY FOR $179
Purchased for $149.95 at time of testing
Capresso Silver H2O Electric Kettle
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Recommended
Capresso Silver H2O Electric Kettle

A dependable electric kettle is an essential piece of equipment for any kitchen. The Capresso won us over with its sleek design and ease of use, a window through which to watch bubbles rising from an orblike stainless heating element, and safety features including automatic shut-off.

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$59.95
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Simple Human Steel Frame Dishrack
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Recommended
Simple Human Steel Frame Dishrack

A dishrack may not be the most glamorous item in the kitchen, but a well-designed one can make chores as painless as possible. This large rack has two roomy utensil holders, a seven-slot knife block, and a ledge that can hang four wineglasses upside down so they dry spot-free. Its swiveling spout efficiently drained off water, and little raised feet hold it up off the counter.

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BUY FOR $80
Purchased for $63.57 at time of testing
Wüsthof Classic 3 1/2-inch Paring Knife
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Highly Recommended
Wüsthof Classic with PEtec, 3 1/2-inch

Every kitchen needs a reliable paring knife for small prep tasks. Our favorite, a razor-sharp knife with “Precision Edge Technology—PEtec,” is comfortable and well proportioned. A recent redesign gave it a narrower blade angle of 14 degrees (previously 19 degrees) on each side and a new plastic handle that feels like hard, smooth wood.

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$39.95
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Victorinox 8" Swiss Army Fibrox Chef’s Knife
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Highly Recommended
Victorinox Swiss Army Fibrox Pro 8" Chef's Knife

If there's one knife to own—or give—it's this one. Still the best—and a bargain—after 20 years, this knife’s “super-sharp” blade was “silent” and “smooth” and it retained its edge after weeks of testing. Its textured grip felt secure for a wide range of hand sizes, and thanks to its gently rounded edges and the soft, hand-polished top spine, we could comfortably choke up on the knife for “precise,” “effortless” cuts.

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BUY FOR $31
Purchased for $39.95 at time of testing
Cuisinart Elite Collection 4-Cup Chopper/Grinder
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Highly Recommended
Cuisinart Elite Collection 4-Cup Chopper/Grinder

This processor had a sharp blade with great coverage. It turned out crisply cut vegetables and nuts and fluffy parsley. Its strong motor blended hummus and pesto with minimal scraping, and its small feeding tube allowed us to slowly add oil for fantastic mayonnaise.

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BUY FOR $59
Purchased for $59.95 at time of testing
Le Creuset Signature 11 3/4" Iron Handle Skillet
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Enameled Cast Iron - Highly Recommended
Le Creuset Signature 11 3/4" Iron Handle Skillet

With flaring sides, an oversize helper handle, wide pour spouts, a satiny interior, and balanced weight, this expensive but beautifully made pan is a pleasure to cook in. Our only quibbles: A small piece of cornbread crust stuck and tore when we flipped the pan, and scrambled eggs stuck a little (but scrubbed out easily). After abuse testing, the pan still looked nearly new.

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BUY FOR $205
Purchased for $179.95 at time of testing

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.

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