Useful (and Fun!) Kitchen Gifts for New Grads
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.
BUY FOR $124
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.
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.
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.
BUY FOR $80
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.
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.
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.
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.
BUY FOR $205
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