Holiday
America’s Test Kitchen Holiday Gift Guide 2020
After the year we’ve all had, we deserve something nice.
11-18-2020
Danielle Lapierre and Mari Levine

If ever there was a year to treat yourself and your loved ones to an end-of-the-year gift, it’s this one. Do it to commemorate the end of this doozy of a year and have some simple pleasures to look forward to in 2021. We all deserve it.

This collection of gift ideas covers a range of interests, sources, and price points so there’s something on it for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a new kitchen gadget to entertain you during the upcoming winter, a shortcut ingredient that helps you level up a quick meal, or a room-brightening print of your favorite food, these items will help you, your family, and your friends end 2020 on a high note.


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1. For the Person Who Blazed Through Queer Eye: Jones Bar-B-Q Sweet & Tangy BBQ Sauce ($6.99)


If you love the Fab Five from Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye, you may remember Mary “Shorty” and Deborah “Little” Jones, the two hardworking sisters with infectious smiles who participated in an uplifting and inspiring episode of the show. Shorty and Little have been the proud owners of Jones Bar-B-Q in Kansas City for years, and their famous sweet and tangy barbecue sauce is available for purchase on their website. Perfect for marinating, dipping, or traditional barbecue, this sauce packs a flavor punch sure to make any barbecue lover happy.

2. For the Person Who Could Use a Smile: For the Food Lover Care Package from Kwohtations ($60)

Janine Kwoh, the artist behind Kwohtations, is known for her simple, whimsical greeting cards, prints, and stickers that say what mainstream companies’ offerings don’t. (You don’t see a lot of Mental Health Sticker Sheets from Hallmark.) This collection of seven items includes her Cooking Is Hard print, which perfectly captures the joy, challenges, and organized chaos of one of our favorite hobbies.

3. For the Person Who Took Up Bread-Baking This Year: New World Sourdough by Bryan Ford ($16.79)

Our monthly 10 Things We Loved column collects things the ATK family loved over the course of the previous month. This book was included in the June installment of the series, and it’s the perfect book for someone who started a sourdough starter—and who didn’t?—this year. The book includes typical recipes like bread and focaccia, but also more unique sourdough recipes such as beignets, many of which are inspired by the foods that Ford ate growing up in New Orleans in a Honduran family.

4. For the Person Who Always Forgets About Their (Now Cold) Coffee: Ember Mug² ($129.95)

Ember Mug
Ember Smart Mug on counter

To start 2021 strong, you’ve gotta embrace hygge. One of the keys to capturing that feeling of cozy contentment is always having a hot mug of coffee or tea around. This sleek, adjustable smart mug will keep your drink hot and your spirits high. (And it’s controlled by an app, so you’ll have something to do on your phone besides checking the news and refreshing your social media feeds.)

5. For the Weeknight-Cooking Warrior: Southeast Asian Omsom Sampler ($29)

Even the most committed home cooks turn to shortcuts now and then. This starter pack from Omsom is perfect for the nights when you want to get dinner on the table quickly. It contains six recipe starters, each of which serves two to three people and includes all of the sauces, aromatics, and seasonings you need to cook one of three Southeast Asian dishes: Vietnamese Lemongrass BBQ, Thai Larb, and Filipino Sisig. If the results are as good as the packaging—and the 200-plus comments say they are—you’ll want to keep these around.

6. For the Person Who Misses Free Samples at Grocery Stores: Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company’s Zoom Tastings

You don’t need to leave your home to get the California cheese experience. Family-run Point Reyes is bringing it to you with their series of Zoom classes. You know the deal by now: You order the recommended cheeses from their website, join the Zoom tasting at the designated time, and absorb all of the expert knowledge from one of their team members as they guide you through the tasting process.

7. For the Meat Lover Who Wants To Go Steady: Steakhouse Smoke Seasoning from The Spice House ($7.29 to $11.99)

We love Lawry’s and Johnny’s, but these days, we’re married to the Steakhouse Smoke Seasoning from The Spice House, a beloved Chicago-based shop serving chefs and home cooks since 1957. It’s tough to articulate exactly why we’re mad for this seasoning salt—it’s smoky, garlicky, savory, as good on a ribeye steak as homemade breakfast sausage—but one taste and you’ll fall in love with it, too.

8. For the Person with Lots of Wall Space: Fox & Velvet Prints ($15.10 to $41.20)

Whether you’re partial to the ramen and beans prints or the rum and gin ones, this Etsy shop has something for every food-minded person. (One of our editors just bought this one for her hot-sauce-aficionado brother.) Their retro, mid-century aesthetic and rich colors will brighten up your wall—and with their 10% to 25% savings on any three, you can mix and match your favorites without breaking the bank.

9. For the Person with a Green (or Black) Thumb: Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 Indoor Herb Garden ($99.95)

Click and Grow indoor garden
Click and Grow indoor garden

In the midst of cold months, it’s nice to have access to fresh herbs that taste like peak summer produce. It’s also perfect for when you’re in a pinch and don’t want to wait in line at the grocery store. This easy-to-use indoor garden comes with basil plant pods to get you started, but you can also purchase additional plant pods on Click and Grow’s website. Let this little indoor garden provide you with some joy in your kitchen as we leave 2020 in the past.

10. For the Person Who Just Moved to a New Place: Spicewalla 18 Pack Kitchen Essentials Collection ($89.99)

With this colleciton of 18 essential spices, flavorful food is just an arm's length away. It's perfect for replenishing a spice cabinet or for a new homeowner with an empty one. Their mail-order convenience will keep you out of the grocery store, and each spice arrives in an adorable tin container that’s easy to stack and organize.

11. For the Person Who Likes Their Drink Shaken, Not Stirred: Tovolo Stainless Steel 4-in-1 Cocktail Shaker ($28)

Tavolo cocktail shaker
Using a cobbler shaker

This easy-to-use cocktail shaker is perfect for making a drink to ring in 2021. It’s leakproof, includes a strainer, and has a top that doubles as a jigger. This shaker also boasts a wide mouth that makes it easy to fill, muddle, and clean. Whether you’re a beginner bartender or a master mixologist, you won’t have any issues making the perfect cocktail. You could also pair it with our first-ever beverage cookbook How to Cocktail, which has a variety of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails to enjoy.

12. For the Person Who Spends Way Too Much Money at Starbucks: Zulay Kitchen Milk Boss Electric Milk Frother ($14.99)

Zulary milk frother
Photo: Nenov (Getty Images)

Picture it: You’re in your kitchen, still wearing pajamas and donning some gnarly bedhead, sipping on a cappuccino or latte that you’ve just made. That you’ve just made. The secret isn’t a several-hundred-dollar machine. It’s this inexpensive, handheld milk frother. It makes rich, satisfying foam with the push of a button. (It’s also great for other tasks, including mixing up small batches of whipped cream and emulsifying vinaigrette.) Next up: DIY foam art with your perfect milk foam.

13. For the Person Who Wants to Save the Turtles: OXO Good Grips 5-Piece Reusable Straw Set with Cleaning Brush ($12.95)

OXO reusable straws
Straw in a travel mug

You know what feels good? Doing something to help the earth. But some reusable straws are just too flimsy, while others are chip-your-tooth rigid. Say goodbye to straw frustration with this set. It includes two 8-inch-long and two 10.5-inch-long straws, all of which fit comfortably in a glass, a to-go cup, and a travel mug. The straws also have 3-inch-long silicone tips so you can sip safely, and the cleaning brush they come with is effective and comfortable to use.

14. For the Potato Chip Fanatic Who Wants To Level Up: Kicker Potato Chips from The Billy Goat Chip Company

Most serious snackers would agree that optimal potato chips have a sturdy crunch and good flavor, and actually taste of potatoes. The spicy Kicker chips from The Billy Goat Chip Company of St. Louis checks off all those boxes. Ruffled and supremely crunchy, these chips have a deep Russet flavor and a pronounced sweet-spicy heat. If potato chips could feel confident and sophisticated, these Kicker chips are it.

15. For the Hands-On Carb-Lover: Marcato Atlas 150 Wellness Pasta Machine ($63.00)

Marcato pasta maker
Making fresh pasta

There are few luxuries in life that are better than freshly-made pasta. Making it by hand is misconstrued as intimidating, but even the novice cook will be producing pasta like a pro with this easy-to-use machine, dubbed "the Ferrari of pasta machines" by our expert ATK Reviews team. It has a beautiful stainless steel finish and an attachment that makes perfect noodles every time.