10 perfect gifts for a college grad's first kitchen

Gift your grad something they can cook with.

Credit: Amazon
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So you know someone who is graduating—what an excellent occasion! Or perhaps the person who is graduating is you, in which case, congratulations! Either way, graduation means presents are in order—and it also means it’s time to move out of that crappy college apartment. That’s why, if you’re wondering what to gift your grad, outfitting their new adult kitchen is the way to go.

It’s a new stage of life for your proud graduate, so treat them to some useful countertop appliances that’ll last them through their 20s. Or give them real wine glasses to replace their mismatched, chipped mason jars. There’s nothing that says “welcome to real adulthood” like a well-equipped kitchen.

Here are the best kitchen items to gift your grad:

1. A coffee maker


Whether your grad is starting a new job or still searching for one, they’ll need a morning mug o’ caffeine to get their day going. Help them save money by making their own coffee at home.

If your grad is a coffee snob, they’ll love the easy-to-use Takeya cold brew iced coffee maker, which is our favorite cold brew maker on the market.

For a quicker hot coffee experience, we recommend the Keurig K575 pod coffee maker, which we love for its easy-to-navigate responsive touch screen, adjustability, and speed.

2. A good chef’s knife


Most kitchen tasks require a really great chef’s knife for chopping, slicing, and dicing. Tell your grad to toss their old, dull knife and give them a really solid new one to replace it.

The Zwilling Pro 8-inch chef’s knife is the best one on the market, thanks to its sturdy grip and sharp, well-balanced blade. We think it’s great for beginners and more experienced cooks alike, so your grad should be able to keep it by their side as they grow. It’s also a great gift because it’s near-$100 price tag means your grad is unlikely to purchase it themselves.

If you’re looking for a less expensive knife that’s still excellent, the Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8-inch chef’s knife is a reasonable option. For around $50, it holds its own in the kitchen almost as well as the Zwilling Pro, but its flimsier construction means it might not last as long.

3. A great cutting board


It’s not hard to purchase a cutting board. Most communal post-college homes have a handful of gauged, stained plastic boards, and maybe a few wooden versions. But a really nice cutting board, like this staff favorite Epicurean board stays put when you’re using it, doesn’t damage your knife too much, and doesn’t take too much damage from use or being thrown in the dishwasher. We also think the Epicurean board is pretty nice-looking, and would generally make an excellent gift for your grad to use in their first adult kitchen.

4. Wine glasses


Real wine glasses are for real adults—and your grad is maybe (possibly? hopefully) a real adult now! Cheers to that! Help them celebrate with a set of nice wine glasses.

These Arc International wine glasses are stemless, which means they should be able to weather a couple of post-college moves without breaking. Buy your grad a set of six—or a set of twelve if they have a lot of friends.

5. A set of food storage containers


This might sound like a boring gift, but it will come in so freaking handy that your grad will be glad to receive it. Begone, mismatched, flimsy containers with missing lids! Instead, give the gift of this Glasslock 18-piece set.

This Amazon bestseller is versatile enough to see your grad through all kinds of situations. They can bake or microwave food in the containers, store them in the fridge or freezer, and wash them in the dishwasher. The lids don’t leak (trust us, we’ve tried them), so they’re great for bringing lunch to the office. They’re tough to shatter, so they should last through a number of post-college moves, they nest well for storage, and they come in a convenient assortment of sizes.

6. A flatware set


Mismatched, junky flatware is something everyone should leave behind when they finish school. Now that your loved one has graduated, give them something a little nicer to eat with. They’ll use it multiple times a day, so you’ll want to get them something that will feel good in their hands.

This Sagler 20-piece flatware set will be a great fresh start for your grad. Amazon user reviews describe them as beautiful and sturdy enough not to bend when used to scoop ice cream. Maybe you and your loved one can buy some celebratory ice cream, just to test out these snazzy new spoons?

7. A cast iron pan


If you’re looking to give a gift that will last a lifetime, a cast iron pan is a great pick. Cast iron pretty much lasts forever, and professional chefs and home cooks alike swear by them. Your grad can cook with their cast iron on the stovetop, throw it in the oven, or even set it over an outdoor fire pit. Cast iron gets super-hot and stays super-hot for a while, which makes it great for searing. If your grad cares for their pan correctly (don’t worry—it’s easy!) it will develop a great non-stick surface that they’ll be able to use for the rest of their life.

Lodge’s 12-inch pre-seasoned cast iron skillet is an excellent choice. Relatively cheap, durable, and with the power of the well-known Lodge name behind it, it’s a gift that anyone would be lucky to receive.

8. An Instant Pot


It seems like everyone’s obsessed with the Instant Pot these days, and for good reason—the countertop device can slow-cook, pressure-cook, and has settings for cooking things like rice, soups, and even yogurt. That makes it perfect for your grad, who—let’s face it—is likely in for a few years of small kitchens. That means counterspace will be valuable real estate, so your grad might appreciate a gadget that combines devices instead of cluttering their counter with separate slow cookers, rice cookers, etc.

The Instant Pot is great for someone who wants to set up a stew to simmer all day and be ready by the time they get home from work, or if they get home hungry and want to cook dinner in a jiffy. The 6-quart Instant Pot is a popular middleground size, but it’s also available in a 5-quart or 8-quart size.

9. Oven mitts


Protect your grad’s paws with a pair of clean, new oven mitts! They may be all finished with school, but they’re still young—embrace it by getting them these bear paw-themed mitts. We have a similar pair in my own kitchen, where they’re happily used by three 20-something women and regularly complimented by guests.

10. A baking sheet


One of the most versatile pieces of bakeware a person can own is a simple baking sheet. Your grad will use it to roast veggies, bake cookies, or cook a few chicken breasts. Nordic Ware’s aluminum half-sheet is an Amazon bestseller with thousands of glowing reviews. And because it’s relatively cheap, you can gift it alongside another cheaper item, like oven mitts or a cast iron skillet (see above!).

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