The best kitchen gifts for Mom, in my eyes, are the ones that make her happy and that also make my life a little easier. Like, last year I sent her a Burlap & Barrel spice set. She adored the Vietnamese cinnamon, and I adored that when I baked banana bread the next time I was home, I didn’t have to use spices that expired in the 80s. I know I am not alone here! We love our moms, ummas, and ammis, and many of us learned how to cook at their apron strings—but there are things about mom’s kitchen that drive us nuts. Mother’s Day is the perfect excuse to give them the gift of a kitchen tool upgrade and give yourself the gift of not slicing your finger with cutlery that hasn’t been sharpened in a decade. Just make sure to throw in some flowers or nice chocolates too. Here are some of our editors’ favorite kitchen gifts for Mom (that are actually kinda for ourselves).
My mom is the kind of environmentally fastidious gal who washes out plastic baggies, composts like a champ, and saves leftover salmon skin for our omega-loving doggos. Her crunchy granola vibes are family lore, which is why her coffee strategy completely baffles me: my mom owns an off-brand Nespresso machine that uses coffee pods. (Yup, I’m talking about those infamous little turtle-choking-single-use plastic cups.) I know she’s only stuck with The Machine because a) she’s fussy about her flat whites and b) technology is foe. I’m confident this adorable Smeg espresso machine will convert her. For a dreaded kitchen gadget, there aren’t too many bleeps or buttons, and it pulls a nice shot AND froths milk all at the same time. Did I mention it’s also earth’s prettiest coffee maker? –Ali Francis, associate editor
Legend has it that my mom’s nonstick cookware was once actually nonstick. But the coating on her frying pan has been so thoroughly scratched over the years that it’s long since ceased to give up fried eggs and salmon filets without a fight. I would love to replace it with this Tramontina fry pan, one of BA’s picks for the best nonstick skillets. It’s made from heavy-duty aluminum, so it’s a lightweight option for all Mom’s sauté pan needs—but it also features a stainless steel handle, making it oven-safe up to 400 degrees. The removable silicone sleeve means you don’t even need an oven mitt or pot holder. —MacKenzie Chung Fegan, senior commerce editor
I love to cook for my mom whenever I visit, but every time I go to make garlic fried rice, I forget that she doesn’t have a rice cooker. To her credit, there are plenty of other ways to make perfect rice (I usually default to oven rice when I’m back home), and she’s never been one to collect fancy appliances—the more buttons and settings, the less likely she is to use it. But in my eyes, the best gift ideas are a little luxurious and a little selfish. I’d get her this cute single-buttoned Zojirushi rice cooker for her countertop so she—and more importantly, I—will always be just a flick of a switch away from the perfect rice. –Nico Avalle, digital operations associate
My mother is the true queen of tchotchkes, and her kitchen is no exception. Her measuring spoons are a porcelain set with decorative swirls that she absolutely got in the Home Goods clearance aisle (we love a good sale). So cute! So impractical! Which is a shame because aside from being a tchotchke-hoarder, my mom also loves to bake, and any great baker needs a set of high-quality, actually functional measuring spoons. This Oxo Good Grips set is what I have at home, and I know it would make a great gift for my mom. They’re magnetic so they stay nested together in their drawer, but they pull apart super easily when you’re ready to use them. Save the trinkets for the living room, Mom! –Emily Schultz, former social media manager
My in-laws live in Provo, Utah. Elevation: 4,551 feet. I love to cook for them when I visit, but whenever I use their oven, it never goes quite right. It’s mildly mortifying to be known as “the daughter-in-law who works at a food magazine but never knows when her cakes will be done,” so I’m trying to figure out how to adapt my bakes and braises for high altitude. Next time I’m in Utah, I’ll bring a Thermoworks DOT oven thermometer so I can eliminate one variable and adjust the oven temperature with accuracy. –M.C.F.
I’ve never met a person more committed to making and packing their lunch every day than my mom. She’s even been known to wake up before the sun rises to cook a pot of rice and fry a batch of lumpia to take to work—the DEDICATION! That’s just one of her traits I wish I’d inherited. But while I admire her diligence, I don’t admire her work lunch set up, which consists of old, stained Tupperware and a daily brown paper bag. This bento box, or should I say gift box, is both functional and stylish—and it’s just the upgrade she needs. —Tiffany Hopkins, commerce writer
While I look exactly like my mom, every time I see her use a plastic fork as a whisk I question how we could possibly be related. The cooking gift I’d love to surprise her with is a real wire whisk that won’t snap under the weight of a thick batter. We may not agree on everything, but I hope she’ll see I’m right about this one. –Chala Tyson Tshitundu, associate editor
Like most South Asian cooks, my mom doesn’t own measuring cups. She’s a terrific home cook, throwing in a little bit of this and a little bit of that, letting her instinct guide her. The only problem is that because nothing is standardized, it’s hard for me to replicate her recipes at home! Good measuring cups would be the perfect gift so she can write down her recipes and pass them on to future generations. –Rachel Gurjar, associate food editor
The only thing my mother-in-law dislikes more than an R-rated movie is clutter. I have a deep, somewhat fearful respect for her commitment to order, but it does mean that whenever I’m prepping veggies, I can’t for the life of me find a cutting board bigger than a paperback book. I’d love to delight(?) her with a sturdy end-grain Boos block that’s so handsome it can double as a cheese board. It’s one of BA’s picks for best cutting board for good reason—the checkerboard pattern is attractive and easier on your knife set. —M.C.F.
My mom’s black corduroy jacket from the ’80s is cool. Her citrus juicer from the same era is not. The behemoth two-piece, cup-and-reamer situation always comes apart in the drawer, and once you’ve got it together, it produces juice that’s speckled with seeds—not cute! So this year I’m upgrading her to a one-piece squeezer, which requires way less effort for a way less seedy result. Even the driest limes and most over-sized lemons are no match for this squeezer’s double-lever technology—and its caution-tape yellow color makes it easy for my mom’s Boomer eyes to spot. –Amanda Shapiro, former digital editorial director
My parents have a collection of extremely old, yellowed, non-heatproof rubber spatulas. They melt at the very sight of an open flame, and they’re so ancient that the rubber has started pilling. Like a sweater. Did you even know that was possible?? The Mother’s Day gift my mom doesn’t know she needs is a Get It Right spatula. It’s made of heat-resistant silicone and is smooth like a dolphin—no pilling in sight. –Christina Chaey, senior food editor
Whenever I want to grate some fresh Parm or zest a lemon at my mom’s house, I am confronted by my old nemesis: a novelty mini-grater about the size of a doll’s hairbrush. Whom is this grater for? Elves? Culinarily inclined babies? Perhaps it’s the perfect size to throw in your purse for Parmesan emergencies, but it is a terrible size for anything else. For Mother’s Day, Mom is getting a Microplane whether she wants one or not. –M.C.F.
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