5 Helpful Gift Ideas for Anyone Who Hates to Cook

Not everyone likes to cook. Some people actually hate it. Like… really hate it.

And there are many moments when people who enjoy cooking don’t feel motivated enough to handle day after day and week after week of making something from scratch to eat.

Let’s just admit something right here: we all have given the kitchen the cold shoulder at some point. Or multiple points. Or all the time.

Our reasons for not enjoying the cooking process are completely validated.

Vertical image of a stock of pots and pans with a large red bow, and text in the center and bottom of the image.

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There’s the mess, the cleaning, the energy, the effort, the time, the brainpower, the resources… yikes, I’m exhausted just thinking about all of it!

Whatever your own reasons may be, we’re here to offer our suggestions for alleviating some of the stress.

We know we won’t convince any of you haters that your time in the kitchen will immediately transform into an enjoyable process that you’ll love, love, love!

Vertical image of a woman and grandmother exchanging gifts in the kitchen.

Our humble goal here is to provide a few practical gift ideas that will make the cooking process a little easier, cleaner, quicker… and less traumatizing in more extreme cases of pure hatred.

While we can’t guarantee instant enjoyment, we can at least attest that the following products have changed our time in the kitchen for the better.

1. Beginner Cookbooks

One of the most common excuses we hear from friends, families, acquaintances, and passerby who intentionally avoid cooking is that they don’t know how to cook in the first place!

Generally, it’s the fear of making mistakes that generates enough forceful power to pull people away from the kitchen environment.

While we have written some amazing articles to teach hesitant home chefs about the benefits of making food from scratch, as well as how to avoid common cooking mistakes and how to strategically approach new recipes, they may still need more convincing.

As a start, its a monumental benefit to have the best cookbooks in one’s possession!

“Start Here: Instructions for Becoming a Better Cook” by Sohla El-Waylly

Look for simple and straightforward recipes designed specifically for curious beginner cooks who have taken the first steps towards wanting to make more of an effort in the kitchen.

Our first recommendation is Sohla El-Waylly’s “Start Here: Instructions for Becoming a Better Cook,” an epic resource and cookbook packed with technique-driven chapters and easy recipes to teach you all the fundamental skills you need to learn.

Find this practical guide now on Amazon.

Another option is the book “How to Taste,” written by Becky Selengut. It’s intended for those who want to have a better understanding of how flavor, color, and texture work together when making dishes at home.

“How to Taste” by Becky Selengut

It also includes a selection of tasty recipes, as well as a recipe fix cheat sheet! Purchase a copy from Amazon now.

Actually, make that two copies! You’ll want this for yourself, as well!

If these books become an instant hit among your inner circle of family and friends, you can also take a quick look at our other favorite cookbooks to give as gifts.

2. Premade Meal Starters

Simmer away the stress of crafting a meal entirely from scratch by giving your giftee a little helpful boost from premade meal starters!

A semi-homemade approach to preparing breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert relieves the anxiety of starting at ground zero from absolutely nothing.

Building an inventory of some essential food products in your pantry is like enlisting the support of a prep cook – you’ll still be serving something homemade, but with a few strategic shortcuts to help you create a delicious and satisfying final result.

Wish you could make the best meatloaf, just like Mom’s?

Image of Stonewall Kitchen Mom's Meatloaf Starter.

Stonewall Kitchen Mom’s Meatloaf Starter

Incorporate Mom’s Meatloaf Starter by Stonewall Kitchen into ground beef for a nostalgic taste of your favorite childhood comfort food with very little effort. You can purchase a 20.5-ounce jar now directly from Stonewall Kitchen.

And for a healthy stew idea, take advantage of Stonewall Kitchen’s Lemon Pepper Chicken Stew Starter!

It features a mix of assorted vegetables in a citrusy broth. You just need to add poultry to complete this easy meal.

Image of Stonewall Kitchen Lemon Pepper Chicken Stew Starter.

Stonewall Kitchen Lemon Pepper Chicken Stew Starter

Buy an 18-ounce jar now on Stonewall Kitchen’s website.

See? Making dinner isn’t so bad, especially with just a little help!

3. Indoor Electric Grill

What if the only thing that the home chef had to do was place a piece of seasoned meat or burger patties on an indoor grill and wait a few minutes for supper?

What if they could even position some bell peppers, onions, and buns on the other side?

And what if they can make the most delicious panini sandwiches, with the crispiest bread and the gooiest cheese? Or griddle up a couple pancakes, eggs, and bacon for breakfast?

And what if all of that, and more, can be done using the same appliance?

With an indoor electric grill, it’s totally possible.

Cuisinart GR-4NP1 5-in-1 Griddler

This type of multi-functional kitchen gear is the smart purchase to make for those who are easily overwhelmed by what appliances to buy for the home kitchen.

By mindfully choosing gear with multiple features and settings, you can maximize cooking potential while generously reducing the amount of clunky stuff you own.

One of our top selections to consider purchasing is the Cuisinart GR-4NP1 5-in-1 Griddler, available now from Amazon and Wayfair.

With its varietal functionality, ease of use and customization, temperature controls, and quick cleanup, it’s a favorite among our staff and verified customers online.

You can further review this model in our standalone review, or take a look at all of our suggested panini press buys.

4. Pressure Cooker

Does the non-cook in your life claim to hate food preparation because it takes too long? Do they complain that they don’t feel like waiting around for the slow cooker to do its job?

Well, we might have the best solution right here.

A pressure cooker will enable them to serve a meal in a fraction of the time that it normally takes. And these devices are nothing like they used to be!

Most high-quality electric models have multiple safety features that prevent any major accidents or injuries from occurring, such as pressure valves and seals that will automatically release before the boiler reaches a critical temperature.

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker

These products will come included with an owner’s manual that guides the user to safe handling, and there is often a section that thoroughly explains how long it takes to prepare certain items, such as dried beans, rice, and different cuts of meat.

The recipient of this fine gift will be really surprised that they can make a roast in a fraction of the time it would take to prepare in the oven!

We advise to buy a multi-functional model to optimize its culinary performance and power in the kitchen, such as the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker.

With just one appliance, you can pressure cook, slow cook, prepare rice or porridge, steam, saute, make yogurt, and warm food.

This model also has multiple built-in smart programs to take a lot of the guesswork out of what you should do with certain ingredients – with settings for cooking soup, meat/stew, beans/chili, and poultry, you can feel confident in what you are preparing.

Find this Instant Pot product now on Amazon.

If you’re interested in other options, read more about these fine devices and choose your favorite model.

For additional help using this appliance, we have written expert tutorials to guide you every step of the way towards making the perfect dinner. Review our articles for how to pressure cook different kinds of food, such as rice, chicken, and pasta!

5. Slow Cooker

If the thought of using a pressure cooker still seems a little scary, we understand. For a different and more approachable option, we can’t say enough great things about this other easy-to-use kitchen essential!

A slow cooker makes a wonderful gift for those with a busy schedule, mainly because the whole meal preparation is infinitely easier compared to other cooking methods, and it significantly cuts down on required time spent in the kitchen.

It is designed for any busy home cook – you can simply place all the ingredients into the insert and turn on one of the settings before leaving for work, and then come home to a wonderful homemade dinner.

7-Quart All-Clad SD700350 Slow Cooker

The giftee can use precut vegetables, precut stew meat, some stock or water, and a few seasonings. Throw it all in here, and you’ll have a nearly effortless and delicious meal in a few hours.

Slow cookers also help introduce people to preparing their own food. With one of these devices, the new chef will easily be able to start experimenting with new seasonings, sauces, and so on.

And the final cleanup is a big blessing! If you made the initial prep decision to use pre-cut produce and meats, you only dirty just one pot per meal.

One of our top recommendations is the 7-Quart All-Clad SD700350 Slow Cooker, featuring four cooking modes, a stainless steel exterior, and a nonstick cast aluminum insert that is safe to clean in the dishwasher.

You can purchase this model from Amazon or from Wayfair.

You can review more information and choose from all of our top choices of slow cookers in our complete slow cooker buying guide.

And also guide your giftee to our collection of perfect slow cooker recipes!

All Aboard the Kitchen Train

Choo-choo! The train is pulling out of the station, and it’s about time that the cooking averse family and friends in your life hopped on board.

We hope these gift ideas will be items that help the reluctant cook in your life have an easier time with food preparation.

These products are meant to encourage them to make wholesome and nutritious meals at home, saving time and energy while they’re able to stay away from fast food.

Horizontal image of wrapped present with a bow in a frying pan.

With these gifts, cleanup is also a cinch, with fewer pots, pans, and individual utensils to worry about after the meal is over.

What’s your favorite time-saving device or product that helps you to make healthy and satisfying meals at home? Let us know in the comments below if there’s something we missed.

And for even more convenient items to add to your kitchen countertops and cabinets, read these reviews of the best kitchen appliances next:

© Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Uncredited photos via Shutterstock. Product photos via Amazon and Stonewall Kitchen. Originally published on October 19, 2013. Last updated December 8, 2023. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

About Nikki Cervone

Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

32 thoughts on “5 Helpful Gift Ideas for Anyone Who Hates to Cook”

  1. These are excellent gift ideas. I gave a slow cooker to my niece for a wedding gift. I definitely can not imagine giving up George Forman grill as a gift. lol

  2. I don’t hate to cook, sometimes am just too lazy…being single, i tend to carry on eating what i ate last night to the following day { i try to make it exciting}…or be like, i can pass this day without cooking, just drink many cups of hot chocolate…i confess, am obsessed with hot chocolate, i know its not healthy…i can’t be any more glad than i am right now for all these amazing ideas… am definitely buying myself one or two of these gifts and implement what is advised 🙂

    • That is exactly my situation. I like cooking, but being single and only cooking for myself can become very boring after a while. Now that my daughter is off to college, it’s even more of a chore……sigh.

  3. Some great ideas. I have a George Foreman Grill and still use it once in a while if I am trying to multi task a few meals at once. Also, there are some great recipes for the slow cooker – hopefully you can write some of yours up soon.

    • A George Foreman Grill was introduced to my college dorm (it was well hidden) and it was by far the greatest addition to our room. It was really easy to clean and maintain and it made the munching out at night the easiest thing in the world. And maybe it’ll work as an introduction to cooking for the anticooking minded.

    • The Foreman grill is so simple to use, even my kids cooked with it. So, yeah, that one is great for a non cook. These are some nice ideas.

      I also once gave a non-cooking friend a cookbook filled with recipes made from canned goods and one for cooking in the microwave. She used her stove as kitchen decor.

  4. A plug in griddle would be perfect for me as well! I haven’t see many, but I will look out now that I know they exist. A good choice for those with a small kitchen or don’t like cleaning too much. I have friends who don’t have cookers, only microwaves so this would be a good choice for them.

  5. A close friend popped in my mind while reading this and its going to be her birthday next month. Well, she’s not lazy in cooking but probably, she’s busy at times to cook for her own. She’s so much in love with pancakes that’s why I am now on the look for an affordable griddle and I think this will be useful to her since she lives alone in the condo. Thanks for the tips, I enjoyed the article!

  6. I think another great gift for those who aren’t into cooking is a tagine. It looks a little exotic to them at first but with its self basting it is really hard to go wrong. You can throw a number of different combinations of meats, veggies, and seasonings in to get great results. There are also tons of recipes online. Similar to a crockpot you just put it all in and let it sit for a few hours. It’s great!

  7. It’s not that I hate to cook, but I’m just not good at it. So these ideas were great for me not as gifts to give to other people but to me, and if it helps with my cooking my husband will probably be happy to.

    • A slow cooker is perfect for you then!
      It can’t get easier then take a bunch of ingredients put them in a take them out hours later!
      Make your hubby a big pot of chili and he will be a happy man guaranteed.

  8. I love our George Forman Grill and Slow Cooker. The grill has always been great for us to use to quickly fry up our meat, I like the dip tray for collecting the grease and it just being healthier makes me love it more. We have made many batches of chili in the slow cooker and they always turn out excellent tasting. I love that you can prepare and just walk away and stir and taste occasionally. I got my mom a slow cooker for Christmas last year and she really likes it.

  9. The slow cooker has saved my lazy bum from starving so many times! 😉 They definitely make the meal preparation a whole lot easier because all you have to do is throw stuff in there, turn it on, then find out that their scraps have been turned into an incredible dinner later – definitely a great gift for people who hate to cook! (And those who have to clean… there’s only really one thing necessary to clean, instead of 20 tiny bowls or pots). Hopefully they’ll open their eyes to the magic of turning raw ingredients into wonderful meals and start to love cooking as well!

    I also recommend the raclette machine to those who don’t enjoy cooking and therefore have nothing to serve when important guests – or just any guests in general – come over. The preparation is pretty effortless: you just have to cut up various cheeses, meats, vegetables, and breads or potatoes, and then the raclette machine does the rest for you… and it looks like you put a ton of time into it too, because everything is so put together and elegant! 😉

  10. Being a college student and living alone sure isn’t easy. I think last year I ordered and ate more food outside than I actually cooked. I was in a boarding school most of my life as well so even though the rest of my family loves cooking, I found cooking to be a lot of hard work. But I’m slowly getting used to it and slowly learning to love it. But I’m still quite lazy at times so I’m glad I stumbled onto this. The George Forman Grill definitely sounds like something I would invest in. Sounds easy and quick. I already own a pressure cooker and it’s super easy for me to make rice or cook potatoes. I absolutely love it!

  11. My grandmother is someone who hates cooking and always has trouble coming up with a good meal. This year for Christmas I bought her an expensive slow cooker and I put together a binder full of crock pot recipes for her to try out for all sorts of occasions and meat. She was so happy and can’t wait to try it out! I hope it eases things up for her 🙂 she is a great lady but just does not enjoy being in the kitchen!

  12. Great ideas of sound gifts! At least, I would love to receive this. But I’m also the gal who asked for a meat thermometer two Christmases in a row! Somehow, people thought I was kidding the first time.

    That said, I would want to note that we did give an indoor grill to my mother-in-law this year. We thought it was a great idea (she once complained about wanting to make Hawaiian Toasts, but not wanting to turn on the complete oven). Her reaction was less than enthusiastic, though. She was all like: “Oh. A kitchen appliance.” And then we tried to convince her about how great it was to make so many things, and she was like “Yeah, one more thing to clean.”

    I swear! Urgh! So be careful, some women will not enjoy receiving stuff for their kitchen. Maybe something about feminism of her time, but even though she gave us kitchen stuff, she considers we should not give women like her stuff for her kitchen.

  13. Last Christmas, I gave my aunt a crockpot. She did not even know how to turn it on. Now, whenever I visit her house, I smell the aroma of a Chicken Pot Pie cooking in her crockpot. It might not be the one I gifted her, but Im glad she enjoyed the idea of it!

  14. I’ve always given people things that encourage them to get out of their comfort zone. Everyone with a house has a stove. They just do. I like to get them cool things to use with the stove & not something that takes them away from exploring the thing that could help them find a love of cooking.

  15. These are great suggestions. I cook, but still don’t have a pressure cooker, but someday i will. A suggestion to go along with the crock pot is one or more books from the series Fix It And Forget It. I’ve heard very good things about the books from non-cooks, and have even tasted a few of the dishes, and they were delicious. Another suggestion is a wok, because that can come in very handy for fixing quick, nutritious meals.

    • Indeed. These are some great gift ideas, and I always did love the convenience of the crock pot. The recipe book to go along with it is a nice touch. I’ve seen some really good ones, but I don’t think I’m familiar with the one you mentioned. I’m intrigued now though because it sounds like it’s loaded with nice, easy, options. Always a plus when you’re in pinch, but yeah, really nice for those who aren’t exactly comfortable in the kitchen. Great idea, Diane.

  16. I have a friend who isn’t the best cook, but he loves his George Foreman Grill. It was a frequent topic of conversation between us, in fact. He can definitely vouch for that one! I have no experience using one, but I do see the appeal. So I think these are great suggestions; I’d love a crock pot myself.

  17. I would never have never thought of giving these as gifts. I have a slow cooker and mine was a gift. I love using it, especially on Sundays. I put the food in early and have it all done by lunchtime. It is one of the best devices I have ever had. The food is always so juicy and tasty too! I do need some recipes intended for this device. I will do a little research. Thanks for the idea.

  18. Maybe give them something not-cooking-related? 🙂

    Haha, just kidding! A great article! I love to cook, but my aunt would definitely benefit from one of those! Added to the very-early-Christmas-shopping-list.

  19. My friend has always wanted to cook but being the lazy person that she is, she just procrastinates and eats outside. The gifts listed in the article would definitely help her in her culinary endeavors and perhaps, now she can’t tell me that cooking is too difficult.

  20. Some neat ideas here. I have a crock pot that I use occasionally, to cook beans or a meal here and there, but I tend not to use it much. Most of the recipes I come across are full of canned and prepackaged foods that are heavy on the meat and not exciting nor healthy looking. I suppose I just have to do more digging, or convert non slow cooker recipes to be made in a crock pot. I have never used a pressure cooker but really like the idea of cooking a meal so quickly. As for the grill and the plug in griddle, I don’t see much of a use for them. A good pan will do all that work with less kitchen clutter. Cooking lessons might be a good option too. There are many different types you can choose from and they could be a fun activity to do together.

  21. The George Foreman grill looks like a good idea, especially since my father is a meat lover, but at the same time can’t cook very well so he spends a lot of time trying out new grills and toys for making meat, because he also does not want to spend a lot of time cooking traditionally. It seems like a great holiday gift for him.

  22. I absolutely love these great gift ideas. My best friend hates everything and anything related to cooking. She would rather have anything that comes out of a can, bag, or box and that can be preferably microwaved. I didn’t really know what to give her for Christmas, but I think that your slow cooker suggestion sealed the deal. Hopefully this can help her eat a little healthier, while spending little time in the kitchen. Now between you and me, I’m getting the slow cooker for myself. LOL! Thanks for the these great gift ideas.

  23. Forget gifting these, I want them all for myself…
    I like it when I can make my own meal, it’s just that I don’t really know HOW to cook so my food is always rather bland. I’m also a pretty picky eater so it’s a constant struggle. I get home from work and I am ravenous – too ravenous to take the time to make myself a good meal. So I usually either order something or microwave something up really quickly unfortunately…

  24. I love cooking, but I could not imagine life without a slow cooker. How would I cook corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day, or pulled pork any time of the year? Slow cookers are a Godsend.

  25. My boyfriend simply can’t be bothered to cook for himself for the exact reasons you mentioned. He just hates how long it takes, and then having to clean up a million dishes! It’s strange, because the man loves a good home made dinner. So, my goal (and his, too, if he can stick to it) is to try and cook more using recipes that are easy and delicious! Since he doesn’t have many kitchen appliances, I’m going to track down a few of these items for the kitchen! I just know it will get him into cooking more at home!

  26. Hmm… I wonder if any of these things would help the person I have in mind. I would probably just end up using them for him as it is. I don’t think I have ever seen the person I’m thinking of go further than open up a can of spaghetti-o’s when it comes to cooking.

  27. Let’s be honest, even when I’m feeling curious about cooking, the whole process makes me feel really stressed and I end up with my face all read and feeling all itchy, lol
    But I actually really liked the Plug-in griddle one, it seemed to be a practical idea to cook and it’s also something that you can use to cook almost everything.
    Afortunately I still live with my mom and she cooks for me, but I will consider this post when I live on my own.

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂


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