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.
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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!
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.
5 Helpful Gift Ideas for Anyone Who Hates to Cook
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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:
- The Vitamix 750 Is a Beautiful Work Horse for the Home Kitchen
- The Best Drip Coffee Makers: Improve the Taste in Your Cup Now
- The Best Food Dehydrators on the Market Today
© 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.