16 DIY Gift Baskets For Every Kind of Cook (Organized By Budget!)

Day 14 of our 30 Days of Thoughtful Giving: Bundle up.

Have you ever gotten a gift basket? Was it filled with fruit? And maybe some chocolate-covered doodads? The following 16 gift baskets don't include any of this.

Instead of a pineapple, we're suggesting you include the ingredients for pasta and buttery tomato sauce. These "baskets" (they can be boxed up in any container) serve a purpose, and we bet you can think about the perfect person to give each one to, whether it's a grilled cheese fanatic or someone who's looking to bake the perfect baguettes and boules.

Photo by James Ransom

We organized them by budget, from the affordable to the I'm-looking-to-spend-a-very-pretty-penny. Take a look, buy a basket, get to building:

The thriftiest

Bean Soup: Pick a recipe (might we suggest this one), print it out and laminate it, and build your basket based on it. You’ll need dried beans, homemade stock, some hardy, woody herbs like rosemary and thyme, a large can of chopped tomatoes, and a small wedge of Parmesan. The recipient only needs salt and a couple tablespoons of olive oil to complete the recipe!

Cookie Cereal: First off, if you’re not familiar with cookie cereal, here’s a very brief how-to—you’ll probably want to type this up/write this down for the gift recipient too, just in case. For the basket you’ll need a batch of crispy chocolate chip cookies, a thing of milk, and perhaps a nice bowl.

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter: Turn one of our favorite pasta sauces into a gift basket! Include a large can of good-quality Italian tomatoes (like San Marzano), a stick of nice butter, an onion, a pound of spaghetti, and a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Grilled Cheese: Include a loaf of good bread, some melty cheese (like cheddar), and a jar of mayonnaise (the key to extra crispy, golden grilled cheese, as we know). If you’d like to add anything else, throw in a batch of tomato soup and some cheese storage paper (for future grilled cheeses).

A bit more moolah

Cookies!: Mix together the dry ingredients of your favorite cookie recipe (include add-ins like chocolate chips in separate container) and place in a jar. Write a little note explaining how to complete the recipe (i.e. cream a stick of butter with brown sugar and granulated sugar, add eggs, etc.). For the rest of the basket, you’ll want a cookie sheet, cookie scoop, spatula, a jar of vanilla extract, and silicone baking mats.

Biscuits: A baking sheet, biscuit cutter, and a silpat liner or parchment paper are all you need! We might also suggest including a few fresh-baked biscuits in addition—just so they know what sort of buttery, flaky goodness they’re in for.

Pizza: A pizza stone, a pizza rocker (let’s not mess with those rickety pizza wheels, okay?), and perhaps a pizza cookbook!

Bagels n’ Lox: Make bagels or buy some good ones, then add lox (again, make or buy!) and maybe some carrot lox, too, for any non-fish eating folk. Then, add cream cheese and a bread knife.

the big spenders

The Basics: Know someone that’s just getting into cooking? Well, that’s perfect! Because they can be the recipient of a great gift basket. Load this one up with the essentials, like an apron, good oven mitts, a cookbook stand, a spoon rest, and some inspiration to get them started.

For the Looking-to-Up-Their-Game: A chef-y cookbook, searing kit, a somewhat fancy pants apron, sous vide immersion circulator, and kitchen torch should do the trick. (Though any cooking-loving friend would be happy to get a bundle of one or a few of those.)

Pie: Grab a pie tin, a pie server (might we suggest this heart-shaped one?), a handy mat that makes rolling pie dough out to the correct thickness and size easy, and a bag of dried beans (a.k.a. pie weights).

Bread: Start with a good cookbook (here’s a one for those just starting their bread journey and one for those who are a little farther along), then add rising baskets, a bread knife, and bread wrap to keep loaves fresher longer.

Cake: Whether they’re a beginner or someone who bake cakes every week, any cake baker (or looking-to-be cake baker) will enjoy a kit that makes slicing layers a piece of cake (har har), a cake stand, a dome for said cake stand, and perhaps some bunting to top it all off—literally.

Coffee: Get some good beans, then a grinder, a pour over that lets you brew exactly how much you want, and a coffee filter stand so those filters don’t end up flying everywhere, willy-nilly.

Cocktails: You’ll want a mixing glass cocktail set, cocktail syrups, a muddler for crushing herbs, and some sturdy glasses.

Pancakes: Get a mixing bowl with a spout for easy batter pouring, a stovetop griddle for golden brown cakes, a spatula for easy feeling, and good-quality maple syrup for smothering those pancakes with.

Tell us: What's in your dream, themed food gift basket?

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