As much as we love writing about restaurants, at this time of year we’re spending lots of time in the kitchen with friends and family. So once again, we’re partnering with our favorite cooking stores to bring you some gift inspiration. Up first: three great picks from Williams Sonoma.

  • Instant Pot: This gadget continues to top many wish lists, and it’s no wonder. The new Max version can pressure-cook, slow-cook, steam, sauté, brown and warm your food — not to mention making yogurt, canning, pasteurizing and serving up the perfect pot of rice or hard-boiled eggs. There’s definitely a learning curve involved here, but fans say the results are well worth the time. (Priced from around $70; click here for more.)
  • Thermo-Clad Stainless Steel Cookware: As a gift for someone starting out in a new home or first apartment, you can’t beat Williams Sonoma’s workhorse pots and pans. Made in Italy to the company’s precise specifications, these are among the best we’ve tried — and bonus, they’re dishwasher-safe. (Starting around $75; click here for more.)
  • Peppermint Bark: When you’re guesting rather than hosting, this classic, cheery red-and-white box will be welcome in just about any home. (Starting around $20; click here for more.)

For more gift picks from Williams Sonoma, visit Bethesda Row, Tysons Galleria, Reston Town Center or shop online at