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Food gift baskets make a popular gift for any holiday or gifting occasion—the special treats inside can be enjoyed over a long period of time, and while still thoughtful, they make a great low-effort, last-minute gift for anyone on your list.
Editors at The Spruce tested a panel of luxury and affordable food gift baskets from top brands to find the best ones, considering factors like selection, ordering process, taste, and quality of each item included. Based on our findings, we deemed Harry and David our top pick, thanks to their wide selection and various size options for each gift basket.
Here are the best food gift baskets, from luxury wine and cheese options to deliciously sweet treats.
Best Overall: Harry & David
Wide selection of food categories to choose from
Various size options for each gift basket
No perishable warning on box
Harry and David is a well-known company, famous for its wide range of gourmet gift baskets. Though there are a lot of options to choose from on the site, our tester noted that it wasn't a headache making her final selection. She liked that customers were able to choose smaller and larger versions of the same basket, depending on who you're shopping for and your budget.
Upon delivery, our tester found that there weren't any labels on the box letting the recipient know there were perishable items inside. Most of the items were snacks that could be kept in the pantry for weeks anyways, but also included was a Hickory-smoked summer sausage and a block of white cheddar cheese—so if a recipient doesn't open within a couple of hours of the box arriving, these foods could go bad quickly. Otherwise, the food items paired nicely together, and though our tester ordered the smallest size of the basket, she had enough food to share with her partner over a couple of snacking sessions.
Best for Local Favorites: Goldbelly Foods
Unique options from local businesses
Can search by diet
Shipping guidelines aren't guaranteed
Goldbelly can deliver local favorites across the country to satisfy any type of customer. From the famous banana pudding from New York's Magnolia Bakery to deep dish pizza from Gino's East in Chicago, you can pretty much send it all. Our New York-based tester picked a delivery of cheeses from across the country in San Francisco—specifically from a spot she frequented when she lived there years ago.
Our tester's box included an array of cheeses and a card describing each cheese's flavor and pairing suggestions. The cheeses were wrapped in their original packaging and then placed in Goldbelly's packaging to keep them cool during transit. Our tester noted that even a week after arrival, her cheese tasted just as delicious.
Best for Foodies: Mouth Foods
Unexpected and quirky gift baskets
Food subscription boxes available
Can be shipped to all 50 states
Some options tend to sell out quickly
Adventurous eaters might appreciate something from Mouth, an innovative company with a wide array of regional and handmade snacks as well as unusual treats that your special someone will be obsessed with. The simplest gifts start at around $40, with most options costing between $60 and $100. Shipping depends on location, with most states able to be shipped in one to three days.
Mouth received fairly high scores overall, but our tester took off one point since three items she originally ordered were swapped out with another snack. There is a disclaimer that notes this on the site when you place your order, but it's something to keep in mind if you had your heart set on a specific product making into the gift. Mouth does make it easy to shop by dietary requirement and taste preference, though, so it's still easy to find a gift the recipient will enjoy.
All items came packed in crinkle-cut brown paper, which might not make for the fanciest presentation, but we liked that the material was easy to recycle.
Best Chocolate: Williams Sonoma
Food is individually wrapped
$12 shipping fee
Pricey for the amount you receive
You can always count on Williams Sonoma when looking for a food gift basket with a luxury feel—in fact, the store offers their own exclusive collection every holiday season. They offer a variety of food items, including meat and cheeses to fruit, but they especially have a ton of chocolate treats and confections, perfect for the holidays.
During testing, we loved the high-end feel of the packaging. A twine string held the boxes together neatly in a stack, and a decorative gifting bow adorned the boxes, just as pictured. Our tester gave it high scores for taste, which make sense since they ship perishable foods directly from their vendors for freshness. If you're concerned about ingredients and allergens, those are clearly printed on the boxes, but the information is placed so as not to get in the way of the presentation of the gift.
This gift basket lost some points for ordering and selection, as it stood out to us that most gifts cost a minimum of $50 and the basket we selected had a $12 shipping fee—a significant markup if you're on a budget.
Best Ice Cream: Jeni's Ice Cream
Offers unique, unexpected ice cream flavors
Dairy-free options available
No options beyond ice cream
This popular artisan ice cream brand delivers ice cream right to the recipient's door and has dozens of fun flavors to choose from, including Brambleberry Crisp and Salty Caramel Pie, plus a handful of dairy-free options. You can send a few pints or gift a Pint Club 3 Month Subscription, which delivers four pints of delicious ice cream to their doorstep each month. The company also offers new flavors seasonally, so even if you've sent it as a gift before, chances are there's something new for your loved ones to try.
Testing proved that the quality of the ice cream was phenomenal. You can expect unique and delicious flavors that are packaged well and will arrive at your recipient's door within the expected time frame. The included dry ice kept the ice cream frozen and ready to eat.
The order minimum is four pints at $12 each, or you can order a specific collection starting at $58 for five pints. Shipping cost is dependent on zip code, and all orders will arrive one to two days after being shipped.
Best for Hosts: Stonewall Kitchen
Non-food items extend the life of the gift
Great for families
Most items require cooking to enjoy
Proper host etiquette dictates giving a gift after spending a weekend at someone's house. This classic New England store makes some of the best pancake mixes, jams, and syrups out there—and prices start at just $10 and cap off at $200. Our tester liked that there was enough variation in basket options to make the gift feel personalized, although since many of the gifts do include mixes or sauces, they're not all ready to eat straight out of the packaging like some of the other picks we tested.
We gave the brand high scores for quality, and we loved that a lot of the items included were "treat-like"—meaning they weren't necessarily products people would buy for themselves, but still made for fun pantry items that would last over the course of a few weeks or months. And although food is the star of the show with Stonewall Kitchen, many of the gift options come with one or two non-food items that extend the life of the gift.
Best Wine: Gourmet Gift Baskets
Packed well for shipping
Some food items were better quality than others
If you're looking to give a wine gift to a loved one this holiday season, Gourmet Gift Baskets has a great variety of gift baskets to choose from, whether your recipient prefers Chardonnay, Rosé, or particularly enjoys a good glass of Pinot.
There are smaller and bigger baskets available, but all wine baskets also include snacks that pair nicely with the chosen beverage. In terms of delivery, our tester's basket arrived very quickly, and she found that all items were packed securely to ensure nothing shifted during the shipping process. The basket's other contents tasted fine, but we took off a point since some food items didn't live up to the same quality as others—the wine was clearly the main star of the gift.
Best Tea: David's Tea
Free shipping when you spend over $39
Offers a wide range of options for various budgets
Features mostly loose leaf tea
If you're gifting to a tea fanatic, you can't go wrong with specialty tea boutique, David's Tea. You can browse through a good number of unique tea blends and tea accessory sets, including artisan tea samplers, matcha kits, tumbler, and tea gifts.
When browsing through the site, we noticed that David's Tea had quite a lot of options for a range of tastes and budgets, including plenty of seasonal blends and packs. Keep in mind that gift sets do tend to sell out quickly, which is why we took a point off for ordering.
You can get free shipping when you spend over $39, and your recipient can expect two servings with each tea in a gift set. Take note, most of the gifts contain loose leaf tea, so you'll have to be sure the recipient has an infuser.
Best Cheese: Jasper Hill Farm
Owned and operated by cheese experts
Build your own gift box option
Cheese lovers will go nuts over this gift basket option from Jasper Hill Farm, which is owned and operated by farmers in Vermont. When shopping for a basket, you have the option to browse among their curated collections, create your own cheese gift basket from scratch, or gift a Cheese Club membership so that your recipient can try limited-release cheeses or snag sneak-peeks at upcoming products.
We gave Jasper Hill Farm high points in every category, most especially in part that the cheeses were delicious and weren't something you'd typically find at the grocery store. Our tester said that the basket she tested felt very personal and special, and the included crackers and nuts gave her an instant charcuterie board. Note that the baskets start at a pretty high price point, but a lot of the boxes ship free with codes found throughout the site and the quality of the product is worth the splurge if your loved one is a cheese enthusiast.
Best Cookie: Levain Bakery
Famous, signature cookies
Ordering is simple and fast
Very limited options
Known for their incredibly thick and moist cookies, Levain is a coveted brand in the cookie industry. For the longest time, Levain bakeries were only local to the residents of Manhattan and the Hamptons. Fast forward nearly 20 years later, you can get their cookies delivered right to your door.
You might think that having a smaller selection would be a bad thing, but in this case, our tester found that this made the ordering process clear and fast, given the website was easy to navigate and not-at-all overwhelming. She found that every cookie she ordered arrived fresh, decadent, and ready to be enjoyed right away.
Best Baked Goods: Milk Bar
Comes with storage instructions
Outstanding commitment to freshness
$15 flat rate shipping fee
You don't have to live by Christina Tosi's Milk Bar to delight in one of her outrageous treats—you can just ship them across the country. Known for their "birthday cake" flavor, as well as the highly addictive Milk Bar Pie, these sweet treats and baking mixes are sure to brighten anyone's day. All of the sweets arrive in a cute gift box, too.
The brand scored a perfect score for selection, since Milk Bar has a wide range to choose from; for example, you can browse among cookie-only packages or opt for a sampler of their popular desserts. Our tester was particularly impressed by the company's commitment to freshness. The gift basket arrived packaged with cold packs and the tin basket was secured, so none of the treats were broken or damaged. The basket even included instructions on how to best store and preserve the treats once opened, in case you don't finish their delicious selections in one sitting.
Best Last-Minute: Gift Tree
Excellent customer service
Needs more transparency with ingredients
Gift Tree has been around for more than two decades, so we weren't surprised to see that they had their customer service down pat. While the site has a generous range of gift basket selections, our tester gave the brand a perfect score for ordering, since a gift expert helped her make her final selection via the 24/7 chatroom.
Shipping is super quick—our tester received her basket within a week of ordering and by the predicted delivery date. Plus, the two-day shipping option is free! All items were intact, and we were happy to see that there wasn't an overwhelming amount of waste when unboxing.
One thing to keep in mind: While the wine and snacks were tasty, we took points off due to the fact that there wasn't a full ingredients list online. This would've been helpful for those with certain food allergies or sensitivities.
Best for Individuals: Knack Shops
Offers everything from food to home items
Fewer items per basket than some other options
For something truly one-of-a-kind, Knack personalizes a fully custom gift for your recipient. You can build your own basket, filter through their offerings based on the recipient (college student, for him, for her), occasion, or interest, and then expert ideas for the basket will appear. If you're short on time, you can also pick one of their best-sellers, which are all cleverly packaged and themed.
Knack received perfect scores across all categories. Our tester felt that every individual product included was unique, and all contents were curated well together. Every item arrived fresh, clearly labeled, and without damage. You can also email the recipient so the package doesn't get lost, as well as add a custom written message and video—great if you're gifting from afar.
The only downside to Knack is that the gifts tend to have fewer items that are mostly intended for one person, so this isn't necessarily the best option to send to a family or a couple. However, as a gift or as a thank you to an individual, Knack's selection can't be beat.
How We Tested
In order to make sure we are only recommending brands we would want to receive ourselves as gifts, we ordered gift baskets from every company on this list to judge how the experience is for both the gift giver and the recipient. We considered how varied the gift selection was, whether it was clear from the website what would be included in the gift, and whether shipping significantly changes the cost of the gift.
Once the gifts arrived, we considered the unboxing experience from the recipient's eyes, including the packaging, the freshness of the products, and—of course—how the products tasted. Only baskets our testers really enjoyed and would send out to our friends and family made this list.
What to Look for in a Gift Basket
"When it comes to gifting food baskets, the first thing that consumers are looking for is the quality of products and where they're sourced from," says founder and CEO of Tasty Ribbon Giulia Scargetta.
Additionally, having an assortment of food items the recipient can sample (and share if they’re feeling generous) is all part of the fun. Pick products that you know your recipient will enjoy while also tempting them to try something new.
Gift baskets are an excellent gifting choice because there’s an option for every budget, ranging from $20 to $200. However, be sure to factor in shipping costs, which can be free or tack on an extra $7 to $15 or more. (And if you need overnight or two-day shipping, the price can easily double).
In addition to determining shipping costs, it’s important to read up on the company’s delivery statement: Does it deliver in the area the recipient is located? How do cold items arrive, and how long can they safely stay in the box? Does someone need to be home to receive or sign for the package? This is especially important for baskets including alcohol. When sending a gift box around a major holiday, you’ll want to check for delivery times, too. Lots of sites have time tables and order-by dates to give you a pretty accurate estimate. In general, the earlier you place your order, the more likely it’ll arrive on time.
Because there are many options available, you really can’t go wrong with sending a tasty gift basket to just about anyone. Edible gifts are especially fitting for people who are difficult to shop for because everybody loves treats of some kind. Plus, it’s not a present that’ll clutter up the house (or end up in the giveaway bin), and anything they don’t like in the basket can be shared with friends or family.
When shopping for the perfect gift basket, you must also keep in mind the recipient’s taste and possible allergies. Luckily, many sites selling food-based gift baskets offer allergen information right in the product description. Some baskets with various snacks included may require more research or a quick call to the company, but this becomes vital when allergies come into play.
Some things to consider: Does the recipient have kids that may want to break into their delicious dessert box? Are they a big entertainer so a larger wine, cheese, and meat basket might be better? If they live alone, will all of the included treats stay fresh long enough for them to enjoy? Many companies have various size options or items that have a long shelf life including nuts, coffee, jams, and more. After putting in so much time and effort into your gift choice, you want to ensure they can enjoy every part of it.
Can you personalize gift baskets?
For some companies like Knack, where customization is their specialty, yes. At Tasty Ribbon, you can build a box from scratch for a completely personalized experience. Others like Basketry allow you to add a gift message to your box or basket to send a special message to your boss, neighbor, friend, or spouse.
Some even allow for other special add-ons including packaging options like bows and ribbons, embroidered liners for baskets, or additional items. For an even more personalized gift, turn to companies like Stonewall Kitchen who allow buyers to design their own breakfast gift basket from scratch so gifters can choose the perfect items for their recipient.
Can you return gift baskets?
This varies by company, but most sellers allow for returns within 30 days of purchase with an appropriate receipt or documentation. This may be needed if products arrive broken or spoiled. Some rules may vary for perishable items, but gifters should contact the companies directly with any questions regarding returns or exchanges—or pick a more general basket if you're worried about your recipient's preferences. It may also depend on the reason for the return. "Companies cannot accept returns based on not liking the taste, texture, or flavor of an item. Of course, if an item is damaged or tastes off, companies usually offer refunds and send substitutions," says Scargetta.
Are gift baskets a sustainable option?
Gift baskets often include a lot of packaging, which may make them not the most sustainable choice. However, many companies including Levain and Stonewall Kitchen use recycled or sustainable packaging on all of their products. Sellers often list on their website if they are committed to sustainability. However, most packaging used on gift baskets can be recycled.
Why Trust The Spruce?
For this list, editors at The Spruce put own own tastebuds to the test and sampled gift baskets from each of the companies included to make sure we only include options we'd shop from when choosing gifts for our own friends and family.
The article was written by The Spruce editors Shanon Maglente and Julia Fields, who write gift and holiday content for the site. We also spoke with experts in the gifting field to get tips on what to consider when you're making your selection to help guide you to the perfect choice for everyone on your list.
Expert advice was provided by the founder and CEO of Tasty Ribbon Giulia Scargetta.