The best gift baskets combine the art of giving with the thought of a fine selection of goodies from sumptuous food to fantastic treats. The end result should be a very happy recipient making these great for special occasions, thank yous, or just a general way to show your love. These aren't meant to be full meals, or practical cooking ingredients - they're treats and gifts for special occasions.
Since the best gift baskets can be ordered online and delivered, they're a great option for sending love from afar: all you need to know is the address. We've taken into account important factors you'll want to look out for including the selection of options, timely delivery services, pricing, dietary requirement servicing, presentation and guarantees.
When it comes to food baskets you're all set for most needs here with options for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. You can also expect all the allergen information to be shown up front so it's possible to check that your chosen option is perfect for the lucky person receiving it.
If you're looking at sending meats or cheeses then a good service, which delivers in a timely fashion, is very important. If it's wow factor you're after then a service that's all about the presentation of that final selection may be the option to look for. Alternatively you may want to check out the best meal kit delivery services or the best flower delivery services.
1. Harry and David: Best gift baskets overall
We found our Harry & David gift basket to be the best overall option for anyone who wants to purchase a high-quality gift basket for almost any occasion.
The Harry & David gift box came with several types of cheese and cured meats, mixed nuts, some sweet treats, and two bottles of wine. For the price, we thought that this was a nice array of offerings.
This company offers kosher, vegan and gluten-free baskets, and it’s easy to search for themed baskets on its website. Harry & David is part of 1-800-Flowers, so if you want you can easily shop for flowers or other gifts from the family of websites.
Overall, we found our Harry & David gift basket to be very well-rounded and well worth the price, although the latter depends on the basket you choose. But don't just take our word for it: customers appear to be generally really pleased, if not delighted, with their choices.
- Read our Harry & David gift basket review
2. 1-800-Baskets: Best variety of gift baskets
The site with the most variety in terms of both the types of gift baskets available and the offerings within the baskets was 1-800-Baskets, a subsidiary of 1-800-Flowers and a sister company of Harry & David.
Our 1-800-Baskets gift basket came with lots of sweets, including chocolate truffles, snickerdoodle cookies, and kettle corn. It also came with a bottle of wine, adding a fancy touch to an otherwise pretty standard gift basket.
While we weren't particularly impressed with the contents of our gift basket, we were impressed by sheet number of options. In fact, we had a lot of trouble picking which gift basket to review - that's how many great choices were available. If you're at a loss for what to buy someone, whether it's a sympathy gift, birthday gift, housewarming gift, or a gift for any kind of occasion, 1-800-Baskets will definitely have something you will feel good buying. We thought that the price paid didn't reflect the somewhat average quality of the individual food items, but there are other baskets available that are better worth your money.
- Read our 1-800-Baskets review
3. Broadway Basketeers: Best value gift baskets
If you're looking for a quality gift basket on a budget, Broadway Basketeers is the provider for you. There are some very affordable options for any occasion. We were pleased with our choice from Broadway Basketeers, which included brownie brittle, caramel popcorn, and trail mix.
We noted that many of Broadway Basketeers's products are tailored to those with a sweet tooth, and that there aren't as many savory options available on the website. However, upon receiving the basket, we were surprised that some items that were supposed to be in the basket were swapped out for more savory items - we realized that items are replaced with comparable treats depending on availability, so we caution buyers when choosing Broadway Basketeers.
Despite the swaps, we found that both advertised food items and food items included in the basket were quite average and relatively unimpressive: anyone can buy them in a grocery store, for the most part. But because of the average lower cost, we think Broadway Basketeers can provide the best bang for your buck.
- Read our Broadway Basketeers review
4. Design It Yourself: Most personalized gift baskets
As the name suggests, Design It Yourself is the best gift basket company for personalizing a gift basket.
Starting with the container itself, you pick everything that goes in whether it's a stuffed toy, sweets or savory delights. It's easy because the process starts by selecting a theme like Italian food or spa day baskets. The theme makes building your basket easy, as you aren't browsing through pages and pages of items. Our testers gave the Design It Yourself basket a B- and loved the desserts. There are several hundred premade baskets you can also buy, but totally customizing your basket is what makes Design It Yourself great.
- Read our Design It Yourself review
5. GourmetGiftBaskets.com: Best gift baskets for alcohol and dietary needs
GourmetGiftBaskets.com has a wide-ranging selection of beer, wine, champagne and cocktail mixes, and a host of vegan and kosher options.
The Bloody Mary basket is perfect for brunch lovers and comes with snacks like summer sausage and jalapeño cheese, while the Microbrew Beer Bucket includes some classics alongside lesser-known brews.
There are more than 30 alcohol-themed baskets to choose from, making it easy to shop for the wine-lover in your life. There is even a high-end Champagne & Truffles Gift Basket if you’re shopping for someone with a refined palate. And yes, someone who is 21 years or older must sign for the basket when it is delivered.
- Read our GourmetGiftBaskets.com review
Why trust us on gift baskets?
We spent 30 hours researching and reviewing comparable gift baskets. We bought the gift baskets and took careful notes on the baskets each company offers, the shipping options available and how the baskets were delivered to our offices.
Because receiving a gift basket is an experience that includes the wrapping and design of the basket, we chose not to conduct a purely blind taste test. Instead, our testers commented on the baskets and overall food selection, in addition to the taste, as part of their comments.
We tested baskets from all of the major gift basket companies. We chose not to order baskets from companies that specialized in specific combinations of meats and cheeses or that catered to a specific demographic. Instead, we chose baskets that can appeal to a wide range of people, and that include fruit, crackers, nuts, sweets, cheese and sliceable meat.
How we found the best gift baskets
To test gift baskets, we ordered baskets that cost around $100 from each of the top companies we researched. We took careful notes of how the baskets arrived and what condition they were in before we opened them up and spread the contents out in our break room. We gave each of our testers a ballot with the names of each basket and room to rate five food items from each basket. We also had our testers vote on the best basket overall and any food items that exceeded expectations. We then collected all the ratings and ranked baskets by the average of all the food scores.
If you’re picking a gift basket, try to find one with a good mix of sweet, savory, fruity and salty. Some of the baskets we tested had too many sweets. Pears were the most polarizing fruit we tested. If you want to include pears, we recommend you purchase from Harry & David. The other pears we tested were overripe.
All the gift baskets we tested ship inside cardboard boxes. If you want to deliver just the basket, you’ll have to unpack it and deliver it yourself. Many of the same snack brands popped up in multiple baskets we tested. If you want something unique, we recommend buying from Harry & David.
How much do gift baskets cost?
The baskets we ordered for testing all cost about $100 and each came with a significant amount of food and other products. More extravagant and larger gift baskets are priced around $300, but there are also plenty available closer to the $40 range. Keep in mind many companies tack on fees if shipping requires an ice pack or other special handling. Of course, how much a gift basket is going to cost is dependent on the size of the basket, and how decadent the foods are.
Food basket shipping laws
Some state laws regulate the shipment of alcoholic beverages to consumers. These laws vary, but according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), you cannot ship alcohol to private addresses in Alabama, Oklahoma and Utah. This includes shipping gift baskets containing alcohol to your friends and family in these states, so shop accordingly.
Many other states' laws are specific to purchasing and shipping wine. You can ship wine in Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina if it was purchased at a winery. You can ship both wine and beer directly to Delaware, Massachusetts, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Virginia. Some states also restrict the maximum quantity you can ship, but this isn’t a problem for most gift baskets. Some of the less restrictive places to ship alcohol to are Mississippi, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, all of which have laws that specifically allow the direct shipment of alcohol.
Before you shop, make sure you know the laws for the state you're shipping the gift basket to. You can find this information through the NCSL or through each state's legislature website.
Gift baskets and allergies
Keep in mind while shopping that not everyone can enjoy everything offered in a gift basket. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children have become more common over time. The reported food allergy rate for children increased by 18 percent from 1997 to 2007 alone. About 65 percent of humans have a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine's Genetics Home Reference. Be cognizant of this when you're looking at gift baskets that contain a lot of cheeses. If you’re unsure what someone can and can’t eat, it’s best to get a basket with a variety of things to choose from.
Best gift baskets for the ketogenic diet
One of the newest health crazes, the ketogenic diet, is a low-carb, high-fat diet plan. Users are encouraged to all but eliminate carbohydrates and replace them with fats. That way, your body only burns fat for energy, oftentimes causing weight loss. There are variations of the ketogenic diet, according to Healthline, but as a general rule carbohydrates are eliminated. Finding a keto-friendly gift basket can be hard, but they do exist. Look for gift baskets with cheese and meat but no crackers. You should also avoid sugar-laden gift baskets or those that include a lot of chocolate. Some keto diets do allow for chocolate, but only the dark kind. Look for baskets that include chocolate with a minimum of 70 percent cocoa. A milk chocolate Hershey's bar won't make the cut. Nuts are also allowed on the keto diet, so the multitude of baskets out there with a large selection of nuts are a good option.
Ketodelivered.com also sells gift baskets specifically for keto dieters. These include "ultra low-carb food products" like spices, condiments, coffee, snacks and sweet alternatives. KetoKrate is another website where you can shop for keto-friendly gift baskets. These "krates" come monthly and include items like hemp brittle, dark chocolate, veggie spaghetti, meat snacks and various nuts. No matter where you shop, make sure you’re getting a basket with lots of healthy options.
Seasonal gift baskets
Keep the season in mind when shopping for gift baskets. While many ship with cold packs to keep perishable items fresh, they're not foolproof. Also, they won't keep a basket fresh if you don't see the delivery notification and the food sits on the porch in the sun. Buying items that are appropriate for the time of year can save you the heartache of having a basket inadvertently ruined in the mail.
Buy chocolate in the winter because it's less likely to melt in the mail then. Cheese can also melt if the cold pack fails or the basket lingers in the mail for long. Be careful, though – there are some things you don't want to get too cold. For example, some alcohol, like champagne, might freeze if shipped in the winter to a particularly cold location. If it stays too cold for too long, you risk the bottle cracking. Buy fruit in the summer because it's more likely to be fresh. It also might cost less because it's in season. Candy and other sugary goods could also melt in the heat, so avoid them in the summer.
And remember, it might be the middle of winter in North Dakota, but temperatures aren’t nearly as extreme in southern states like Arizona and Texas. Keep the climate of wherever you send the basket in mind while you shop.
Gift basket subscriptions
Whether it's cosmetics, clothing or food, there are a lot of subscription services you can use to get fun products delivered every single month. This is true when it comes to gift baskets as well.
Harry and David has several Fruit of the Month Club baskets to order. You pay once and can have the basket delivered once each subsequent month. These baskets come with a variety of pears, mixed nuts, apples, crackers and other goodies. There are also themed Fruit of the Month Club baskets for various holidays. Gift Tree offers an Artisan Cheese of the Month Club where you can sign up for several months of gourmet cheese baskets or, if you're willing to spend a little more, a Cured Meats and Artisan Cheese of the Month Club subscription.
If you're more interested in vegetables there is also a subscription for that. It doesn't come packaged as a gift basket, but you can choose from boxes of 5 to 15 pounds of vegetables delivered each month from Vegetable Club. GourmetGiftBaskets.com has a large selection as well, including monthly cheesecakes and monthly popcorn selections. No matter what kind of food you enjoy, there is most likely a gift basket subscription out there for it.
Diet gift baskets
There are a lot of options for people who are watching what they eat. Whether a person is trying to lose weight or simply maintain where they are, it's important to respect their dietary choices and not gift them with, say, a gift basket full of chocolates. There are a lot of other alternatives to pick from, whether they're full of fruits, gluten-free breads or protein-rich nuts.
Classic Fresh Fruit Basket from Harry & David - This gift basket is packed with fresh fruit. Available in three different sizes, you'll get apples, pears, kiwi, pineapple, avocado, mango, lime and baby bananas all in a cute picnic basket. Take note though, the fruit selection may vary depending on the time of year.
Vegan Delights Gift Basket from iGourmet - This basket includes quinoa, couscous, olives, pistachios, granola and other tasty vegan treats. The most unhealthy thing in the basket is a super dark chocolate bar which honestly, isn't that bad for you.
Wine Country Orchards Mixed Nut Gift Tray - This wicker gift tray includes heart-healthy trail mix, almonds and other tasty but healthy treats. It's great for health-conscious parties or work events.
Healthy Snacks Healthy Gift Basket by Design It Yourself - Perfect for the person who likes to snack, this basket comes with dried apple chips, trail mixes, almonds and other snack mixes they can enjoy throughout the day without feeling guilty.
Upcycle your gift basket
Once the items in a gift basket are gone, there are still a lot of ways to reuse the containers. Upcycling, by finding other uses for the basket or canisters, is both an enjoyable crafting opportunity and an environmentally friendly solution. Here are just a few ways to upcycle gift basket materials.
Upcycle your wicker basket with a fresh coat of spray paint. If you don't like the color or feel, or the basket looks dated, try taping off half or more of the wicker for an edgy, modern look. If you want something more exciting, spray-paint the entire thing a bright color, and use it as a flowerpot or storage bin. If the basket is large enough, add a cotton liner to make your own small laundry or storage basket. You can also affix small decorative signs to the front of the basket with wire available at most craft stores.
If your gift basket came with decorative canisters, you can give them another life with a coat of spray paint. There are many ways to reuse them – for example, turn a nut canister into a fun pencil holder, or fill the canister with sand or salt and top it off with a small candle. Upcycled canisters also make great gift containers, but make sure you don't get any toxic paint inside if you plan to use them to package food.
Gift basket FAQs
There's one thing in this gift basket I don't like. Can I replace it with something else?
Some gift basket companies let you personalize your gift basket. This means you have the option of selecting every product included. However, most gift basket companies don’t let you substitute one item if the entire basket is premade.
Why doesn't the product description match what was delivered?
Some items, like fruit, are seasonal. This means companies don’t have access to quality products during certain months and will replace that item with something else. This happens most often with fresh items, like fruit and cheese. Most gift basket descriptions that contain these items note that such items are not always available.
Why are gift baskets so expensive?
There are a lot of affordable gift baskets out there. But if they still seem expensive, there’s a reason: Gift baskets come curated with numerous items from several different companies, and acquiring those goods takes time and money. It's also costly to ship food securely and quickly.
Is it okay to send a gift basket as a Christmas gift?
Of course! A gift basket is the perfect present for that person on your list who has everything.