Best gift baskets of 2019: Nourish your friendship with a food hamper

Best Gift Basket - Wine and Nuts
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A gift basket is a super easy thank you gift, or congratulations present.  The best gift baskets are the ideal way to show a group of people you are thinking about them, as well as a thoughtful gift for an individual. 

Editor's Choice: Harry & David

With its perfectly ripe pears and delicious cheese and treats, the Founders’ Favorite Gift Box from Harry & David is the best overall gift box for most people. VIEW DEAL ON Harry & David

The best gift baskets are usually a great gift because they offer a range of different food, snacks and presents. This means that there is bound to be something within the basket that the receiver will enjoy. And if you are giving it to a group, rather then an individual they'll have food they can share and enjoy together. We judged our gift baskets on the wide variety of food provided in the basket, how fresh and tasty the food in the basket was and how the basket was presented. 

We enlisted 20 coworkers to taste test 11 gift baskets from the top gift basket companies.  These coworkers then discussed the differences between the baskets. This ensured that we got a wide range of feedback about the gift baskets, so everyone's taste was accounted for. 

The contents of gift baskets can even be tailored and themed to individual tastes or occasions. Some gift basket companies are better at providing the more niche food types.

The best gift basket for fruit was the Founders’ Favorite Gift Box from Harry & David because it features delicious, ripe fruit and snacks that are unique and tasty. 

If you’re a cheese connoisseur or interested in trying more gourmet foods, we recommend the California Classic Gift Basket from igourmet.com

If you want the largest basket for a comparable price, the Gourmet Choice basket from Wine Country Gift Baskets is best.

Whatever type of food you are looking for, there is a gift basket out there designed to meet your tastes. 

1. Harry and David: Best overall 

Harry & David best gift basket

Harry & David

An ideal gift basket basket for vegan and kosher options

Reasons to Buy
Best tasting fruit
Highest rated food we tested
Overnight shipping option 
Reasons to Avoid
Less amount of food
Can’t ship to all countries
Only available add-on is wine

After taste testing 11 different gift baskets, we found the Founders’ Favorite Gift Box from Harry & David to have the ripest fruit, great cheese and snacks, and overall the best-tasting food.

The Harry & David box came with pears, sweet onion relish and a selection of cheese, sliceable meet and sweet snacks. The pears were ripe and sweet and the highest rated fruit out of all the baskets we tasted.

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.

Harry & David ships this gift box in a nicely wrapped cardboard box, which was slightly less impressive than the reusable wicker baskets that other companies used to ship their baskets. However, because the food in the Founders’ Favorite Gift Box tasted so good, we’re confident that anyone will appreciate this basket.

This company ships its baskets to some international destinations like Canada, Germany and the U.K., and you can also ship baskets to APO/FPO addresses.

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2. Wine Country Gift Baskets: Best value

Wine Country Gift Baskets - Best Gift Baskets

Wine Country Gift Baskets

A gift basket that is excellent for large groups or offices

Reasons to Buy
Wide selection of themed baskets
Kosher and vegan baskets available
Ships baskets internationally and to military addresses
Reasons to Avoid
Box arrived in poor condition
Credit card payments only
Small variety of food 

The best value gift basket we tested was the Gourmet Choice Gift Basket from Wine Country Gift Baskets. If you’re sending a basket to a large group of people, or want a single basket that’s big enough for everyone in a small office to enjoy some snacks, this is the basket you should pick.

The crackers, cookies, cheese and meat from this basket filled a whole table in our breakroom; our taste testing panel was consistently impressed with the amount of food.

Though this basket doesn’t include any fruit, the crackers and tapenade were well rated and this basket came with a cheese knife and decorative ceramic plate that added to the overall presentation. This company offers a wide variety of baskets, and you can include a bottle of wine with most of the baskets, as long as you ship the basket to a state that allows winery direct shipping. This company has kosher and vegan baskets, so you can find something for anyone.

Wine Country doesn’t ship internationally or to APO/FPO addresses. You can add a greeting card to your basket or extra snacks if you want to make the basket more personalized, and this company of course offers a wide selection of wines that you can include as well.

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3. iGourmet: Best for food connoisseurs 

igourmet.com - best gift basket

igourmet.com

The best gift basket for cheese lovers and gourmet food fans

Reasons to Buy
Wide selection of cheese
Second highest rated food
Wide range of gourmet foods on its website
Reasons to Avoid
Smaller basket with less food
No crackers included with the basket we ordered
The cheese can be very strong

If you’re looking for exotic flavors and great cheeses, the California Classic Gift Basket from igourmet.com was the second-best gift basket in our taste test.

We had 20 people taste and rate the food from this basket, and the food received a B+ score, the second highest after the Harry & David basket.

Our testers especially enjoyed the selection of cheeses in this basket. They loved the bleu cheese, and the lavender-infused goat cheese was one of the highest rated food items across our entire taste test. This basket focused on gourmet foods like cheese and meat, but it lacked some of the snackable sweets and treats that other baskets had. You can search for almost any food item on igourmet’s website, and this company offers over 200 different baskets so you should be able to find foods that your recipients will enjoy.

This company will ship ground, expedited or overnight so you should be able to get your basket to its destination when you need it. In terms of add-ons, you can add extra snacks to your order, but this company doesn’t have cards or stuffed animals that you can add to your basket.

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4. Design It Yourself: Most personalized

Design It Yourself - best gift basket

Reasons to Buy
You build the basket from scratch
Fantastic desserts
475 premade baskets 
Reasons to Avoid
No cheese products
No vegan options
 PayPal or eCheck payments only

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 dessert. There are several hundred premade baskets you can also buy, but totally customizing your basket is what makes Design It Yourself great.

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5. Gourmet Gift Baskets: Best for beer and wine

GourmetGiftBaskets.com - best gift baskets

GourmetGiftBaskets.com

A great gift basket company for alcohol themed hampers

Reasons to Buy
Plenty of beer, wine and liquor options
Overnight shipping
Live chat with customer service
Reasons to Avoid
No stuffed animals or cards
PayPal isn’t accepted
You can’t ship alcohol to some states, including Utah

GourmetGiftBaskets.com has a wide-ranging selection of beer, wine, champagne and cocktail mixes.

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. We didn’t order any liquor for our tests, but the food and snacks we did receive got a B- from our testers and the orange was one of the highest-rated fruits of all the baskets we tested.

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Why trust us on gift baskets 

We spent 30 hours researching and reviewing comparable gift baskets from 11 companies to find the best and most delicious gift ideas. Writers at Top Ten Reviews have covered and compared gift baskets for several years, and this is a product that we’re familiar with. 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. We also had our raters give each food item a score from 1 to 4. This meant they had to make a conscious choice to be positive or negative toward each food item because there wasn’t a middle or neutral choice. As a result, we’re confident in the almost 1,000 ratings we received for the foods we tested.

How we tested gift baskets

To test gift baskets, we ordered 11 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 or iGourmet.

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.

Gift baskets and seasonality

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.

I just interviewed for a job. Should I send the company a gift basket?

  • In short, no. Sending a gift after your interview might make you look desperate, according to U.S. News and World Report. It can also make the recipient uncomfortable. However, every situation is different. If you feel you have a particularly close relationship with the person interviewing you, it might be appropriate to follow up with a small gift basket.

Final thoughts about gift baskets

The best gift basket we tested and tasted is the Founders’ Favorite Gift Box from Harry & David. It’s our number one pick because the fruit was perfectly ripe and our taste testers loved the selection of cheese, crackers, sweet-spicy relish and chocolate treats. This is the best gift basket for you if you’re looking to include a basic selection of the foods that most people expect in a gift basket: fruit, crackers, cheese, chocolate and sliceable meat. If you want more exotic flavors, the California Classic Gift Basket from igourmet.com included Cypress Grove’s Purple Haze, a goat cheese mixed with lavender buds that wowed our tasting panel. If you want the most gift basket for your buck, the Gourmet Choice Gift Basket from Wine Country Gift Baskets featured an enormous selection of food that rated highly on our taste test.

We found that most gift basket companies sell themed baskets designed for thank you gifts, get well wishes and other major occasions. Most companies we tested also sell holiday gift baskets for Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day and other major holidays. If you’re searching for a basket for a specific occasion like a new baby, a sympathy gift or a birthday basket, GourmetGiftBaskets.com has many fun and unique baskets that fit specific occasions.


Many companies also feature baskets that are kosher or vegan, though we found that searching for vegan baskets on many websites only pulls up lists of fruit and nut samplers. There are also many companies that offer wine gift baskets or that offer wine as an add-on to baskets.

Though meat and cheese are often included in a gift basket, there are several companies that specialize heavily in this area such as Hickory Farms. This company sells gift baskets and boxes with a focus on sausages and cheeses. However, it only offers a small selection of gift baskets and none are explicitly themed or focused on specific occasions. Dean & DeLuca is another company that specializes in fine foods with a focus on meats and cheeses. We didn’t test Dean & DeLuca’s gift baskets, but they look delicious.

There are several companies that sell gift baskets specifically tailored for men. While these baskets are equally suitable for many women, the assortments of liquor, sports paraphernalia and snacks can be a unique and fun gift for the man in your life. The Bro Basket offers many assorted baskets with whiskey and beer samplers that get good reviews. GourmetGiftBaskets.com also offers a selection of sports-themed baskets for men that include candy and meat. Man Crates is another company that focuses on out-of-the-ordinary gifts for men, offering themed boxes and crates that focus on things like knife making, beer, motorcycles and golfing.

Contributing Reviewer: Anna Burleson

ProductPriceOverall RatingTastePresentationPayment & DeliveryHelp & SupportTaste Test ResultNumber of Baskets OfferedKosher OptionsVegan OptionsOrganic OptionsState of ArrivalPackaging MaterialAccepted Payment TypesOvernight DeliveryShipping OptionsDelivers to APO/FPO AddressesDelivers to P.O. BoxesShips InternationallyAvailable ExtrasPhone, Chat, Email SupportFAQs
Harry & David Gift BasketView Deal5/5109.81010A+275+ABubble wrap, cold packsCredit card, PayPal, AmEx Express, Masterpass, Chase PayExpress 3-day, Express 2-dayCanada, US Territories, Germany, UKWine
igourmetView Deal4.5/59.3108.310B+200+AGel packs, cold packsCredit card, PayPal, Gift CardExpedited-Snacks
Design It YourselfView Deal4.5/58.89.39.86.8B-475+-ABubble wrapCredit card, PayPal, Gift CardExpress 3-day, Express 2-dayTea, Puzzles, Snacks, Books, Balloons, Stuffed Animals, Mugs, Picture Frame-
GourmetGiftBaskets.comView Deal4.5/597810B-1000+-CBubble wrap, cold packsCredit cardExpress 3-day, Express 2-daySnacks
GiftTreeView Deal4/5888.510C+100+**-AButcher paperCredit card, PayPal, Gift CardWeekend--Chocolate, Balloons, Wine, Snacks, Stuffed Animal, Rose
Wine Country Gift BasketsView Deal4/58.58610B300+--BBubble wrapCredit card, PayPal, AmEx Express CheckoutSaturday-CanadaGreeting Card, Snacks
FTD Gift BasketView Deal4/57.39.88.510D+25+--ABubble wrap, cold packsCredit card, PayPal, Gift Card-Express 2-day, Next Day, Weekend--Stuffed Bear, Chocolate
Broadway BasketeersView Deal4/57.88.57.310D+75+-AGel packs, bubble wrapCredit card, PayPalExpress 3-day, Express 2-day--
GreatArrivalsView Deal4/57.57.87.36.8C-175+--BButcher paperCredit card, PayPalFedEx ground, Express 2-day--
1-800-BasketsView Deal3.5/57.87.36.54.5C45+*-BButcher paperCredit card, PayPal, AmEx Express, Masterpass, VISA Checkout, Chase PayExpress 2-day, Saturday, Next Business Day---Snacks, TeaPhone, Chat-