As the author of a cookbook dedicated entirely to cookies, I’ve made a LOT of different kinds of cookies. And I’m happy to recommend the tools I use for cookie-baking success to fellow home bakers. This list is a great place to start if you’re a beginner, are creating a registry, or are shopping for a gift for the cookie monster in your life.
Let’s Talk Cookies
At the heart and soul of my baking career, I’m a cookie aficionado. I have 250+ cookie recipes on my website, plus a cookbook with 75 cookie recipes, plus about 15 cookie recipes published in my first cookbook. I also publish a cookie countdown each year called Sally’s Cookie Palooza.
Between testing all of these recipes, plus making them for my own general enjoyment and the enjoyment of others, I’ve made tens of thousands of batches of cookies. And that’s no exaggeration!
With all of this practice (including recipe fails!), I’ve learned which tools are the BEST for baking cookies. I don’t know about you, but I avoid overloading my kitchen with unnecessary gadgets, so this list includes the absolute essentials—the tools you need to help guarantee cookie success.
Like a batch of chocolate chip cookies…
Before we get there, let’s review my top cookie baking tips for success:
Cookie Baking Success Tips
- Chill the cookie dough. If the cookie dough is particularly sticky, wet, or greasy, chilling is in its—and your own!—best interest. Chilling cookie dough helps prevent spreading. The colder the dough, the less the cookies are likely to over-spread into greasy puddles.
- Temperature is key. Unless you routinely calibrate your oven, its temperature is probably inaccurate. Get an oven thermometer. They’re usually inexpensive and will save you the headache of wondering why your cookie bake time is off. Likewise, make sure you have room temperature ingredients. And here’s a shortcut to soften butter quickly.
- Ditch the specified baking time. Think of the bake time in a cookie recipe as a general guideline, and use your eyes (and oven light!) to check them frequently. Typically, the cookies are done when the edges are set and very lightly browned.
- One batch at a time. You get the best results when the oven concentrates on a single batch of cookies. If you need to bake more than one batch at a time, rotate the baking sheets from the top rack to the bottom rack a couple of times to encourage even browning.
Even More Cookie Baking Tips:
- How to Freeze Cookie Dough (make them now, bake them later)
- How to Prevent Cookies from Spreading
- Baking Powder vs Baking Soda
- Best Way to Ship Cookies
10 Best Cookie Baking Tools
All of the baking tools in today’s list are items I own. None of this post is sponsored—truly just items I love and am happy to recommend to fellow home bakers. A lot of these links are affiliate links. I include many of these items on my Gifts for Bakers page where you’ll find 100+ carefully selected items that any baker (or you!) would love.
1. HALF SHEET PANS
What I own and love: Nordic Ware Half Sheet Pan and USA Pan Bakeware Half Sheet Pan.
Quantity recommended: at least 2.
First and foremost, quality cookie sheets are a MUST. Did you know the color and material of your cookie sheets greatly impacts the way your cookies turn out? Dark metal sheets can easily over-bake cookies, and thin, flimsy cookie sheets can result in burnt cookie bottoms.
Both of these brands are excellent quality and have stood the test of time with frequent use. The 12×17-inch size is perfect for a dozen cookies, and the rimmed edges make these pans great for other recipes like toffee, caramel corn, sheet cakes, cake rolls, and slab pies. Traveling with a sheet cake or cookies? Or just want to keep things fresh? Get the half sheet pan with a lid!
Bakers’ Tip: Never place cookie dough on a hot baking sheet. It’s best to own a few cookie sheets so you always have a room-temperature sheet on hand for your next batch. Otherwise, you have to wait for the baking sheet to cool down before placing more cookie dough on it.
2. SILICONE BAKING MATS
What I own and love: Silpat Premium Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat.
Quantity recommended: at least 2.
Baking mats are my favorite cookie-baking tool. Coating your baking sheet with nonstick spray or butter creates an overly greasy foundation, which causes the cookies to over-spread. I always recommend a silicone baking mat (11×16-inch size to fit your half sheet pans) because they grip onto the bottom of your cookies, preventing the cookies from spreading too much. These mats also promote even browning. They’re reusable, dishwasher friendly, and perfect for roasting veggies, meats, fish, potatoes, etc.
I also like these parchment paper sheets, which are already cut to size.
3. COOKIE SCOOPS
What I own and love: OXO Good Grips Cookie Scoops.
Quantity recommended: I have a set of 3 sizes, but if you just want one, the medium size cookie scoop is the one I use most for making cookies.
Cookie scoops are extremely handy. They help keep your drop cookies uniform in size and shape; an easy squeeze of the handle cleanly releases the sticky dough ball; plus, they have so many other uses! I use the large size (3 Tablespoons) cookie scoop for cupcake/muffin and pancake batter, ice cream, meatballs, and even for serving mashed potatoes. I use the medium size (1.5 Tablespoons) for most cookies—particularly textured oatmeal raisin cookies and sticky coconut macaroons. And I use the small size (1 Tablespoon) for truffles, smaller cookies like these peanut butter cookies, and as a melon baller.
4. COOLING RACKS
What I own and love: Wilton Perfect Results Cooling Rack and Ultra Cuisine Wire Cooling Racks
Quantity recommended: At least 2
I typically allow my baked cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheets once I remove them from the oven. However, I immediately transfer them to a cooling rack after that. Why? The bottoms of the cookies need some air in order to cool, and we want to avoid soggy cookie bottoms. I own a few of these cooling racks. They’re inexpensive, get the job done, and have lasted me years.
5. STAND MIXER
What I own and love: KitchenAid Ultra Power Plus 4.5qt Tilt-Head Stand Mixer.
Quantity recommended: 1
A stand mixer is a must if you bake cookies on the regular. I really like the 4.5-quart size for most baking recipes. You can certainly get away with a hand mixer instead (here’s the hand mixer I own and love), but a stand mixer makes the job easier and is extra versatile since you can use varying attachments with it. When I’m working with an enormous amount of dough/batter or making something that requires several minutes of mixing (old-fashioned fudge, whipped cream or egg whites, bread dough, etc.) a stand mixer is worth its weight in gold. I include a mixer in my Cake Baking Tools list, too.
6. QUALITY MEASURING CUPS + A DIGITAL FOOD SCALE
What I own and love: OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Ifuerte Stainless Steel Measuring Cups + Spoons and OXO Good Grips 11-Pound Stainless Steel Food Scale.
Quantity recommended: 1 set of measuring cups + 1 food scale
I love this set of measuring cups because of the soft easy-grip handles and quality stainless steel. I also love this set of measuring cups for the same reasons, and the fact that it includes a 1/8-cup measuring cup. (Which is rare in sets. 1/8 cup = 2 Tablespoons, a measurement used quite often. Very convenient!)
For more accurate measuring, definitely pick up a food scale. This OXO food scale is the one I use. A gram is always a gram. An ounce is always an ounce. A cup is NOT always a cup, and therefore weighing is the most accurate way to measure. My team and I include weight measurements in all my recipes.
7. ROLLING PIN
What I own and love: J.K. Adams Maple Wood Medium Gourmet Rolling Pin.
Quantity recommended: 1
A rolling pin is a must-have for shaped cut-out cookies. Rolling pins vary in price, but the one I have is pretty inexpensive and has lasted me for years, with very frequent use. I highly recommend it.
8. STURDY COOKIE CUTTERS
What I own and love:
- Round: Celebrational Sale 11-Piece Round Cookie Cutter Set
- Other Shapes: Ann Clark Cookie Cutters and Wilton Cookie Cutters
- Cookie Press for Spritz Cookies: OXO Good Grips Cookie Press Set
You may love all the whimsically adorable shapes, but make sure you’re buying quality cookie cutters. By that I mean cookie cutters that are strong, sturdy, and have sharp edges to give you a clean cut.
My must-haves include a set of round cookie cutters—I use them for peppermint bark cookies, striped fudge cookies, homemade thin mint cookies, and more. For a variety of fun and seasonal shapes, pretty much anything from Ann Clark’s collection is fantastic for sugar cookies.
9. SILICONE SPATULAS
What I own and love: Starpack Basics Silicone Spatula Set and Williams Sonoma Silicone Spatulas.
Quantity recommended: at least 2
Spatulas are essential in any kitchen, especially if they are well-made and heavy duty. I own plenty, but my favorites and most-used are these silicone spatulas and these Williams Sonoma spatulas. From stirring and mixing, to scraping the sides of bowls, spreading frosting, cooking, etc.—I use them for everything, everyday. And spatulas with cute sayings make a fun gift!
10. COOKIE CARRIER
What I own and love: Target Made by Design Rectangle Cupcake Carrier and Snapware Snap’n’Stack Portable Storage Carrier With Lid for Desserts.
Quantity recommended: 1
Taking your cookies beyond the kitchen? Whether your batch is for a party, bake sale, or toting along to work, you need a case that will safely transport your cookies. I love this cupcake carrier. I use it for cupcakes, of course, but I also use it for cookies. Here’s my trick: I flip the tray and simply pile the cookies inside. I like this cupcake and cookie carrier, too—it’s larger and stores more.
Now let’s bake some cookies!
Reader Comments & Reviews
Hi! I love all your recipes and tips. For silicone spatulas, I have noticed if I taste off them, the frosting or dough tastes off, and sometimes the whole bowl if I stirred with them. Have you noticed that? I wqs wondering if my spatulas are too old or the wrong brand, and I should get the ones you recommend. Or am I just a silicone super-taster? Haha. Thanks for your advice.
Hi Marie, we haven’t noticed that before — are the spatulas new? Perhaps a run through the dishwasher would help. Or it could simply be the brand you’re using. Thanks so much for making and trusting our recipes!
What do you use to sprinkle powdered sugar on lemon bars. Thanks
Hi Christine! We use a fine mesh strainer/sifter – we link to our favorite in our lemon bars post in the recipe notes.
I recently purchased an Oxo medium cookie scoop and it broke the first batch of cookies I scooped.. I love cookie scoops but was sad this one did not hold up.
So upsetting when that happens! I find that if dough is extremely heavy and thick, it can ruin a cookie scoop.
I am so excited to find the list of your favourite baking items!
My daughter is moving into her 1st apartment, and needs everything!!
I was overwhelmed just trying to pick a muffin tin for her! Your list of tried and trues will be SO helpful!!
Thank you for your delicious recipes and tips! Gratefully, Maria.
We’re so happy that this post was helpful, Maria! Thank you so much for reading and making our recipes 🙂
I have all these tools and after all these years I bought a rolling pin with rings so I can set the thickness.
Love it for rolled cookies!
Thank you so much for this, Sally! I’ve bought so many of your recommended tools (I especially love the medium cookie scoop and silicone baking mats)! I appreciate all the detail and personal touch you put into every post and recipe. Something I think would be really helpful in the future is a post about your favorite kitchen organization hacks or products! I live in a small space but love baking and am starting to have trouble organizing all the ingredients and tools! Thanks again for everything you do.
Jessica, what a wonderful idea for a new post! Though I might need to practice organization a little more in order to offer some great advice. I feel like my kitchen is a hot mess! Will absolutely consider something like this.
Long time fan who has made many of your recipes. But I have to take issue with your recommendation of the OXO Cookie scoop which I bought because I was missing a 1 1/2 tablespoon scoop from my collection. This was the second one I bought and both were defective right out of the box. The rotating piece does not work. My other scoops of a different brand work much better and were much cheaper.
I’m not sure of the name, but my cookie scoop was made in West Bend, WI. It’s extremely durable and is professional grade. Best purchase ever!
I use a Cutco ice scream scoop. Not cheap but a great tool that will last longer than I will.
It is amazing at scooping ice cream as the ice cream doesn’t stick to the scooper.
Love your site and the recipes and instructions are so well explained. I can’t find any recommendations on food coloring brands anywhere though
Hi Joan, we love Americolor gel food coloring!
Sally Thank you for the recommendation for tools to help baking cookies better. Since buying the cookie scoops I found the smallest one is perfect for making hush puppies, yes southern lady here who loves cooking fish along with baking.
Hi Sally, any recommendations on an organized way of storing all of your baking supplies? Especially cookie cutters? I have almost a hundred and I can’t find a practical way of organizing these.
Hi Brittany, That is a lot of cookie cutters! 🙂 If you are short on space, a few clear plastic containers with lids that can be stacked is a good option. You can organize your cutters in a way that makes the most sense for your collection (seasonal in one, letters and numbers in another, animal shapes, etc.).
Thank-you for taking the time to post about your favorite baking tools! I am in need of some new baking sheets and I knew right where to go to find which ones I should buy! I can’t wait to use the silicone mats, I have always used parchment paper and I am finally done with all of the waste. I love following you and your recipes! Baking makes me happy 🙂
You are welcome, Jennifer! Have fun with with your new baking gear 🙂
I think by reading your blog over the years, I’ve pretty much bought all of these things (minus stand mixer – no space!). Thank you for the education – so many of your recipes are favorites in our home – sweet and savory!
I love this post. I have 9 out of the 10 items you mentioned already, and use them lots. You know you’re a baker when… 😉 The only thing I don’t have yet is a cupcake carrier, which I definitely want next time I have to transport cupcakes. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much for this! I’ve been working on improving my cookies, and I think those baking sheets are going to be my next purchase. Definitely need those. I’ve purchased so many things you recommend and slowly but surely my kitchen is becoming so much more fun to bake in! 🙂
On another note – the 24 count cupcake pans are WONDERFUL! I own 2 of that size and 1 of the 48 count mini cupcake pan.
Your recipes and tips have made me a much better baker – thank you!! I really want to get your book and try all the recipes
Love all these tips, I have those OXO measuring cups too and I love them. They are the most durable I have ever owned. I have to get my hands on some new cookie sheets. I agree with the rubber spatula tip too, I have had many bad one and one that outlasted them all. Thank you for all the posts in this series, its helpful to understand the whys and how’s of baking and science was never really my thing!
Any recommendation for dipping tools used to dip balls in chocolate?
Hi Jennifer, yes, you can see our favorite dipping tools in our favorite candy making tools post!
SO helpful Sally!! Thank you so much! Your tips and tricks have improved my baking tremendously!! 🙂
In your videos, you use the stand mixer with a glass bowl (I assume that is so we can see the batter or dough). Your recommendation is for the stainless bowl. Why do you prefer the stainless bowl over glass?
Hi Kathleen! I use the glass bowl primarily so viewers can see inside the bowl. I use my stainless steel bowl all the time otherwise. Both are great.
This is so amazingly helpful and practical!! Thank you!