14 Kitchen Tools Every Baker Needs

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Here are 14 kitchen tools every baker needs. Updated in 2018.

Here are 14 kitchen tools every baker needs whether you are a beginner or pro!

Welcome back to my baking basics series!

I’ve been baking for as long as I can remember; it runs in my family. I’ve gone through my fair share of kitchen tools and know exactly what works best and why. I have enough gadgets for, like, 17 kitchens. And a lot of it isn’t even used! So I understand which kitchen tools a baker truly needs and which kitchen tools a baker can get away without having.

Consider this your one stop shop for stocking a baker’s kitchen, narrowed down to the 14 most essential tools. These are my most loved kitchen tools. If you’re a new baker looking to stock your kitchen, a bride looking to register for new baking items (congrats!), or an experienced baker interested in trying different products or brands, this list is for you.

1. OVEN THERMOMETER

What I own and love: Rubbermaid Oven Thermometer. My love for oven thermometers shouldn’t be a surprise and here’s why: unless you have a brand new or regularly calibrated oven, your oven’s temperature is likely inaccurate. When you set your oven to 350°F, it might not really be 350°F inside. It could only be off by a little – 10 degrees or so. Or more than that – 100 degrees or even more! Incorrect temperature ruins baked goods and you waste hours spent on the recipe and money spent on ingredients. The inexpensive remedy to this mess is an oven thermometer. While cheap, they’re irreplaceable in a baker’s kitchen. Place it in your oven so you always know the actual temperature.

2. HAND MIXER

What I own and love: KitchenAid 5 Speed Hand MixerI use my hand mixer more than my stand mixer. If you can afford both, definitely get both. When I’m working with an enormous amount of dough/batter or making something that requires several minutes of mixing (old-fashioned fudge, marshmallows, etc) a stand mixer is key– I recommend these stand mixers. But for beginner bakers, a hand mixer is perfect. Completely affordable and fantastic quality. I’ve had mine for 11 years. And you know how much I use that thing! 

3. FOOD SCALE

What I own and love: OXO Good Grip Food ScaleYou know I’m a stickler for weighing ingredients! That’s why I list my baking recipes in cup and gram measurements. Why do we measure this way? Because a gram is always a gram. An ounce is always an ounce. A cup is NOT always a cup. In baking, precision is everything and that slight mis-measure could spell baking disaster. A small kitchen scale is, by far, the most used tool in my kitchen. I recommend it to every single baker.

4. SILICONE BAKING MATS

What I own and love: Silpat Silicone Baking Mat. These have changed my life. And that sounds crazy, but it’s 100% true. Parchment paper is great, but why not bake and cook with something reusable? And something that lays flat on the cookie sheet!! Every single vegetable I roast, meat I cook, and cookie I bake is on top of a silicone baking mat. I use them as an easy nonstick surface for pouring out my toffee or brittle to cool, after I dip candies and truffles (they release SO easily!), for rolling out cinnamon roll dough, pie dough, pizza dough, and more. The bottoms of my cookies are always evenly baked and they slide right off the mat. I own 5 of these in the half sheet size (about 11-12 x 16-17 inches).

5. COOKIE SCOOPS

What I own and love: OXO Cookie Scoops. These are not just for perfectly shaped cookies! I have one in each size and I use the large for muffins, cupcakes, pancakes, meatballs, mashed potato scoops, and ice cream. I use the medium mostly for cookies. And I use the small for truffles, tiny cookies, and as a melon baller. They’re infinitely handy. And, for kitchen tools, you can’t beat OXO.

6. SIFTER

What I own and love: Mrs. Anderson’s Hand Crank Sifter. Some recipes require sifting dry ingredients like flour, sugar, chemical leaveners, and/or cocoa powder. That step is not just for fun or to make your life difficult. It aerates these ingredients and rids any lumps so your recipe turns out! This sifter is super sturdy, durable, stainless steel, doesn’t make a huge mess, and is easy to clean (just use soapy water and rinse off). It’s inexpensive and crucial.

7. COOLING RACKS

What I own and love: Baker’s Secret Cooling Racks. Never let your cakes, cupcakes, muffins, etc cool in the pan set on the counter. The bottoms’ cooling rate is incredibly slow because no air is getting to that bottom portion of the pan. And for cookies? They must cool on racks, most certainly not on your counter or GASP (!!) on the baking sheet. Cooling racks are imperative so that the cooking process stops and your baked goods cool evenly. Think about it: baked goods cook on racks, right? They should cool on racks as well. Unless you bake every single day, owning 2 is perfect.

8. ROLLING PIN

What I own and love: French Kitchen Marble Rolling Pin. An obvious must. A marble rolling pin is cooler to touch, which makes it perfect for rolling out pie crust and sugar cookie dough. And it’s a great price!

9. BAKING PANS

I wrote a separate post about this: Stock your kitchen with these 8 baking pans. I recommend at least: 3 9-inch cake pans, 2 9-inch square pans, 2 12-count muffin pans, 1 9-inch pie plate, 1 9×13 baking pan, 1 24-count mini muffin pan, 1 9×5 inch (or 8×4 inch) loaf pan. These sizes are what I use most often. I like Williams Sonoma Goldtouch lineCalphalon, Nordic Ware, and USA Pan brands.

10. RIMMED BAKING SHEETS

What I own and love: USA Pan Half Sheet Pan. I own an army of these rimmed baking pans and I have NO IDEA what I would do without them. You’ll use them for baking cookies, sheet cakes, breads, rolls, pouring out toffee/brittle/bark, roasting vegetables, meat, fish, frozen foods, you name it. The 12×17 inch size is perfection for holding a dozen cookies and the rimmed edges prevent any sauces/syrups from dripping off the sheet. I recommend having at least 2.

11. PASTRY BLENDER

What I own and love: OXO Pastry Blender. Pie dough, biscuits, scones, streusel, and other delicious miracles are made with a pastry blender. It’s handy for breaking up cold butter into tiny little bits and pieces among your other ingredients– but not completely incorporating it. These cold butter bits = flaky dough. A metal pastry cutter keeps your butter cold where other tools (or your hands) might warm it, which is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. Here is the one I own. Inexpensive and easy.

12. An Army of SPATULAS & WHISKS

What I own and love: StarPack Premium Silicone Spatulas and OXO Whisks. Nothing beats spatulas, especially if they are well-made and heavy duty. I own plenty, but my favorite and most-used are these StarPack spatulas. From stirring and mixing, to scraping the sides of bowls, spreading frosting, cooking, etc. I use them for everything, everyday. And you obviously need one with acute saying, too! As for whisks, this is a no-brainer! I recommend at least 2 of these. Any that you purchase, just make sure they are quality. I’ve broken plenty of flimsy little whisks while trying to whisk heavy cake batters.

13. MIXING BOWLS

What I own and love: way too many. I own this glass bowl set and they are fantastic. So many sizes for so many different ingredients! You can’t go wrong with any of them though; so many options out there. I’m sure you’ve seen the Cake Boss bowls I own in some of my step-by-step recipe shots. I love them! Heavy-duty with pour spouts and rubberized bases– but they are not microwave-safe.

Sally’s Mixing Bowl Addiction.

14. MEASURING CUPS & SPOONS

What I own and love: OXO Measuring Cups and Spoons or Bekith Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Spoons. You can’t go wrong with both. They all have soft easy-grip handles and are stainless steel (great quality). I also appreciate that there’s an 1/8 cup measuring cup in the Bekith set. 1/8 cup = 2 Tablespoons, a measurement used quite often. Also, make sure you have at least 1 liquid measuring cup too. I own the 3 pack option; it’s convenient to have all different sizes depending on the recipe.

Q: What are your favorite baking tools? To me, discussing baking supplies is like discussing hot celebrity gossip to normal people.

More Baking Basics Posts

I am not working with any of these brands, though some of these links are affiliate links. These tools are the brands of kitchen tools that I trust and encourage you to use in the kitchen as well!

171 Comments

  1. Hi Sally! 

    I just discovered your blog and it is a joy to read! You have reignited my love for baking 🙂  Purchased pretty much everything on your list of necessities, getting the rest of the items tomorrow, so excited! After I threw away all my teflon-coated pans and plastics, I have been searching for good quality metal baking sheets. So thanks a million for your recommendations! Question- what do you use to slice the brownies and not scratch the nice aluminum pan? Or do you first take the goodies out of the pans before cutting? 

    Thanks! 
    Ksenia

    1. So glad this article was helpful for you! I always line the pans with aluminum foil so it overhangs on the sides– so I can lift the foil out, then slice the brownies outside of the pan.

    2. They sell thick playoff knives, usually called a “lettuce knife”. It’s sharp enough to cut brownies, and blunt enough not to damage the pan – it’s what I always use. Score the top crust as soon as it comes out of the oven (or it breaks up too much), then cut it once it’s cooled a bit.

      1. Plastic! Not playoff.

        It works just fine for cakey things (gingerbread, cake) as well as for my fudgey brownies.

  2. Do you have any recommendations for towels or cloths used for baking bread? I see articles about linen dish towels, cotton napkins, etc. 

  3. Hi Sally! I just dropped by your site and I’ve got plenty of ideas what to use in my baking session with my kids, thank you for sharing and good day!

      1. Just a quick comment about Cuisinart food processors. I had an expensive food processor from them. The lid cracked after a few years service so I went to their website and ordered a replacement. Took several weeks but I finally got it. It didn’t fit even though their website said it was the right one. I called them. After about 20 minutes of him hawing around the agent finally told me that direct replacement parts are only available while they are actively producing the particular model. After that they will sell the “closest” part from what they are producing at the time. Needless to say I tossed their food processor and now own a Ninja- BL771 Mega Kitchen System along with the food processor bowl and blades. It is phenomenal in my opinion. I won’t ever buy anything Cuisinart makes again.

    1. Years ago I had a Sunbeam Oskar (sadly is no longer made) which I loved because it was smaller — a great big bowl doesn’t do as good a job on smaller quantities. Now I just go to the thrift store and get whatever’s going, The thrifts are a great place to pick up barely-used appliances (unwanted wedding and Christmas gifts, etc.) and see what works best for you. My intention was to use my $3.50 processor and my $3 coffee maker until they burned out. That was three years ago and both are still working perfectly, as is my $13 slow cooker.

  4. Hi Sally! I just had to let you know that I finally caved and bought an oven thermometer after reading this post a few months ago, and oh my goodness, it was life changing. I’ve been wondering for literally YEARS why my baking is always a little off even when I follow a recipe, and it turns out my oven is 55 degrees off. Yikes. Anyway, just wanted to say a huge thank you!!!

  5. Love this list. All these items can make your baking life so much easier. I have a question on ovens. Do you bake with convection or just regular? I’m in the search for a new oven and I love to bake, but not sure if I should spend the extra money for an oven that comes with convection option.

    Thanks

    1. To be honest, I use my convection option for a lot of casseroles and meals. I never use it for baking. I only only only use conventional when I bake. This is a personal preference but, to be honest, I get much better baking results in the conventional!

    2. I, on the other hand, just discovered the convection option works way better for baking than regular. It dramatically reduces uneven baking – I don’t have to worry about the back of the oven being hotter any more, I don’t have to turn things while baking them. I have a Jenn-Air.

  6. Oh my goodness. This post was the answer to my baking prayers. I am a baker in the “baking” right now. As a college student, my budget is very limited. Looks like I have an early Christmas list! Keep the “Baking Basics” coming! As of two days ago (and about 50 blog posts read) I have declared you my baking mentor! Honestly though, I cannot stop reading your blog. 

    Sincerely, 
    A legend in the Baking ( I would like to patent this if it’s not already)

    Melody 

  7. I bought some silcone mats, and they rock!!! They are so easy to use, and so easy to clean! Thank you so much for this reccomendation.

  8. My favorite is an army of spatulas. Spatula is not only you can use to mix the baking ingredients but it also can use cooking. Yes I agree with you! I use this for cooking as well. A lot of thing a spatula can do, be it for cooking or baking. It is a must to have an army of spatulas at home. So what are you waiting for, come and get your spatula with us!

  9. This is my first time to read your blog, that was fantastic! I’m going to left my job to take care of my son and I will try to bake at home so I decided to search baking tools. Thank you so much for sharing! grace from philippines…

  10. Hi Sally,

    Just wondering which bowls you use with your hand mixer – is it the glass ones you recommend?. I’ve been using Pyrex bowls with my current hand mixer but the bowls are getting damaged by my mixer (all scraped where the mixer touches the bowl). Also, the coating on my mixer blades is coming off too. I’m looking to buy the Kitchen Aid hand mixer but want to make sure I use it with a bowl that won’t damage it or vice versa. 

    Thanks for your help! 

      1. Hi Sally 🙂 do you know if it is safe to use a hand mixer in a metal (stainless steel) mixing bowl? My Grandmother has bought me a lovely set for Christmas but I hadn’t considered this!

      2. Hi Sophie! Metal bowls are perfectly fine to use with a hand mixer. Unless your bowls are super cheap and wearing, they shouldn’t be chipping when you use a mixer (which is the main concern). The only thing is the loud and sometimes annoying sound it makes when the beaters hit the side of the bowl. 🙂

  11. Hello can you please tell me the name of the utensil used for spraying the top of a pastry or desert that sprays out flame. It looks like a hand dryer.

  12. Thank you Sally for the response, it is not a touch. I saw it used by the masterchef contestants. When they spray the flame on pastry it gives a good crunchy brown.

  13. Once again thank you. I have found it and you are right. It is actually a blow kitchen torch. When you mentioned torch my mind went to the regular torch light.

  14. Hi Sally. A lot of your cookie recipes call for 2 tablespoons of cookie dough, but none of the OXO scoops produce balls that size. Do you know of a 2T scooper and, if not, what do you use when making your recipes that call for 2T of dough? Thank you.

    1. Hi Beatrice! I actually use my Tbsp measure (twice, of course) to get the 2 Tbsp measure I need for cookies. I haven’t found a 2 Tbsp cookie scoop yet. I’ve had my eyes peeled!

  15. What cookie press do you like to use? I love the way your Spritz cookies look in Sunday’s email about the latest giveaway.  Thanks very much.

  16. Lots of kitchen equipment that we must have when we like to make cakes. Thank you for useful information. I just had a new home and I started picking out kitchen utensils. Because I love to make cookies, it would be nice to choose my new kitchen utensils. So when moving house some minimalist kitchen equipment is mandatory we have to support the fulfillment of food needs. meesterslijpers.nl

  17. Hi sally! I just want some advice, i want to get my first oven for baking cakes. Is there something you can recommend to me?

    1. In my personal kitchen I have Thermador conventional ovens with a convection option…but all my recipes are all written for conventional ovens.

  18. Hello Sally! I have a very basic question- I own an oven- the standard microwave with the convection option. Though I have never used it beyond heating stuff and baking a pie, once in a blue moon, I want to start baking now following your blog, which I must admit is very interesting and helpful :). can you please tell me if I could go ahead and use this for cakes/cookies/muffins? And if yes, which option should I use for baking?A little confused here….
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Antara! Yep! I would use the convection option. Convection bakes quicker, so I advise to keep your eye on the baked good.

  19. Very crucial and informative post you make. Every housekeeper can follow your post for better help. I have bookmarked this site for gathering more information. My favorite food processor in the kitchen is the vegetable chopper. Please increase your list by adding vegetable chopper. This tool reduces my kitchen work. My kitchen needs to be improved with these smart gadgets. Share with me more!

  20. Hi Sally – I am looking for a new hand mixer and wondering if you’re still using a KitchenAid 5-speed? I recently purchased a Cuisinart 7-speed and while it is quite powerful my goodness is it LOUD! I compared it to the KitchenAid 7-speed, which was much quieter but also not as powerful. I’m trying to get over the “more speeds is better” mentality (tempted by the 9-speed KitchenAid…), and I’ve heard good things about the KitchenAid 5-speed, so wondering if it’s still your hand mixer of choice. Thank you!

  21. Dear Sally,
    I have been caking bakes for the past two years for my friends and family. Your blog has been a really good textbook with all these recipes and baking tips. Thank you!
    I always find the frosting part difficult. They always taste okay but always turn out gritty. I dream of a creamy smooth frosting every time I make a cake. (I prepare my own icing sugar by powdering granulated sugar with cornstarch) Please help me with this.

  22. I got a new oven around Christmas time and it has the option for convection. If I choose to bake using the convection how do I adjust times/temperatures? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jennifer! I bake, test, and write my recipes in/for a conventional electric oven, though I use convection setting often as well. When using an oven with a convection feature, always lower the temperature by 25 degrees F. I find cookies typically take a minute less too. Longer bake times such as muffins, cakes, cupcakes, quick breads– a few minutes less in a convection oven.

  23. Hi Sally,

    I’ve had a couple of silicone baking mats for several years and never used them. So, for the Christmas holidays 2018, I decided I was going to use them. I have the baking sheets that hold 1 dozen cookies (12 x 17, I think). When I put the silicone mats on the baking sheets, they were so big and were hanging over the the sides of the baking sheets. It did not lay flat, but I thought I’d try it in the oven anyway. After putting into the oven, the edges of the mats were touching the sides of the oven, so I decided not to bake with them. I read online that you are not supposed to cut them due to the fiberglass in the mats. Can you tell me what I’m doing wrong? Thank you.

    1. Hi Diane! The mats you purchased are a little larger than your pans. Silicone baking mats come in all different sizes and I have a bunch of the 11×16 inch mats, so they fit nicely on the 12×17 inch pans. I agree, I don’t recommend cutting them.

  24. Hi,
    A favorite tool I have is for candy making. It’s a silicone spatula /candy stirrer with a thermometer probe in it. Stirring candy and knocking the pan-side thermometer off is so annoying.
    Got mine at amazon.

  25. Garlic press, microplane grater, vintage carbon steel potato peeler. Could not live without any of these. Potato peeler excellent for shaving thin slices of garlic or chocolate curls. Also, multiple sets of measuring cups and spoons are great, so you don’t have to stop to wash them in the middle of baking. I find oven thermometers useless. To get a true reading, you have to put them in the middle of the oven, not the front, and by the time I open the oven door and peer in to get a reading, the temp has started falling or the thermometer has fallen to the floor of the oven. If you bake much, you can tell when somethings baked by the smell that wafts to you.

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