14 kitchen tools every baker needs and why.
Welcome back to my baking basics series! Today’s post has been 2 years in the making.
Not that it took me 2 years to write it– I’ve just had this post idea in the back of my mind for awhile. A place to list the most important baking tools in my kitchen, narrowed down to the 14 most essential.
I’ve been baking for as long as I can remember; it runs in the family. It’s what keeps me going and, because of this food blog I’ve built, what pays the bills. I’ve gone through my fair share of kitchen tools to know exactly what works best and why. I have enough gadgets for, like, 17 kitchens. And a ton 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.
That being said, let me show you which kitchen tools are my most-loved. 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.
From one baker to another, my top 14 kitchen tools:
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 Mixer
I know most of you thought I’d list a stand mixer here, but I’m not. To be honest, I 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 have TWO of these stand mixers! But for beginner bakers, a hand mixer is perfect. I recommend this 5 speed hand mixer. Completely affordable and fantastic quality. I’ve had mine for 7 years. The same one. And you know how much I use that thing! Mine’s light pink. Obviously.
3. FOOD SCALE
What I own and love: OXO Good Grip Food Scale
Hi, have we met? You know I’m a stickler for weighing ingredients! That’s why I list my baking recipes in cup and gram measurements. And because I have readers overseas (hi everyone over there!) who measure everything this way. 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. I own a small kitchen scale and it 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 and all, 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. Cleaning is a breeze since they’re dishwasher friendly. Hand-washing just takes a little scrub to rub off grease or residue. 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 cupcake/muffin and pancake batter, ice cream, and the prettiest mashed potato scoops. 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 you can’t beat OXO in my opinion.
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. The sifter I own is super sturdy, durable, stainless steel, and 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. I own a million of these cooling racks. They take up an entire cabinet. Obviously you don’t need that many; 2 is perfect. 🙂
8. ROLLING PIN
What I own and love: Ekco Wood Rolling Pin
9. BAKING PANS
In a couple weeks, I’m going to write a different post with a complete list of baking pans I use on the regular, my favorite brands, etc. (UPDATE here is that post stock your kitchen with these 8 baking pans.) But here are my suggestions for stocking your kitchen. 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 line, Calphalon, and Nordic Ware brand.
10. RIMMED BAKING SHEETS
What I own and love: Calphalon Classic Rimmed Baking Sheets
I have 6 of these and I have NO IDEA what I would do without them. I use them for baking cookies, sheet cakes, breads, pouring out toffee/brittle/bark, roasting vegetables, meat, you name it. That’s why I have an army of them and some days, that’s not even enough! 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.
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 a cute 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. I also have these Cake Boss mixing bowls, too.
Sally’s Mixing Bowl Addiction.
14. MEASURING CUPS & SPOONS
What I own and love: well, I own way too many but my favorites are these Bekith Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Spoons
I love this set because of the soft easy-grip handles, stainless steel (great quality), and the fact that there’s a 1/8 cup measuring cup. Which is rare in sets. 1/8 cup = 2 Tablespoons, a measurement used quite often. So it’s convenient! Great price for 10 pieces. PLUS they’re pretty. I own these too– also fantastic and great quality. And 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.
Umm, did you make it down this far?!
That’s it as far as baking essentials go. What are your favorite baking tools? Share your favorites with me! To me, discussing baking supplies is like discussing hot celebrity gossip to normal people.
More Baking Basics Posts
- Top 10 Baking Tips
- Favorite Candy Making Tools
- Measuring is Everything
- Room Temperature Ingredients Make a Difference
- Stock Your Kitchen with These 8 Baking Pans
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!