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Here are some of our favorite tested kitchen tools. Updated in 2021.

collage of kitchen tool images with text overlay that says 14 must-have baking tools

I’ve been baking for as long as I can remember. I’ve gone through my fair share of kitchen tools and know exactly what works best and why. I have enough gadgets for, well, a dozen 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 around the 14 most essential tools. If you’re a new baker stocking your kitchen, someone registering for new kitchen items, shopping for a useful gift for a baker, or you’re an experienced baker interested in my top recommendations, 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 are 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 OR FINE MESH SIEVE

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. We also use and love this set of fine mesh sieves.

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. A marble rolling pin is cooler to touch, which makes it perfect for rolling out pie crust and sugar cookie dough. For a classic wood rolling pin, this one is a popular choice.

9. BAKING PANS

Of course you’ll need various baking pans depending on what you’re baking. We have 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 love Fat Daddios brand for round cake pans. I also enjoy Calphalon, Wilton, Nordic Ware, and USA Pan brands.

But if you could only get one baking pan, get multipurpose baking sheets:

10. RIMMED BAKING SHEETS

What I own and love: USA Pan Half Sheet Pan. I own many 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 excellent 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. SPATULAS & WHISKS

What I own and love: StarPack Premium Silicone Spatulas and OXO Whisks or this heavy duty wire whisk. 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. (Readers have been loving these adorable sprinkle spatulas, too!) As for whisks, I recommend at least 2 of these. Any that you purchase, just make sure they are quality and heavy duty. I have a couple silicone whisks, but they aren’t very useful when working with heavy 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! We also love these Cake Boss bowls and these OXO Mixing Bowls. Both sets are heavy-duty with pour spouts and rubberized bases. If you’re looking for stainless steel mixing bowls, we use and love these OXO Metal Mixing Bowls.

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.


More Baking Basics Posts

My Gift Ideas for Bakers post has even more baking and kitchen tool suggestions.

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!

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. You don’t seem to use flat cookie sheets. Why is that? What’s the cooking difference with using a rimmed cookie sheet vs flat?

    1. Hi Michael, I like using rimmed half sheet pans because they can be used for other things like sheet cakes, pouring out toffee, roasting juicy/saucy things, and fit a pre-cut parchment sheet or silicone baking mat nicely. Flat cookie sheets are excellent as well!

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