This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

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

Welcome back to my baking basics series!

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, 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 around the 14 most essential tools. If you’re a new baker stocking your kitchen, a groom or bride 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.


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.


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! 


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:


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.


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 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.


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.


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

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. I love you for championing kitchen scales! I moved from the States to the UK two years ago (because my fiance is British), and really thought I’d hate weighing my ingredients, but I’m a *total* convert. I really only touch my measuring cups when I’m working out conversions for an American recipe that’s only in cups. Measured recipes are just so much more reliable…I don’t want a recipe to not turn out quite right just because I scoop flour differently than someone else! xx

  2. My kitchen scale gets a ton of use – I even keep a list of conversions on my fridge so I can easily convert old family recipes on the fly. I’m also a convert to silicon muffin/cupcake pans with all the cupcake baking I’ve been doing recently.

    My favorite items that didn’t make this list: My wooden spoon collection and at least one super thin spatula.

    Things on the list that I’d buy if I had even slightly more drawer/cupboard space but that I’m doing ok without would be the cookie scoops and the pastry blender. I keep eyeing them, but they’re bulky and my utensil drawer is already overflowing!

  3. Sally, thank you for this post! It totally validated my addiction for baking supplies. However, despite having all but two of these things, I added all of them to my Amazon wish list, which will NOT make my wallet happy!

  4. Happy to say I have all of these items. I bake a lot! Another item I would say is imperative to ones kitchen is a food processor or blender, although most people today have one of those! An offset icing knife is good to have too –> frosting cake and cupcakes is so, so much easier with one of those 🙂 

  5. Everything about this post is spot-on. As though I would expect anything less from you! And I second that Kitchen Aid handmixer. Best $40 I’ve spent in a long time. Works like a dream, the beaters release and clean easily, and it’s actually pretty quiet for a mixer!

  6. I loved this post! I’m getting married in July and have been adding things to my wedding registry..I have a feeling more than a few of these items will make it on there! 🙂

  7. This list is great! I’m registering for my wedding and I can’t tell you how much it helped me pick what I need and how many of each item.


  8. Thanks for this list, Sally!  I have most of these things – can I just say I agree with the oven thermometer SO much!  My oven likes to go up and down 5-10 degrees out of nowhere (the joys of renting and an old oven!), so it’s a lifesaver when baking.  

    I do have the medium OXO cookie scoop, which I love, but just wondering if you have a cookie scoop that’s one tablespoon that you like?  I know the medium is about 1.5 tbsp and the small is about 2 tsp, but I haven’t found a good one that’s 1 tbsp.  A lot of your cookies call for 1 tbsp of dough and I’m OCD about measuring it out!

    1. I actually don’t! For those, I just use an actual Tbsp measuring spoon then roll with my hands. It’s easy that way!

  9. Hi Sally!
    I love your baking basics series. I always learn so much more about baking! 
    I’d have to say, my favorite kitchen tool is spatulas. Is it weird to like mixing with spatulas more than actually eating what I make? Lol. 
    I can’t wait for the next baking basic! 

  10. It makes me feel good I have every single one of these EXCEPT the oven thermometer. Part of me doesn’t even want to know how off our oven is because I’m Type A perfectionist and it would kill me to know it’s been wrong all along. Lol

    I didn’t realize how EASY and ESSENTIAL food scales are for baking before I worked in my cupcake shop! All you have to do is “tare… measure…tare…measure…etc”. It’s actually pretty damn easy and it leads to perfect (ahem, Type A) results. Love it!

    I can’t tell you how many bowls I would own if I had all of the money. I’m pretty sure my kitchen would be an explosion of neon sparkly colored kitchen items! 😀

  11. Hi Sally,

    Thanks for all your great work! Can you tell me your opinion of glass bakeware? Is it ever useful, or is metal always the way to go?


    1. Light metal bakeware is best for even browning, but stay away from DARK metal– this causes overbrowning. I like to bake casseroles, savory dishes and even pies, or anything that doesn’t necessarily need browning on top in glassware because you can store that food in glassware without it picking up any metallic flavor. Does this make sense?

  12. 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!!!

  13. 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!

  14. I like Oxo mixing bowls because they have a rubbery bottom that keeps the bowl from scooting around the counter.

    1. I have a set of those bowls too and they’re my favorite! I’ve been mixing with them for over 8 years now and still love them!

  15. I love my hand held mixer. It’s by far the most used item and I have had it for over 10 years. I am looking to also add a stand mixer to my inventory, but so far have been getting by fine with just my hand held one. It’s a great LOVE & TRUST relationship. 🙂

  16. If you ever have a spare moment, would love one of these posts for pie tools – I would love to know about the different kinds of pastry cutters and crimpers and some great cutters to make cute shapes with crust. 🙂

    I find these so helpful and have bought so many of these things based on your suggestions!

  17. Great list – and while I have many spatulas, consider adding a bowl scraper to your list. I have had one in my drawer for years – and a professional baker mentioned this in one of her classes. I pulled it out and started using it. so handy. Thank you for your posts and great recipes.

  18. THANK YOU for the tip regarding the oven thermometer! This is probably a silly question, but where do you put yours in your oven? Anywhere other than right at the front and I can’t read it…but then I worry that at the front it’d be cooler than the middle and back?
    Sigh** why cant the stupid oven just keep the correct temperature!

    1. Hi Steph, The oven thermometer linked here and that Sally uses in her kitchen actually hangs from the rack. You can place it anywhere that you can see it when you turn your oven light on instead of opening the oven door. You can actually see this one in action in the video in the post Top 10 Baking Tips.

  19. I have a question. I own an OXO rolling pin, which I bought because it’s dishwasher safe, would it be a good idea to switch to a marble rolling pin instead?

    1. Hi Madeleine! We love our marble rolling pins – use whichever works best for you. We’ve never had trouble cleaning it.

  20. Thank you for listing out 14 kitchen tools for bakery and for sharing such an amazing information with us. I found this blog very useful for those who are looking for bakery equipment. And yes I was planning to open a bakery so this blog helped me. Keep sharing.

  21. Thanks for the great list! I have everything but a scale – I guess because I have never gotten so far into baking that I came upon a recipe that weighed ingredients. My kitchen does not have a lot of counterspace and the one thing I love the most is my stackable cooling racks. It seems the previous batch of whatever I am baking is never fully cooled down before the next batch comes out. The stacking racks allow everything to cool completely before I store them. I just wish someone would come out with a magnetic oven thermometer that I could stick on the door – I am always knocking down the one that sits (or hangs) on the racks.

  22. Hi, Sally + team

    Do you prefer glass, plastic or stainless steel mixing bowls?

    1. Hi Al! We often opt for glass or stainless steel mixing bowls, although plastic bowls can often work just fine (unless the recipe specifically calls for others, like macarons). We link to some of our favorite bowls in this post, under the General Baking category. Hope this helps!

  23. Hey Sally! I am thinking of getting an electric mixer, but don’t know if I should get a hand or stand. My first option is stand, but I’m not really sure what the difference is. What would you recommend? I bake once every week or so, so a stand mixer would probably be a better option. What is the difference? Thanks!

    1. Hi Leah! A stand mixer can handle more volume at a time and is more powerful, but a hand mixer is more convenient and takes up much less space. There’s advantages to both! If you bake often a stand mixer would likely be worth the investment. Hope this helps!

  24. Hello! I badly want that set of glass bowls (the 10 pack), so I went to the link but it didn’t tell me the price! Can you please let me know the price in American dollars? (I do not live in america but I can easily change the currency online). Thanks!

    1. Hi Leah! The price is showing up right now as a discounted $22.49, and a normal list price of $45.00. Hope this helps!

  25. Hi Sally
    I have absolutely loved all of your recipes that I have made. I have made so many that my hand mixer has bit the dust. I especially love making cookies and I am asking if you can recommend a good hand mixer. There are so many to choose from. There are some with the rubber on the beaters but I have read that bits of the rubber can break off in the dough Ugg!!!
    I look forward to what you recommend. Excited to get back to baking cookies. My neighbors are missing them. Haha!!!

  26. I agree with the rimmed half sheet baking pans, I have half a dozen or so and use them all the time, but what about rimless cookie sheets? Have they gone out of favor? I haven’t baked cookies on a rimmed baking pan in over 50 years.

    1. Hi Polly, we usually use rimmed baking sheets but either work perfectly for cookies!

  27. I’ve got a question about the Kitchenaid hand mixer you recommend, and hand mixers in general. Are the typical hand mixer beaters (Kitchenaid calls their’s Turbo Beaters) fine for creaming butter and such? Are flat edged beaters more preferable than the round wire ones? I’ve done a little too much googling and have now thoroughly confused myself!

    1. Hi John, the beaters that come with a hand mixer work great for creaming butter! They also work for mixing batters, doughs, etc. They are generally used for all the same purposes as the flat-edged beater on a stand mixer. Hope this is helpful!

Leave a Review!

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.