As a published baking cookbook author, I’ve tested out MANY baking tools. And this Best Baking Tools list is a great place to start if you’re a beginner baker, are creating a registry, or are shopping for a gift for someone who likes to bake (or wants to learn). I also have a complete Recommended Baking Tools page.
I’ve been baking for as long as I can remember. And with more than 1,300 published recipes on my website and in my books, you can bet I’ve gone through my fair share of kitchen tools! Along the way, I’ve learned exactly what works best and why; which tools are essential for baking (and which tools you can live without); as well as which brands provide the best quality and value for the price.
Consider this your one-stop-shop for stocking a baker’s kitchen, narrowed down to the 14 most essential baking tools.
The 14 Best Baking Tools I Use
All of the baking tools in this list are items I own. I list 14 here (now with a bonus 15th recommendation) but some include more than 1 item. Use your best judgment on which items you would use based on my descriptions. 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.
1. OVEN THERMOMETER
What I own and love: Rubbermaid Oven Thermometer
Quantity recommended: 1 per oven
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 be off by only a little—or it could be off by a lot! You could do everything the recipe instructs exactly right, but if your oven is off, you’ll be left wondering what you did wrong. Such a waste of your time and money!
The inexpensive remedy (or preventive measure) is an oven thermometer. Place it in your oven so you always know the actual temperature.
2. ELECTRIC MIXER
What I own and love: KitchenAid 5-Speed Hand Mixer
Quantity recommended: 1–2
An electric mixer is a must if you bake a lot. I use my hand mixer and stand mixer often. If you want both, definitely get both. When I’m working with an enormous amount of dough/batter or making something that requires several minutes of mixing (e.g., fudge, dough, meringue), a stand mixer is key.
For beginner bakers who will mainly use a mixer for cookie dough, a hand mixer is perfect. This KitchenAid version is affordable, fantastic quality, and works wonderfully for mixing together cake batter. If you bake often, and try more advanced recipes, a stand mixer is certainly useful.
3. DIGITAL FOOD SCALE
What I own and love: OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale
Quantity recommended: 1
This is most definitely in the top 3 of my very best baking tools list. A small kitchen scale is, by far, the most used tool in my kitchen. I recommend it to every single baker. You 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. Baking is a science, so precision is key; and that slight mis-measure could spell baking disaster.
For more accurate measuring, definitely pick up a food scale. This OXO brand food scale is the one I use.
4. SILICONE BAKING MATS
What I own and love: Silpat Premium Nonstick Silicone Baking Mats
Quantity recommended: At least 2
Baking mats are an essential 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.
They’re reusable, dishwasher-safe, and perfect for protecting your baking sheets when roasting veggies, meats, fish, potatoes, etc. Read more: How to Clean Your Silicone Baking Mats.
5. 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.
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 homemade chocolate truffles, smaller cookies like these peanut butter cookies, and as a melon baller.
6. SIFTER OR FINE MESH SIEVE
What I own and love: Mrs. Anderson’s Hand Crank Sifter and Cuisinart Set of 3 Fine Mesh Sieves
Quantity recommended: 1
Some recipes require sifting dry ingredients like flour, sugar, chemical leaveners, and/or cocoa powder. That step is not listed just for fun, or to over-complicate things. It aerates these ingredients and rids any lumps so your recipe turns out as it should! A sifter or sieve is a must-have tool for making homemade cake flour substitute, angel food cake, and for dusting cocoa powder on tiramisu.
This sifter is sturdy, durable, and easy to clean (just use soapy water and rinse). I also regularly use this set of fine mesh sieves, for everything including rinsing quinoa, dusting powdered sugar over buttermilk waffles, or sifting confectioners’ sugar into caramel frosting; plus, they’re dishwasher safe.
7. COOLING RACKS
What I own and love: Wilton Perfect Results Cooling Rack and Ultra Cuisine Wire Cooling Racks
Quantity recommended: At least 2
Cooling racks are imperative so that the cooking process stops and your baked goods cool evenly. 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.
Cooling racks are also essential for cooling cakes and pies in their pans, to allow air to circulate underneath the pans and allow the baked goods to cool faster and evenly.
I own a few of these cooling racks. They’re inexpensive, get the job done, and have lasted me years.
8. ROLLING PIN
What I own and love: Wood Rolling Pin and French Kitchen Marble Rolling Pin
Quantity recommended: 1
A rolling pin is an essential tool in any baker’s kitchen. You use it to roll out dough for pie crust, cut-out cookies, croissants, berry turnovers, cinnamon rolls, and even pizza dough. This particular wood rolling pin is long and sturdy, and has held up well through years of frequent use.
A marble rolling pin is excellent, too. It’s cool to the touch, which makes it perfect for rolling out pie crust (which you want to keep cold). This one is beautiful enough to display—and it even comes with a stand to make that possible!
9. BAKING PANS
Of course you’ll need various baking pans depending on what you’re baking. I have a separate post about this: Best Baking Pans.
Overall, my favorite lines are Nordic Ware, Calphalon, Wilton, Fat Daddio, and USA Pan. You can’t go wrong with any baking pans from these brands.
The sizes I use most often in my kitchen are:
- 9-inch round cake pans
- 9-inch square pans
- 12-count muffin pans
- 9-inch glass pie dish
- 9×13-inch baking pan
- 9×5-inch loaf pan
But my top recommendation for the most essential baking pan to have in your kitchen is these multipurpose rimmed baking sheets, aka half sheet pans…
10. 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
I use half sheet pans for baking cookies, scones, vegetables, potatoes, fish, croissants, pastries, breads, pouring out toffee or chocolate bark, cookie decorating parties, Christmas sugar cookies, and so much more. Both of these brands are excellent quality and have stood the test of time (and frequent use). The 12×17-inch size is just the right size for a dozen cookies, and the rimmed edges prevent any sauces/syrups from dripping off. Silicone baking mats fit these pans perfectly.
Traveling with your baked goods? Or just want to keep things fresh? Get the half sheet pan and lid!
11. PASTRY CUTTER, AKA DOUGH BLENDER
What I own and love: OXO Dough Blender
Quantity recommended: 1
Pie dough, biscuits, scones, streusel, and other delicious miracles are made with a pastry blender. It’s handy for breaking up cold fat into tiny little pieces among your other ingredients, without completely incorporating it. 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 opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish.
This dishwasher-safe pastry cutter has a soft non-slip grip and sturdy stainless steel blades that make the process a whole lot easier and quicker.
12. SPATULAS & WHISKS
What I own and love: Williams Sonoma Classic Spatulas and StarPack Premium Silicone Spatulas; OXO Good Grips Balloon Whisks or this heavy-duty wire whisk
Quantity recommended: At least 2 spatulas and 2 whisks
Nothing beats spatulas, especially if they are well made, heat resistant, and heavy duty. From stirring and mixing, to scraping the sides of bowls, spreading frosting, cooking, etc. I use them for everything, every day. I own plenty, but my favorite and most-used are these spatulas from Williams Sonoma.
As for whisks, I recommend at least 2 heavy-duty quality wire whisks that can handle a heavy batter. I love this OXO Good Grips Balloon Whisk, which has a comfortable soft-grip handle.
I also have a couple silicone whisks, which are great for whisking something you’re cooking on the stove—like homemade salted caramel!—and won’t scratch your cookware.
13. MIXING BOWLS
What I own and love: Glass mixing bowls and OXO Good Grips mixing bowls
Quantity recommended: At least 3 in varying sizes
I own this set of 10 glass bowls and they are fantastic. So many sizes for so many different ingredients!
I also love these OXO Mixing Bowls that come in a set of 3 useful sizes. They are heavy duty, dishwasher safe, and feature pouring spouts and rubberized non-slip bases.
If you’re looking for stainless steel mixing bowls, I recommend these OXO Metal Mixing Bowls.
14. MEASURING CUPS & SPOONS
What I own and love: OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Measuring Cups, Rainbow Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Spoons, Spring Chef Magnetic Measuring Spoons Set, and Pyrex Glass Liquid Measuring Cups
Quantity recommended: 1 set of measuring cups, 1 set of measuring spoons, 1+ liquid measuring cups
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. (1/8 cup = 2 Tablespoons, a measurement used quite often. Very useful to have!)
I love this set of measuring spoons because they’re double-sided, stack and stay put with magnets, and I appreciate that there’s an 1/8 teaspoon and a 3/4 teaspoon in there, which aren’t always included in measuring spoon sets. It even comes with a leveler, and you know I’m always telling you to spoon & level your flour!
Also, make sure you have at least 1 liquid measuring cup too. I own all 3 sizes; it’s convenient to have all different sizes depending on the recipe. I like the Pyrex glass version because it’s heat-proof. You can use the small size to melt chocolate in the microwave, and the larger size is great for whisking, like when tempering egg yolks for crème brûlée.
15. BONUS: FLOUR KEEPERS
What I own and love: Prep Solutions Flour Keeper
Quantity recommended: 3 for flour(s) and sugar(s)
I own 8 of these tight-sealing ingredient storage containers, and always recommend them when readers ask how I keep my flour/sugar fresh. I use them for storing all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, bread flour, and cake flour; plus sugars (granulated, light brown, dark brown, and confectioners’). They hold 3.8 quarts, which is about one 5-pound bag of flour. I used a label maker to make a label for each. Highly recommend.
More Baking Tool Recommendations
Many of the items on today’s list are repeated in other baking tools lists that my team and I have curated, based on what we use and recommend. The lists below are more specific to a particular category of baking, such as cakes, pies, and cookies. What are your favorite recommended tools?
Reader Comments & Reviews
Thank you sally me and my hubby found this to be VERY AND EXTREMELY helpful. After reading your list we ordered each and EVERY tool. Xoxo Clementine and hubby
Hi Sally, a bunch of these items are no longer available on Amazon. It seemed like I got that message on at least half the items I clicked on to purchase. Just thought you might want to know so you could update the links. Love your site, by the way! It’s the first place I go for all things baking!
Thank you for letting us know, Elise. We just replaced a few of the links with available items. Hope this helps!
Hi Sally, my friend requested my baked products as her giveaways for Christmas but noted that the boxes I used ( got them from Homegoods and TJMax but I chose 6 per pack coz the hard cover boxes were more expensive) were not sturdy . Do you know where I could get sturdy boxes that won’t break a bank?
Thank you very kindly.
Hi Lulu, we’ve had success with these bakery boxes.
Sally, I would love to see a video of your recommended hand mixer. I have 2 hand mixers and I hate them both. The slow speed is not slow and will send flour all over! I am ready to buy another hand mixer but not without actually seeing the speed at which they will mix! Love your recipes and tips!
Hi Karen! I’m just seeing your comment now and can absolutely help. I don’t have a video at this time, but whenever I use my hand mixer, I try to use my tallest mixing bowl so the batter/dough doesn’t go flying. (Can absolutely happen!) I like the 5 speed mixer linked above because the low speed is nice and low, and the highest speed is fast enough for most doughs/batters.
Hi sally I go for your recipes when ever I’m thinking of baking and they always turn out great. Just wanting to know if I should buy light or dark colored pans .
Hi Sandra, Sally has a large variety of baking pans, but in general, she uses mostly lighter-colored pans. You can see more of her recommendations here: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/stock-your-kitchen-with-these-8-baking-pans/
A bench scraper is another tool that I find to be incredibly useful. Scraping down the counter top is only one function. It is perfect for quickly dividing bread dough (and other dough) batches in half, thirds, quarters, etc. Also great for slipping under the edge of rolled out dough or pastry that is trying to stick to my counter. Didn’t have one until about 5 years ago and wish I’d considered one a lot sooner! I love multi use equipment in the kitchen.
My granddaughter loves your recipes & ideas for cooking (as do I). Here’s to a very good and enjoyable new year!
Absolutely, I love my bench scraper too! It’s definitely high on my list as well. I include that in my list for cake baking tools. So handy.
Sally, I am a baker for a retirement community and your website is my go-to for desserts. The residents are absolutely in love with your triple chocolate cake. I do it in an incredibly large baking pan and do not do the layers. The pan takes three recipes and only two of the frosting. They love your soft peanut butter cookies too. Thanks!
So glad the chocolate cake is a favorite, Tina! Thank you for making and sharing our recipes with others.
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?
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!
Hi! I’ve bought the cookie cookbook, which I LOVE!!! Is there one for breads too?
HiCaryn, We are so happy you enjoy the book! We don’t have one published just for breads, but you can find all of our bread recipes here.
The only thing I would add to this list is a box of parchment sheets from a restaurant supply store. I bought a box of 1,000 full-sheet pan size several years ago, and I’m not even halfway through it. I’m seeing parchment sheets on Amazon but it’s likely less expensive at a restaurant supply, and much of what I’m seeing on Amazon is half-sheet pan size. I love the full size because I can fold the paper in half to use with my half-sheet pan and cleanup is a snap. Such luxury!
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!
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!
I would add a bench scraper to the list of tools ……
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!
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!
Hi, Sally + team
Do you prefer glass, plastic or stainless steel mixing bowls?
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!
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.
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?
Hi Madeleine! We love our marble rolling pins – use whichever works best for you. We’ve never had trouble cleaning it.
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.
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!
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. 🙂
I like Oxo mixing bowls because they have a rubbery bottom that keeps the bowl from scooting around the counter.
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!
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!
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!!!
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?
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?
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! 😀
Get that oven thermometer!!
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.
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! 🙂
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!
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 🙂
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!
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