Knowing that all the choices out there can be overwhelming, BAKE ON created The Kitchen pages to share our favorites with you and help give you a place to start. We only recommend products that we love to use and believe will be genuinely helpful useful for you while baking. We are proud affiliates for some of these tools, meaning if you click a link to purchase something, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. But please never buy anything unless you feel it will be of benefit to you on your baking journey.
STOCK UP YOUR CUPBOARD
Mixers + Mixing Bowls
Rolling + Cutting + Scraping
Cooking + Baking
Good standing mixers can be expensive and truth be told, they aren't a necessity. You can accomplish most things (whisking to stiff peaks, mixing dough) with other tools in your kitchen. That being said, they do make your life a lot easier. To the right I chose your middle of the road, classic Kitchenaid mixer, but there are a lot to chose from and at a lot of different price points. I suggest doing some research for yourself on what feels best for you.
Hand mixers are a good, cheaper, and more portable alternative to standing mixers. In general, I gravitate towards Cuisinart's kitchen appliances because they've always been good quality and lasted a long time. I like this particular model because I find having the connected storage case to put the beaters in to be very handy.
The whisk is a must have in every bakers kitchen. There are actually many different kinds of whisks, but two types of whisks that I predominantly use are the ballon whisk and the French whisk. The balloon whisk is your larger, everyday whisk, great for mixing dry ingredients, thick batters, etc. The French whisk is a smaller whisk, designed to get into the corners of small saucepans, this would also be the whisk you use to whisk air into your eggs or cream if you don't have a hand or standing mixer.
Immersion blenders are sneakily handy. In cooking, they are great for making soups and dressings. And in baking, they are great for getting a smooth mirror glaze. Again, learning towards Cuisinart because of their reliability. I like this particular model because it also comes with a few add ons that are nice to have (I particularly like the smoothie cup). This can double as a food processor and hand mixer if necessary.
Food processors are helpful in so many ways in the kitchen. In baking, they are great for a variety of things from making crusts to cubing your butter. Continuing on my Cuisinart streak, I've had some model of a Cuisinart food processor in my kitchen for the last 20 years. Most of them lasted 5-8 years and the only reason I got a new one was just to upgrade. They are hardy machines.
Ice cream maker
If you love ice cream, you should be making your own. And it's really hard to do without an ice cream maker. Getting an ice cream maker was a game changer for me (and my waist line). Again with the Cuisinart, they're a classic for a reason. I've had mine for 6 years now, at times I've had it running several times a day, it just gets the job done.
You can definitely use whatever bowls you have in your house as mixing bowls, but a nice set of mixing bowls really does make life easier when you're baking. I use my mixing bowls both for staging my ingredients beforehand, as well as when I'm doing the mixing. There are not only a lot of types of mixing bowls to chose from, they are made from many different materials.
So what's the difference? Here are some things to think about: Glass bowls are usually the heaviest but also the sturdiest of the mixing bowls. They disperse heat very effectively and are microwave safe. They're also easy to clean. Bad part is that they can break. Stainless steel bowls can clang together and be fine. They are easy to clean, but they cannot be used in the microwave. Plastic, unlike the other two, is porous and so it not only easily absorbs oils and odors, it makes it more difficult to clean. You'd want to avoid using sharp or metal objects while mixing in a plastic bowl.
Measuring cups and spoons
Measuring cups and spoons are the lifeblood of American baking. It's how we communicate all our recipes. So it's important to have a good set. Most measuring measuring spoons are pretty similar, the one to the right is a nice full set that includes spoons like a "pinch" which is smaller than just 1/4 teaspoon. The spoons are generally used for dry ingredients or small amounts of wet ingredients (like extracts), while measuring cups are meant for your liquids. I suggest getting the 3 pack because it's nice to have a couple different sizes. I find myself reaching for that 2-cup often.
While in the US we measure using our cups and spoons, in many other places they go by weight. This is actually a more precise way to measure, since sometime you can pack a cup with too much ingredients and not know it. I loved switching from the cups and spoons method to the scale method. I particularly like this OXO scale because the screen can be pulled out when you have a big pot or something to put on the scale. It's sleek and simple and easy to use.
There are several different types of thermometers, meat, candy and deep fry, instant read - to name a few. I chose the thermometer to the right, which is an instant read, because it acts as both a meat and candy thermometer. My biggest frustration with candy thermometers is that they usually don't measure temperatures lower than 120, so when I'm waiting for something like my mirror glaze to cool down to 90F degrees, I need to switch thermometers. This one can both measuring the high and low temps.
Often times you have several things going in the kitchen that need to be on different timers. If you're like me, first you use your oven timer, then your microwave timer, once you're all out of timers, you set the timer on your phone. Just getting a timer built for exactly that is a much better alternative. The one to the right is a good one because you can manage three different times on it.
This might seem silly, but a ruler is a must have in the kitchen. When you are trying to cut in a uniform fashion, a ruler is a life saver. You can use any old ruler, but I'd suggest having one that you just use in the kitchen, so you don't have any ink or lead from your writing utnesils on it.
There are a few different rolling pin shapes, some with handles and some without. Generally, European style rolling pins don't have handles. I find it's easier to distribute my weight more evenly without handles, which is why I'm suggesting the rolling pin to the right. I like this one in particular for folks who aren't yet that practiced in rolling things evening or uniformly (it's really hard!) and so the circles at the end are like guiding wheels so you don't need to guess.
Knives are one of the most contentious items in the kitchen. People feel very strongly about their knives and there are a lot of different brands, styles, and designs to chose from. The three knives I find myself using most often are my chef's knife, serrated knife, and paring knife. But how to choose which one? I really like Global, I find their knives to be accurate and dependable. So my suggestion to the left is a good starter pack that includes my three most used knives as well as a prep knife. But do some research on your own to figure out what you like - handle material, weight and length of blade, Japanese/German/American steel and style, etc - since knives can be expensive!
So basic, but so essential. Make sure to separate your everyday use scissors from your kitchen scissors. You can buy any type of scissors which are cheaper, they don't need to be "kitchen" scissors. However, I like scissors that are specifically designed for the kitchen because they usually have functions like being easily taken apart to be able clean them.
These can be used for uniformly cutting cookies, biscuits, pastry, and more. They're just a simple handy tool to have. There's not just else to say about them besides that.
Microplanes are very handy for zesting citrus. But they have some other great uses too - in baking it's great for making chocolate shavings, and grating nuts, whole spices and ginger. Beyond baking, a microplane is great for grating hard cheeses, garlic, or root veggies. The Microplane brand microplane is a classic, reliable tool in the kitchen. It has a sturdy handle to grip, comes with a protective cover, and is dishwasher safe.
A grater is a great tool in the kitchen because it allows you to shred things into several different sizes - coarse, fine, or superfine. The OXO grater is nice because it comes with a storage box that lets you measure how much you've grated. The rubber base is also convenient to keep it in place while you're grating.
A bench scraper is a very versatile tool. You can use it to it's literal name use - to scrape your bench - meaning to scrape any dough or chocolate that's left over sticking to the surface of your work area, but it can be used for so much more! It can be used to pick up wet dough or other fragile things off your counter top to move them, or even to cut dough. I like this one because it also doubles as a ruler.
Mortar and Pestle
These are such handy items to have in the kitchen. Whether you want to grind down some whole spices or mix together a paste, it's nice to do that work by hand instead of throwing the ingredients in a blender.
Baking tin set
If you're looking for a good baking tin starter set, I like this one because it includes a cooling rack. It's also got all the different varieties of shapes for your different baking needs - the deep, narrow loaf pan, the long shallow casserole pan, and the circular pie/cake tin, as well as the muffin tray and standard baking sheet.
We use a lot of saucepans in the gourmet pastry world and so it's worth investing in a really good set. I've recently fallen in love with the brand to the right, Greenpan. They make excellent, environmentally conscious, PFAS and BPA free, all around excellent pots. These two are my favorite and I use them exclusively now when I'm baking
Bain-marie or Double broiler
This is not a necessity at all, but it's definitely a nice to have. A bain-marie, also known as a double broiler, helped you heat up things like chocolate, that you don't want to put in the microwave but also that can't be touching direct heat. This set up provides the pot to boil the water in, as well as the perfectly sized pot to place on top of that. You can always make your own version of this using whatever pots or bowls you have in your kitchen, just be mindful not to burn yourself.
Another item that comes in many spaces and sizes, baking sheets, also referred to as baking pans, are a multi-use tool when it comes to making things in the oven. From roasting vegetables to catching drippings, to making cookies. For baking specifically, I like to use the baking sheets that don't have a lip on them, that ensures that whatever I'm making doesn't expand and slope upwards onto the lip and become uneven.
Another multi-use tool is the silicone baking mat. You can put this on top of your baking sheet and bake directly on here (some even have macaron stencil outlines on them). But in addition to using it the oven, you can use this mat for things like putting it over your dough before flattening it to give you an even surface to push down on, or roll your dough out on, to name a few.
When considering cooling racks, I like bigger ones that don't stack. I like the ones that are checkered grating because these are great to use for mirror glazing. These are pretty simple, but essential for baking.
If you don't like your current stovetop (or even if you do) an induction oven is a great investment. These heat quickly and uniformly and are just a joy to cook on. They're also portable, so you can bring them with you to cook in other rooms in the house or on a trip. Word to the wise - they do require special pots and pans (like the Greenpan saucepans from this section), so make sure to reach the instructions closely.
These are some of my favorite little tools. Yes, for soufflés or molten chocolate cakes, but if I need extra small staging bowls to measure out my ingredients, I'll reach for a ramekin. I'll also use it for putting cherry or olive pits in, or when I just want a handful of nuts. They're just a really nice to have item.
This is something you can totally do by hand, but to get all the last little bits of juice out of your citrus, a juicer can help. The popular one you see in all the shops is the yellow one, which I've included here. But truth be told, I much prefer the traditional juicer. You have a lot more precision to get the most out of your fruit, and also, it has a measuring cup attached so you know exactly how much you're getting.
The sieve is an absolute game changer in gourmet baking. When you want to ensure perfectly smooth creams and glazes, the sieve catches all those imperfections.
There's not a lot to say about cheese cloth other than it's a relatively inexpensive and useful tool to have at your disposal in the kitchen. It's a great way to just get the liquid out of things, best for using to make nut and oat milks, among many other things.
If you are new to cake decorating, this is a great little kit that comes with all the essential piping tips you need to start out, as well as two flower nails.
Revolving cake stand
If you are decorating a cake a turn table is a must have. And if you are going to get one, it's worth the small investment to upgrade from plastic to metal. The one featured to the right turns so smoothly, you won't get any little hiccups as you're piping around your cake.
Palette knives and Offset spatulas
These are two types of cake decorating tools, but the offset spatulas (the larger ones) can be used for so much more than decorating and smoothing icing on cakes. They are also a great way to handle delicate patisserie rather than directly with your hands.
If you want brûlée your creme or put some color on your baked Alaska, having a little kitchen blowtorch is a fun thing to have. It has it's very specific uses but if you have those uses, it's a great investment.
Piping bags are a must have in any baker's kitchen. From evenly distributing batter, to piping chocolate, filling molds, there isn't a day where I don't reach for one. I prefer ones that are a little bigger, so I get the 16" bags, but if you want to deal with smaller amounts at a time, the 12" bags are great as well. You can also get reusable bags.
I'm not sure these totally belong in this category, but wasn't sure where else to stick them. When you want to slather a thin coat of egg wash over your pastry, or paint it with some melted butter, these brushes are an easy and uniform way to do that.
When you're on your feel for several hours baking a complicated recipe, your feet get tired. Taking a page out of the doctors and nurses playbook, I love me some baking clogs to wear when I'm in the kitchen. Super comfortable and supportive of your back.
Standing on the hard kitchen ground all day when you're baking can take it's toll, so I like to stand on a padded surface to take some of that pressure off my back and knees.