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Baking supplies are endlessly inventive because baking is endlessly inventive. A “celebrity chef” from the early 1800s and the inventor of French haute cuisine, Marie-Antoine Carême, said it well: “The fine arts are five in number, namely: painting, sculpture, poetry, music, and architecture, the principal branch of the latter being pastry.”
Home baking, of course, can be either beautifully simple or intensely complex. It all depends on available time, resources, and personal taste. In this curated selection of baking supplies, we’re including the basic tools used in almost every recipe, whether sweet or savory. A good tool can make the work so much easier.
For delicious, enjoyable, time-saving baking, here's our list of the best baking supplies.
Best Bakeware Set: Calphalon Simply Nonstick Bakeware 6-Piece Set
This classic set of six nonstick pieces is a great place to start or is perfect for refurbishing your collection of baking supplies. It has all the basics, including two 8-inch round cake pans for classic layer cakes, one medium loaf pan for sweet or savory breads, one 9 x 13-inch cake pan for quick breads or bars, one 12-cup muffin pan for cupcakes or muffins, and one 10 x 15-inch baking sheet for cookies.
Manufactured by the well-trusted Calphalon brand of Perrsyburg, Ohio, the heavy-gauge steel won't buckle in the oven, and the nonstick surface is designed to release up to two times better than Calphalon Classic Bakeware. This set is oven safe to 450 degrees and dishwasher safe. This makes a great gift for someone new to baking or for your own kitchen.
Best Cooling Rack: Nordic Ware Oven Safe Nonstick Baking and Cooling Grid
A cooling rack gives your baked goods a place to cool while allowing air to circulate below and around to prevent moisture from forming, which will cause sogginess. This grid is versatile because you can also pop it in the oven if you want to crisp a pizza or veggies. The temperature-safe cooling rack (oven safe up to 400 degrees) is built of sturdy aluminum with a PFOA-free nonstick coating, so you don't have to worry about your cookies and cakes sticking.
Best Spatulas: All-Clad 3-Piece Spatula Set
The usual problems that happen with spatulas won’t happen with this All-Clad set: You don't have to worry about stains or discoloration (or chipping) on the rubber/silicone, the handles won't wear and split like wooden ones do, and the overall design is a great addition to any style of kitchen. In fact, these All-Clad silicone tools were awarded the Good Design award in 2019.
The three-piece set includes a spoonula, a spatula, and a scraper created from heat-resistant platinum silicone and smooth stainless steel. They're heat-safe up to 450 degrees, BPA-free, and dishwasher safe.
Best Zester: OXO Citrus Zester and Channel Knife
Lemon and lime zest is gaining in popularity in recipes not only for desserts, but also for main courses. This tool makes it easy to create that perfectly shaped zest of citrus peel. It’s a neat little handheld tool with a solid handle and angled stainless steel zest cutter that works quickly to make large or small slices. It’s also dishwasher safe, though hand wash is recommended.
Best Mixing Bowls: Nordic Ware 4-Piece Prep N Serve Mixing Bowl Set
No kitchen is complete without a set of mixing bowls. Whether you're whipping up a batch of cookie dough, mixing a salad for dinner, or reheating leftovers, mixing bowls are some of the most versatile and occasionally underrated tools in the kitchen. This 4-piece bowl set from Nordic Ware is a great place to start building your mixing bowl collection. The set includes a 2-quart, 3.5-quart, 5-quart, and 7-quart bowl that can stand up to most cooking projects — including use with a hand mixer.
We like that these bowls are safe to use in the microwave and the dishwasher for easy heating and cleanup and lightweight enough for just about anyone to handle with ease. The cool tones color palette with decorative bowl design makes the bowls fitting not just for mixing but for serving meals any night of the week and convenient outdoor dining. Nordic Ware makes a wide selection of cookware and bakeware and is a trusted name in the world of kitchen products, so you know you're getting reliable goods.
Best Whisk: Williams Sonoma Stainless Steel French Whisk
The ergonomic handle and the well-crafted, heavy-gauge, non-reactive stainless steel make this exclusively designed Williams Sonoma French Whisk perform better than the competition. The handle is weighted and shaped for ease of use, and you'll be amazed by how this design change to the normal round tube handle can transform the experience of whisking by hand. It's also dishwasher safe.
The whisk comes in two sizes: small (1 1/2-inch diameter, 8 1/2 inches long) and large (2-inch diameter, 12 inches long). You'll probably want the large size for whisking batter.
Best Egg Yolk Separator: Williams Sonoma Egg Yolk Separator
Many baking recipes call for separating an egg. The messy job of separating yolks and whites is made easier by this tool, which also has a sleek design. The cute little device has a silicone hook to hang it on the side of a pot, bowl, or measuring cup. Then you simply crack your egg into it and the egg whites flow through special slats, leaving just the yolk behind. Developed exclusively for Williams Sonoma, it’s made of nylon and silicone construction, is BPA-free, and dishwasher safe.
Best Pastry Brush: Matfer Bourgeat Natural Pastry Brush
Pastry brushes are an essential baking and cooking tool. You can use one to spread egg washes or glazes over pastries, brush melted butter over bread, baste meat with a marinade, and much more. Though silicone pastry brushes are commonplace, there’s a lot to be said for the old-fashioned natural bristle brush. Manufacturer Matfer Bourgeat has been providing professional quality cookware and tools to both restaurants and home cooks for more than 200 years. This brush has natural boar hair bristles that hold and distribute liquids and sauces more smoothly and with greater precision than silicone bristles.
The overall construction offers a sealed handle and collar to prevent contamination, and although the 1-inch brush is a good bet for general use, there are a variety of sizes available.
Best Food Scale: Zwilling Enfinigy Digital Kitchen Scale
Whether for serious baking or for calorie counting, a good scale must be adaptable and easy to use. This digital scale by Zwilling has a lot going for it: It's digital, can weigh up to 22 pounds, and has a tare function. Plus, its minimalistic design means your countertops won't look cluttered if you leave it sitting out (which is exactly where it should be, every day, if it’s going to be used on an ongoing basis) even in the smallest kitchen! As an added bonus, there's an accompanying app that you can download to search a database of recipes to fuel more inspiration in the kitchen.
Best Dough Scraper: Tezzorio 5 x 4-Inch Stainless Steel Dough Scraper/Cutter
A solid dough or bench scraper is valuable far beyond picking your sticky dough up off the counter. It is also essential for portioning doughs, quickly chopping or dividing herbs, picking up and scraping diced vegetables from your chopping board into a pot in bulk, and putting a final smooth layer of buttercream on a fresh cake.
With the wide variety of dough scrapers on the market, it might seem like they all do the same thing—and to an extent, they do. The Tezzorio dough scraper stands apart with a few features, though. The unibody stainless steel scraper curves into a rounded handle for a sturdy grip, unlike other handles that can loosen over time. Since the entire scraper is stainless steel, you can wash it in the dishwasher regularly. The tapered edge allows for clean chopping of herbs and portioning dough without resistance.
Finally, the 5.25-inch long scraper with crisp edges is long enough to scrape a classic layer cake cleanly. Since the handle doesn’t extend past the blade, you won’t have to hold the scraper at an angle. Smoothing frosting perpendicularly to the board is effortless.
Best Measuring Cups: Pyrex Prepware 3-Piece Glass Measuring Set
Classic Pyrex measuring cups are a part of American culture. They’ve been around since the early 1900s, are made in the USA, are sturdy and useful, and are marked for U.S. and metric measurements. There are significant advantages to using Pyrex over other materials: It’s heat-resistant, transparent, well-tested over years of use, doesn’t absorb odors, and doesn’t stain or warp.
This set comes with a 1-cup, 2-cup, and 4-cup measuring cup, so you'll be set for all your baking endeavors, big or small. These measuring cups are microwave-, fridge-, and freezer-friendly, in addition to being dishwasher safe. Plus, they are stackable for compact storage.
"I use Pyrex measuring cups for so much more than measuring out wet ingredients. The cups are also fantastic for microwaving wet ingredients, mixing small batches of salad dressing in, and straining hot liquids into while cooking. Having multiple sizes is life-saving, especially when preparing large meals." - Jenny Kellerhals, Baking Expert for The Spruce Eats
Best Decorating Kit: Kootek All-In-One Cake Decorating Kit
If you're a beginner baker, best be sure you have everything you need to adorn your upcoming collection of baked goods. Decorating cakes, cupcakes, and cookies involves a lot of small parts, so it's easier to go by way of a decorating kit. This one by Kootek includes a comprehensive supply, including 50 pastry bags, 12 piping tips, a rotating cake stand, spatulas, decorating combs, and a coupler. Our tester noted that this kit was surprisingly good quality considering the budget-friendly price tag.
"[W]e were impressed with the comprehensive selection of tools in the All-In-One Cake Decorating Kit, and it would be a great low-priced investment for anyone who wants to level up their baking and decorating skills." - Donna Currie, Product Tester
For new bakers looking to get started with the basics, the Calphalon Nonstick Bakeware Set (view at Amazon) has just what you need. If you want to treat yourself (or someone else) to something truly beautiful as well as useful, the Emile Henry Ceramic Mixing Bowl Set (view at Food52) will delight any baker.
What to Look for in Baking Supplies
When acquiring new items for the kitchen, it's often a question of storage. How much space do you have for storage? Do the pans or bowls nest together easily for compact storage? Can they fit in the drawer easily, or will you need to make some special consideration for them? Consider, too, how often you might use the various equipment and supplies. That might help you figure out whether or not they will fit within the current configuration of your kitchen.
How to Clean
If you are the kind of person who prefers to put everything in the dishwasher, you'll want to first read the fine print about your baking supplies before you buy them. For example, many nonstick pans should not be put in the dishwasher, as it can compromise their surface. They should be hand-washed, along with those that have wooden components.
If you bake a lot, you'll want products that can stand the test of time and repeated use. Look for heavy-duty products made of durable materials such as stainless steel and without multiple parts to remove and clean. Those places where they come apart are ultimately weak spots.
What is the importance of baking tools?
Sometimes, buying something for your kitchen may seem superfluous, especially if you are new to baking and cooking. But having the right tools can save you a lot of agony and can make the process of cooking so much easier and more enjoyable. For example, you want a scraper that can get at every last bit of batter in a mixing bowl that's sturdy on your countertop and easy to grip. The smallest design differences can result in less than enjoyable circumstances.
Why do I need a dough scraper?
Dough scrapers, also called bench scrapers or bench knives, can help you scrape dough off the surface of your cutting or pastry board, and should be sharp enough to portion doughs out. It should be sharp enough to cut through dough easily, too. But they're also versatile items for chopping herbs, smoothing the sides of frosted cake, and transferring prepped ingredients (think chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or fruits) to a mixing bowl. Dough scrapers are incredibly versatile; their name doesn't quite do them justice.
Should I butter or spray my nonstick pans before baking?
In theory, you shouldn't need to, but nothing is foolproof. If a recipe tells you to grease the pan, do so with the fat intended. Try to steer clear of using cooking sprays because they contain ingredients beyond cooking oil, and over time those will tend to leave a filmy layer that will degrade the efficacy of your pans.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Karen Resta is a writer specializing in food culture and history, cooking, pastries, and restaurants. She's also a former pastry chef and has traveled to Budapest, Kyiv, and Paris during their Fashion Weeks as a photographer and writer, always finding the best authentic pastries along the way. She now spends a lot of her free time baking at home and recommends quality within your given budget. Having the right tools available and knowing how to use them well (it can take practice, like anything else) makes all the difference, and she curated this list with that in mind.
This roundup was edited by Jenny Kellerhals, a New York City pastry chef of over a decade turned freelance food and beverage writer. She thinks that cooking is a skill that anyone can develop and that the right tools will make it easier.