Home baking has enjoyed a resurgence as a pastime in recent years. It's relaxing, creative, relatively inexpensive, and there's nothing quite like the comfort of a house filled with the aroma of something yummy in the oven. Perhaps you yourself have dreams of whipping up elaborate birthday cakes, fresh loaves of bread, Saturday morning cinnamon rolls, and other goodies. But where do you begin? Stocking up on the right tools will help point you down the path of success as a home baker.
I was once a baking novice with only a few bent pans stashed away in the back of my lower cabinets. Determined to improve my skills, I spent hours combing through advice from professionals and hobbyists alike, searching for recommendations on what sort of equipment I needed to turn out amazing bakes. Here is what I found, alongside some tried and tested favorites I've collected along the way.
If cooking is an art, baking is a science. It's literally chemistry! Precise measurements are critical to the success of your bakes, so it's a good idea to invest in a digital scale. This one from Etekcity boasts over 127k Amazon ratings, and reviewers love it for its ease of use and accuracy. It features a tare function and five units of measurement, including grams, ounces, pounds, fluid ounces, and milliliters, displayed clearly on a backlit digital LCD screen.
Mixing bowls may seem like a no-brainer, but I'm always surprised by how many people I know who don't own even the most basic of sets. Ideally, your mixing bowls should come in a variety of sizes that stack nicely and aren't so heavy that you're afraid of pulling them down from the shelf. This set of six from FineDine is made from lightweight stainless steel and range in size from 3/4-quart to 8-quart, suitable for everything from beating a single egg to making a double-batch of bread dough.
When the occasion calls for analog measuring, these cups from OXO will make short work of the old spoon-n'-level routine. In fact, they're designed specifically to make scraping off excess flour easier. And like other products in the Good Grips line, they feature comfortable, non-slip rubber handles. But my favorite part is that instead of being held together with a ring, which can make it awkward to use just one cup at a time, this set uses magnetic snaps to keep them all together and organized. Brilliant!
And, of course, you'll also need the magnetic measuring spoon companions to those OXO cups. These, too, feature the leveling divot and measurement markings that are permanently etched into the handles. Plus the bowls of these spoons are slightly elongated to fit inside spice jars.
The nonstick silicone mat is a wonder of innovation. Unlike parchment paper, silicone mats can be reused again and again for years, and they eliminate the need for coating pans in additional oils or butter. This simple pair is perfect for the most basic of cooking needs, like a batch of cookies, and the most extravagant, like trying to recreate those crazy chocolate creations that keep trending on TikTok.
Early in my own home baking journey, I convinced myself that I didn't need anything but my own brute strength to mix batters or whip egg whites. After all, people had been doing it by hand for centuries! But before long, I was humbled to discover that, simply put, I'm kind of a wimp. Stand mixers are allegedly life-changing, but they tend to be pretty expensive and take up a ton of space. Luckily, I discovered that Cuisinart makes a handheld mixer that is incredibly powerful, durable, and compact. This model comes with extra long beaters, a whisk attachment, and dough hooks. It even has enough oomph to knead even the toughest of bread doughs - score!
While this is technically a garden apron, I think it's perfect for use in the kitchen as well. Made from waterproof canvas to protect you from batter backsplash, it features extra long faux suede waist straps and plenty of pockets to store your cell phone, recipe cards, and any tools you might need close at hand.
You can spend hours finding the perfect recipe and acquiring the best ingredients for a baking project, but it won't mean anything if your oven is not calibrated correctly. It's always wise to keep an oven thermometer in your kitchen toolkit (especially if you're a renter), because the dial may say 350, but the appliance itself may heat to a temperature that's 10 or 20 degrees in either direction. Rubbermaid makes an excellent commercial-grade thermometer that's easy to read in temperatures marked in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. Keep it hanging from one of the racks, and never burn a batch of cookies again!
Ensure the freshness of your dry ingredients by transferring them from the flimsy paper sacks they came in to a set of airtight canisters like these ones. They feature silicone gasket sealed lids to keep out air, dust, and pests and convenient external measurement markings so you can check your flour and sugar stock at a glance. Progressive Prokeeper+ even sweetens the deal by throwing in a few fun accessories like a leveler, powdered sugar tablespoon, and terra cotta tamp for packing brown sugar.
The clue is in the name for this one. King Arthur Baking's Deluxe "Time To Replace Your Pan" Set is made up of seven of a baker's most frequently used pans, all constructed from durable recycled steel and aluminum, and all carrying a limited lifetime guarantee. The set includes a loaf pan, two round cake pans, a muffin tin, a rectangular cake and brownie pan, a pie tin, and a half sheet. Everything your oven has been waiting for!
A great set of silicone utensils is essential for a variety of kitchen applications, whether you're scraping down a mixing bowl, scooping out the very last bit of peanut butter from the jar, or folding delicate beaten egg whites into your genoise sponge batter. These BPA-free beauties won't scratch nonstick pans and are heat tolerant up to 600 degrees, plus they're nonporous and dishwasher safe.
If I may be so bold, a kitchen just isn't a kitchen without one of these Pyrex measuring cups. The shape is ergonomic, the markings are clear, and it's made of a material that won't crack under extreme temperature shifts. It's a food prep icon! Grab the set of three in handy sizes to avoid the need to constantly wash between every single liquid measurement.
Another entry from OXO Good Grips, this time a stainless steel wire whisk, featuring the brand's signature nonslip ergonomic handle. This 11-inch whisk is ideal for quickly whipping batters, cream, and large batches of eggs, while the 9-inch version can elegantly tackle smaller tasks.
A fine mesh sieve is a really useful tool to have on hand in the kitchen. Aside from its obvious uses, like rinsing fruits and vegetables or straining pasta, it can also be used to sift flour or to dust fresh bakes with powdered sugar. This one from Sur La Table is constructed from non-corrosive stainless steel and features a counterbalanced weighted handle for extra comfort and control.
I prefer the tapered French style of rolling pin over the classic version with handles that spin because I've found it's easier to manipulate dough and your hands don't cramp up. This one is made from solid hard sapele wood, which, with proper care, resists excess moisture and is therefore less prone to cracking. And at 16 inches, it's large enough to handle something like a small pizza crust but not so big as to be unwieldy.
A bench scraper is the kind of utensil that you don't know you've always needed until you buy one. The flat edge is ideal for scraping cutting boards clear of mess and scooping ingredients into a pan or bowl. This one has a 6-inch measurement guide etched into the blade so the brownies or lemon bars you cut will always be uniform and neat.
As the renter of a small kitchen, I'm always on the lookout for space savers, and these stackable cooling racks are a batch-baking godsend. The set comes with three nonstick, scratch-resistant wire racks that can be used individually or situated one on top of the other to make a cookie cooling tower. The feet are even adjustable to make more space between the racks to accommodate things like pastries, cakes, and muffins.
The temperature of your butter will make or break a pie crust, so it's imperative to keep everything as cold as possible until it's in the oven, or your dreams of tender, flaky pastry may go up in flames (in a manner of speaking.) This stainless steel pastry blender features five rigid blades that can slice right through even just-out-of-the-fridge cooking fat, cutting it quickly and efficiently into your dry ingredients.
These 100% cotton dish towels have so many applications in the kitchen aside from wiping up spills or making you look very profesh when it's tucked into your waistband. Sprinkle one generously with flour and use it to shape loaves of bread before baking or use one to roll up a Swiss log cake. You'll find a thousand uses for these versatile (and affordable!) dish cloths.
Finally, display all of your gorgeous goodies on this adorable cake stand! Made from lightweight, shatterproof acrylic, it's easy to clean and dishwasher safe. The domed lid keeps your cakes, brownies, cookies, and muffins fresher longer, plus both the lid and the base can be inverted and used individually or together as a serving platter and bowl. So clever!