Essential Baking Tools
This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.
There are only a few tools that are essential for baking. While it may be tempting to purchase every kitchen gadget out on the market, it really isn’t necessary. Instead of filling the drawers and cabinets with needless equipment, focus on basic essentials.
Below is a list of the most useful baking equipment to get you started on your baking journey.
Essential Baking Tools for Home Bakers
There are so many gadgets and tools for baking but you really only need a handful of essentials. Avoiding filling your kitchen drawers to the brim with all sorts of baking tools.
Most people have a favorite brand or specific type of item they use more than others. I’m the same. I’ve tried various brands of the same tool and always end up going back to my preferred tools.
Each item listed below is the exact brand I own and love. And these are the basic tools needed to help you become a successful baker.
A kitchen scale allows you to measure ingredients by weight instead of volume. This ensures you are using precise and accurate measurements.
Using inaccurate measurements can throw off the chemistry in a recipe resulting in a failed product. This is the most common mistake when it comes to baking. And since baking is a science and requires precision, a scale is highly recommended for accuracy.
If you can only purchase one item, let it be a digital kitchen scale. The one linked above is my new favorite. I’ve been using it for about a year and have zero complaints. It’s by OXO and has a pull-out screen so you can still see it when using larger bowls. It is on the pricier side but you can find cheaper alternatives on Amazon.
No two ovens are alike. They all vary slightly. This is mostly due to improper calibration. Use an oven thermometer to test if your oven is heating to the set temperature.
This is the second most important tool you need in your kitchen! An inaccurate oven temperature can completely ruin a recipe.
Measuring Cups and Spoons
I always recommend measuring ingredients by weight instead of volume but measuring cups can still come in handy. I'm sure you've come across baking recipes that don't provide weight measurements. In such cases, you have to use measuring cups instead of scales.
Measuring spoons are more convenient for smaller measurements like extracts and spices.
Liquid Measuring Cups
There are two types of measuring cups you'll need - dry measuring cups and liquid measuring cups. Both measure the same amount by volume but are made to work differently. Liquid ingredients can be measured in dry measuring cups. However, it isn't as accurate if you measure dry ingredients in liquid measuring cups.
Electric Hand Mixer
I can appreciate that some bakers mix everything by hand and if that's the way you wish to go, then so be it. I get exhausted just thinking about whipping egg whites by hand! A hand mixer is fairly inexpensive and will make things much easier.
I often prefer to use a stand mixer. It seems to work best when whipping egg whites or creaming butter without adding too much air. However, this is a luxury item and not an essential baking tool.
Mixers come with different attachments and each one serves a purpose.
The paddle attachment is meant for general mixing and creaming. You will use it for basic cake batters, cookies, frosting, etc.
The whisk attachment adds air to ingredients. It is used for whipping egg whites or heavy cream.
The dough hook is used to knead dough with your mixer. I much prefer using my stand mixer with the dough hook when making bread.
Whisks have a variety of uses but because they add air to ingredients, they are not meant for every type of mixing. You'll use a whisk to emulsify ingredients, add air to flour instead of sifting, whip air into egg whites, or whip heavy cream.
Unlike whisks, silicone spatulas are multipurpose. You can use a spatula to fold ingredients together, scrape the bottom and sides of a mixing bowl, smooth over batters in pans, scrape batters out of bowls into pans, etc.
I prefer these spatulas from OXO. The head and neck are one piece making it easy to keep clean. The silicone is also heat resistant up to 600 degrees F. And they are dishwasher safe.
This tool is used to cut hard fat (cold butter or shortening) into flour. It's most useful when making scones or biscuits.
Sifters are used for adding air to flour and combining dry ingredients. It's not always necessary to use them, you can usually get away with using a whisk instead. But really delicate cakes, I like to sift the flour a couple of times to ensure the texture of the cake isn't compromised.
You'll need mixing bowls for every recipe you make. I prefer to have a variety of sizes as this makes it easy to have all the ingredients prepped and measured. I have four sets of these glass bowls and absolutely love them. You may wish to have stainless steel bowls instead.
While a bench scraper isn't essential, I find it to be helpful. I use it to cut scone or biscuit dough and to scrape sticky doughs off the countertops.
There are a variety of baking pans needed in every baker's kitchen.
Baking sheets (cookie sheet): Half sheet pans are multiuse pans. You can use them to bake cookies, biscuits, scones, free-form bread loaves, etc. I highly recommend having at least two of these on hand.
Muffin pan: These pans can be used to make muffins, cupcakes, mini cheesecakes, and sweet rolls.
Loaf pan: A 9x5 loaf pan is standard for most quick bread recipes. You can also use this pan for small pound cakes, loaf cakes, and loaves of yeast bread.
Cake pans: Most of my cake recipes make a 9-inch two-layer cake. These pans are what I recommend. Avoid using nonstick pans as they tend to prevent the cakes from rising to their full potential.
Other baking pans: The pans below are great for baking brownies, cookie bars, coffee cakes, sheet cakes, etc.
Offeset spatulas come in handy when you need to level cake batters or brownie batters in the pan. They work for smoothing over mousse filling or chocolate ganache. You can also use them for frosting cakes. You can get them in a variety of sizes.
Now that you have all the essential baking tools, which one do you find most helpful? For me, it’s my stand mixer. I honestly don’t know how I ever got along without one. I use it for literally EVERYTHING.
Thank you Jen, you are making me fall in love with baking really especially bread baking,, am in Uganda and am following your u.
Love your site! Excellent info and delicious recipes!
I use what is now called a fish spatula for folding in eggs. It allows me to get under the batter and gently fold over the egg whites not loosing all the air I just beat in.
That sounds like the perfect spatula. I’ll look for one!
I am loving your website, recipes and your baking basics series. I am concentrating on bread baking currently and am curious if you have a favorite baking stone.
Thanks, Tom. I don’t have a favorite baking stone. But, I’ve heard really great things about the FibraMent.
Found your site on Pinterest when looking for lemon curd filled cupcakes. I will be making your recipe for my granddaughters birthday next week. Her special request. I see you used some kind of cutter to make the hole in the cupcake. Can you enlarge on that cutter as it appears you put a cake lid back on. I looked at this blog but saw no mention of that equipment or technique.
I used a cupcake corer to cut the well in the center of the cupcakes. This can also be done with a paring knife. It’s been so long since I purchased mine, I can’t remember where I got it from. But you can google “cupcake corer” to see where some may be in your area. You can also search Amazon if it’s easier to order online.
Taking a minute of your time. I just want to thank you for taking time out to answer or offer advice on baking. Please take care and God Bless.
Have you ever used silicone baking pans? I used some that were given to me and while baking my cake I smelled a heavy chemical smell in the air and I’m worried about eating it now.
I haven’t used silicone pans before.
Those mixing bowls are just what I need. It’s so convenient that they have lids. Great list!