The holidays are right around the corner and, with them, cookie baking time! We've got the ultimate list of essential cookie baking tools needed to make sugar cookie cutouts, chocolate chip cookies, and all your favorite Christmas cookies.

By Katlyn Moncada
October 29, 2020
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Nothing gets me in the holiday spirit quite like the smell of snickerdoodles filling the house. Or thumbprint cookies. Or peanut butter blossoms. (You get the picture.) If you're a well-seasoned baker, you might already have a lot of essential baking tools on hand. But whether you're a pro or novice baker, this is a great list of cookie tools to have before the holiday season arrives. Take a look at our top recommendations for the best cookie baking tools. You'll also find some helpful cookie decorating tools that aren't 100% necessary but will definitely help you reach all your pretty Christmas cookie goals.

Credit: Blaine Moats

Must-Have Cookie Baking Tools

These are the best cookie baking tools to have on hand to make delicious cookies any time of the year, but especially during the holiday season.

1. Measuring Cups and Spoons

Just like a science experiment, baking requires precision. Measuring cups and measuring spoons are important cookie baking tools to ensure you've measured ingredients properly for the best-tasting results.

2. Cookie Sheets

Baking sheets come in all colors, textures, and sizes. Our Test Kitchen finds the best baking sheets for cookies only have one raised side, are light to medium in color, noninsulated, and nonperforated. Oh, and get a heavy-duty pan. (The flimsy ones can warp in the oven and could move your cookie dough mid-bake.)

3. Spatula/Metal Turner

You don't want to mess up your chocolaty caramel thumbprints right out of the oven. Keep those delicate treats from breaking by using a right-sized spatula to transfer them from the baking sheet to your cooling rack.

Credit: Andy Lyons

4. Hand Mixer/Stand Mixer

It's absolutely possible to make cookies by hand, but it's easier when you've got an electric hand mixer or stand mixer to help. Most cookie recipes will require beating your sugar and butter together for at least a few minutes. This traps the air bubbles, which helps leaven the cookies along with the baking powder.

5. Wooden Spoon

Cookie dough tends to get pretty stiff once all the flour is in there. You'll need this cookie baking tool to stir in your chocolate chips, nuts and other ingredients before baking time.

6. Baking Pan with Sides

You might already have a 13x9-inch pan handy for your favorite casseroles, but it will come in handy for festive bar cookies, too. Instead of individually scooping out your dough, make a tray of eggnog dream bars.

Credit: Matthew Clark
Get the Recipe for Our Santa Sugar Cookie Cutouts

7. Wire Cooling Racks

No one likes soggy-bottom cookies. After letting your cookies cool a few minutes right out of the oven, cool completely on a wire rack to make sure no moisture builds under the cookies as they come to room temperature.

8. Mixing Bowls

You can't make cookies without bowls! Have at least two large bowls for recipes that require stirring together dry and wet ingredients separately before combining them. Keeping a set of mixing bowls in different sizes is also handy for prepping your ingredients without having to wash them between steps.

Credit: Andy Lyons
Get the Essential Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

9. Cookie Scoop

For an even bake, use a cookie scoop. This handy cookie baking tool allows you to measure the same amount of dough per cookie. Unless you want some to be more baked than others, a cookie scoop ensures they'll all turn out the same.

10. Knives

Knives are already important for prepping dinner, but it's a good idea to keep a sharp knife around for baking as well. You'll need it to slice those icebox cookies and chop pecans for your Christmas sandies.

11. Rubber Scraper/Spatula

Don't let any of that precious cookie dough go to waste! A rubber scraper is an essential cookie baking tool to scrape down the sides of the bowl while mixing as well as making sure every last bit of dough goes in the oven.

Credit: Andy Lyons

12. Rolling Pin

A quality rolling pin is definitely needed to roll out your cookie dough (pie dough, too!). Without properly rolling out your sugar cookie or gingerbread cookie dough, you might end up with uneven thickness and therefore uneven baking. There are also some other handy ways to put a rolling pin to good use. Try using it to crush cookies or crackers for a recipe in a resealable bag.

13. Saucepan

It's not necessary for every type of cookie, but if you plan on baking cookies that require a drizzle of melted chocolate (hello, triple chocolate cookies!), you'll want a saucepan. And when it's not in use for delicious treats, it's handy for warming up soup on a chilly day.

Credit: Ann Stratton
Try Our Classic Gingerbread Cutout Recipe

14. Cookie Cutters

Sugar cookies and gingerbread people can't come to life without this cookie baking tool. A few basic circles will do for any time of the year, but it's always more fun to get festive shapes to match the holiday.

15. Fine-Mesh Sieve

For bakers, you'll definitely want a fine-mesh sieve to sift dry ingredients or add a dusting of powdered sugar to your lemon bars or brownies. When you're not baking, you can use it to rinse quinoa or strain seeds from sauces.

Nice-to-Have Cooking Baking Tools

1. Pastry Bags

When it comes to cookie decorating tools, pastry bags can make a huge difference. You'll be able to pipe royal icing or drizzle powdered sugar icing onto your sugar cookies with ease. If you don't have a pastry bag, you can fill a plastic storage bag with icing and snip off a tiny bit from a corner.

Credit: Andy Lyons
Get Our Best Spritz Cookie Recipes

2. Cookie Press

A cookie press is limited in its abilities as it only makes cookies. BUT a cookie press will allow you to make intricate, fancy-looking spritz cookies with ease. These s'mores spritz-whiches cookies and holiday cookie wreaths will really wow the family.

3. Pastry Blender

If you love to make flaky pies, you might already have a pastry blender. But it's also a handy cookie baking tool. It’ll make cutting cold butter or shortening into flour much easier in your favorite shortbread cookie recipes. If you don’t have one in your kitchen, you can use two butter knives instead. Just move the knives in a crisscross motion to cut the butter into the flour.

4. Parchment Paper

If you haven't been lining your baking sheets with parchment paper, you've been missing out! Not only does it keep cookies from sticking to the pan, but you'll have less cleanup to do after your baking session is finished.

5. Cookie Icing Tools

If you're dreaming of adding your own #cookiedecorating posts to Instagram, you'll probably want to invest in a cookie decorating tool set. A cookie scribe tool allows you to create and fill in intricate details when using royal icing.

Credit: Jason Donnelly
Get Our Best Sugar Cookie Recipe

6. Offset Spatula

An offset spatula (aka icing spatula) isn't something you'd use every day. But if you want a perfectly-smooth look when icing your cookies or cookie bars, this is one cooking baking tool you'll want around.

7. Airtight Containers

You spend all that time cutting and scooping cookie dough, so don't let them go stale. Store your cookies in an airtight container at room temperature to keep them tasting fresh. Or stash your cookies in the freezer so they'll last even longer.

8. Food Coloring, Sprinkles and Other Edible Decorations

A holiday cookie spread wouldn't be complete without fun, colorful decorations. It's up to you which cooking decorating toppers you use. An assortment of sprinkles and food coloring for your icing is a great place to start.

Since you're probably in the mood for a fresh-baked cookie right about now, check out our all-time favorite Christmas cookie recipes to get started. For even more ways of putting your cookie tools to good use (and turning your kitchen into a home bakery), our Test Kitchen has plenty of essential baking tips and cooking basics ready for you.

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