21 Baking Tools Every Home Cook Needs (Plus 16 Handy Extras)

Whether you're a beginning baker just starting out or a master chef looking to declutter, we'll help you set up a beginner's baking essentials kit with 21 tools. For anyone who already owns these handy baking tools, this list may finally provide the motivation you need to get rid of that soufflé dish you never use. Building your baking equipment inventory starts here.

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an assortment of baking tools
Photo:

BHG/Niki Cutchall

Beginning bakers and seasoned pros, gather around. This list of supplies will help you pros to organize your baking equipment once and for all. If you're a new baker, start setting up your kitchen with our list of must-have equipment, along with pastry tools to get you through any kind of sweet recipe. And if you have a cake recipe or trickier pastry recipe you're trying to perfect, make sure to take a peek at our list of nonessential tools that are nice to have and will make your process faster, easier, and more impressive.

Must-Have Baking Tools

These are the tools you absolutely need in your kitchen, the ones you'll reach for more often than you think. Whether you're baking a cake or stirring up a batch of cookies, make sure you have these tools on hand before getting started.

1. Measuring Cups (Liquid and Dry) and Spoons

Baking is all about precision, so having a full set of measuring cups and spoons on hand is a must. Don't think you can get by with just one type of measuring cup, you'll need both dry and wet measuring cups to accurately measure all your ingredients. Keep these tools in a spot that's easy to reach, because you'll use them all the time.

Most measuring spoon sets include a tablespoon, teaspoon, ½ teaspoon, and ¼ teaspoon, while most measuring cups come in sets with one cup, ½ cup, ⅓ cup, and ¼ cup. For liquid measuring cups, you can get by with a 1-cup size, but it can be handy to have 2-cup and 4-cup ones in your cupboard, too.

Buy It: Tovolo 10-Piece Plastic Measuring Cup Set (Wayfair)

a wooden spoon

BHG/Niki Cutchall

2. Wooden Spoon(s)

One wooden spoon is enough, but this tool is so handy, it can sometimes be helpful to have a couple around. Wooden spoons are so sturdy they're great for all kinds of stirring. You'll be able to use them with even the thickest, heaviest doughs. Just remember to handwash them when you're done, so they don't end up cracked.

Buy It: OXO Good GripsWooden Utensil Set (Amazon)

3. Rubber Spatula/Scraper

We're willing to bet you reach for your rubber spatula more often than you think. This tool is ideal for scraping the last bit of batter or dough out of a pan or for scraping all the nooks and crannies out of your jam jar. They're also super handy for folding together wet and dry ingredients. Note that silicone scrapers will stand up to high heat better than rubber ones.

Buy It: Tovolo Flex-Core Spatula (Amazon)

4. Spatula/Metal Turner

When you need to transfer fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies to a cooling rack or serve a piece of cake from a 9x13 pan, there's no tool better than a good old spatula. Having one with a thin metal blade can be especially handy, and it'll be flexible enough to easily slide under anything you're moving without squishing the dough or crumbling your cookies.

Buy It: OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Turner (OXO)

person using pastry brush to butter metal loaf pan
Kritsada Panichgul

5. Pastry Brush

This handy tool has more uses than you may realize. It can be used to grease a pan before pouring in cake batter, to coat the dough with melted butter or egg wash, or to "paint" milk on top of a pie crust. Especially if you're a frequent baker, this is a must-have!

Buy It: Chicago Metallic Pastry Brush (Crate & Barrel)

person whisking flour in a bowl

BHG/Niki Cutchall

6. Whisk

Yes, you can use a wire whisk to beat together a few eggs, but it's handy for other things too. In particular, it's one of the best ways to thoroughly mix together dry ingredients. It's also great for stirring together a homemade custard.

Buy It: AmazonBasics Stainless Steel Wire Whisk Set (Amazon)

7. Kitchen Scissors

Whenever we're making a recipe, baking or otherwise, we always have our kitchen shears handy. They can be useful in so many ways, including snipping fresh herbs, cutting parchment to fit a pan, or even just opening stubborn packages and containers.

Buy It: KitchenAid Utility Shears (Target)

8. Rolling Pin

Rolling pins are definitely most useful for rolling out pie crusts, cookie dough, and puff pastry, but there are other ways you can put this tool to work in your kitchen. For example, if you don't have a food processor and need to crush cookies, chips, or crackers for a recipe, just put them in a sealable bag, then use your rolling pin to smash them to pieces.

Buy It: Faberware Wood Rolling Pin (Amazon)

red spatula in fine-mesh sieve over bowl
Blaine Moats

9. Fine-Mesh Sieve

You can put a sieve to work in a lot of different ways. For bakers, it's probably the most useful for sifting dry ingredients or adding a dusting of powdered sugar to a finished pan of brownies or cookies. This piece of baking equipment also comes in handy for draining wet ingredients (especially small items, like quinoa, that would slip through a regular colander) and removing seeds from raspberry sauces.

Buy It: SALT Long Handled Mesh Strainers Set (Amazon)

10. Chef's Knife

If you have only one knife in your whole kitchen, make it this one. A chef's knife is great for slicing, dicing, chopping, and mincing just about any ingredient your recipe calls for.

Buy It: MOSFiATA Chef's Knife (Amazon)

11. Paring Knife

You definitely want this knife in your collection. It's great for peeling and coring foods like apples. It's also handy for cutting up other fruits and vegetables, and for more delicate work for which your chef's knife is just too big.

Buy It: Zyliss Paring Knife (Wayfair)

12. Rectangular Baking Pan

A regular baking pan (13x9x2 inches) is a definite must-have. You can use it for so many sweet things—cakes, brownies, cookie bars—and, of course, it has savory uses as well. If you pick only one baking pan to stock your kitchen with, make it this one.

Buy It: Wilton Recipe Right Non-Stick 9x13-Inch Pan (Amazon)

woman flouring round cake pan
Jason Donnelly

13. Round Cake Pan

You should have two of these baking essentials on hand, since you'll need more than one to make a layer cake. Round cake pans come in 8-inch and 9-inch diameters, but either size will work with most layer cake recipes—just be sure you have two pans in the same size.

Buy It: Wilton Round Cake Pan Set (Michaels)

14. Loaf Pan

Banana bread, pumpkin bread, zucchini bread—all of our favorite homemade bread recipes call for a loaf pan. If you also want to bake your own yeast bread, it'll pay to have two of these pans in your cupboard.

Buy It: Amazon Basics Nonstick Bread Pan Set (Amazon)

15. Pie Plate

Yes, the most obvious use for a pie plate is baking your own homemade pies, but there are other desserts that make this baking item useful to have around. You also can make savory pies for dinner, like meatball pie and taco pie, along with some frozen icebox pies. They work well as shallow dishes for dredging and breading meats, too.

Buy It: OXO Pie Plate with Lid (Target)

16. Square Baking Pan

You don't always need to make a huge pan of brownies, and when you just want a small batch, you'll need a square baking pan. Cookie bars, cakes, brownies, and corn bread are just a few of the baked goods you can create using this baking essential.

Buy It: Wilton Square Baking Pan Set (Walmart)

baker placing cake from cake pan on wire rack
Kritsada Panichgul

17. Wire Rack

No one wants soggy, overbaked cookies and cakes for dessert, so make sure you've got a wire rack on hand. This handy tool allows air to circulate around baked goods as they cool, so they'll taste just as great at room temperature as they did fresh from the oven.

Buy It: Steel Cooling Rack Set (Williams Sonoma)

18. Muffin Pan

Use this pan to create a tray of freshly-baked muffins for a brunch, or to make cupcakes for your next birthday celebration. You can also use a muffin pan for many savory recipes, like meatballs, pizza cups, and mini meat loaves.

Buy It: Silicone Muffin Pan (Target)

19. Baking Sheet/Cookie Sheet/Sheet Pan

You definitely need at least one cookie sheet in your kitchen, and you'll probably benefit from having two. If you do opt for two, we recommend having one with a raised side to bake your cookies, which allows proper air circulation and even baking. This pan is essential for baking almost any kind of cookie, but baking sheets and sheet pans with raised sides are also useful for cookies and work best for sheet pan dinner recipes.

Buy It: Baking Sheet Set (Walmart)

20. Hand Mixer/Stand Mixer

While you don't need to go all-out on a fancy stand mixer, you do need at least a hand mixer in your arsenal of baking essentials. It will make mixing doughs and batters faster and easier, and it's by far the best way to mix ingredients into a thick, stiff cookie dough without tiring out your arm.

Buy It: Hamilton Beach Electric Hand Mixer (Amazon)

21. Parchment Paper

If you haven't been baking with parchment paper, start now. Spreading a sheet over your pan before you start baking will make cleanup much easier and prevent your baked goods from sticking to the pan. Avid bakers might consider investing in a reusable silicone baking mat (Target) to be more eco-friendly.

baking pan with parchment paper

BHG/Niki Cutchall

Buy It: Reynolds Kitchens Parchment Paper (Target)

Nice-to-Have Baking Equipment

Once you've made sure you have enough space in your kitchen for the baking essentials, you can start adding a few tools from this nice-to-have list. While not crucial to most baking recipes, these additional baking supplies will make your most tried and true recipes quicker and easier.

person using pastry blender on flour and butter in bowl
Blaine Moats

1. Pastry Blender

If you're big on baking pies and flaky biscuits, this is a handy tool to have. It'll make cutting cold butter or shortening into flour much easier. However, if you don't have one, you can use two butter knives instead. Just move the knives in a crisscross motion to cut the butter into the flour.

Buy It: KitchenAid Pastry Blender (Target)

2. Offset Spatula/Spreader

While this tool is great for putting the finishing touches on cakes or a pan of brownies, it's probably not one you'll use every day. But if you want the frosting on your baked goods to look almost perfectly smooth, it's hard to beat an offset spatula for the job.

Buy It: Sweet Sugarbelle Offset Spatula (Michaels)

3. Zester/Rasp Grater

If you think using a special grater is the only possible way to zest a lemon, think again. While having this tool on hand will certainly make zesting easier, it's not strictly necessary. If you don't have one, you can use a sharp knife to slice off thin slices of the peel, then finely chop them. Voilà, lemon zest.

Buy It: Microplane Zester/Grater (Amazon)

4. Pastry Wheel

This tool is handy for frequent pie-makers, but not necessary for more casual bakers. It can definitely be used to cut pastry dough smoothly, but in a pinch, you can use a sharp knife instead. Just be sure to make level slices rather than one long cut, as dragging a knife through pastry can tear and toughen it.

Buy It: Chicago Metallic Pastry Wheel (Crate & Barrel)

5. Slotted Spoon

You might use a slotted spoon more often while cooking dinner, but it can also come in handy for baking. If you're making a custard or sauce, a slotted spoon will be the quickest and easiest way to spoon out large spices like a cinnamon stick or vanilla bean.

Buy It: Cuisinart Slotted Spoon (Bed Bath & Beyond)

6. Citrus Juicer

You can just as easily use your hands or a fork to help squeeze out the juice of a lemon for your citrus desserts, but if you want to get every last drop, invest in a juicer. The sieve will also strain out pulp and seeds, so you don't have to worry about accidentally mixing them into your batter or dough.

Buy It: Zulay Lemon Lime Squeezer ( Amazon)

7. Other Knives

A serrated bread knife might come in handy for some baked recipes, but you can usually get by with just your chef's or paring knives. But if you do have serrated knives in your kitchen, use your tomato knife for cutting fruits and vegetables and your bread knife for slicing into your homemade bread without squashing your loaf.

Buy It: J.A. Henckels Kitchen Knife Set (Amazon)

8. Tart Pan

This pastry tool certainly comes in handy if you are a big fan of fruit tarts. You'll definitely want to invest in this specialty pan, although there aren't many uses for it outside tarts.

Buy It: Xelparuc Nonstick Tart Pan (Walmart)

9. Springform Pan

This pan has a latch that opens, allowing you to remove the sides, making it great for authentic cheesecakes and deep-dish pizza. But if you're not dead-set on making a traditional New York-style cheesecake, there are other recipes (like bars and no-bake recipes) you can make without this pan that are equally delicious.

Buy It: Nonstick Springform Pan Set (Amazon)

blueberry bundt cake
Carson Downing

10. Fluted Tube Pan

You'll definitely need this pan if you want to make a traditional bundt (like the beautiful blueberry one pictured) or angel food cake, but you probably won't pull it out of your cupboard as often as you think. For most cake recipes, just a round or rectangular baking pan is all you need.

Buy It: Ballarini Fluted Tube Cake Pan (Bed Bath & Beyond)

11. Pizza Pan

Yes, if you want to make a perfectly round pizza, you'll need this pan in your kitchen. But if your heart isn't completely set on a circular pizza, you can just easily bake your pie on a regular baking sheet.

Buy It: FarberNordic Ware Naturals Pizza Pan (Target)

12. Jelly Roll Pan

Jelly rolls, cake rolls, and pumpkin bars all make the case for having this pan in your pantry, but most cake, brownie, and bar recipes can also be made in a rectangular baking pan. If you do have a jelly roll pan, it's also useful for toasting nuts and roasting veggies, but a sheet pan will usually accomplish the same tasks.

Buy It: OXO Non-Stick Jelly Roll Pan (Target)

13. Soufflé Dish

This dish can certainly turn out a sky-high soufflé, which might make it worth it for master bakers to keep in their kitchens. But if you're not a frequent soufflé maker, you can easily skip this item.

Buy It: Cordon Bleu Souffle Dish (Bed Bath & Beyond)

two white ramekins stacked
Peter Krumhardt

14. Ramekins

Ramekins are nice to have for making individual portions of desserts, such as crème brûlée, but you don't necessarily need them in your kitchen. Of course, if you do have a set, they'll also come in handy for serving desserts to a crowd.

Buy It: Apilco Ramekins, Set of 4 (Williams Sonoma)

15. Blender

A blender will definitely make some recipes quicker, but it doesn't have a ton of uses for bakers beyond pureeing fruit sauces or soups. Of course, if you love a morning smoothie on your way out the door, you'll want a blender on hand in your kitchen.

Buy It: Ninja Professional Blender (Amazon)

16. Food Processor

While having this kitchen appliance can certainly speed some recipes along, you can get by without one. You can crush cookies and crackers for crusts with a rolling pin, and you can mix up pie crusts in a good old-fashioned bowl with a pastry cutter (or two knives). Don't get us wrong, though. Having a food processor will definitely come in handy if you're a frequent baker.

Buy It: Hamilton Beach Food Processor (Amazon)

If you're new to working with some of these tools, be sure to check out the best tips and tricks as well as essential cooking basics for working in the kitchen by our Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen.

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