If you’re a beginner baker who’s just starting out (or a master chef looking to declutter), start with this list of baking must-haves. We’ll help you set up a baking kit for beginners with 21 essential tools. Or for those who already own these tools, this list may finally provide the motivation you need to toss that never-been-used soufflé dish. Building your essential baking toolbox starts here!
Beginner bakers and seasoned pros, gather round—this list of baking tools will help you organize your baking equipment once and for all. If you’re a new baker, start with our list of baking must-haves to set up your kitchen with all the essential baking tools for beginners. And if you have a new baked recipe to try at least once a week, make sure to take a peek at our list of nice-to-have tools to start stocking your kitchen with equipment that’ll make your baking 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 for pretty much any baking recipe. Keep these tools in an easy-to-reach spot, because you’ll use them all the time.
Most measuring spoon sets have a tablespoon, teaspoon, ½ teaspoon, and ¼ teaspoon, while most measuring cups come in sets with one cup, ½ cup, 1/3 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.
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 great for all kinds of stirring because they’re so sturdy (you’ll be able to use them with even the thickest, heaviest doughs). Just remember to hand-wash them when you’re done so they don’t end up cracked.
3. Rubber Spatula/Scraper
We’re willing to bet you reach for your rubber scraper 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 of a jar. They’re also super handy for folding together wet and dry ingredients. Just keep in mind that silicone scrapers will stand up to high heat better than rubber.
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—it’ll be flexible enough to easily slide under anything you’re moving without squishing the dough or crumbling your cookies.
5. Pastry Brush
This handy tool has more uses than you realized. It can be used to grease a pan before pouring in cake batter, to coat dough with melted butter or egg wash, or to “paint” milk on top of a piecrust. Especially if you’re a frequent baker, this is a must-have!
Sure, 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 and is also great for stirring together a homemade custard.
7. Kitchen Scissors
Whenever we’re making a recipe, baking or otherwise, we always our have our kitchen shears handy. They can be useful in so many different ways: Snipping fresh herbs, cutting parchment to fit a pan, and even just opening stubborn packages and containers.
8. Rolling Pin
Rolling pins are definitely the most useful for rolling out piecrusts, 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.
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. It also comes in handy for draining wet ingredients (especially small ones,like quinoa, that would slip through a regular colander).
10. Chef's Knife
If you have only one knife in your whole kitchen, make it this one. This all-purpose knife is great for slicing, dicing, chopping, and mincing just about any ingredient your recipe calls for.
11. Paring Knife
Yes, make sure you have this smallest knife in your drawer. It’s great for peeling and coring foods like apples, so you’ll need one on hand—especially if you ever make an apple pie. It’s also handy for cutting up other fruits and veggies, and for more delicate work that your chef’s knife is too big for.
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 a few savory uses as well. If you pick only one baking pan to stock your kitchen with, make it this one.
13. Round Cake Pan
Really, you should have two of these on hand, because you’ll need more than one to make a stunning, towering layer cake. Round cake pans come in 8-inch and 9-inch diameters, but most layer cake recipes will work with either size (just make sure you have two of the same size).
14. Loaf Pan
Banana bread, pumpkin bread, zucchini bread—all of our favorite homemade bread recipes call for a loaf pan. If you want to bake your own yeast bread, too, it’ll pay off to have two of these pans in your cupboard.
15. Pie Plate
Yes, the most obvious use for a pie plate is baking your own homemade pies, but there are a lot of other desserts that make this pan useful to have around. Also, you can make savory pies like meatball pie and taco pie for dinner, plus some frozen icebox pies as well.
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 serve up from an 8x8 or 9x9 pan.
17. Wire Rack
No one wants soggy, overbaked cookies and cakes for dessert, so make sure you’ve got a wire rack on hand in your kitchen. 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 out of the oven.
18. Muffin Pan
Use this pan to show up at your next brunch with a tray of freshly baked muffins, or use it to make cupcakes for your next birthday celebration. Plus, you can use a muffin pan for lots of different savory recipes too, like meatballs, pizza cups, and mini meat loaves.
19. Cookie Sheet
You definitely need at least one cookie sheet in your kitchen, and you’ll probably benefit from having two. Of course, this pan is essential for baking pretty much any kind of cookie, but you can use it for tons of other sheet pan dinner recipes, too.
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 tools. It makes mixing up doughs and batters much easier and quicker, and it’s by far the best way to mix ingredients into a thick, stiff cookie dough without tiring out your arm.
21. Parchment Paper
If you haven’t been baking with parchment paper, start now! Spreading a sheet over your pan before you start baking cookies will make clean-up much easier and prevent your baked goods from sticking to the pan. You can also opt for pricier reusable silicone baking mats, but parchment paper is more affordable and will work just as well.
Nice-to-Have Baking Tools
Once you’ve made sure you have enough space in your kitchen for the baking essentials, you can start adding in a few tools from this nice-to-have list. While not crucial to most baking recipes, these tools will make your most tried-and-true recipes quicker and easier.
1. Pastry Blender
If you’re big on baking pies and biscuits, this is a handy tool to have—it’ll make cutting cold butter or shortening into flour much easier. But 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.
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.
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 and need lemon zest, you can use a sharp knife to slice off thin slices of the peel, then finely chop them. Voilà! Lemon zest!
4. Pastry Wheel
This tool is handy to have 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 instead of one long cut—dragging a knife through pastry can tear and toughen it.
5. Slotted Spoon
You might use a slotted spoon more often while cooking dinner, but it can come in handy when baking, too. 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.
6. Citrus Juicer
You can just as easily use your hands or a fork to help squeeze the juice out of a lemon, but if you want to get every last drop, invest in a citrus juicer. The sieve will also the strain the pulp and seeds so you don’t have to worry about accidentally mixing them into your batter or dough.
7. Other Knives
While a serrated bread knife and a tomato knife might come in handy for some baked recipes, you can usually get by with just your chef’s knife and paring knife. If you do have these knives in your kitchen, use your tomato knife for cutting fruits and vegetables and your bread knife for slicing into breads without squashing your loaf.
8. Tart Pan
This pan certainly looks pretty, but it’s not strictly necessary, especially if you’re not someone who bakes tarts regularly. If you are a big tart fan, by all means invest in this specialty pan, but there aren’t many uses for it outside fruit and nut tarts.
9. Springform Pan
This pan has a latch that opens so you can 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 cheesecake recipes (like bars and no-bake recipes) you can make without this pan that taste just the same.
10. Fluted Tube Pan
You’ll definitely need this pan if you want to make a traditional bundt 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.
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.
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 be made in a rectangular baking pan. If you do have a jelly roll pan, you can also use it for toasting nuts and roasting veggies, but a sheet pan will usually accomplish the same tasks.
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 kitchen. But if you’re not a frequent soufflé baker, you can easily skip this dish.
Ramekins are nice to have for making individual portions of desserts and casseroles, like custards and puddings, but you don’t necessarily need them in your kitchen. Of course, if you do have set, they’ll also come in handy for serving desserts to a crowd.
A blender will definitely make some recipes quicker, but it doesn’t have a ton of uses for bakers beyond pureeing fruit sauces. Of course, if you love a morning smoothie on your way out the door, you’ll want a blender on hand in your kitchen.
16. Food Processor
While having this kitchen appliance can certainly speed some recipes along, you can also usually get by without one. You can crush cookies and crackers for crusts with a rolling pin, and you can mix up piecrusts 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.