So you want to start baking? What a great decision! Baking at home opens up a whole world of delicious foods and cooking projects that you can do every day. The possibilities really are endless. However, you will need a few things to get you started.
This guide show you the top 12 essential tools you will need to bake amazing things right in your own kitchen. As a professional pastry chef and baker, I have used many tools and truly know which are actually useful and which you can skip.
So let’s take a look at what you’ll need so that you can get started!
Looking for a unique gift for the baker in your life? Check out our gift guide for those people in your lives that already have it all.
1 – Mixer
Whether you plan on baking cookies, cakes or breads, a mixer is essential to almost all baking projects. Sure, there are some recipes that you can mix by hand but a mixer not only makes baking easier but the end results will also be much better.
There are so many different types of mixers to choose from handheld mixers to deluxe stand mixers. So which is best? That depends on how much you plan on baking and also your budget.
Handheld mixers tend to cost less and are smaller so they are easier to store. Hand mixers however do require you to be actively mixing (you can’t step away while the mixer is running) and they don’t always blend quite as well as stand mixers.
These are great for novice bakers as a first, no-frill mixer- they work well and won’t break the bank.
Stand mixers, like the one pictured from KitchenAid, are amazing and should definitely be considered if you plan on baking a lot. Equipped with numerous different attachments, you can make almost anything with a stand mixer and also be multitasking as the mixer runs all by itself (doing dishes, measuring the next ingredients or just sipping on a glass of wine! Let the mixer do the work!).
Stand mixers are a little more expensive but well worth the investment as they last a while. I highly recommend a stand mixer for anyone who is serious about baking. You’ll love it.
2 – Silicone Spatulas
Silicone spatulas are a baking tool that I cannot live without. While you may think that a normal spoon may work (which it does, to an extent), a good silicone spatula will scrape down the mixer, efficiently stir batters and get into every nook and cranny of the bowl.
Once you use a silicone spatula to bake with, you will never look at a regular spoon again.
3 – Measuring Spoons and Cups
Any recipe you will be using will most certainly require you to measure ingredients. A good set of measuring spoons, dry measuring cups and wet measuring cups are definitely necessary. While you can use a liquid measuring cup and dry ingredient measuring cups interchangeably, it is much better to have both for accuracy.
For the measuring spoons and dry measuring cups, look for a set that has at least several pieces (1/4 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon for the measuring spoons and 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup and 1 cup for the measuring cups).
A two cup liquid measuring cup is a great place to start as well.
4 – Set of Mixing Bowls
Whether you choose metal, plastic or ceramic, a nice set of bowls of various sizes is something you should invest in. Look for a set that has a small, medium and large bowl to start off.
Any material is fine- that is totally up to you and your preference! There are also great bowl sets with covers that will snap right on the bowl for easy storage.
5 – Cake Pan
While it is great to have a variety of sized cake pans, I would recommend starting off with at least an eight inch round cake pan. Most standard recipes that you make at home will call for an eight inch round pan so this size will suffice for now.
Look for one that has sides that are between three and four inches high; those will be tall enough for cakes to rise nicely without the batter spilling over the sides.
If you will be making larger cakes or also want a pan that is not round, grab a 9×13 inch pan as well. This is the second most common pan after the eight inch round pan. A 9×13 pan is also great to use as a casserole dish for cooking.
Look for a nice looking 9×13 pan so you can bake and also display foods right in the pan.
6 – Pie Pan
A good deep-dish nine inch pie pan will be perfect for all of your pie needs. I like a deep pan versus a skinnier pie pan as it looks much more ‘homemade’ compared to the skinny pies you buy in the store.
Also, a deeper pan makes for nice deep pies that serve more people. There is nothing more delicious than a nice thick slice of pie!
7 – Muffin Pan
A muffin pan, like the one pictured from USA Pan, is perfect not only for muffins but for cupcakes and mini pies as well. Most standard baking recipes will make 12 muffins or cupcakes so find a pan with a dozen holes.
A non stick coating is a nice feature to look for so that the muffins pop right out (muffin pans can be tricky to clean with all those small holes!).
8 – Baking Sheet Pans
While there are many sizes and shapes of baking sheet pans (often mistaken for cookie sheets), a ‘half’ sheet pan is a good size for a beginner baker. I also always recommend a sheet pan that has raised edges (at least 1/2 inch high).
This way, you can bake sheets of cake batter in the pan and also not have to worry about batter spilling over the sides. A half sheet pan will fit about 12 large cookie scoops- a perfect amount!
9 – Baking Mat
While this tool may not be considered ‘essential’, I absolutely cannot live without my silicone baking mat. Rather that lining a baking sheet pan with foil or greasing it with butter, you can simply place your silicone mat on top of the pan and bake away.
The mats are non stick so your baked goods will slide right off and you can easily wash the mat in the sink or dishwasher for easy clean up. Baking mats are not very expensive and last a long time so I would really advise that you get one!
If you need more convincing, check out my more in-depth look at baking mats.
10 – Whisk
A nice sturdy whisk is required in many baking recipes and you can also use it frequently in regular cooking as well. Look for a whisk that is not too big or too small so it can easily move around in any sized bowl.
Search for sturdy wires as well- you don’t want the whisk to bend or break which some do when used frequently! If you are willing to spend a little more, find a whisk with silicone wrapped around the wires- this will then whisk the ingredients and also scrape the bowl!
11 – Ice Cream Scoops
Perfect for portioning cookies, muffins and cupcakes, ice cream scoops are a bakers best friend. Easily make cookies perfectly round that will make everyone think you are a professional baker!
Each muffin will come out the exact same size when portioned with an ice cream scoop. You can also use them for scooping ice cream if you so desire! A nice set of three scoops (small, medium and large) is good for stocking your kitchen.
12 – Digital Kitchen Scale
The more baking you do and the more recipes you try, you will find some measurements written in ounces or grams rather than cups and teaspoons.
Baking by weight is actually more accurate than using volume measurements so a small scale is a perfect tool to have. There are many compact and affordable, yet accurate digital scales out there so you will have plenty of choices!
I’m sure by now you are ready to get baking but before you can begin, it’s time to go shopping! Grab the 12 items on this list and you will be well equipped to bake almost anything. Happy baking!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.