17 Best Baking Tools & Essentials for the Home Baker

Whether you aspire to bake up the most delicious cakes for your family and friends, or you’ve turned cut-out cookie decorating into your stress-relief hobby, these are the best baking tools for the home baker that are all fit for a home kitchen and will change your baking techniques for the better.

From silicone products like spatulas and cupcake liners to awesome technology like Airbake pans and Pyrex glassware to really simple inventions like rolling pin guides that will make everything think you’re a total pro, this is the ultimate list of what you should put on your baking essentials shopping list.

We’ve left out talk of most of the ingredients, except one special one (which we’ll explain), and focused on those tools and implements that are going to make your baked goods come out more even, less burned, and more delicious.

We’ll also cover some awesome efficiency tools that will save you both time and space in the kitchen, because every home baker knows that the process suddenly becomes much less fun when you’ve been standing in a mess for hours on end.

Don’t forget to check out our baking tips guide to make sure you put these baking tools to the test!

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1. Airbake Pans

Airbake pans are the coolest invention that most home bakers don’t even know about, but you’re about to be running to the interwebs to grab your own (we prefer this set).

Essentially, they’re baking sheets that use air-insulated technology to make sure that your cookies and desserts bake more evenly without you doing anything extra.

The bottoms of your desserts won’t become overbrowned like is possible with regular baking sheets exposed to the heat of the bottom of your oven, and it gives the cookie time to bake so the middle comes out perfectly done and not undercooked.

They’re great for cookie texture, easy clean-up, and can actually decrease how long you need to bake things for because they’re so efficient, which saves you time.

2. Three-Tier Cooling Racks

Cooling Rack

Cooling racks are a must-have for any cookie baker, as they allow your cookies to cool with an airflow underneath them, which helps make sure the bottoms finish up exactly how they should be.

These cooling racks are the best kind, using three tiers to mean that you can have cooling racks that don’t take up the whole counter and allow you to stack up, now across.

If you don’t have cooling racks, you’re left leaving your cookies on the baking sheet, which is a terrible idea as the cookies will continue baking on the bottom long after you’ve taken them out and likely burn.

You technically could cool cookies on a regular plate, but you lose that airflow on the bottom which helps the cookie stop its baking process sooner and thus ends up with a much better final baking result.

3. Quality Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract

Vanilla extract used to be called “liquid gold” by my dad, because it’s so expensive per teaspoon, and while I did use to think it really was liquid gold (oh, childhood!), it might as well be to bakers.

Vanilla extract is used in small quantities in cookie recipes, but it gives an incredible and rich vanilla flavor that takes it from a bit of a bland cookie to a melt-in-your-mouth, delicious, cookie flavor.

However, vanilla extract is one of the ingredients where the quality really does matter (feel free to use generic brand flour, eggs, etc).

Invest in quality vanilla extract like this as opposed to something that’s less expensive.

It will really take your cookies to the next level, and so little is needed per batch that it will go a long way.

Must-Have Baking Tools (seriously)

4. Cookie Scoop

Cookie scoop

When you’re trying to make perfectly rounded cookies, there’s nothing better than a cookie scoop like this one to make sure that your hands stay clean and your cookies stay beautifully round.

A lot of people recommend using a teaspoon or tablespoon, along with your fingers, but you usually end up with misshapen cookies and sticky fingers, particularly because the sticky cookie dough required for drop cookies need to be a little bit sticky to make moist cookies.

Like an ice cream scoop, a cookie scoop has a mechanism that doesn’t require you to touch the dough and instead plops it out on the sheet with the click of a bottom and that classic rounded cookie dough top that we know and love.

5. Silicone Spatula

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Silicone Spatula

When it comes to mixing your dough and getting as much as possible out of the mixing bowl, silicone spatulas are a seriously great way to go.

Wooden spatulas are often seen as more traditional, but they’re not going to have that flexibility and seal to really scoop as much dough out of the bowl as possible.

You would be so surprised how much extra dough you can get on your cookie sheet after you switch to a silicone spatula.

Grab yourself a set of silicone spatulas like this to use in any type of mixing bowl.

An inexpensive, but necessary expense for interested bakers.

6. Silicone Baking mats

Baking Mat

So many people wonder what to put on your baking sheet to bake cookies, including wondering if you can bake cookies on aluminum foil (yes, but you shouldn’t) and if you can bake cookies on wax paper (absolutely not, you might start a fire).

But the easiest way, to put all other options to rest, is a silicone baking mat (I prefer these).

Not only are these mats incredible for making sure that your cookies bake evenly, don’t overbake on the bottom, and don’t spread more than they should (hello, greased baking sheet, thanks for those flat cookies!), but silicone baking mats are meant to be reused!

All you have to do is wash off the silicone baking mat (you don’t even have to do this if you don’t have much dough stuck to the mat) and you can reuse for years and years.

This is such a preferable way to baking than having to have something to grease the sheet or digging around in the pantry for parchment paper.

7. Pyrex Glassware

Pyrex Glassware

Whether you’re needing a brownie pan, cake pan, or mixing bowl, always search for something like Pyrex, which is going to give that extra edge to your baking quality.

Pyrex is designed to be resistant to temperature fluctuations, which means you’re going to have it withstand greater temperatures and not accidentally break because you went too soon from hot to cold or cold to hot (ie, washing up a mixing bowl while it’s still hot).

It’s also extremely high quality and more resistant to breaking than regular glassware.

In general, in baking, you should always try and use glass when it comes to mixing bowls, as plastic just won’t stay sturdy enough for you to do much with depending on whether you need to do beating, whisking, or creaming.

When it comes to baking, Pyrex glassware also gives you that peace of mind when it comes to cutting your dessert in the pan (as you can’t scratch it like you can an aluminum pan), and it contributes to a more even bake.

8. Digital Food Scale

Food Scale

When it comes to baking, all good bakers know that is it a science, not an art.

Being off by a few teaspoons of an ingredient can make a huge difference in your final bake.

Because of the accuracy involved, digital food scales and baking with the metric system is a really popular way to bake cookies to make sure they come out perfect every time.

This means you’re going to weigh things in grams, as opposed to cups or sticks of butter.

You can find recipes that are specifically formulated to include metric options, or you can do the imperial to metric translations yourself with easy online calculators.

This prevents being inaccurate in your measurements, particularly in measuring ingredients like flour that people often measure incorrectly and end up with too much flour in their cookies.

I love this digital food scale for baking, which is easy to charge and easy to clean.

9. Light-Colored Baking Sheets

Baking Tray

It’s a little known fact in baking that light-colored baking sheets are much better than dark colored baking sheets.

Why?

The dark baking sheets are more of heat conductors than the light colored ones, which means that your cookies are more prone to burning on the bottom.

By using a light colored baking sheet like this one, you give your cookies the best chance at cooking evenly and not overbaking, which is an essential way to make soft cookies and to avoid burning your cookies on the bottom.

10. Kitchen Aid Mixer

KitchenAid

One of the most sought after mixers in the baking world are Kitchen Aid Mixers.

Yes, they’re expensive, but they last forever and have a power unlike any other mixer.

With so many different attachments, you can mix up a ton of different kinds of doughs, not just cookie doughs, and all it takes is the flick of a switch and you’ve got yourself some perfectly creamed butter and sugar.

There’s no more standing over the bowl with a bunch of flour flying in your face, no more endless whisking or beating with a handheld mixer that feels like it’s struggling, and no more having to pause your whole cookie making process to mix the dough.

With a Kitchen Aid mixer, you can start mixing your dough while you’re preparing other things in your kitchen, and that’s a real win.

I love the colorful ones like this one, and the ones with fun patterns like this one.

11. Piping Bags

Piping bag

If you’re frosting your cookies, whether with buttercream or royal icing, piping bags like these (or disposable piping bags like these) are a great way to get a clean finish and to not get icing all over your hands and the kitchen.

All you have to do is peel the sides of the piping bag down around a cup and then spoon the icing in.

You can use piping bags tips to make everything from flowers to thick lines, or you can go tipless when you are doing something like royal icing flooding or putting together cookie sandwiches.

So many people are scared of using piping bags because it seems like it’s for baking experts, but it’s absolutely not and can take your frosting to the next level!

12. Stainless Steel Rolling Pin

Rolling Pin

Everyone is used to wooden rolling pins in Grandma’s kitchen, but we’re here to say that there’s a better way: stainless steel rolling pins.

A stainless steel rolling pin is better for a few reasons, namely it retains cold better which means that your dough doesn’t melt as fast underneath you, and that they’re evenly balanced and very easy to clean.

Wooden rolling pins can be pretty susceptible to staining and being impossible to clean off, but a stainless steel rolling pin practically wipes off no matter what kind of dough you’re working with.

We love this stainless steel rolling pin for the best quality and ease of use.

13. Rolling Pin Guide

If you’re making cut-out cookies like cut-out sugar cookies for Christmas, you can really take your cookies to the next level by purchasing a rolling pin guide like this one.

This is an inexpensive tool that makes sure that your dough is all rolled out to the same height, which gives you even cookies that are perfect for decorating.

You can also get the kind that don’t go on your rolling pin, but are meant to be put down on your surface before you roll out the dough to make sure you don’t roll any lower than the height you’ve picked.

Don’t leave your Christmas trees with flat upper halves and fat, poofy bottom halves or your heart cookies with one side thicker than the other.

Get a professional and impressive finish with barely any effort.

14. Hand Mixer

Hand Mixer

For those of us who can’t afford a Kitchen Aid Mixer, it’s still important to have some electric mixing tools instead of just relying on your own elbow grease.

Mixing dough is fine when you use a wooden spoon and mix by hand, but something like creaming butter and sugar together really relies on something a bit more powerful than any of us can do by hand.

Investing in a lightweight hand mixer like this one is a great way to get your doughs perfect, and they don’t have to be expensive (but don’t go the cheapest brands, as the motor will burn out when it encounters thick dough).

15. Silicone Cupcake Liners

There’s nothing better than cupcakes, but so many people don’t know the joys of silicone cupcake liners and we need that to change.

Paper cupcake liners are more traditional, used when you’re baking and passing them out to other people and don’t expect to get anything back.

But if you’re baking for you and your family, reusable silicone cupcake liners like these are such a great way to get a beautiful bake with great heat distribution, as well as make sure that none of your cupcake is stuck to the liner when you pull it out.

You don’t have to spend any more money on paper liners, can wash and reuse the silicone again and again, and you can find them in plenty of fun colors to make your baking bright and colorful.

16. Pro Dough Pastry Cutter

When you’re making a dough that requires that you “cut” butter into flour, which is common in things like scones, biscuits, and pastries, you can’t get better than a Pro Dough pastry cutter like this one.

Doing it on your own or trying to use a fork can get you partway there, but you’re not going to have an easy time and it’s not going to do the job as well as an actual pastry cutter.

You’ll save the stress of dough all over your hands (and thus, everything you touch in the kitchen), you’ll save yourself time, and you’ll end up with beautiful pastry because it was made with the right tools – remember how we said baking is more of a science?

That includes in the tools you use!

17. Gel Food Coloring

If you’re making royal icing or buttercream frosting in your bakes, whether to ice a cake or frost a cookie, you should always opt for gel food coloring like this.

Unlike liquid food coloring, gel food coloring is going to give you bolder, brighter colors with less droplets used (it seriously takes just a tiny bit), and you’re also not going to be introducing extra liquid to your frosting.

Particularly when you’re using royal icing, introducing extra liquid to your frosting can end up in some serious disasters and mean you’re going to have icing pouring over the sides of your cookies rather than staying on.

Thus begins a viscous cycle, with liquid food coloring, of adding food coloring, then more powdered sugar to thicken it up, then more liquid food coloring because now your color has dulled, and so on and so forth.

Invest in a quality pack of gel food coloring like this that will last you forever, and never deal with the liquid stuff again.

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