The Ultimate Holiday Baking Checklist: 10 Must-Have Essentials For Your Kitchen.

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Last Updated on November 17, 2023

The holidays are just around the corner, and everyone knows these celebrations feel a little less warm without the comforting aroma of ginger, cloves, and peppermint permeating the air. 

But while this season can be intimidating if you’re new to baking and eager to impress, having the right tools at your disposal can make baking much more effortless. 

The following ten utensils are the bare-bone essentials to transform flour, butter, sugar, and eggs into a gastronomic masterpiece.

Measuring Tools

If cooking is an art, baking is a science—and in every science, precision is critical. If the first step to avoid a culinary apocalypse in your oven involves measuring each ingredient to perfection, you’ll need the right tools to make it happen.

  1. Measuring Cups and Spoons

If you check any online baking recipe, odds are the ingredient quantities are listed in cups, tablespoons, and teaspoons. They’re perhaps the most common measuring unit in cooking, partially because they’re very intuitive, convenient to use, and easy to find. 

Measuring cups and spoons come in all presentations and materials, although plastic and stainless steel are the most common.

Best Budget: KitchenAid Plastic Measuring Cup and Spoon Set.

Best Splurge: All-Clad Stainless Steel Measuring Cup & Spoon Set.

  1. Kitchen Scale

Did you know you can get 4 to 6 ounces in one cup of flour? Measuring by cups and spoons can produce beautiful results, but it is far from precise.

A kitchen scale is a must-have if you want to take baking seriously and achieve perfect results each time. It allows you to weigh each ingredient and ensure you get each measurement right and without variations.

Best Budget: Ozeri ZK14 Pronto Kitchen and Food Scale.

Best Budget Pick

Best Splurge: Cuisinart PrecisionChef Digital Kitchen Scale.

Mixing Tools

After measuring your ingredients, the next step in your Holiday Baking Frenzy involves combining them into something much better than the sum of its parts.

The problem? Mixing is not just throwing ingredients together—it has a technique, and thus, it needs tools.

  1. Mixing Bowls

Bakers turn into squirrels at the sight of mixing bowls—hoarding is inevitable, and the more of them, the better for the batter. Why? Odds are, in any given recipe, you will need at least two bowls: one to combine wet ingredients and the other for dry ones.

Most baking mixing bowls are made of plastic, glass, or stainless steel. While each has pros and cons, the best and most well-rounded alternative for a baker is stainless steel—affordable, lightweight, and easy to clean.

Best Budget: Mainstays SS 3QT Multi-Use Mixing Bowl.

Best Splurge: OXO 3-piece Insulated Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set.

  1. Whisks & Spatulas

Although they are not quite the same, we combined them because they—alongside good ol’ elbow grease—are the quintessential baking utensils for old-school mixing.

The whisk’s unique shape makes it ideal for blending wet or slightly runny mixtures, and it’s also great for incorporating air into eggs, which is the key to many recipes. On the other hand, spatulas are perfect for mixing thicker preparations, like cookie batter, and they help you scrape dough from the sides of the bowl.

Best Budget: Mainstays 2-Piece Silicone Spatula Set & Stainless Steel Whisk.

Best Splurge: GIR: Get It Right Silicone Spatula & Stainless Steel Whisk.

  1. Electric Mixers

Holiday seasons are busy, and there are a million things to do—odds are you don’t have the time, energy, or effort to mix every batter and dough by hand. While you’ll always need whisks and spatulas, you can reduce your mixing time with electric mixers.

The two main types of electric mixers are hand mixers and stand mixers. Hand mixers are small, easy to clean, and affordable, yet they need you to hold and move them as needed. On the other hand, stand mixers can work independently but are far more expensive.

Best Budget: Hamilton Beach Professional 5-Speed Hand Mixer.

Best Budget Pick

Best Splurge: KitchenAid Artisan 5 Qt. Stand Mixer. 

Best Splurge Pick

Dough Kneading and Management

Gingersnaps and sugar cookies are staples of the holiday season, but preparing the dough can be quite a hassle. Kneading, rolling, and shaping can be challenging for newbies, but you can easily achieve beautiful results with the right tools.

  1. Rolling Pin

You can’t make cut-out cookies without a rolling pin; it’s as simple as that. The market has countless options—made from different materials and with varied designs to make the rolling process smoother. However, the best option is always the one that’s easier for you to maneuver, which is a trial-and-error process.

However, a few cult favorites are worth trying in many different price ranges.

Best Budget: Karryoung French Rolling Pin.

Best Splurge: J.K. Adams Maple Wood Gourmet Rolling Pin.

  1. Cookie Cutters

The holiday season means baking Christmas cookies for many of us, which means cookie cutters are a necessary tool. Sure, you could try cutting the shape by hand, but that would complicate things needlessly.

The perfect cookie cutters depend on your preferences and the shapes you want. You can find them made of tin, stainless steel, or plastic—the choice is yours!

Best Budget: YXCLIFE 18 Piece Stainless Steel Cookie Cutter Set.

Best Splurge: Anne Clark Winter Christmas Cookie Cutters.


After going through it all, it’s finally time. The trial by fire—figuratively and literally. It’s time to bake!

Of course, the most essential tool for baking is an oven. But assuming you already have that covered, here are the next most important things.

  1. Baking Sheets

Baking sheets are more than just a surface where to put your treats—they are responsible for conducting the heat your oven releases, so the correct pan can drastically change the quality of your baked goods.

If you aim to stock the essentials, pick a baking sheet instead of a cookie sheet. Baking sheets have a rim, which means they are more versatile and better suited for more recipes than the rimless cookie sheet. 

Best Budget: Wilton Easy Layers Sheet Pan.

Best Budget Pick
Wilton Easy Layers Sheet Cake Pan, 2-Piece Set
$12.99 ($6.50 / Count)
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04/01/2024 04:10 am GMT

Best Splurge: Caraway Non-Stick Ceramic Baking Sheet.

  1. (The Right) Pans

With so many options and varieties, choosing the right bakeware essentials depends on your preference. Aspects such as the material or the color can vastly affect the outcome, and they come in plenty of shapes and sizes suited for different preparations.

Your best bet for Christmas baking—which involves plenty of cakes—is metal, particularly aluminum. It bakes goods evenly and helps cakes get a golden-brown crust.

Best Budget: Fat Daddio’s Aluminum Round Cake Pan Set of 3.

Best Splurge: OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Round Cake Pan.


Decorating baked goods is an art form in itself. Depending on your preferred canvas and how detailed you want to be, you may need far more than just one thing, so keep that in mind!

  1. Piping Bags & Tips.

Decorating sugar cookies and giving them that lovely holiday flair would be a nightmare without piping bags and tips. 

Luckily, there is no need for much finesse with piping bags—the best options available are the disposable plastic ones, as they make cleanup easy. Piping tips are a bit more complicated, as there is a lot of variety, but plenty of kits contain “the basics,” which you should stick to first. 

Best Budget: Kootek 32-Piece Piping Set.

Best Splurge: Wilton 55-Piece Tip Set.

Got Everything You Need?

There are countless more baking tools and supplies you may need. An offset spatula, Bundt cake pan, and a turntable are incredible items that can make a difference in your baking projects. However, you can consider those once you’re more comfortable with your baking skills.

If you aim to gather the baking essentials in time for this holiday season, these utensils are all you need to impress family and friends with your baking skills. 

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