Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit

Baking Tools – Best Of The Best (The Complete List)

Whether you are a beginner baker just starting out or you are interested in experimenting with some more ambitious pastry projects, there are a few must-have baking tools you need to have in your kitchen at any time.

To help you find your motivation and start building your essential baking toolbox, we’ve done extensive research and picked a few super-useful and highly efficient tools that will help you make your cakes fluffy and your pie crusts flaky every time.

Quick Overview

FEATURES

5/5

MATERIALS

4.7/5

COST

4.7/5

So, let’s begin.

OXO Good Grips Glass 9″ Pie Plate Sur La Table Spice Measuring Spoons Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Balloon Whisk 10- to 15-Cup Bundt Pan Steel 9x2 Inch Round Layer Cake Pan
OXO Good Grips Glass 9″ Pie Plate
Sur La Table Spice Measuring Spoons
Cuisin art Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set
OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Balloon Whisk
Original 10- to 15-Cup Bundt Pan
9x2 Inch Round Layer Cake Pan

1. The Best Pie Plate – OXO Good Grips Glass 9″ Pie Plate

How we chose the plate?

OXO Good Grips Glass

If you have the right technique and a goodwill, any kind of plate will serve you well and produce great results.

However, with a great pie plate, you can make a pie without having to babysit it.

Also, a great pie plate you spread the heat evenly to achieve the best results.

To help you get a clear view of all the things you need to take into account when choosing your pie plate, we’ve done extensive research and discovered a few important factors you need to keep in mind when choosing your pie plate.

Besides this, there is a number of factors we took into consideration when we were researching pie plates.

Here are some of them:

Size

We mostly focused on plates that are 9 and 10 inches in diameter because this is the most common size.

We also discovered that 9 inches in diameter are a perfect size, but we took into consideration that most manufacturers are not so clear about whether those dimensions include the width of the rim.

This is the reason why we have also included some larger plates.

When it comes to the depth of the plate, we realised that it can significantly affect its capacity which is why we believe that dishes between 1½ and 2 inches deep that have the capacity between 4 and 6 cups could be a great option for most of the pie recipes.

It’s always good to pay attention to the dimensions because there are producers who describe their plates as deep dish.

But, we have discovered that there is no a specific definition that differentiates a deep dish plate from a standard-size pie plate.

So, we consider anything 2 inches or deeper to be deep dish.

Whether you will choose a deeper plate or a shallower one depends highly on your personal preferences.

Shallower ones are a better option if you are more interested in making cream pies and graham cracker crusts.

But, make sure you don’t go too shallow or too deep to be able to make pies in either style of plate.

Shape

There are many variations of baking pie plates from the design of the rim to the slope of the sides and width.

We mostly focused on classic-looking plates with gently-sloped sides that would help prevent a crust from slumping.

A wider rim is also a huge benefit as it enables you to better grasp when moving a dish to and from the oven.

Wavy rims seem to be the most effective ones, but we also found out that rippled rim and creative crust designs are highly effective.

Material

There is a whole range of plates like glass, ceramic, and metal, so we decided to test dishes in all three materials just to see which one is the top-performing one.

But there are a few specific qualities we ruled out along the way:

We tried to avoid metal plates that have nonstick coating because we don’t consider it to be practical for some longer use.

You will definitely want to cut your pie in the pan which would scratch the surface and lose its effectiveness.

We also wanted to avoid cast-iron pie plates because they are quite heavy and they cannot easily go into the dishwasher and they generally require extra care.

So, we focused on lightweight aluminium or steel plates

There are also a few unglazed ceramic pie plates, but they are not so common as other plates.

These absorb rather than trap moisture.

However, we don’t think they are very practical for most people because they stain easily and usually require hand washing without soap.

How to choose the right plate?

After testing plates made of different materials like aluminium steel, glazed ceramic and glass we don’t consider one specific material to be better than others.

Each one of them has its own pros and cons.

For example, clear glass pie plates lets you see whether the bottom of your pie is browned and fully cooked.

But one of the biggest downsides of the glass plate is that it breaks and can then shatter in hundreds of small pieces which is something you definitely want to avoid.

Also, sudden changes in temperatures can have a bad effect on the plate.

For example, some people may decide to put the plate from the fridge directly into the oven and cause damages or even sometimes disasters like injuries.

On the other hand, borosilicate glass is a bit different as it is more resistant to breaking from such thermal shocks which means that it is safest for baking.

However, it is really fragile and more likely to break if you mistakenly drop it.

Glazed ceramic distributes heat more evenly and gently.

Also, ceramic plates vary more in density and thickness than other glass plates and in our experiments, some ceramic dishes took longer to fully bake a pie.

All in all, we recommend avoiding anything that is thick or heavy.

Ceramic dishes can also break if we drop them and they may even crack when exposed to extreme temperature changes.

Also, we tested some ceramic plates and discovered they are safe to go under the broiler.

Finally, metal pie plates regardless of whether they are made of aluminium or steel conduct heat more efficiently than plates that are made from ceramic or glass.

But, you need ot take into account that they may be more likely to overcook some pies that take a longer time to cook like juicy deep-dish fruit pie. Also, bare metal pie plates may be sticky and more difficult to clean than ceramic or glass dishes.

How we tested?

We tested 19 different pie plates.

Though the specifics have varied slightly over the years (for instance, we went from making peach pie to apple pie), we’ve mainly conducted the same set of tests each time.

We did all our baking in two identical ovens.

Each of them was outfitted with a thermometer to confirm that it reached the correct temperature.

We started by blind baking a store-bought, frozen pie crust in each pie plate.

Since mass-produced crusts are more consistent than any homemade dough, this test allowed us to quickly judge how evenly each plate distributed heat.

We chilled the crusts in the pan before baking, pierced them with a fork, and weighed them down with dried beans to prevent the sides from slumping or the bottom from puffing.

After baking, we popped each crust out of the pan to see how evenly it had browned on the bottom.

We then performed the same blind baking test with homemade, all-butter pie dough to learn how evenly each dish could bake a less consistent dough.

To determine how each plate handled a custard filling, which requires a gentle distribution of heat to prevent the delicate custard from curdling or cracking, we prepared a pumpkin pie using homemade crust and the classic Libby’s recipe from the can.

We noted whether the pies baked within the time the recipe specified, we checked the bottom of each for undercooked spots, and we tasted the results.

Finally, we made peach pies (using frozen peaches) to see how each plate handled a thick fruit pie, which can easily turn soggy and needs a long time in the oven—at least an hour—for the fruit juices to gel.

We again noted how long each pie took to bake and whether it was within the range the recipe gave.

Once the pies were cool enough to handle, we flipped each one out of the pan to check for underbaked patches.

Making peach pies also helped us test each plate’s ability to handle extreme temperature fluctuations, since we chilled the bottom crust in the freezer for an hour before filling it, adding a top crust, putting it on a baking sheet, and immediately placing it in an oven set to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although this test went against manufacturer instructions in some cases, none of the plates broke, likely because the baking sheet prevented direct contact between the cold plate and the hot oven rack.

Between tests, we washed each pie plate by hand to see if any were particularly hard to scrub, and we noted any discolouration, scratches, dents, cracks, or warping.

We also measured each pan’s width, height, interior depth, and thickness, and we then filled it with water to determine its capacity.

Our choice – OXO Good Grips Glass 9″ Pie Plate

The OXO Good Grips Glass 9″ Pie Plate conducts heat very well, and in our tests it baked some of the most evenly browned crusts.

OXO Good Grips Glass 9″ Pie Plate

At 2 inches deep, it’s one of the few glass dishes we found that qualify as deep-dish plates.

It fits thick fruit pies better than shallower glass plates but isn’t so deep that custard pies look skimpy.

The rim is wider than most, which makes shaping a pretty crust easy, while the clear glass lets you see when your pie is done.

And unlike with some other glass plates, you can transfer this one directly from freezer to oven since it’s made of borosilicate glass.

Among the 19 pie plates we’ve tested over the years, the OXO dish (along with the Emile Henry) produced some of the most evenly browned crusts.

In every test crusts baked up golden from edge to edge, with no pale spots as we saw on the bottoms and sides of pies baked in other plates.

The pumpkin pie we baked in the OXO plate set into a smooth custard with a few small crinkles around the edges, while the peach pie emerged jammy and juicy with a neatly crimped edge and a crisp, golden-brown crust on top and bottom.

Both pies cut neatly and didn’t stick to the pan.

The OXO plate measures 9 inches in diameter from the inner edge to inner edge and just about 2 inches deep, with a volume of about 6¾ cups.

That’s about 2¾ cups more than the similar-looking Pyrex plate (our runner-up) can hold, making the OXO better for deep-dish lovers.

That said, we found that the OXO plate worked better than some other large-capacity plates for both standard recipes and those that called for deep-dish pie plates.

Although the pre-rolled, store-bought crust we tested in the OXO just barely fit, the pan’s slightly larger-than-average size worked well with homemade pie crust recipes and is deep enough to fit most deep-dish filling recipes, too.

In comparison, plates that were larger (such as the 7½-cup Nordic Ware aluminium pan) or wider (like the 9½-inch Pyrex Easy Grab plate) caused overstretched crusts to slump and produced custard pies that looked underfilled.

The generous ⅞-inch rim on the OXO is one of the widest among the plates we tested (only the Pyrex Easy Grab plate has a wider one).

It gives you plenty of room to crimp or to add some other decorative edge to your pies, and we found that it helped crusts stay in place as they baked.

The rim also makes it easier to grasp the hot pie plate with oven mitts.

Because the OXO pie plate is clear, you can monitor your pie’s crust as it browns in the oven—no soggy bottoms here.

OXO’s dish is made from borosilicate, a thermal-shock-resistant glass that won’t shatter from the rapid expansion or contraction of the glass that happens when it goes abruptly from cold temperatures to hot or vice versa (a problem with tempered-glass Pyrex dishes that publications such as Consumer Reports have reported on).

There’s nothing fancy about the OXO pie plate, but its simple design won’t clash with other serving ware.

It’s dishwasher safe, and easy to clean by hand.

You can also opt to buy the pie plate with a lid if you plan to transport your pies to parties and potlucks.

This pie plate comes with OXO’s Better Guarantee, meaning OXO will replace it if it breaks under normal use due to any defects, and we’ve always found OXO’s customer service to be very good.

We’ll also continue to long-term test this plate to see how it performs over time.

CHECK LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON.COM

2. The Best Measuring Spoons – Sur La Table Spice Measuring Spoons

How we chose?

Although accuracy is the most important aspect of a spoon, there are a number of other features we looked for when deciding which sets to test.

Sur La Table Spice

Includes four main spoon sizes: We considered only those sets that included at least a tablespoon, a teaspoon, a ½ teaspoon, and a ¼ teaspoon.

We considered any additional spoons a bonus: A ⅛ teaspoon can offer extra accuracy, but for amounts that small, it usually won’t hurt to just eyeball half of the ¼ teaspoon.

Other sizes, like a ½ tablespoon or a ¾ teaspoon, let you measure more efficiently but aren’t strictly necessary, since you can make those measurements with other spoons (a tablespoon equals three teaspoons, so ½ tablespoon is the same as 1½ teaspoons).

Easy to scoop with: We preferred spoons with oval or rectangular bowls, which are easier to fit into the narrow mouth of a spice jar.

It’s much easier and more efficient to scoop spices from a jar than to try to pour them out onto the tiny surface area of a teaspoon.

That said, we did include a few sets of particularly well-rated round spoons in our tests.

We ruled out any of those cute novelty spoons shaped like hearts or Mason jars, which in our experience tend to favour design over accuracy.

Gimmicky adjustable spoons were also out, since they tend to leak liquids and have to be cleaned between every measurement.

Made of sturdy stainless steel: After testing one set of plastic measuring spoons in our first round of testing, we decided to test only those made primarily from stainless steel.

One of the experts told us, “Plastic spoons are bulkier, and they don’t store as well.”

They’re bulkier because they have to be: If a plastic spoon were as thin as most metal ones, it would be liable to snap.

Another expert points out that at least one of her sets of plastic spoons seems to have warped in the dishwasher.

Plus, plastic spoons usually have painted-on measurement markings that can wear off over time, whereas most metal spoons have stamped or etched measurements.

Anything ceramic was also out of the question, since that’s breakable.

You should be able to toss your spoons into the sink without a second thought.

Easy to keep together: We looked for sets that came with a ring, magnets, or another mechanism to hold the spoons together.

Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before one spoon disappears.

On the best sets, the mechanism made it easy to quickly separate or reattach the spoons.

Although it’s always possible to use spoons still attached to a ring, it can be irritating to have the entire set dangling in your way as you cook.

With those criteria in mind, we combed through Amazon and other retail sites, and compiled a list of well-reviewed, well-rated sets to test.

We’ve tested 15 sets of measuring spoons since 2016 and considered many more.

How we tested?

Accuracy is important, especially for the baker, and not all measuring spoons are equally accurate, even within a single set.

So we tested the accuracy of every spoon in each set by using each one to measure out water onto the American Weigh SC-2KG digital pocket scale, which is sensitive to differences of 0.1 gram.

We used water because its density is consistent (at least in the conditions of our testing), and the conversion from millilitres to grams is easy (1 mL = 1 gram).

We filled the spoons as precisely as possible, repeated the measurement 10 times for each spoon, and calculated the average in order to account for inevitable human variability.

We then compared that average to the standard weight (in millilitres), defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, of each spoonful of water.

Then we used each spoon to measure a variety of ingredients: baking powder, caraway seeds, clumpy curry powder, slippery dried oregano, staticky dry yeast, and thick, sticky corn syrup.

We looked at how easy it was to scoop and level each ingredient, and to scrape all the corn syrup from the spoon.

We also tried reaching each spoon into the bottoms of two different-size spice jars, one with a narrow mouth, one with a wider mouth, noting which spoons (if any) were too big to fit.

And for sets that came with a ring, we tried using each set with the spoons still attached to test how easy or awkward they felt to use that way.

To test durability, we tried bending each spoon, and finally gave them all a wash and let them sit damp in a sealed bag overnight to check for signs of rust.

Our choice – Sur La Table Spice Measuring Spoons

The Sur La Table Spice Measuring Spoons were the most accurate we found, regularly hitting the exact measurements in our tests.


Sur La Table Spice Measuring Spoons

The rectangular ends fit easily into narrow jars, and the spoons felt substantial and were sturdy enough to resist bending.

Despite their heft, these spoons were still balanced and comfortable to manoeuvre, even when attached to the ring.

And the set comes with both ⅛ and ¾ teaspoons, which you won’t find in every set.

In our accuracy tests, Sur La Table’s spoons were either dead-on or mere milligrams off the mark.

This is as close to perfect as we found with any set we tried, and it’s precise enough for anything you’d want to measure.

By comparison, the tablespoons in a couple of other sets we tested were off by as much as 5 grams—the equivalent of a teaspoon (or a third of a tablespoon!).

In our tests, the slim, rectangular Sur La Table spoons fit easily through the mouths of even the smallest spice jars, something that round measuring spoons, and even some oval-shaped tablespoons, couldn’t do.

The Sur La Tablespoons’ handles are also long enough to clear the length of a jar.

Not so the stumpy grips on some other spoons, which left our knuckles dusted with curry powder.

A frequent issue with rectangular spoons is that ingredients can get trapped in the corners, something we encountered with a few spoons we tested.

Sur La Table’s spoons, however, released cleanly each time, even when we were working with sticky corn syrup.

We also like that the bowls aligned with the handles perfectly (it’s all one piece of metal), so we could easily sweep a knife across to level ingredients.

Spoons that dipped down where the handle met the spoon made levelling slightly more difficult.

The Sur La Table set is made from heavy-gauge stainless steel, which didn’t rust or bend under pressure in our tests.

These spoons will easily survive many trips through the dishwasher, and they will allow you to confidently scoop stiffer ingredients like packed brown sugar or cookie dough.

By comparison, a surprising number of other sets we tested folded under just a little pressure.

Only two other sets we tested in 2019 had a comparable heft and strength.

Like all of the other purely stainless steel spoons we tested, the Sur La Table spoons have measurements stamped into them, so there’s no risk of measurements fading or disappearing.

We also like that the measurements are labelled in millilitres as well as in teaspoons and tablespoons—it’s not a crucial feature, but it doesn’t hurt.

CHECK LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON.COM

3. The Best Mixing Balls – Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set

How we chose?

In deciding which mixing bowls to test, we immediately dismissed those made from plastic, silicone, or ceramic.

Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set

Plastic bowls can’t function as a double boiler, while bendable silicone lacks sturdiness and can harbour off smells that may transfer to food.

Ceramic bowls are pretty but also very heavy and prone to chipping along the rim.

We also excluded stainless steel bowls with rubber-coated bottoms because, judging from our experience, the seam between the nonskid coating and the bowl can harbour bacteria and mould.

A great all-purpose mixing bowl is nonreactive and lightweight yet sturdy.

Beyond that, we had a short and simple list of criteria for mixing bowls we wanted to test:

Efficient mixing, folding, beating, and tossing – A great mixing bowl has sloped sides that allow you to cleanly toss nuts or chopped veggies without utensils, has deep walls that contain splatters, and has a wide shape for folding delicate batters.

Wide, shallow mixing bowls are great for folding and tossing, but they often can’t contain splashes from a hand mixer.

Although deep and narrow bowls help contain ingredients when you’re using a hand mixer or vigorously whisking vinaigrette or cream, narrow bowls don’t allow for the wide range of motion needed to quickly fold whipped batters, and the extra mixing can deflate your end result.

The importance of the rim – If you’ve ever struggled to get a secure one-handed grip on a mixing bowl while scraping the last bit of cake batter into a pan, you understand the importance of a wide rim.

The rim on a mixing bowl gives your fingers something to hook onto so you can easily pick up the bowl or hold it in place even when one of your hands is busy mixing, whisking, folding, or scraping.

We prefer rims that jut straight out to the side with a rolled or slightly bent edge to help anchor your fingertips.

A bowl’s surface texture is also important – Glass and mirror-finish stainless steel can get slippery when your hands are greasy or wet.

In our tests, we found that brushed stainless steel bowls added traction for fingertips.

Size options

Though we saw bowls ranging in capacity from 1 ounce to 20 quarts, the most common sizes for home cooks are between 1 and 8 quarts.

For stainless steel bowls, we think a set of three with capacities of 3, 5, and 8 quarts is perfect for most home cooks.

A 3-quart bowl is appropriate for small jobs like whisking dressings.

A 5-quart bowl is the right size for whipping up cakes and cookies with a hand mixer.

And a big 8-quart bowl is ideal for making potato salad, coleslaw, and stuffing.

A great all-purpose mixing bowl is nonreactive and lightweight yet sturdy.

Tempered glass is a different story: Most glass bowl sets max out at 4 quarts.

But that isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker.

A 4-quart bowl is plenty big for most home dinner prep and simple baking projects that don’t involve a hand mixer, and anything bigger can be too heavy. (For example, we dismissed this open-stock 6-quart bowl because it was too bulky to be a convenient, everyday kitchen tool)

Tempered-glass mixing bowls are a good option if you don’t do a lot of big-batch cooking or if you’re short on kitchen storage space and want a more attractive bowl that’s useful both in the kitchen and on your table.

Stability

A sturdy build and a flat base will keep your bowl in place while you mix.

Glass and thicker-gauge stainless steel bowls are more stable because they’re heavier.

And wider bases are less likely to wobble or tip.

But Jürgen David of the International Culinary Center gave us a great tip to keep bowls stable: “Just stick it in a cake ring or a small pot to hold it in place.”

A wok ring or a rolled-up dish towel tied into a circle works well, too.

How we tested?

We conducted the same tests on all the bowls.

We first whipped up airy genoise cake batter, which allowed us to perform several important tasks in each bowl.

The recipe for this classic French sponge requires cooking in a double boiler, high-speed whipping with a hand mixer (ignoring our own advice, we even did this in the glass bowls), and folding in sifted cake flour and melted butter at the end.

We looked at how well each 4- to 5-quart bowl fit in a standard 2-quart saucepan for a double boiler, contained splatters from a hand mixer, and allowed for a broad range of motion when we folded ingredients.

As we scraped the batter into cake pans, we gauged how comfortable and manageable it was to hold each bowl in one hand.

To see how easily and cleanly we could toss together ingredients without the use of utensils, we tossed two cups each of Rice Chex and Wheat Chex together in 4-, 5-, and 8-quart bowls until they were incorporated.

Then we checked for pieces of cereal on the floor and countertop.

In our top-performing bowls, we did a second-hand mixer test: whipping cream.

Since genoise cake batter is pretty vicious to begin with, we wanted to see how our favourite mixing bowls contained splashes from thinner liquids.

The best way to mitigate splatters when using a hand mixer is to start slow and gradually build speed as your mixture thickens.

But we wanted to see the worst-case scenario in terms of the bowl’s ability to contain ingredients, so we whipped the cream on high speed from beginning to end.

Our choice – Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set

The Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set is durable, attractive, versatile, and the best choice of all our picks if you use a hand mixer when you bake.

 


Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set


They do a better job at containing splatters from the whirring beaters better than our also-great pick, the Thunder Group bowls.

The Cuisinart bowls are also lightweight enough to easily hold with one hand and have tight-fitting lids for storing leftovers.

But some folks might find the three-piece Cuisinart set limited in capacity with 1½-, 3-, and 5-quart sizes.

If you frequently cook big batches—like pasta salad for 20 people—consider our also-great pick, the Thunder Group mixing bowls.

We’re not saying that those who use hand mixers are the only folks who should get the Cuisinart set, just that if you frequently deploy an electric mixer for baking jobs, this is the best choice of our picks.

The 5-quart Cuisinart bowl contains bits of food flung from the beaters better than the shallower Thunder Group ones.

And as we stated earlier, glass weakens with each bump, scrape, and clank.

The Cuisinart bowls are durable enough to handle everyday use and abuse.

We dropped them on the floor, tossed them in the sink, and subjected them to multiple cycles in the dishwasher on the “pots and pans” setting.

And after all that, we never saw a single dent or rust spot.

In terms of aesthetics, the Cuisinart bowls are an objectively attractive set, much more so than the institutional-looking Thunder Group bowls.

The Cuisinart bowls have a brushed finish that not only looks good but also provides texture that helps you get a good grip.

That brushed metal, paired with the rolled-edge lip, helped us get a secure hold on the bowl with one hand while we scraped the last bit of cake batter into the pan.

The plastic lids included with the Cuisinart bowls snap snugly inside the lip.

This feature makes the Cuisinart bowls good for transporting food for potlucks and storing leftovers in the fridge.

We tested a similar-looking Amazon Basics set with lids that sat loosely in the bowl.

They were leaky and would pop off if you knocked over or dropped the bowl.

CHECK LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON.COM

4. The Best Whisk – OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Balloon Whisk

How we chose?

Our first task was to decide which shapes and sizes of whisks were worth testing.

11-Inch Balloon Whisk

Although you could go out and buy many different whisks for many different tasks, we think most people really need just one good multipurpose tool that can whip cream, whisk salad dressing, or stir a lump-free sauce with equal efficiency.

Since a whisk in the classic balloon shape can handle the widest variety of tasks, we didn’t test flat whisks (for use only in sauté pans) or dough whisks (just for stirring thick bread doughs).

We also ruled out the many novelty shapes—tornadoes and cyclones, coils and springs, whisks with balls inside them and balls on the tips—that reinvent the wheel without actually improving on it.

We did consider French whisks, which look similar to balloon whisks but are narrower and meant to reach the corners of a saucepan.

And we found some balloon whisks that were particularly fat and bulbous.

But the most versatile balloon whisks fall somewhere in between, neither too fat to reach the corners of a pot nor too skinny to properly aerate egg whites or cream.

We tested only whisks measuring from 10 to 12 inches long (most were 12 inches), since smaller whisks won’t reach into deep pots or whip ingredients as quickly and larger whisks can be awkward to use.

And we ruled out anything that cost over $20, since you won’t find any features on a $30 or $40 whisk that you can’t also find on a $15-or-under whisk.

Beyond basic size and shape, a few features help some whisks perform significantly better than others:

Strength and flexibility

A good whisk should have some bounce.

Springy wires reverberate as you whisk, amplifying the speed and power of each stroke.

Wires that are thick and stiff don’t give you any of that extra force, making whisking more laborious.

But thin, floppy wires can be frustrating to use, too: They get bogged down in thicker mixtures, bending when they should be stirring.

The best whisks are somewhere in between, with wires that are strong enough to muscle through pancake batter but springy enough to vibrate for a couple of seconds when you smack them against the edge of a bowl.

Number of wires

As you stir or whip with a whisk, each individual wire blends the ingredients and pulls in air.

So it only stands to reason that the more wires your whisk has, the faster and more efficiently it will aerate and emulsify.

The folks at Cook’s Illustrated (subscription required) found that their favourite whisks all had at least 10 wires, so we ruled out anything with less—ultimately testing three whisks with 10 wires, two with 12, and one with 11.

Handle comfort

A comfortable handle is especially important for laborious tasks like whipping cream.

When you’re whisking away at a bowl of cream for three or four minutes, you’ll appreciate a handle that’s not too heavy, too bulky, or too slippery. Ideally, the handle should make it easy to hold the whisk in several positions.

– You can also hold the whisk pointing down from your fist, like this.

In this position you can stir using mostly your forearm, keeping your elbow closer to your body than if you held the whisk sticking up from your fist.

– Many people hold a whisk in their fist, as they would a spatula.

But this is not the most efficient way to whip ingredients since it requires you to stir with your whole arm.

– Holding the whisk sort of like you would a pencil is a more efficient way to whip, allowing you to get good rotation using just your wrist.

– You can also hold the whisk pointing down from your fist, like this.

In this position you can stir using mostly your forearm, keeping your elbow closer to your body than if you held the whisk sticking up from your fist.

– Many people hold a whisk in their fist, as they would a spatula.

But this is not the most efficient way to whip ingredients since it requires you to stir with your whole arm.

In our testing, we found contoured handles to be the most comfortable for all grips.

But whisks with plain, cylindrical metal handles are far more common, and are comfortable enough as long as they’re around 1 inch in diameter (skinnier is hard to grip firmly in a fist; thicker is uncomfortable in a pencil grip).

Though whisks with wooden handles can also be more comfortable and less slippery than metal, we didn’t test them because wood can crack if you leave it in the sink or run it through the dishwasher.

Durability

Though it’s not a huge burden to replace a $10 whisk, a good one should last you many years.

Look for whisks with visible epoxy surrounding the wires where they enter the handle: Though some people might mistake it for sloppy construction, that glue is essential for keeping the handle tightly sealed against water and gunk.

A whisk’s wires will inevitably bend a little over time, but they should be resilient enough not to splay out like the bristles on an old toothbrush the first time you shove your whisk in a drawer.

Some whisks come with a little ring around the tip of the wires to hold them in place, which is a nice bit of extra insurance but not essential if your whisk is strong and you take good care of it.

How we tested?

Comfort and efficiency were the qualities we wanted most in a whisk, and we could test for both at the same time with a couple of simple tasks: whipping egg whites and whipping cream.

We whisked three egg whites together with each stainless steel whisk, timing how long it took to whip them into soft peaks.

Then we repeated the process with a cup of heavy cream (in between each whisking task, we rested a few minutes to make sure arm fatigue didn’t throw off the timing).

The timer gave us a rough idea of how efficient each whisk was, but we also paid a lot of attention to the feel of the tool.

Did it spring off the sides of the bowl or clunk against them?

Was the handle uncomfortable to hold in a pencil grip or a fist?

Then we used each whisk to cook a basic pastry cream in our favourite saucepan, noting whether it was strong enough to stir through thick custard or narrow enough to reach into the tight corners of the pot.

As mentioned above, we also attempted (rather unsuccessfully) to make béchamel in a nonstick pan with each silicone whisk.

Finally, to check for durability, we ran both silicone and steel whisks through the dishwasher several times.

And after accidentally melting the handle of the OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Silicone Balloon Whisk, we heat-tested every non-steel handle by resting it on the edge of a hot pan.

Our choice – OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Balloon Whisk

For just about any task, from whipping cream to whisking vinaigrette to stirring pancake batter, the OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Balloon Whisk is an all-around great tool.

 

OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Balloon Whisk

It has 10 strong, springy wires, and is just the right width to excel equally at whipping up cream and reaching into the tight corners of a saucepan.

It’s bulbous, grippy handle is also the most comfortable of any we tried, no matter how you hold your whisk.

Of all the whisks we tested, this OXO model was the easiest and most efficient to use.

A lot of that was thanks to its lightweight wires, which were bouncy and agile rather than wimpy.

In comparison, whisks like the Best Manufacturers 12-Inch Balloon Whip had much thicker, stiffer wires that made whipping feel laborious.

With its springy wires, the OXO was one of the fastest to whip both egg whites and cream.

It took about 3 minutes, 50 seconds to whip egg whites, while most of the other whisks we tested took well over 4 minutes on egg whites.

It took just over 3 minutes to beat cream, not quite as fast as the Winco 12-Inch Stainless Steel Piano Wire Whip (our runner-up) or the Vollrath 12-inch Piano Whip, but still close to 30 seconds faster than everything else we tried.

When we whisked pastry cream, we found the OXO model’s narrow balloon shape easy to manoeuvre around a small saucepan.

The wire end is about 2¾ inches across at its widest, able to reach most of the way into the corners of a pot and keep things from sticking (a narrow French whisk does even better but whips less efficiently, so it’s not a good all-purpose whisk).

Whisks we tested that were 3 or more inches wide—like the Best Manufacturers whisk and the Kuhn Rikon 12-inch Balloon Whisk—had a harder time getting into those tight corners.

The OXO is also an inch shorter than almost all the other whisks we tested, which made stirring in tight circles around a small pot easier (though anything shorter would have put our hands uncomfortably close to the heat).

In the end, we whisked up a thick, silky, lump-free pastry cream with minimal fretting.

A small amount of epoxy around the base of the wires keeps water from getting into the handle.

The comfortable handle is one of our favourite things about the OXO.

The bulbous end fits nicely in your palm but tapers toward the wires so you can hold it in a pencil grip.

And if you do like to use a pencil grip, the soft TPE (thermoplastic elastomer, a rubber-like material) coating is much gentler against your knuckles than hard stainless steel during a vigorous bout of whisking.

The TPE also keeps the OXO’s handle from getting slippery when wet or covered in grease.

The handle on the OXO is tightly sealed to keep water and bacteria out, and in our tests, the whisk survived multiple rounds of hard whisking and trips through the dishwasher without a bent wire or speck of rust.

Beyond that, it’s also covered by OXO’s lifetime satisfaction guarantee.

And it usually costs a reasonable $10.

While we think most people will be best served by the 11-inch model we’ve been writing about, OXO also makes a whisk in a 9-inch size.

It might be a better fit if you do most of your whisking in a smaller bowl.

CHECK LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON.COM

5. The Best Bundt Pan – Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Original 10- to 15-Cup Bundt Pan

How we chose and tested?

The most common bundt pan shape is fluted, yielding a ring-shaped cake segmented by ridges.

10- to 15-Cup Bundt Pan1

In order to make a more accurate comparison across brands, this was the only shape we tested.

But even this one shape varies widely from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Some pans are small enough to hold only 6 cups of batter, but most will hold between 10 and 15 cups.

Most recipes are designed for a 10-cup pan, so you’ll want to get something that holds at least 10 cups to accommodate all options.

It’s also better to have a pan that doesn’t get its volume primarily from width: a wide pan will bake a wide, squat cake.

There are a few things to look for in any pan.

A good cake pan, no matter what the shape, should be sturdy and resistant to denting or warping, otherwise you risk ending up with a misshapen bundt or a leaning layer cake.

The large majority of cake pans are made of metal—either aluminium or coated steel—and I think it’s best to stick to those that are.

Metal is more durable than ceramic or glass, and it’s what most recipes are designed for.

Ceramic and glass conduct heat less efficiently, which will bake your cake more slowly and potentially throw off baking times.

Thin, flimsy metal pans or pans with a dark-coloured nonstick coating (pan coatings come in many shades of grey; “dark” means anything closer to black than silver) should also be avoided because both conduct heat too quickly.

They’ll completely bake the outside of your cake well before the middle is done, so that by the time the middle is done, the crust will be dark and dry, if not burned.

I chose not to test silicone bakeware because all of the experts agree that it will only lead to frustration.

For one thing, silicone pans are floppy, and very difficult to manoeuvre in and out of the oven when full of batter.

A few experts pointed out that cakes baked in silicone tend not to brown at all on the outside.

The best cake pan will bake the outside of a cake to an even golden brown, which gives it some sturdiness and a little caramelized flavour, and also just looks better than a pallid, crustless cake.

Most bundt pans, including all the ones we tested, come with a nonstick coating.

A nonstick surface is especially useful in a bundt pan, which is full of hard-to-grease crevices that can cling to chunks of cake.

It’s also especially important that the pan be thick and not too dark, because bundt cakes are big and need to bake a long time, so they are at high risk of overbaking if those sides heat up too fast.

That being said, nonstick pans can be easy to scratch—you’re not supposed to use metal utensils on them, and most are not dishwasher-safe—and the coating can wear off over time. Some people are also reluctant to use nonstick cookware because they think the Teflon on it can transfer carcinogens into their food, but this is not true.

And, for that matter, most nonstick bakeware doesn’t use Teflon. In fact, as Nordic Ware explains on its website, “An entirely different formulation is necessary to release sugars (associated with baking) than proteins (associated with meats and dairy).”

Most nonstick coatings on bakeware are instead silicone-based and generally considered to be safe.

To test each pan, we baked this dense cream cheese pound cake.

We baked each cake individually in the oven (to avoid uneven baking) for the same amount of time.

Then we checked to see how easily it released from each pan, which we had buttered and floured before filling.

We looked at how evenly the crust browned and paid attention to the shape, the height, and the definition of the ridges.

We also paid attention to how easy each pan was to clean, and whether it was hard to remove crumbs from any of the smaller crevices.

Our choice – Nordic Ware

Out of all the pans we tested, the Nordic Ware produced by far the most beautiful cake.

It’s narrow and deep, so the cake came out taller than any of the others.

None of the bundt pans came close to the definition of the Nordic Ware, which was the only one to alternate angular ridges with rounded ones, and to leave sharp, clean lines between each ridge, rather than shallow, curved divots.

The Nordic Ware is made out of hefty, durable aluminium and has easy-to-hold handles.

It browned evenly and released cleanly, performing significantly better than any other bundt pan we tried.

The cake baked in the Nordic Ware pan came out an even chestnut brown, whereas the cakes produced by the Wilton and the Farberware pans were paler around the centre hole.

We also ruled the Farberware pan out because its centre tube is lower than the outer lip.

All the others have a centre tube that rises above the rim, which is necessary, as we learned from the Farberware pan, to keep the batter from overflowing into the tube and onto the floor of your oven.

We liked the handles on the Nordic Ware pan; they were easier to hold onto than the slippery, curved sides of the handle-less Wilton pan, and it was easier to turn the Nordic Ware upside down to release the cake.

The cake came out cleanly, but that was the case for all of the pans, which are all nonstick.

Still, the clean release only adds to the crispness of the lines on a Nordic Ware cake.

In comparison, the Wilton Recipe Right Fluted Tube Pan and the Farberware Nonstick Bakeware Fluted mould both produced particularly squat cakes.

The Wilton also had the least defined ridges of the bunch.

The thick cast aluminium of the Nordic Ware pan felt nearly undentable, which was not the case for any of the other pans, particularly the Wilton.

Anolon and Farberware both used a relatively heavy-gauge metal, but the Wilton pan felt flimsier.

At least it wasn’t as bad as the Baker’s Secret Basics Nonstick Fluted Tube Pan, which arrived with so many dents around the inner tube that we decided not to test it, since a dent can ruin the look of a bundt cake.

Nordic Ware is also the only manufacturer to offer bundt pans in an abundance of different stunning shapes.

The pan we recommend here is the classic shape, and one of the few with handles, but any of Nordic Ware’s other cast-aluminium pans should also turn out a beautifully browned and perfectly formed cake if you’re looking for something more exotic.

Our pick, the Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Original 10- to 15-Cup Bundt Pan

The nonstick coating on the Nordic Ware pan means that it does have to be treated with care.


10- to 15-Cup Bundt Pan

Though the coating is strong, like any nonstick finish it’s not impenetrable, and it can be scratched, shortening the lifespan of the pan.

It also can’t be put in the dishwasher.

But a nonstick coating is particularly worth it on bundt pans, which have so many angles and corners that might stick.

And as long as you wash this pan by hand and avoid using metal utensils on it, it should last a good, long time; Tish Boyle said she’s had one of her Nordic Ware pans for 25 years.

The pan also comes with a lifetime warranty.

At around $30, it’s on the expensive end of bundt pans, but the price is by no means outrageous for a pan that performs significantly better than all of the others we tried.

Nordic Ware is actually the original maker of the bundt pan (which was modelled after a traditional European kugelhopf pan), and it still holds the registered trademark on the name, so it stands to reason that it would be the standard-bearer in quality.

The Platinum Collection pan is the favourite of Cook’s Illustrated, and Rose Levy Beranbaum says she “wouldn’t even consider anything other” than one of Nordic Ware’s cast-aluminium pans (the company also makes some formed pans out of a sheet of aluminium, but these are thinner and bake less evenly).

Tish Boyle also considers Nordic Ware pans the “best quality.”

The 4.8-star rating across a whopping 1,480 reviews on Amazon backs that up.

CHECK LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON.COM

6. The best cake pans – USA Pan Aluminized Steel 9×2 Inch Round Layer Cake Pan

How we picked?

Certain qualities are unique to a particular type of pan, and we saved those for the individual sections on each below.

Steel 9x2 Inch Cake Pan

But there are a few things to look for in any pan.

A good cake pan, no matter what the shape, should be sturdy and resistant to denting or warping, otherwise you risk ending up with a misshapen bundt or a leaning layer cake.

The large majority of cake pans are made of metal—either aluminium or coated steel—and we think it’s best to stick to those that are.

Metal is more durable than ceramic or glass, and it’s what most recipes are designed for.

Ceramic and glass conduct heat less efficiently, baking your cake more slowly, and potentially throwing off baking times.

Thin, flimsy metal pans or pans with a dark-coloured nonstick coating (pan coatings come in many shades of grey; “dark” means anything closer to black than silver) should also be avoided because both conduct heat too quickly.

They’ll completely bake the outside of your cake well before the middle is done, so that by the time the middle is done, the crust will be dark and dry, if not burned.

A good set of two or three round pans is essential for most layer-cake recipes.

We chose not to test silicone bakeware because all of the experts agreed that doing so would only lead to frustration.

For one thing, silicone pans are floppy, and very difficult to manoeuvre in and out of the oven when full of batter.

And as Rose Levy Beranbaum and Tish Boyle both pointed out, cakes baked in silicone tend not to brown at all on the outside.

The best cake pan will bake the outside of a cake to an even golden brown, which gives it some sturdiness and a little caramelized flavour, and also just looks better than a pallid, crustless cake.

The shape of the corners on non-round pans can vary—some are rounded, some are sharp—but we didn’t rule out either.

Sharp corners look more professional, but it can be hard to clean crumbs from their crevices.

Round corners are easier to clean and to butter, but they can be shallower than the rest of the pan, leaving you with a dry piece of cake or a burnt brownie.

A good pan should release a cake effortlessly, and clean up easily.

Many cake pans these days come with a nonstick coating, though a few widely used varieties don’t.

We chose to test both because each has its pros and cons. Both Boyle and Beranbaum told me they like nonstick pans best, because they release cakes like a charm and can be quickly wiped clean with a sponge.

As Boyle explained, “You really want any little bit extra that’s going to ensure that the pan is not going to stick.”

That being said, nonstick pans can be easy to scratch—you’re not supposed to use metal utensils on them, and most are not dishwasher-safe—and the coating can wear off over time.

For that reason, you’ll never see them in professional kitchens, and Nick Malgieri told me he “would never trust them.”

He prefers uncoated pans, which may be prone to sticking, but will work just fine if lined with parchment.

Some people are also reluctant to use nonstick cookware because they think the Teflon on it can transfer carcinogens into their food, but this is not true.

And, for that matter, most nonstick bakeware doesn’t use Teflon.

In fact, as Nordic Ware explains on its website, “An entirely different formulation is necessary to release sugars (associated with baking) than proteins (associated with meats and dairy).”

Most nonstick coatings on bakeware are instead silicone-based and are generally considered to be safe.

For round pans, we limited our testing to pans 9 inches in diameter and 2 inches tall.

All of the experts we spoke to agreed that this is the most common size a recipe will call for, and the best choice if you’re going to buy only one size.

The most common square and rectangular cake pan sizes are 8 by 8 inches and 13 by 9 inches, and these are the ones we chose to include.

For loaf pans, we chose to test 9- by 5-inch pans, since they’re better for handling voluminous yeast breads as well as quick breads.

They’re also what both Tish Boyle and Malgieri recommend as the “most common.”

How we tested?

To test the round pans, we first baked a simple yellow cake, using this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, with a buttered and floured pan (Fine Cooking has a good video demonstration of how to do that).

We baked cakes one at a time to ensure even baking in the centre of the oven, and bake each for the same amount of time.

We then baked a batch of cinnamon rolls—using the canned Pillsbury kind for ease and speed—in each buttered pan to see how much sugar stuck to the bottom, and how difficult it was to clean.

To test square pans (to save time, we tested only 8-inch pans, and assumed that their 13- by 9-inch counterparts were of the same quality), we baked the same yellow cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen that we used to test the round pans, after first buttering and flouring each pan.

Again, we baked cakes one at a time to ensure even cooking.

To test loaf pans, we baked two recipes.

First was a basic banana bread recipe from Cook’s Illustrated (also available without a subscription from Leite’s Culinaria).

We looked for a crust that was chestnut brown, not nearly black, and had a fully cooked centre.

We also looked for bread that rose into a nice dome and came out looking like a loaf, not like a brick.

Then we baked a simple white sandwich bread in each pan, using this recipe from King Arthur Flour.

Ideally, a loaf of yeast bread should balloon above the edge of the pan and bake quickly enough that the crust sets while it’s still tall and puffy.

That will yield the most attractive loaf, with slices taller than they are wide and mushroom-like in shape.

The crust should be an even golden brown, and the loaf should pop out easily from a buttered pan.

For all pans, we ran both a butter knife and a paring knife over the surface of each, to see how easily it would scratch.

Though all of the manufacturers of nonstick pans say you shouldn’t use metal utensils on them, we know that this is sometimes hard to avoid, so during our testing, we wanted to find out how durable each pan really was.

And when washing each pan, we inspected the corners to see if any crumbs had gotten jammed in there.

Our choice – Aluminized Steel 9×2 Inch Round Layer Cake Pan

After several hours of research and two rounds of baking in eight different cake pans, we think the USA Pan Aluminized Steel 9×2 Inch Round Layer Cake Pan is the best choice for any baker.


Steel 9x2 Inch Round Layer Cake Pan

It releases cakes effortlessly, and it turns out layers of yellow cake that are evenly browned to just the right golden hue.

It’s sturdy, and though its nonstick coating isn’t impenetrable (none are), it holds up well even under a paring knife.

And at a little under $13, it won’t break the bank, even if you buy two or three.

The cake made in the USA Pan Bakeware Aluminized Steel 9×2 Inch Round Cake Pan baked up almost flat on top, popped out effortlessly, and was a beautiful golden brown.

Though the four other nonstick pans we tested also released their cakes effortlessly, not all baked such a beautiful cake.

Worst was Cuisinart’s Easy Grip Bakeware pan, which produced a dark crust thanks to an exterior coating that is almost black.

That pan was also only 1½ inch deep, which could be a problem with recipes slightly larger than the one we tested.

On the other end of the height spectrum was Nordic Ware’s Natural Aluminum Nonstick Commercial pan.

It baked an evenly golden cake, but it was half an inch taller than any other pan, tall enough to bake the top of the cake darker than any other.

Of the three uncoated pans we tested, some performed better than others, though none as well as the USA pan, or even some of the other nonstick pans. Both the Parrish Magic Line pan and Williams-Sonoma’s Traditional touch pan released the cake in one piece (though a thin layer of cake got left behind in both), but both cakes came out very pale and with a nearly underdone, slightly sunken centre.

It seems that the uncoated aluminium of both reflects much more heat away from the cake, baking it more slowly.

The anodized aluminium Fat Daddio’s pan did a better job of browning the cake, but the cake stuck terribly, leaving a big chunk behind.

The cinnamon roll test was where the USA pan really proved its nonstick power.

The rolls left a swirl of sugar residue in all but the USA pan, and though that sugar cleaned off easily from the other nonstick competitors, that still put the USA a notch above.

The difference, according to the manufacturers, is the pan’s slightly corrugated bottom.

Tish Boyle, who uses USA pans regularly, agreed, “The ribbed surface makes a difference.”

USA also claims the texture makes the pan more sturdy, but we’ll only know that after long-term testing.

In the scratch test, USA, Williams-Sonoma’s Goldtouch, and Chicago Metallic were the most difficult to damage, though not impenetrable.

The Goldtouch, which is ceramic-based and claims to be “more resistant to abrasion than normal nonstick surfaces,” actually felt a little harder than the other two.

But scratches were still not deep on the USA pan (which uses a silicone-based coating), and its ridges kept the knife off of half the surface.

The uncoated pans weren’t scratch-resistant either, but it shouldn’t affect the lifespan of the pan or cause cakes to stick more.

Overall, the USA wins out for a few reasons.

First, we think the corrugation does give it a slight edge in the nonstick department, as demonstrated by the cinnamon roll test.

Second, it also comes in an 8-inch or a 10-inch size, whereas the others have only an 8-inch alternative.

It’s good to have options, and if you’re a frequent baker you may want more than one size. Finally, it’s affordable.

So is the Chicago Metallic pan, but the Williams-Sonoma is not: At nearly $25, it’s a good $10 more expensive (plus shipping) than either of the others.

And as it turns out, Williams-Sonoma’s pans are actually made by USA Pan (as Cook’s Illustrated notes), so why splurge when you can get nearly the same thing for significantly less?

One unfortunate inevitability of pans with perfectly straight sides is that they don’t nest inside each other.

This can make them a pain to store because they take up a lot of room, but it’s worth clearing space if you really want to make beautiful layer cakes.

If you have a shelf big enough, try storing them on their sides, like books.

And, as with all nonstick pans, you do have to be careful. USA recommends you use only non-metal utensils on it, and never clean it with an abrasive sponge.

It’s also not recommended for the dishwasher, but few of these pans are.

Still, it’s sturdy enough that it should, with proper treatment, last a long time.

The USA pan is made in America and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

One of our best experts says that it is her “favourite pan”.

It’s highly rated on Amazon, with 4.8 out of 5 stars over 136 reviews, and it was recommended by Cook’s Illustrated (subscription required).

CHECK LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON.COM

Why Should You Trust Us?

Our experts are people with extensive experience.

They have spent many years working aps professional bakers and getting familiar with all the latest trends in baking and cooking.

They are also familiar with all the ins and outs of making everything from bundt cakes to cupcakes and will use any excuse to bake a fancy layer cake.

They frequently read reviews and recommendations from some of the most popular magazines like Cooks’ Illustrated, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Fine cooking and the Kitchn.

The yalso follow forums like Food52, Chowhound, Cake Central.

They also frequently interview other experts all of whom hae extensive experience in baking.

Therefore, we invested a lot of our time, knowledge and experience into researching the baking tools and focused on providing the most relevant information and all the things you need to know to choose the tools that will perfectly suit your needs.

We believe that creating magic in the kitchen is not possible without the right baking tools.

We hope that this review will help you in your decision-making process and help you become a professional baker.

If you would like to find out more information on which baking tools would help you create the best possible cakes, feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to help you and answer all of the questions you might have.

In the meantime, you can read some of our other reviews and learn about the best kitchen products that will perfectly meet your needs.

Leave a Comment

SUBSCRIBE NOW!