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Tell me your bakeware essentials, please!

In a post I made about wedding registries, the lovely Cachetes and I were discussing how much fun and highly knowledgeable a bakeware thread might be. And behold, here it is!

What we basically want to know is which pans are invaluable and which are a waste of time. I myself am wondering if 8 inch versus 9 inch round pans are best, how many muffin pans are practical, and if I really need TWO springform pans? (Some manic woman at the Bloomingdale's registry suggested I'd need two... She also tried to convince me to register for a Lalique figurine and 12 additional salad plates in addition to the ones that come with the 5-pieces sets AND the accent plates I had my eye on. Um. No.)

Anyway, I bake only on occasion, and right now, what I have is pretty slim pickin's:

- 1 stainless steel jelly roll pan by Chicago Metallic for Williams-Sonoma (LOVE.)
- 1 small insulated cookie sheet
- 2 Pyrex glass baking dishes (13 x 9 and 8 x 8)
- 1 Pyrex pie dish
- 1 aluminum muffin pan that I really should toss out
- A madeleine pan. I know. I KNOW. But it was ON SALE and I have used it TWICE, okay?

I also have a Kitchen Aid hand mixer, some decent glass mixing bowls, a whisk, two rubber spatulas (I need nicer ones though, let me tell you), and a little sugar mesh shaker that I adore.

After I get married, I plan on baking far more than I usually do, especially because my FH loves lemon meringue pie, brownies, cheesecake, and a million other items he somehow eats regularly and never gains weight on. (That brat.)

So what bakeware items and baking related utensils, gadgets, etc do I need for my future home?

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  1. I used my Silpat for the first time over the weekend and. I. Loved. It. It's extraordinary. Get one, it'll make your life so easy and your chocolate chip cookies so ridiculously delicious.

    I have 1 springform pan. Just 1. The Bloomy's representative would probably claw my arm off for telling you this, but I think 1 may be all you need!

    I also have:
    -4 jelly roll pans (we have a double oven),
    -2 nine inch round,
    -a 9 x 13 cake covered pan and an 8 x 8 covered brownie pan (both from WS)
    -an Emile Henry ruffled pie dish,
    -a set of Pyrex glass dishes and bowls,
    - the AC mixing bowls I told you about before,
    - a tart pan. Because I looove tarts, can't live without 'em!
    - 1 covered muffin pan, but I can see myself wanting a second in the future

    As for additional baking tools and gadgets:
    - hand mixer
    - pastry brushes (Le Creuset makes cute and easy to clean silicone ones!)
    - fluted pastry wheel
    - pastry scraper
    - French rolling pin
    - a set of sturdy WS silicone spatulas
    - a nylon cookie spatula by Oxo
    - cookie cutters
    - cooling racks (2)
    - flat icing spatula
    - ramekins
    - I'm sure you have these, but you need to find some measuring cups and spoons you can throw around and toss in the washer over and over again. I also have the All Clad, but I have loved my 5 dollar Pyrex glass measuring cups as well. They come in such handy when I pour milk, water, oil, etc.

    1. I hate insulated cookie sheets since they tend to skew the cooking times of the cookies as well as change the texture. You can just use a sheet pan as a cookie sheet. I use pre-cut sheets of parchment when I bake cookies which allow me to use only two sheets since I can slide the cookies off the cookie sheet and onto the cooling rack, and then put the next sheet right on the pan and back into the oven.

      1 Reply
      1. re: roxlet

        I agree about the insulated cookie sheets. I never got the outcomes I wanted with the insulated, so I went back to non-insulated.

        I like the parchment idea!

        1. Agree with Roxlet, get yourself two or more heavy aluminum half sheet pans for cookie baking from a restaurant website. I think they sell Wearever-Liberty brand at Cost Co. These are the heavy pans restaurants use.

          I see the need in your kitchen for a 10-12 cup tube pan, a few either 8 x 4 or 9 x 5 loaf pans, a glass one and two heavy aluminum pans for breads. Round cake pans, 2-9 x 2, 2-8 x 2 and one 10 x 2 round are pretty much all you need, and maybe a square aluminum 9 x 9. Jadore has mentioned quite a few other basic pieces of equipment. I also have a bundt pan, an angel food cake pan, a 10" tart pan with removable bottom, a few cooling racks, a dough scraper, a few varied length offset spatulas, a few graduated cookie scoops, a small cake decorating set, pastry bags, a 11 lb. digital scale, a 9" springform pan (the most commonly used size) plus many of the things Jadore already mentioned. Oh, a funnel or two, not so much for baking, but they come in handy at the oddest moment.

          Have fun setting up your kitchen!

          1. I have to confess to owning two 9" springform pans, because I sometimes fix a sugar-free version of my cake recipes that need them alongside the "real" one for family gatherings. I'd also suggest getting a pair, since in my experience they have worked fine for large layer cakes too, and then you won't have to have a pair of round pans in that diameter (especially if you rarely do cakes). I won't weigh in on the Lalique figurine and salad plates. ;)

            1. Buy whatever you need whenever you need it. Really. Unless you're looking for top-of-the-line bakeware (hint: don't bother), you're likely to find what you need at the same place you're buying the ingredients.

              1. - A well-adjusted oven

                - A cast iron pan

                Everything else is negotiable.

                1. I agree with roxlet. I am not a big fan of those insulated cookie sheets. The texture and the spread... just too much. I rather use those really cheap light weight warp cookie sheets than the insulated ones.

                  I think you will need two jelly roll pans. You can use that as cookie sheets, can't you? I do. I won't necessary pick stainless steel jelly roll. I think aluminum based pans are better because of the heat conductivity.

                  1. My must haves that you don't:

                    2 jelly pan rolls, good heavy duty ones that double as cookie sheets
                    4 silpat mats for jelly roll pans
                    cookie dough scoop/ice cream scoop if you're planning on making cookies
                    good rubber spatulas
                    digital scale and/ro measuring cups/spoons--don't have to be great quality
                    loaf pans
                    one spring form pan--prefer 9" or 10"
                    9" cake pans (I like 9" because I prefer a wider cake rather than taller)

                    You might need:
                    2 muffin tins
                    unglazed quarry tile/pizza stone--if you want to make bread/pizza
                    oven thermometer
                    bundt/tube pan
                    ceramic pie dish
                    tart pan w/ removable bottom

                    1. I bake occasionally, but for over 20 years, I've been using the same stuff.
                      Jelly roll pan, you need 2. William Sonoma is best.
                      2 - 9 x 13 pyrex baking pans, they multi task for sheet cakes, or cobbler, or brownies, or for roasting.

                      2 - pie plates, also pyrex

                      We've thrown away all our insulated cookie sheets, they screw up the cookies. Ditto for any of our black finished cookie sheets. We have 2 steel rimless sheets from William Sonoma.

                      Bundt or tube pan. You should have at least one. Easy to make cakes with, just sprinkle powdered sugar, and done.

                      9 inch round pans, 2. I think I have Wilton, but I don't use them very often.

                      Flexible spatulas. I think I have 4 or 5. Very useful.

                      Hand mixer, I have a kitchenaid.

                      And of course, a Kitchenaid stand mixer. 4-1/2 quart. I've never needed anything more, but really couldn't bake without it most of the time.

                      Good luck.

                      1. I'd get a cast iron muffin pan. I also use my La Cloche a lot. Pizza stone is a must. I love it when people admit the outlandish items they have picked up. I'd love a madeleine tin or two. I'd also like some little tinned darioles for babas.