Essential Gifts for New Bakers

Happy Thanksgiving! Or happy Thursday if you don’t celebrate.

With Black Friday tomorrow, I thought I’d share some of my favorite baking tools for the new baker. A lot of the items I’ve linked to are already on sale for Black Friday, so be sure to check them out if you lack any of this essential baking equipment.

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Cookie scoops

Gifting a set of cookie scoops, like this set with three sizes, is always appreciated. Right now, they’re only $9.99 for 3! That’s a great deal.

I also have this scoop from OXO, which is $16.99 for one right now. I can’t say it’s any better than the cheaper 3-pack.

Cookie scoops are handy tools for any baker, ensuring perfectly portioned cookies every time. I always use them for my no-bake cookies and macaroons to get a nice dome shape.

They can also fill muffin liners with batter, shape meatballs with ease and much more.

High-quality baking sheets

Want to bake some cookies? Then you need some baking sheets! Look for heavy-duty rimmed sheets that won’t warp under high heat to ensure evenly cooked treats.

I love this stainless steel set with 2 pans and 2 racks. I also received this 3-pack from Nordic Ware as a gift one year, and they’re great, as well.

I recommend having baking sheets in various sizes to tackle different recipes, whether a small batch of cookies, a big sheet cake or even sheet-pan dinners. The right-sized sheet on hand makes life so much easier!

Baking pans

A fancy bundt pan, like this Nordic Ware Crown Bundt Pan (shown below) that I used in my Coconut Rum Cake is always an appreciated gift, but every baker needs some basic pans for cakes, pies, muffins and bread.

These are the pans that I most regularly use.

  • 8″x8″ pan. I use this one more than any others. I just wish they sold them with lids!

    There are a few on Amazon with lids, but from brands I’ve never heard of, and I don’t have them myself. I might order this set of 2, though, because German plastic wrap is almost useless, making a lid super handy!

  • 9″x13″ pan. A classic-sized pan for cakes (you can make this Christmas Tree Cake with it!), bar cookies, brownies and so much more. I have this Wilton pan with a lid.

  • 8″ round cake pans. I bought this Wilton set at Hobby Lobby with a coupon 15 years ago and brought them with me to Germany. They’re still in perfect condition!

    I use these pans for cakes, rolls, and certain bread recipes. Buy two of these pans to make layer cakes like my Matcha Cake.

  • 9″x5″ bread pan. These pans are perfect for most quick bread recipes, but you can also use them to bake a meatloaf or a pound cake. Opt for metal pans for better baking. I have this set from Farberware.

    The below photo of my Black Ice Cream is of my photographer’s bread pan, but I wanted to show that bread pans also work great for ice cream. :)

  • 12-cup muffin pan. I have this set of 2 from Wilton. Again, I used a Hobby Lobby or Michael’s coupon to get them quite cheaply. They’re only $12.69 on Amazon. They’re still in perfect shape 15 years later! Of course, you can bake muffins, cupcakes and cookie cups in this pan, but it’s also perfect for mini tarts, gratins and egg cups.

  • This Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Anniversary Bundt Pan is what I used in my Lemon Pound Cake Bundt Cake and this Apple Bundt Cake. It’s the standard bundt cake shape, and the pan is amazing. It’s more expensive than a random cheap brand, but after having years of bundt cake failure, I can say it’s definitely worth it!

  • 9″ pie pan. You need a metal one! I talk about different types of pie pans in my post on Gluten-free Pie Crust. Metal is important so that you can safely move the pie pan from the freezer to a hot oven. I have this Norpro one.

By the way, that’s my Gluten-free Pecan Pie. Perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas!


My professional-style KitchenAid mixer is a powerhouse that makes whipping, kneading and mixing ingredients a breeze, saving time and effort. I use my Kitchenaid whenever making large batches of bread.

But, unless you’re making a large batch of something, a small electric hand mixer will come in handy. I actually won that one from a giveaway 10 years ago! I might not have bought it, but I do love it. :)

Digital kitchen scale

I’m always harping on about how using a kitchen scale allows for more accurate measurements of ingredients. I like how easy this digital scale is to use.

I actually use this more than any other item on this list. I use it every single time I bake something. Using a scale is SO much more accurate and can make a big difference in some recipes.

Silicone baking mats and parchment paper

Silicone baking mats are a baker’s best friend. They provide a non-stick surface that eliminates the need for parchment paper and ensures even baking.

Plus, they’re eco-friendly and reusable, making them a sustainable choice. I use these mats for baking cookies and pastries and set pies on them to catch drips for an easy clean-up.

Some parchment paper can have some funky stuff in it. I like to use If You Care parchment paper for that reason, but it’s quite expensive on Amazon.

Measuring spoons and cups

A set of measuring spoons and cups is necessary for almost all recipes to get the correct measurement of ingredients. Like I recently said in my Hot Chocolate with Frothed Milk recipe, I ordered these measuring spoons from US Amazon for my son. He loves them because they’re magnetic and colorful, and they’re useful for most people because they go down to 1/8 teaspoon.

For my recipe testing needs, I need 1/32 teaspoon and 1/16 measuring spoons, and so I also have a few sets of these, but they started breaking after a while. And all at the same time. Even the ones I rarely used!

I ordered them in 2010, so they lasted quite a while, but obviously not practically forever like stainless steel. And that set also includes lots of different cup sizes that you don’t normally see!

Silicone spatulas

Silicone spatulas like these stand up to high heat and are used for stirring, mixing and scraping. If you don’t get the ones I’m recommending, just make sure to get some with a one-piece, seamless design. So, not one that has a wooden handle and then a silicone spatula. That type will break eventually, and nasty stuff can get stuck in the area where the spatula meets the handle.

9″ springform pan

I only use this for cheesecakes and a few cake recipes. You can usually get away with regular round pan for cakes, although not always. But for cheesecakes, it’s essential!

I have this one from Farberware. It’s quite sturdy and still hasn’t gotten bent up in my messy cabinet. That really means something. ;)

Pastry bags and piping tips

Piping bags are not just for cake decorators. They are useful to add an extra flourish to many baked goods, like a swirl of whipped cream topping on pastries for an elegant touch or to fill pasta shells or deviled eggs. They’re also important for super simple designs like on this Spider Pie. This set with a few bags and several tips is great for someone who doesn’t have either!

Rolling pin

A sturdy rolling pin is essential for rolling out dough for pies, cookies and pastries. There are different types, but I like this Kitchen French rolling pin with tapered ends, making it easy to grip and roll the dough. Your other option is a straight rolling pin with handles.

Oven thermometer

An oven thermometer is a small, affordable gift every baker can use to help determine the accuracy of the oven temperature. Just because the temperature on the oven says it’s 350 °F doesn’t mean that it actually is.

A Ninja food processor/blender

This one isn’t really needed unless it’s for someone who wants to make nut butters, cashew-based vegan desserts, and a few other goodies that you need a high-speed blender for like creamy Chocolate Chia Pudding.

Nowadays, when you search for something like “best food processors for nut butter,” you mostly come across AI-written articles on websites filled with nothing but AI-generated content.

So I spent an entire day searching for the best affordable food processor/blender specifically for making nut butter. If it can make nut butter, it can do almost anything. The affordable part ruled out Blendtec and Vitamix.

I came across this test where real people have tested numerous blenders, evaluating various factors, including performance in making almond butter.

There are a few compact personal blenders with single-serving jars that are slightly better (although I can’t fathom how) at making almond butter than the Ninja I’m recommending, which was rated a 9.5 in making almond butter.

However, if you want a full-sized blender jar in addition to a smaller one specifically designed for making nut butter, the Ninja SS351 Foodi Power Blender & Processor System is the best choice. Right now, it’s $99! That’s 50% off.

If you’re in Europe, I believe this is the EU version.

You can see how the Ninja performed in their other tests here.

I bought one for my photographer to use for my Blanched Almond Butter and one for myself.

I was really amazed. The outcome was just as creamy as the nut butter I make with my Blendtec!

So if there’s someone in your life that loves nut butter, this Ninja is really a steal at $99.

Essential kitchen tools are perfect for the cook, but if you have friends or family who are more into baking, this guide should cover basically everything they need.

I hope I gave you some useful ideas. Once again, happy Thanksgiving! :)

This article originally appeared on Food Drink Life. It’s been heavily edited to include links to only the products I personally use and love and to talk about my experiences with those products. :)

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