Twelve seasons in and hundreds of products later, the show “Shark Tank” (where entrepreneurs pitch their inventions to a team of celebrity investors) continues to entertain us. However, that doesn’t always mean the products are actually good. Some end up being a little too creative or out-there and border on plain gimmicky or “Who would even use that?”
We looked through all the “Shark Tank” products available for purchase and came away with a selection of star items for the home and kitchen. Many solve for the wasteful designs of common products you already use, while others address the annoying inconveniences that everyone experiences.
Check out the “Shark Tank” home products that are worth buying below.
A tray that fits neatly on your wheelbarrow and holds your gardening tools
It’s no fun lugging around all your gardening essentials as you do yard work. The Burro Buddy attaches to most wheelbarrow sizes (4, 5, 6, and 7 cubic-foot wheelbarrows) and has a neat organization system for short-handle and long-handle tools, personal items like your phone or wallet, and even a drink for when you want to reward yourself.
We’ve all been there: you’re quickly hammering away and with one careless swoop, you hit your fingers instead of the nail. This cool magnetic tool holds the nail securely in place while protecting your fingers.
Using scissors to cut wrapping paper always seems to result in uneven or jagged cuts. The Little Elf cutter, which slides on over your tube of paper, makes smooth and perfectly straight cuts every time.
It’s always a shame when you can’t make the most of your condiments or bath products. This kit comes with a few adapters for different size bottles and has a clever design that gets all the product out of the bottle.
Sure, you can buy bottles of kombucha at the store, but if you have extra time on your hands and want to appreciate the full process, you can use this kit to make your own. It includes starter culture, pH strips, organic sugar, and more. Reviewers love how easy to follow the instructions are.
Blueland’s products are free of triclosan, parabens, phosphates, ammonia, or VOCs, plus they save space and plastic — the bottles are made of glass and the actual cleaner comes in tablet form so you only need to add water to make your cleaning solution. Read our review here.
This hamper drops down as you add clothes and rises as you remove them, meaning doing laundry will no longer be that uncomfortable chore you never look forward to. It eases the strain on your lower back, so it’s especially great for expecting mothers, people with bad backs, and the elderly.
Granted ramen is already a pretty convenient meal to make, this tool makes the process even easier. The water line stops you from overfilling the bowl, the bowl doesn’t get overly hot, and you don’t need to use a pot and stove. It’s perfect for anyone who doesn’t have access to a kitchen, including students living in dorms and office workers.
A tiny spatula to get every last drop of sauce or makeup
Think about all the ketchup, nail polish, and foundation that goes wasted because you can’t get to the last remnants in the bottle. This small tool helps you get in all the nooks and crannies of bottles — so you’re really getting your money’s worth.
A splatter screen that still lets you access your pan to cook
While traditional splatter screens cover the pan, making it difficult to check on your food and resulting in condensation, the funnel-like Frywall surrounds the perimeter of the pan. The BPA-free silicone accessory still protects from oil splatters, while allowing you to continue cooking. Read our review here.
These durable, absorbent towels are an eco-friendly paper towel alternative made of organic bamboo. Each sheet looks and feels like a regular paper towel, but can be washed up to 100 times. Each roll of 30 Bambooee sheets is equivalent to 429 paper towel rolls. Read our review here.
The fact that you just spent an hour lovingly cooking a homemade meal and even organized it into easy-to-eat compartments often means nothing to a baby or toddler, who can hurl dinner to the floor in one easy swoop. This placemat will stay right in place on any flat surface, making it that much easier to get food from the plate into your child’s mouth. Read our review here.
Sweeping is a pain, especially when you realize traditional broom and dustpans don’t even catch all the dirt and debris on the floor. This special broom has electrostatic bristles to collect all types of debris, and uses a push-and-pull motion to scrape it into a foot-operated dustpan. You only need to use one hand to operate it, plus you never have to bend or stoop over.
It’s easier than ever to track your baby’s development with this modern nursery innovation. The soft foam pad tracks changes in weight to the .25 of an ounce and automatically syncs with the Hatch Baby app so you can view progress and learn new insights about your baby. The product grew out of the co-founder’s own experience as a mother when she couldn’t tell whether she was breastfeeding enough.
This eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags has multiple uses: for storage and transportation, marinating, or sous vide. Its air-tight, pinch-lock seal keeps your food fresh, and it doesn’t require any additional lids or seals. The BPA-free silicone is also dishwasher-, microwave-, and oven-safe.
Wondercide, a safe and natural alternative to monthly chemical treatments, was conceived after the founder’s dog got pesticide poisoning from a vet-subscribed flea and tick treatment. It has no toxic effects, won’t stain fur or flooring, and comes in fresh lemongrass, cedar, and rosemary scents.
Hang up all your movie posters, concert posters, and photos without ruining them or the wall with these magnetic stickers. Just place the sticker on the wall, then place the magnet and poster over the sticker. It works on all different types of wall textures.
This sous vide connects to your phone to make sous vide cooking more streamlined than ever. You can create and send recipes to the machine and precisely control the temperature from your phone with the app, letting you keep tabs on your meal even when you’re not in the kitchen.
You’ve baked a beautiful cake, but now you’re faced with the trouble of getting it out without ruining it. This parchment paper is cut in a unique shape that lets you lift your baked goods out of the pan in a breeze. You won’t have to worry about greasing the bottom enough or cutting the parchment paper yourself. If you bake a lot, you’ll love this product.
If you’ve already tried many indoor potty training systems, your search ends here with the world’s first self-cleaning dog potty. You can adjust the timer to automatically change a dirty pad one, two, or three times a day, or manually change it with a push of a button. The machine will wrap and seal the waste, keeping your home clean and odor-free. It’s best for dogs under 25 pounds.
Read more about the ‘Shark Tank’ products we love here:
Replacing outdated appliances and hardware with new options in fresh finishes is an easy way to renovate your kitchen without doing a complete overhaul. Whether you’re looking for a few finishing touches to spruce up your space or are in the process of a whole remodel, we’ve got you covered.
From hardware to appliances, we’ve been rounding up products to help make your decorating process a little easier. If you’re looking for pieces with a bronze finish, this article is for you. Below you’ll find 11 quality kitchen picks we love, from faucets to cabinet knobs, all with a rich bronze finish.
Light fixtures can add a lot of personality to your space. This industrial-style hanging pendant lamp goes well with a variety of decor aesthetics and the height can be adjusted to make sure it fits the look you’re going for.
You don’t need a holiday to thank Mom for all she does for you, but Mother’s Day is just around the corner. It’s the perfect time to show your gratitude. While there’s nothing like time spent together, we know that it can be hard for many families to do that this year. That’s why we’ve come up with plenty of great gift guides to help you find gifts your mom will love.
If Mom loves to cook, keep reading. We rounded up 10 great gadgets, pieces of cookware, and fun additions to her kitchen. All of the options are available on Amazon and cost $200 or less. Whether her passion is cooking, baking, or entertaining, we think this list has something she’ll love.
There’s something about foods being mini that just makes them taste better. Not only is this device adorable and easy to use, but Mom can use it to make all sorts of food — waffles, cookies, paninis and more.
If Mom loves to cook, we’ve got you covered. We rounded up 15 gifts you can find on Amazon, all for $25 or less, to fuel her passion for cheffing it up.
From kitchen gadgets to cookbooks, keep reading to find all of our picks.
Anyone else spent a lot of time in the kitchen with Mom this past year? It’s always a good time to thank Mom for all she does for you, but now more than ever it feels right to show your gratitude for all of the homecooked meals, groceries, and snacks Mom has provided.
Luckily, Mother’s Day is just around the corner. And, if your mom loves to cook, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re a last-minute shopper who needs to take advantage of Prime’s quick shipping or just looking for a great gift, Amazon has plenty of options. If she loves spending time in the kitchen cooking, baking, and entertaining, we think she’ll love everything on this list. From cool kitchen gadgets to classic cookbooks, we rounded up 15 great Mother’s Day gifts for moms who love to cook. They’re all on Amazon and under $25, so you can be sure to find something that fits your budget.
This adorable porcelain dish is the perfect place to store one of any chef’s most used ingredients — butter! It even has markings on both sides which make for easy measurements when it comes time to follow recipes.
Breakfast is made quick, easy, and adorable with this mini waffle maker. She can whip up way more than just waffles in this little thing; hashbrowns, paninis, and biscuits are just some of the other treats she can make.
Unfortunately, a lot of cooking usually comes with a lot of cleaning, but this funny little tool will make the process much easier. All Mom has to do is fill the body with vinegar, water and lemon juice, then put it in microwave for 5-7 minutes to clean. If she uses the microwave often, she’ll appreciate this tool.
Any home cook needs multiple bowls of different sizes to prep, cook, and serve with. This set comes in fun colors and is dishwasher-safe; the bottoms of the bowls are even lined with slip-free silicone.
Olive oil usually comes in a bottle anyways, but if she loves finding pieces that really match her kitchen, she’ll appreciate one of these colorful ceramic dispensers. It has a structural, modern design and comes in lots of bright colors.
A stand mixer is the crowning jewel of a kitchen, and KitchenAid’s stand mixers have been the standard for over a century. They make efficient work of tasks that typically take a lot of time or effort to do by hand, like whipping egg whites to soft or stiff peaks, turning cream into whipped cream, churning out big batches of cookies, and kneading tough, heavy bread doughs.
I’ve used a KitchenAid stand mixer daily – sometimes all day – while working in professional kitchens for more than a decade. I have years of experience with each stand mixer in this guide: I’ve broken them, repaired them, purchased them for my own personal use, and am intimately aware of each model’s advantages and limitations.
But I didn’t just rely on my previous experiences. I researched eight models and put four top-selling KitchenAid stand mixers through a standard set of tests for this guide. I used a King Arthur recipe for bagels, a stiff dough with a 10-minute mixing time; I prepared Compost Cookies (kitchen-sink cookies with five cups of mix-ins including chocolate chips, potato chips, and pretzels) from New York City’s Milk Bar; and put each mixer through additional tests to evaluate its capacity, mixing capability, and ease of use. You can read more about how I tested KitchenAid stand mixers in our methodology here, along with how to shop for a KitchenAid and what to make with it.
This popular model balances power, capacity, and size for a mixer that is perfectly designed for most home bakers; plus it comes in more than 45 fun colors.
Pros: Easily accomplishes common cooking tasks, lots of customization options, work bowl has a handle
Cons: Too underpowered if you regularly make a lot of stiff or wet doughs
The Artisan Series 5 Quart model strikes a great balance of power, size, and design. During testing, it quickly became my favorite mixer to use. Tilt-head stand mixers have a smaller base than bowl-lift stand mixers so the bowls tend to be narrower and can feel cramped. You often have to stop the mixer and tilt the head back whenever you want to scrape down the mixing bowl. This wasn’t the case with the Artisan mixer; the large bowl of the felt open enough that I could scrape the sides without adjusting the head. The bowl also has a sturdy handle for easy lifting, and provided plenty of room for pouring in ingredients — particularly helpful when adding more than five cups of mix-ins for Compost Cookies.
While it shook a bit when I made bagel dough, it was never overly noisy and I didn’t feel like I had to babysit it for fear of it walking off the counter. That said, I don’t think I would make multiple batches of bagels in a row to avoid overheating the mixer’s lower-powered motor.
This model also offers customization, allowing you to choose from almost 50 color options, engrave your stand mixer or switch out the standard bowl for a patterned ceramic or glass mixing bowl.
Since initial testing, we’ve continued to use this model at least once a week. It’s worked its way through pierogi dough and filling, multiple babkas, and many batches of holiday cookies, and still functions as well (and looks as good) as it did when I first received it. We’ll continue to use this model regularly and report on its long-term durability.
The least expensive model made by KitchenAid, the Classic Plus has all the quality components of more expensive mixers but it’s compact, efficient, and powerful enough to accomplish most tasks for casual bakers.
Pros: Relatively inexpensive, spacious but still maneuverable, can handle most common tasks and occasional tough doughs
Cons: Work bowl doesn’t have a handle, relatively low-powered motor, not ideal for heavy use
If you’re an occasional baker or just starting to dip your toes into cooking, the KitchenAid Classic Plus 4.5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer is a great model to get started with. It’s made with the same metal parts as more expensive KitchenAid stand mixers, has a strong motor, and a relatively roomy work bowl. While on the smaller side, it still easily accommodates single batches of common recipes.
An earlier version of the KitchenAid Classic Plus was, in fact, my first mixer. I used it heavily for about five years until it gave out on me while kneading dough for hand-pulled noodles (a notoriously tricky dough, and one known to tax stand mixers). This issue first highlighted to me how most stand mixers break and the importance of choosing a model built for your typical usage.
I tested a new version of this mixer for this guide, and while it happily worked through cookies, egg whites, and even hefty bagel dough without issue, it’s possible that with too much heavy use, like making many batches of bagel or pizza dough back-to-back, the mixer can overheat or — in the case of my old mixer — wear down its gears. While the issue is repairable, it requires seeing a KitchenAid repair specialist, which can be expensive, so you’re better off purchasing a stand mixer with a wattage that meets your needs from the get-go.
Pros: Largest capacity of any residential model, bowl-lift design provides stability when mixing, wide mixing bowl for adding ingredients, powerful motor that can handle all kinds of doughs, work bowl has a handle
Cons: Heavy, takes up a lot of space, only comes in a few colors
Stiff or heavy doughs like bagel dough, pizza dough, and some noodle doughs require a large amount of power to knead properly, which can be taxing on many stand mixers. The 7-Quart Pro-Line model has a 970 watt motor for powerful and thorough kneading without overheating the mixer. The wider bowl-lift design also provides more stability during mixing, so the mixer doesn’t “walk” or shake as much during use.
This is the model I primarily used during a decade of work in professional kitchens. The machine is reliable, nimble, easy to use, and remarkably quiet for such a large mixer. It can handle everything from whipping two egg whites to mixing triple batches of cake batter. KitchenAid claims the 7-quart size can make up to 14 dozen cookies in a single batch, and while I haven’t ventured to test the limits of that claim (I love cookies, but I don’t need 14 dozen), it made double batches of compost cookies and bagels with plenty of room to spare.
The wide bowl is easy to remove from the mixer, has a large comfortable handle, and provides lots of space for adding ingredients during mixing. Avid bakers and especially those who make bread will appreciate its reliability — these mixers saw heavy daily use when I worked with them in professional kitchens and rarely needed repairs. If you take care of this mixer, it’s likely to last you decades.
That said, it’s a hefty machine and not the sort of mixer you want to lug around, so it’s best for those with ample counter space to devote to its large footprint.
The smallest of KitchenAid stand mixers, this model is the perfect size and strength for occasional bakers, new cooks, and those with petite kitchens.
Pros: Perfectly sized for small kitchens, easy to maneuver, makes single batches of most recipes well, ideal for occasional bakers, a good size for kids, work bowl has a handle
Cons: Too small for double batches, shakes a lot when running at high speed
When I moved into a 600 square foot apartment, every inch felt precious. Since counter space was limited, I needed a mixer light enough that I wouldn’t mind hauling it out from a cabinet every time I wanted to bake. The KitchenAid Artisan Mini 3.5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer hit all these marks for me.
Measuring just over 11 inches wide, the Mini is about 25% smaller than our best overall pick. While this may not seem like a drastic difference, the Mini is much more maneuverable, and I love that it fits easily under my cabinets or on a shelf. Less surface area also means less to clean, and the Mini’s work bowl doesn’t hog space in my sink or dishwasher.
Despite being more petite, the Mini is perfectly capable of whipping up a single batch of cookies or biscuits. I’ve made muffins, pasta dough, bread dough, pizza dough, cake, frosting, and more cookies than I can count in the Mini with no issues or changes to the mixing times called for in the recipes.
When I put my Mini through strenuous tests for this guide, it showed some of its limitations. The work bowl was just able to fit all the mix-ins for compost cookies, but it started to overflow a bit when I turned on the mixer. Bagel dough also came together fine, but the mixer shook and “walked” around the counter during the long kneading time, enough so that I felt like I had to keep an eye on it for the whole 10 minutes it was mixing.
That said, if space is your primary concern or you’re an occasional baker, the Mini is a great option for an unobtrusive machine that can do just about anything a full-size mixer can do.
What else we considered
We also researched other KitchenAid models for this guide that we ultimately didn’t end up testing. Here are the products that didn’t make the cut and why:
KitchenAid Classic Series 4.5 Quart Tilt Head Stand Mixer ($279.99): Previously our best budget pick, the Classic is identical in both function and design to our new affordable pick, the Classic Plus. We confirmed this with KitchenAid, who said the only difference is that the Classic Plus is available in a silver color. There used to be a slight difference between the Classic and the Classic Plus with the former having 250 watts, a slightly less powerful motor than the Classic Plus’ 275 watts. However, both models are now being made with 275 watts and are priced the same. Both are great options, and since KitchenAids have been in short supply, buy whichever you can get your hands on. We’ve seen some retailers still selling the 250-watt version of the Classic, so be sure to check the specs before you buy.
KitchenAid NSF Certified Commercial Series 8-Qt Bowl Lift Stand Mixer ($699.99): Unless you’re running a bakery, you don’t need a mixer this large or this powerful. That said, if you are operating a bakery or food business, this is the only KitchenAid mixer that is certified by NSF International for commercial use. It has a two-year warranty (double the time of their other mixers) and a strong, durable motor for heavy use. However, home bakers are unlikely to need these extra features, which are designed to withstand hours of heavy use each day.
Our testing methodology
While I drew from my own experience as a food editor working in professional kitchens and using these mixers over many years, I also put each model through a standard set of tests to see how they’d compare to each other. Here’s how I evaluated KitchenAid stand mixers:
Size, capacity, and ease of use: I weighed and measured all the stand mixers, including comparing the stated versus functional capacity (the capacity when measured from the bottom of the work bowl to the top of the mixing attachment) of each work bowl. I carried the mixers around and noted how comfortable they were to move and handle.
Power: We consulted the company to learn the power of each motor in watts. Residential stand mixers range from 250 to 970 watts, and mixers with higher wattage motors can mix heavy, wet doughs more readily.
Whipping: I whipped two egg whites to stiff peaks in each mixer, which tests the mixers’ control during gradual ramping up of speed. It also tested the larger mixers’ ability to function well even with a very small volume of ingredients.
Creaming: I used each stand mixer to make Milk Bar compost cookies, which have more than 5 cups of mix-ins. Not only did this test the functional capacity of the mixers, but also their ability to operate on different speeds — high speed for creaming butter and sugar, and low speed for incorporating delicate mix-ins like chips and pretzels without breaking them.
Kneading: Each mixer was used to make a batch of King Arthur bagels; a stiff dough with a long, 10 minute mixing time. I made a note if any of the mixers shook or walked, struggled, or made excessive noise during this tough task.
Durability: The true test of a stand mixer is how it performs over time. While I included information from my own experience working with these models over nearly a decade, I’ll continue to use the stand mixers in this guide and report back on any durability issues.
What we’re testing next
Our picks encompass most of KitchenAid’s offerings, but there are two models we’re interested in testing that we weren’t able to include this time around:
KitchenAid Professional 5 Plus Series 5 Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer ($419.99): Previously our best KitchenAid for making bread, this model was out of stock at the time of this testing. I’m of the mindset that if you’re going to upgrade from our best overall pick (which is also 5 quarts), it should also offer an increase in capacity. However, this model may be a good fit for those who prepare a lot of heavy, wet doughs but either don’t make large batches or are prioritizing cost.
KitchenAid Pro 600 Series 6 Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer ($499.99): This model offers a slight jump up in capacity from the 5-quart professional model and was also unavailable at the time of testing. It offers 15 colors; the most colors of any of KitchenAid’s bowl-lift models. We’d like to see if the slight increase in capacity justifies the big jump in price.
What is the warranty on KitchenAid stand mixers?
Almost all of KitchenAid’s stand mixers come with a limited one year warranty, though you can purchase an extended service plan for another three years of coverage.
What do I do if my KitchenAid stand mixer breaks?
When a KitchenAid stand mixer stops working, it can usually be repaired. The machines are designed so that inexpensive gears fail before the core part of the mixer; oftentimes a repair is as simple as replacing a gear. If your stand mixer is still within warranty, you should contact KitchenAid for a replacement. However, in my experience, don’t expect much from KitchenAid customer service if you’re out of warranty. While plenty of KitchenAid repair videos exist online, you’ll get the best results from a paid repair from the KitchenAid factory or by visiting a reputable appliance repair service. Keep in mind that you can void your remaining warranty if you attempt to repair your stand mixer on your own.
Will my KitchenAid stand mixer last a lifetime?
With proper care, it’s possible! Keep in mind that technology changes, so it’s never a guarantee that a small appliance like a KitchenAid stand mixer will be forever compatible with modern home wiring or safety specifications. (Your grandma’s toaster or microwave may still work, but it might not necessarily be safe.) While your stand mixer might not become a family heirloom, you should get many years of use out of it.
How do I use my KitchenAid stand mixer?
I’d start with a solid recipe for something you like to eat often, like cookies or bread. Once you know what you want to make, a well-written recipe should guide you through when to add ingredients, what speed to use, and even when to scrape down the bowl. Recipes from cookbooks or food magazines are usually well-tested and thoroughly written. Some good cookbooks to start with include “Pastry Love,” “Black Girl Baking“, “Bravetart,” “Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book“, “The New Way to Cake,” and “The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook.” It’s also good to keep best practices in mind: avoid overloading the mixer or adding too many ingredients at once, and turn up the speed slowly to avoid kitchen messes. Only operate your stand mixer on a stable countertop or table, and don’t leave it unattended while it’s running.
Can I use an electric hand mixer instead of a stand mixer?
Electric hand mixers are best used for light batters or frostings where you want to incorporate a lot of air, and it doesn’t take a lot of mixing to bring the ingredients together. While the electric mixer is spinning the whisks, you’re still responsible for moving the mixer around the bowl. This is much less efficient than a stand mixer where the whisk is rotating, but also moving in a circular motion around the work bowl. Electric hand mixers also aren’t very good for heavy doughs or recipes with a lot of varying textures since these tend to get caught in the smaller tines of the beaters. While an electric hand mixer is an efficient way to whip up a batch of brownies or frosting, stand mixers are much more versatile.
How to choose a KitchenAid stand mixer
KitchenAid makes an overwhelming number of models. Here are some considerations to help you narrow down your selection.
Wattage: The higher the wattage of the motor, the more powerful the mixer will be. Mixers with higher wattage — like the 970 watt motor on the KitchenAid Pro — glide through tough doughs and don’t easily overheat. If you bake at least once a week or you regularly make a lot of heavy, wet doughs like pizza or bread dough, then you’ll benefit from a larger, more expensive model with a high wattage motor built for power and durability. However, if you’re the kind of person who breaks out the stand mixer once a year to make holiday cookies, you don’t need the Cadillac of KitchenAids. Occasional bakers will be perfectly well off with 250 or 275-watt models, like the Artisan Mini or the Classic Plus. Lower wattage models can also handle the occasional tough task like kneading bagel dough a few times a year. Be mindful that tough kitchen tasks can be hard on the gears of smaller machines, so give your machine time to cool down between uses if you’re making a hard dough in a lower wattage model.
Capacity: The advertised capacity of a KitchenAid mixer is not its actual capacity. The advertised or stated capacity refers to how much the work bowl can hold when completely full. Not only would you have a big mess on your hands if you tried to use a mixer at full capacity, but it also wouldn’t operate effectively since the ingredients would actually cover the mixing attachment. Instead, the functional capacity is measured from the bottom of the bowl to the top of the mixing attachment and it’s usually about 1 to 1.5 quarts less than the stated capacity. One quart is about the size of a large deli container, so if you have a recipe that regularly makes enough dough to fill four or five of those, opt for a mixer with a larger stated capacity of 6 or 7 quarts. It’s also a good idea to buy a mixer with a larger capacity if you make a lot of bread since the mixer needs a fair amount of clearance to knead the dough effectively.
Maneuverability and storage: The bigger the capacity and more powerful the mixer, the heavier and larger the mixer will be. The largest KitchenAid mixers in our guide can weigh almost 30 pounds. Unless you’re comfortable regularly lifting an appliance of that size, you’ll either need to consider a small mixer or have dedicated counter space. Larger mixers will take up about half the width of a standard size counter and may not fit readily under your cabinet overhang. If space is at a premium, consider a smaller, less expensive mixer.
Colors and customization: For some people, the most important factor in choosing a KitchenAid is the color. If a fun color is your priority, opt for a mixer from KitchenAid’s Artisan series. Our best mixer for small spaces and best overall pick are both Artisan mixers and are available in up to 47 different colors. Our best overall pick also offers further customization with interchangeable decorative work bowls in various patterns and materials. The Classic and Pro Line series offer a much more limited color choice — just red and a handful of neutrals.
KitchenAid stand mixers have been around for more than a century. According to KitchenAid, the brand got its name in 1919 when an executive’s wife called the first home model stand mixer “the best kitchen aid I’ve ever had.” The name stuck and KitchenAid has been synonymous with stand mixers ever since. While there are a number of great stand mixers from other brands out there, KitchenAid still stands out in a number of ways.
Durability: I’ve tried almost every brand of stand mixer out there in my seven years reviewing kitchen products, and KitchenAid mixers are the only ones that use an almost all-metal construction. Other brands cut costs by using plastic in part of the design: either in the body of the mixer, on knobs and dials, in the mixing attachments, or even in the gears. Mixers made with a lot of plastic are usually lighter and less expensive, but much less durable. KitchenAid mixers can last for decades because of their strong metal parts. While this stronger construction comes at a premium — KitchenAid mixers are among the most expensive out there — their durability makes them a great investment. Even the most affordable KitchenAid mixer shares this same hearty construction and powerful motor and will last for decades with proper care. There is also a robust network of authorized KitchenAid repair technicians who can repair your stand mixer if something does break.
Stability: The all-metal design makes KitchenAid mixers much heavier than most other brands. While they can be a pain to lug around, the added heft produces an important benefit: more stability when mixing. Lighter machines can shake or “walk” off countertops. The heaviness of KitchenAid mixers helps them stay put.
A mixer for everybody: Many brands that make stand mixers only produce one or two models. KitchenAid makes almost a dozen models with different capacities, power, and price points. This allows you to choose a model that meets your needs and excels at the tasks you perform most.
Attachments: KitchenAid is the only brand that has produced a robust lineup of attachments that extend the versatility of its stand mixers. These attachments can turn your KitchenAid into a food processor, meat grinder, ice cream maker, spiralizer, pasta machine, and more — eliminating the need to buy separate appliances that are often larger and more expensive.
Colors: It’s undeniable that one of the major selling points of a KitchenAid mixer is the sheer number of colors available to choose from. KitchenAid offers its mixers in 47 different colors — no other brand even comes close to that much customization. While choosing an appliance based on color may seem silly to some consumers, the ability to pick out a color that matches your personality or decor is one of the reasons people feel such an affinity to KitchenAid mixers.
Tilt head: A common mixer design where the work bowl twists onto the base of the mixer. The head of the machine tilts forward for operation and lifts back so you can attach a paddle, whisk, or dough hook; add ingredients to the work bowl; or use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. These machines have a lever that allows you to lock the head in place so it doesn’t accidentally lift during mixing or moving. This style is common in smaller capacity mixers and is contrasted to a bowl-lift design.
Bowl lift: A mixer design where the work bowl sits on a Y-shaped arm extending from the body of the mixer. A lever allows you to raise and lower the bowl. A raised position brings the bowl closer to the mixer head for operation, while a lowered position allows you to more easily add ingredients or add/remove the paddle, whisk, or dough hook. This design allows for more stability during mixing but comes at the cost of a larger footprint.
Hub: A circular port at the front of the mixer head where you place KitchenAid branded attachments such as the meat grinder, pasta cutter, or spiralizer. When not in use, the hub is usually covered by a silver medallion with the KitchenAid logo.
Paddle: A flat, open mixing attachment included with every KitchenAid stand mixer. The paddle is used for mixing ingredients together when you don’t want too much air incorporated, such as when creaming butter and sugar, mixing cookie dough, and combining some batters. Think of it as the stand mixer equivalent of a wooden spoon.
Whisk: A balloon-shaped wire whisk mixing attachment included with every KitchenAid stand mixer. The whisk attachment is used when you do want to incorporate a lot of air into the ingredients you’re mixing, like when whipping cream, making meringue or frosting, or mixing cake batter. It’s used in similar ways to a hand whisk.
Dough hook: A corkscrew-shaped mixing attachment included with every KitchenAid stand mixer. The dough hook is used for kneading bread dough. Typically you’ll mix the dough with another attachment such as the paddle, and then use the dough hook to form the dough into a ball and knead it. The corkscrew shape pushes the dough against the sides of the work bowl in an action that approximates kneading by hand.
Attachment: Can refer to the paddle, whisk, and dough hook that come with the mixer, but also used to describe the various accessories you can purchase to extend the versatility of your stand mixer such as the ice cream maker, food processor, or meat grinder.
What to make in your KitchenAid stand mixer
We’ve put together a number of how-tos for making the most out of your KitchenAid stand mixer. KitchenAid makes more than two dozen different attachments that expand the versatility of your machine and let you make everything from zoodles to sausage to ice cream and more. Most of the attachments operate from the “hub” of the mixer — the portion underneath the metal disk on the top front of the machine. Since all KitchenAid mixers have this hub, almost all the attachments are compatible with every KitchenAid model in our guide. If you’re interested in KitchenAid attachments, we reviewed them all here.
Here are some of our favorite things to make with our KitchenAid mixers and attachments:
Fresh pasta: This is one of those tasks that shows the true versatility of a KitchenAid stand mixer. You use the stand mixer and work bowl to make the dough, and then the KitchenAid pasta sheeter or pasta extruder to form the pasta shapes. Read more about how to make pasta in your stand mixer.
Bagels: Chewy bread like bagels are one of the hardest and most arduous tasks to do by hand, which means they’re the perfect recipes to outsource to your stand mixer. While writing this guide, I used this recipe by King Arthur and it churned out perfectly springy bagels that reminded me of home in New Jersey.
If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.
To me, there’s no better gift to give or receive than a great cookbook. A cookbook with beautiful photos, thoughtful narratives, and foolproof recipes can feed the imagination, transport your giftee to another city or country, and inspire them to get creative in the kitchen. There are cookbooks out there to suit every type of cook, whether novice or expert, and feed all interests – from TV show cookbooks to comprehensive tomes on the science of cooking.
Every year, hundreds of new cookbooks make their way onto bookstore shelves. Here are our favorite cookbooks, new and old, to gift this year.
Here are 29 of the best cookbooks gifts for every type of cook:
This debut cookbook from Betty Liu (who somehow found the time to author it amid her general surgery residency) is an homage to seasonal cooking and her family’s roots in the Chinese regions of Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang. I picked up this cookbook up in my local bookstore and couldn’t put it down (and ended up bringing it home with me). The chapters are organized by season and explain the influence the weather, holidays, and traditions have on the recipes prepared throughout the year. I love the stories Liu relates about the inspirations behind her recipes, like climbing a mountain to eat Double-Mushroom Noodle Soup at a temple, foraging spring bamboo shoots for Oil-Braised Spring Bamboo, and the bowls of breakfast noodles her father would make her before test days. I’ve already made the Shanghai Stir-Fried Rice Cakes four or five times, and I can’t wait to dive into more of the recipes as the seasons progress.
My best friend (and fellow cookbook collector) recently texted me raving about this cookbook and the genius of Rodney Scott’s Loaded Pork Skin “Nachos,” Pit-Smoked Turkey, and whole-hog approach to Carolina barbecue. Scott’s positivity and passion shine throughout the book, and you’ll learn lots about southern foodways and the history of Carolina barbecue along the way.
Whether it’s London or Bombay that is your giftee’s next destination, “Dishoom” is required reading before they jet off. The popular Dishoom restaurants in London are inspired by the Irani cafes of Bombay and serve “tipples,” snacks, and mains like Mango Kulfi, Pau Bhaji, and Roomali Roti. In “Dishoom,” you’ll learn to cook the restaurant’s entire menu, and be taken on a tour of Bombay’s cafes (complete with a map) along the way.
At Insider Reviews we have lots of opinions, especially about food, and a recent debate centered around the merits of cinnamon versus chocolate fillings for babka. I like Jake Cohen’s philosophy in “Jew-ish,” which is that babka is delicious no matter what you fill it with. “Jew-ish” is a thoughtful collection of recipes centered around Cohen’s Ashkenazi heritage, his own self-discovery in the kitchen, and the Persian-Iraqi traditions of his husband. Cohen celebrates the origins of Jewish dishes, while also putting his own twist on the classics. You’ll see this in action in his recipes for Cacio e Pepe Rugelach, Black and White Chocolate Chip Cookies, and yes, You Can Go Your Own Way: Babka Edition.
For the family member intimidated by their new Instant Pot
Insider Reviews reporter, James Brains, is currently testing Instant Pots and other multicookers for an update to our guide to the best electric pressure cookers. He’s been using recipes from this cookbook and reports that they’re easy to follow, have plenty of photos, and are delicious to boot. The book features more than 750 photos detailing step-by-step how to make the 100+ recipes, and makes a great gift for anyone who is curious about Instant Pots but hasn’t taken the plunge yet.
Toni Tipton-Martin’s personal collection of African-American cookbooks spans more than 400 titles and her knowledge of American food history is on full display in “Jubilee.” Through recipes and stories, she relates the history of Black folks who shaped American cuisine into what it is today, from those who cooked under the confines of brutal enslavement to the chefs who ran White House kitchens. “Jubilee” is a masterful work of American history, as told through food.
A compendium of 255 pie recipes, “Pie Academy” is likely the last pie cookbook you’ll ever need. It has nearly a dozen recipes for different types of pie crust, a troubleshooting section for when things don’t go as expected, and chapters organized by seasonality and filling type. It’s guaranteed to be a hit with the pie lover in your life, especially one who is interested in making pies but has always found them a bit daunting.
While not a cookbook, “Black, White, and The Grey,” tells the story of one of the most celebrated restaurants in America: The Grey in Savannah, Georgia. Mashama Bailey, who is Black, and John O. Morisano, who is white, relate the story of how they turned a dilapidated formerly segregated Greyhound bus station into an award-winning restaurant. The dual memoir touches on race, community, and friendship, with some delicious food anecdotes along the way.
Michelin-starred chef Hooni Kim’s debut cookbook is a crash course in the essentials of Korean cuisine. The book’s tagline is “traditional flavors, modern recipes,” and that is an accurate summation of what you can expect to find in this cookbook — from Dolsot Bibimbap to Budae Jjigae to Hanjan’s Spicy Rice Cakes. When I first laid my hands on this cookbook, I wanted to make (and eat) every single recipe. If you’re looking for some solid foundation recipes, “My Korea” delivers.
In her debut cookbook, Priya Krishna (contributor to Bon Appetit, New York Times, and others) offers up beloved favorite recipes from her Indian-American family, including Tomato Rice with Crispy Cheddar, Malaysian Ramen, and what her dad calls Indian Gatorade (Shikanji). The recipes are largely vegetarian, creative, fun, comforting, and guaranteed to inspire anyone who feels stuck in a rut with their cooking in 2021.
This was the year of the sourdough starter, and few people are as well-versed in fermented breads as Bryan Ford, blogger and baker. We’re not just talking about your classic sourdough boule; Ford is well-known for demonstrating the breadth of what you can do with a sourdough starter: from Sourdough Pan de Coco to Sourdough Discard Battered Fried Chicken.
In this beautifully illustrated cookbook, chef and New York Times columnist Samin Nosrat outlines the foundations of cooking, from when to salt your chicken to how to make the perfect focaccia. All the information is presented in a fun, engaging way alongside original illustrations you’ll want to frame and hang in your kitchen.
“La Buvette” is part cookbook, part guide to French living. Interspersed with recipes from the cookbook’s namesake cafe are beautiful pictures of Paris, tips about shopping in France’s vintage markets, and instructions on how to dry flowers. The cookbook is a lovely escape into Parisian living, perfect for any Francophile dreaming of a visit to the City of Lights.
For your friend who knows all the best restaurants
Xi’an Famous Foods started as a small family-owned market stall in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens. Its hand-pulled cumin lamb noodles have become so loved that there are now 14 locations all around New York City. In this cookbook, the son of the family and CEO of the business Jason Wang divulges some of the recipes that made his family business famous, as well as other classic dishes from Xi’an in western China.
Fans of GBBO will likely remember series nine runner-up Kim-Joy’s adorable and creative bakes, like her giant chocolate planet filled with “space turtles,” or her “Silke the vegetarian mermaid” pie. Kim-Joy brings the same color and fun to her bakes in her debut cookbook, which includes Pigfiteroles in Mud, Tazhong Cat Buns, and a version of her Space Turtle Cake.
For the person experimenting with a plant-based lifestyle this year
James Beard Award-winning chef and food activist Bryant Terry offers 150 vegan recipes in his most recent cookbook. Instead of trying to imitate meaty dishes, Terry’s book celebrates the vegetable and all its parts: skin, husk, flowers, roots, and all. You’ll find recipes for Pea Shoot and Peanut Salad, Grilled Spring Onions with Lemon-Thyme Oil, Cornmeal-Fried Oyster Mushroom Po’Boys, and more. A special hallmark of Terry’s books is that they often contain a playlist to listen to while you’re cooking, and “Vegetable Kingdom” is no different, featuring recommended tracks by Duke Ellington, Santana, Björk, and more.
Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi were both born in Jerusalem in the same year — Tamimi on the Arab east side and Ottolenghi in the Jewish west. This cookbook is a unique, cross-cultural homage to the vibrant flavors of the city in totality with more than 100 recipes.
Longtime Ottolenghi collaborator (and co-author of “Jerusalem,” another of our cookbook picks), Sam Tamimi, crafted his latest cookbook as an homage to Palestinian food. The book is rich in recipes, from multiple variations of shakshuka and hummus, to verdant salads, and colorful dips. Along the way, Tamimi tells the culinary history of Palestinian food — from the home cooks feeding their neighbors in refugee camps to the restaurateurs cooking for tourists in Bethlehem.
For the friend who lives for the next Li Ziqi video
Grace Young, a self-described wok therapist and advocate for the future of America’s Chinatowns, has been teaching the next generation the ins and outs of wok cooking. I bought my first wok on her recommendation and it’s easily my favorite pan to cook in. Her book “The Breath of a Wok” outlines key techniques for cooking in this versatile pan, like making use of the hot and cool zones and using the large bowl of the wok for deep frying.
Molly Yeh is the star of Food Network’s “Girl Meets Farm” and winner of the Judges’ Choice IACP Cookbook Award. “Molly on the Range” explores home, family, her Jewish and Chinese heritage, and Yeh’s Midwestern farm life. You’ll find recipes for Sufganiyot, Chicken Potstickers, Challah Waffles, and more.
For the person who gets all their news from Twitter
Supermodel, mom, and prolific tweeter Chrissy Teigen is also the author of two cookbooks. Her first, “Cravings,” is a celebration of all things comfort food and includes selections from her Thai-American upbringing (Jok Moo), recipes from her husband John Legend (John’s Fried Chicken Wings with Spicy Honey Butter), and favorites inspired by her travels to Italy and beyond (Lemony Arugula Spaghetti Cacio E Pepe). The book is filled with anecdotes and Teigen’s signature humor, and the recipes are delicious and approachable.
If your giftee already has and loves “Cravings” and “Cravings: Hungry for More,” they’ll be thrilled to know that Chrissy Teigen’s mom Pepper is getting a cookbook of her own. Pepper is a beloved fixture in both of Chrissy’s books, on her website, and on her YouTube channel, where she has her own mini-series: Pepper’s Corner. You can expect “The Pepper Thai Cookbook” to include dishes like Pad Korat (the version of Pad Thai served in her hometown of Korat), Pad Thai Brussels Sprouts, and Nam Prik Sloppy Joes. This cookbook is shipping in April, and already gearing up to be one of the most anticipated cookbooks of 2021.
I worked for America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) for seven years and was privy to the care its team puts into each and every one of its cookbooks. ATK’s series of cookbooks for kids is the epitome of that detail and care; every one of the recipes in this volume was tested by pro chefs and kid cooks. The recipes are specifically designed with kids in mind, outlining when to get an adult for help with handling hot ingredients or sharp tools. This is the book I wish was available to me when I was a child, and I’ve gifted it and the kid’s baking book to every kid I know. I love getting reports from their parents about a new recipe they cooked or discovered.
For the person always posting pictures of their cheese board
In her best-selling cookbook, author and food blogger Shelley Westerhausen shares 40 casual yet chic spreads (complete with meat and drink pairings) that anyone can make and enjoy. It’s also a visual cornucopia that’s just as satisfying to flip through as to use when hosting get-togethers when it’s safe to do so.
For the friend who likes to Instagram all their food
Yotam Ottolenghi is owner and chef of some of London’s most beloved cafes and restaurants. His recipes are some of the most colorful and beautiful out there, and his latest cookbook is no exception. “Flavor” is filled with mostly vegetarian recipes that not only pack a punch visually but flavor-wise, too. Ottolenghi and his co-authors expound the building blocks of flavor in three sections: process, pairing, and produce. The result is more than 100 ‘gram-worthy recipes from Spicy Mushroom Lasagna to Iceberg Wedges with Smoky Eggplant Cream.
Claire Saffitz may be known for her wildly popular Gourmet Makes series on YouTube, but she’s a pastry chef at heart and her affinity for baked goods is out in full force with her new cookbook “Dessert Person.” In this cookbook, you can find creative recipes for Babkallah (a babka-Challah mashup), Apple and Concord Grape Crumble Pie, Strawberry-Cornmeal Layer Cake, and Malted Forever Brownies. It’s sure to please the dessert lover in your life.
For the person who had to cancel their vacation last year
This cookbook centers around grandmothers (or bibis) from eight south and east African countries. Throughout the book, we get to know the women whose recipes are featured and learn about their personal history and the history of their country. Along the way, you’ll find recipes for Eritrean Doro Wat, Tanzanian Date Bread, Kenyan Kachumbari, and more. It’s the kind of cookbook that makes think about your grandmother.
For the person who lives by a cookie-a-day philosophy
A good ol’ chocolate chip cookie never goes out of style, but if you have a cookie lover in your life, consider gifting them this homage to baked goods. You’ll find recipes for the classics (including four different variations of chocolate chip cookies) as well cookies you’ve probably never had before, like Banana-Espresso-Cacao Nib cookies.
It did not warp at high roasting temperatures, and was the easiest to use.
Baking sheets are incredibly versatile pieces of cookware; they can be vessels for everything from one-pan meals and cookies to grandma-style pizza and loaded nachos.
A quality baking sheet doesn’t have hot spots, is easy to clean, keeps its shape, and evenly browns your food. Full-size sheet pans don’t fit in most home ovens, so a half sheet measuring 13 by 18 inches is the largest option appropriate for home cooks, according to Kristy Greenwood Bortz of Victory Love + Cookies. Check our FAQ section for a brief rundown of the four most common sheet pan types and their dimensions.
In this guide, we use the term “baking sheet” to refer to all of the products, while “cookie sheet” specifically means a flat pan with only one elevated edge. According to Beth and Maddie Barnett of Eat Me Cookies, cookie sheets’ unique structure allows you to slide baked goods on and off without having to lift them over a rim. That’s something to consider when choosing the best baking sheet for your particular needs.
In order to select our top three picks, we consulted food industry experts and ran each baking sheet through a series of tests. We baked butter cookies, roasted potatoes, and noted how each sheet handled being rotated in an oven. We also considered the sheets’ capacities and cooling times, as well as how difficult it was to scrub away burnt food.
Pros: Conducts heat evenly, cookies release easily
Cons: Shows wear and tear after first use
The Nordic Ware Naturals half sheet is our top pick because it’s simple, effective, and affordable. When I roasted potatoes on this sheet, a coat of olive oil prevented most of the sticking, and any burnt pieces were easily scrubbed off with a scouring pad. In our bake test, the uncoated aluminum sheet baked the butter cookies in the time suggested by the recipe, as opposed to the nonstick sheets, which baked cookies faster than expected. Though there was slight resistance, the cookies came off without breaking.
As someone who uses a baking sheet on an almost daily basis, it’s important that I don’t have to take my sheet’s limitations into account before I bake. It can be frustrating if you have to remember to position your cauliflower away from your baking sheet’s warped spot, or risk charring the bottoms of your cookies if you don’t take them out five minutes early. Using the Nordic Ware sheet requires little thought; it bakes evenly and keeps its shape.
Here I should mention that this sheet will show wear and tear after the first use. I’ve already noticed scratches and slight discoloration from acidic foods, but the decline in appearance has had no effect on its performance.
Cons: Requires adjusted baking time or temperature
Cookie sheets can feel flimsy because they don’t have the structure of wire-reinforced rims. The Goldtouch Pro sheet felt sturdy and when I held it using the one raised edge, I didn’t feel like it was going to tip out of my hands. When rotating it in the oven, I could lift the sheet with two hands on one of the rimless edges.
My experience with this pan is that it bakes evenly browned cookies in a faster than usual bake time.
There was no resistance between the butter cookies and the surface of the sheet. I could pick them up with my hands and didn’t even need a spatula. The sheet didn’t warp in an oven heated to 400 degrees and cooled down quickly.
The best baking sheet for roasting
Oil and burnt food slide off the OXO Good Grips Half Sheet with ease, making it perfect for roasting vegetables, meat, and more.
Pros: Easy to clean, texture does not transfer to food, sturdy
Cons: Speeds up bake time, can’t clean it with steel wool
One of the OXO Half Sheet‘s main selling points is its textured diamond pattern, which is designed to limit direct food-to-sheet contact and thus increase airflow. While I didn’t see evidence of those benefits on the cookies I made, the pattern seemed to be a plus for roasting potatoes.
I found that the burnt bits of potato and oil came off the OXO sheet much easier and with less scrubbing than the smooth sheets. And, the sheet is sturdy and balanced, so walking from the counter to the oven with a full, heavy pan of vegetables was easy.
As with the other nonstick sheets I tested, the butter cookies baked in a shorter amount of time than the recipe indicated. While I expected the diamond texture to imprint on the cookies, that wasn’t the case.
Baking test: We baked 12 butter cookies on all test products, baking one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet once during baking. We evaluated the browning on the bottom of the cookies, comparing cookies on the edges of the sheets versus the ones in the center. We did not use parchment paper.
Roasting test: We roasted potatoes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes to evaluate how much they stuck to the sheet. We also noted the sheet’s capacity, and how well it handled the weight of the potatoes.
Cleaning test: After baking, we washed the sheets according to manufacturer instructions. Dishwasher-safe sheets were washed in a dishwasher and then examined for surface damage. If a sheet was hand-wash only, it was cleaned with a non-abrasive sponge. We noted how difficult it was to scrub away burnt food by hand.
Ease of use: During baking, we noted how it felt to handle the sheets and how easy it was to rotate them in the oven. After baking, we noted how long it took before we could hold the sheet without a pot holder.
Experts: We consulted three experts on their professional experiences with different types of baking sheets: Kristy Greenwood Bortz, owner of Victory Love + Cookies, and Beth and Maddie Barnett, founders of Eat Me Cookies. Their input informed our own testing methodology and the answers to our FAQs.
What else we tested
NUCU Gold-Coated Aluminum Cookie Sheet: The NUCU cookie sheet baked cookies faster than any other sheet we tested, requiring even more significant adjustments to time and temperature.
Williams Sonoma Goldtouch Half Sheet: The Goldtouch Half Sheet baked cookies faster than the Nordic Ware and was slightly more difficult to clean than the OXO.
Nordic Ware Naturals Quarter Sheet: This product performed just as well as the half sheet size, but can only fit small batches.
What we look forward to testing
Great Jones Holy Sheet ($35): This brand is a favorite of the reviews team for its accessible, high-end cookware. We’re a fan of the unconventional colors (emerald green and cobalt blue), and are curious to see if the Holy Sheet’s ceramic nonstick coating affects the bake on butter cookies.
USA Pan Warp-Resistant Nonstick Cookie Sheet ($17.38): We plan on testing more textured options for future updates, and are curious to try a textured cookie sheet. This one has a PTFE, PFOA, and BPA-free silicone based nonstick coating.
Farberware Insulated Nonstick Cookie Sheet ($12.99-$14.99): This nonstick Farberware cookie sheet is light gray, and we want to compare it to the gold cookie sheets we tested to see if its lighter color slows the bake time.
What are the standard baking sheet sizes?
What is the difference between a baking sheet and a cookie sheet?
In this guide, we use “baking sheet” as a general term for all sheet pans. “Cookie sheet” refers specifically to a flat, rimless sheet pan with one raised edge to hold it by. The structure of a cookie sheet allows you to slide cookies on and off without having to lift them over a rim, thus preserving their shape and structure.
All cookie sheets are baking sheets, but not all baking sheets are cookie sheets.
Does the color of the baking sheet matter?
Like all bakeware, a baking sheet’s color affects its heat retention. “Darker pans absorb heat and can cause the bottoms of cookies to burn,” said Maddie Barnett.
If you use your baking sheets often, you’ll learn how to adjust baking times and temperatures, but it may require some trial and error. Remember that you can bake an underdone cookie more, but an overbaked cookie can’t go back in time. “You can always pull a cookie a little early and then put it back in the oven to finish baking if you determine that the center is still raw,” said Greenwood Bortz.
PFOA and PTFE
If you’ve shopped for baking sheets online, you’ve probably noticed the acronyms PFOA and PTFE in product descriptions. Here’s what you need to know about each:
PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, was originally used in the production of Teflon, which was invented in the 1970s. Most of the PFOA burns off during the manufacturing process, although trace elements remain in the cookware. These elements are then released if the cookware is overheated to temperatures of 570 degrees Fahrenheit or above. However, since 2010, the EPA has put programs and regulations in place to phase out the use of PFOAs in American manufacturing. The majority of cookware made in the United States since 2015 is PFOA-free, and so are all of our top picks.
International standards are not the same as American ones, so PFOA may still be used in products from other countries.
It has a powerful 220-watt motor, easy one-handed speed adjustments, and a snap-on storage case.
When it comes to heavy-duty mixing, you can’t beat stand mixers. However, these behemoths are expensive and a bit unwieldy for lighter tasks.
This is where hand mixers are most useful. Hand mixers are ideal for jobs like combining ingredients for batches of cookies, creating a delicious meringue, and breaking down vegetables.
Space is rarely an issue with hand mixers since they are lightweight and compact enough to fit in the smallest of cupboards. While our top picks include models in a wide range of prices, the more expensive hand mixers provide added versatility and often come with accessories. Also, look for a good warranty if you plan on using your hand mixer frequently.
We spent hours researching the top hand mixers based on functionality, value, and consistent performance. Our list is based on an analysis of the most common positives and negatives associated with the top models available on the market.
Cons: You need to be careful when you first turn it on
The Cuisinart HM-90 Power Advantage Plus hand mixer is ideal for heavy-duty tasks thanks to its 220-watt motor. You can control the nine speed options with the same hand that’s gripping the mixer so you may use your other hand for important tasks like holding the bowl. There are three slow start speeds to keep ingredients from splattering.
The device comes with a spatula, chef’s whisk, dough hooks, and beaters that store easily in the snap-on storage case. This mixer also comes with a three-year limited warranty.
When you first turn the mixer on, the motor will “overspin” before settling to the speed setting you choose.
Other features worth mentioning include an LCD screen, a lengthy cord, and a latch release for the beaters, which keeps them in place unless you intentionally remove them.
This 250 watt mixer is the least expensive we’ve seen; normally priced at around $15 on Amazon and other retailers. It comes with everything you need to mix betters, frostings, and soft doughs: six speeds, traditional beaters, and a whisk. All the components store easily and compactly in the snap-on case.
While this is a great option for those who only bake occasionally, you do get what you pay for. A number of purchasers report durability issues with the mixer after just a few months of use. That said, you’d have to replace this mixer four times before you even come close to the price of our other top mixer picks, so it’s a good choice if you’re just starting to dabble in baking.
Cons: Doesn’t come with dough hooks, location of the swivel-locking cord holder may make it difficult to set the unit down
KitchenAid has 3-, 5-, 7-, and 9-speed hand mixers. Generally, the more speeds there are, the more features will be included. For instance, the KitchenAid 7-Speed Digital Hand Mixer has many of the same features as the 9-speed mixer, except it lacks the blending rod, dough hooks, and storage bag. The 7-speed mixer is also significantly less expensive.
Other aspects of this mixer worth noting are the soft start, which prevents the splattering of ingredients by gradually increasing the speed of the beaters. The unit also comes with KitchenAid’s Stainless Steel Turbo Beater II Accessories. These beaters have a unique, streamlined design that allows the mixer to blend heavy ingredients. Plus, the device is lightweight, weighing in at two pounds.
Licking the spoon is the best part of baking cookies. But it’s a bad idea. Because eating raw cookie dough really can make you sick, and not just because it contains raw eggs.
In 2009, over 77 people across 30 states got food poisoning after eating prepackaged raw cookie dough. Many experienced vomiting and bloody diarrhea, and some had severe kidney damage. In the end, Nestlé had to recall 3.6 million packages of its refrigerated cookie dough. And in 2016, another group got sick after eating raw homemade cookie dough made from General Mills products.
But despite what you’d expect, the culprit wasn’t salmonella in the eggs. It was a shiga toxin-producing E. coli in the flour, the same type that sometimes finds its way into romaine lettuce and hamburger meat. In fact, the CDC estimates it’s responsible for 265,000 illnesses, 3,600 hospitalizations, and 30 deaths in the United States every year.
Now, normally E. coli likes to bunker down in moist places. That’s why scientists were surprised when it turned up in flour. And even today, it’s a mystery as to how the E. coli got there in the first place, or how it survived in the flour’s dry environment. The problem is that the bacteria could have infiltrated the flour during any step of the manufacturing process. It might have snuck onto the wheat from animal poop, or jumped to the flour from a contaminated processing equipment. There’s really no way to know for sure. Now, just to be clear, although flour was the culprit in this case, raw eggs can still be just as dangerous. In fact, the FDA estimates that every year contaminated eggs cause 79,000 food-borne illnesses and 30 deaths in the United States. With that in mind, the CDC warns against eating any raw cookie dough.
But, there’s good news. Although, yes, there’s a risk your cookie dough is contaminated, it’s a pretty minimal one. Many bakers, for example, taste test all the time, no worse for wear. Plus, a study found that over half of college students ate unbaked cookie dough, and they lived to tell the tale.
Even better, the risk is lower today than ever before, at least when it comes to store-bought varieties. Because, after the 2009 outbreak, companies like Nestlé and Pillsbury have started including heat-treated flour and pasteurized eggs in their dough. By heating flour to 71 degrees Celsius, you kill off any E. coli. And the pasteurization process heats eggs just enough to kill off bacteria without cooking the egg. Heat-treated flour and pasteurized eggs also explain why the sort of cookie dough you find in ice cream is harmless. But if you insist on making your chocolate chip cookies from scratch, there’s a DIY way to sterilize your own ingredients: bake the cookie! It’ll still taste good.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published on February 12, 2019.
Measuring cups are a must for baking and cooking to ensure ingredients are precisely added.
Bellemain‘s set is our favorite for dry ingredients, while Pyrex’s set is the most accurate for wet ingredients.
A good set of measuring cups allows for hassle-free baking of your favorite chocolate chip cookies and lemon blueberry muffins alike. We rounded up the best ones with careful attention to both dry and wet ingredients:
For dry ingredients: Cheap plastic sets and flimsy metal ones never last very long – either the handle snaps off or it bends under the least amount of pressure. We recommend you invest in a good sturdy pair of stainless steel measuring cups or thick plastic ones, though the latter won’t last as long.
For wet ingredients: Look for a sturdy set of glass measuring cups. Plastic measuring cups for wet ingredients always seem to get stained, and the plastic can absorb and transmit unwanted flavors to your ingredients. You should also check for metric measurements, comfortable handles, clear marking, and a good spout for pouring the wet ingredients.
Cons: No markings on the insides of the cups, no warranty
The Bellemain Stainless Steel Measuring Cup Set is made of stainless steel, and thanks to each cup’s flat bottom, they won’t tip over. Each cup is made with dishwasher-safe stainless steel and I haven’t had any issues with bending or pieces snapping off. I also like how the pieces can be stacked inside each other for easy storage.
All cups include both metric and imperial measurements, which are clearly noted on the handles. While there aren’t markings on the inside of the cups, the six-piece set does cover all the standard measurements: 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 3/4, and 1 cup.
The edges aren’t terribly sharp, which is useful for folks without dishwashers (or who just prefer to hand wash their cups). And thanks to the wide handle, you won’t have these measurers slipping out of your hand. — Lulu Chang, Former Freelance Writer
Though Bellemain doesn’t offer a structured limited lifetime warranty plan, you can contact the company via its online form.
Pros: Durable glass design, doesn’t absorb odors, clear metric and imperial measurements, easy to clean, good spout for pouring liquid ingredients, two-year warranty
When it comes to measuring wet ingredients, there’s only one brand that comes to mind: Pyrex. The company has been making glass measuring cups for wet ingredients for 90 years, and it’s still the top brand among bakers and chefs. The Pyrex 4-Piece Glass Measuring Cup Set is ideal for any recipe with its 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-cup measurers.
Although these measuring cups are made of glass, they are very sturdy and shouldn’t break easily. The glass is also nonporous, so it doesn’t absorb odors or flavors the way plastic inevitably does, and these cups won’t warp or melt in the presence of hot ingredients.
Pyrex guarantees that you can pop its measuring cups in the oven, microwave, fridge, freezer, or dishwasher without any problems, so you can get a lot of use out of this set. The company also offers a two-year warranty in case of any defects or problems.
More importantly, though, Pyrex’s measuring cups offer accurate measurements and clear markings in cups, ounces, quarts, and milliliters. The spout pours well without dripping and the handle is comfortable to hold, too.
If you don’t want to pay more than $20 for a set of measuring cups, the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Measuring Cups with Magnetic Snaps are your best bet. These durable cups come with excellent grippy handles and clearly etched measurement markings. And, you don’t have to worry about bent or broken handles either, thanks to its thick steel construction.
The handles have magnets inside and, though not terribly strong, they stick together when you stack them (and have enough force to hold the cups in place in your cupboard).
The set comes with 1/4-cup, 1/3-cup, 1/2-cup, and 1-cup measurements, and the only complaint we have with the set is the lack of metric measurements. But, most people won’t need to measure in milliliters, anyway. There’s also a matching set of teaspoons if you want your baking gear to match.
With the OXO Better Guarantee, the brand has you covered with a limited lifetime warranty in case your cups become less sturdy or damaged.
Pros: BPA-free plastic, half measurement lines, comes with a scraper, clear measurement markings, affordable, limited lifetime warranty
Cons: Plastic isn’t as durable, no milliliter markings
The OXO Good Grips Plastic Measuring Cups snap together for easy storage in your cupboard and make it easy to measure dry ingredients for any recipe with clear markings for half and full measurements.
OXO includes a scraper with the cups to level off ingredients as you bake. The measurement of each cup is engraved in the handle and colorful measurements are stamped on the sides. Those marks typically wear off over time, so it’s good that OXO made indelible markings on the handle, too.
The inside of each cup also has a half-measure line for when you need to cut a recipe in half. Like some of our other picks, these cups don’t have milliliter markings but most US buyers won’t need these. And, though the cups are made of plastic, they are BPA-free and relatively sturdy.
And, like our best magnetic set, the OXO Better Guarantee applies to the brand’s plastic set as well.
Pros: Shovel-like shape makes for easy scooping, great grip (for right-handed folks), accurate
Cons: The rubber grip isn’t totally sealed to the handle, which could allow for some buildup; no warranty
Most measuring cups are indistinguishable when it comes to their design, but that’s not the case with the Norpro Grip-Ez Stainless Steel Measuring Cups. Considerably narrower than the other cups you might find, and more closely resembling a large spoon than a cup, I’ve grown particularly fond of this set as it’s extremely useful for scooping dry ingredients.
They perform well in terms of accuracy of measurement, and the “Grip-Ez” aspect of the product’s name comes into play with the rubber coating on the handles, which makes grabbing the cups comfortable. There’s also a small indentation in the handle that allows your pointer finger to rest comfortably as you’re scooping. Be warned though, it’s designed for right-handed folks, and lefties may find the notch a bit less user-friendly.
The Norpro comes in a set of five, so you’ll get 1/8 cup, 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1 cup in your collection. Better still, the 1-cup measure actually features markings on the inside of the cup. Because the rubber grip isn’t completely sealed to the handle, ingredient buildup is possible. Another downside is the product’s lack of warranty coverage, but its two-part steel construction makes it break-resistant.
Check out our other kitchen guides for baking gear