There aren’t many kitchen tools that can truly be called essentials, but mixing bowls are definitely one of them. No matter how much—or how little—you cook, a mixing bowl is an indispensable tool for whisking dressings, mixing cookie dough, tossing salads, and storing leftovers. When it comes to shopping for mixing bowls, however, the choices can be overwhelming. Read on to learn more about how to choose the best mixing bowls for your kitchen.
BEST OVERALL: Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls with Lids
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: FineDine Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls (Set of 6)
BEST CERAMIC: DOWAN Ceramic Mixing Bowls 3-Piece Set
BEST GLASS: Pyrex Glass Mixing Bowl Set 3 Piece
BEST FOR HAND MIXERS: OXO Good Grips Mixing Bowl Set with Black Handles
BEST FOR BAKING BREAD: OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Stainless-Steel Bowl Set
MOST VERSATILE: Rorence Mixing Bowls With Pour Spout, Handle and Lid
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Mixing Bowls
When shopping for mixing bowls, there are some key factors to consider. The following sections detail some of the most important qualities to keep in mind when shopping for the best mixing bowls for your cooking needs.
Mixing bowls can be made from a variety of different materials. The best mixing bowls are generally made from stainless steel, glass, ceramic, or plastic.
Stainless steel mixing bowls are inexpensive, lightweight, and will never shatter. They are nonreactive and are typically available in a wide range of sizes. You can use a hand mixer in one of these bowls without damaging the vessel. These bowls cannot, however, be put in the microwave.
Glass mixing bowls are typically made from heat-resistant tempered glass. They are microwave-safe and can also function as a serving vessel. Some are even made of fortified glass like borosilicate which is oven-safe up to a certain temperature. Glass mixing bowls are heavier than stainless steel mixing bowls, so their size range tends to be more limited.
Ceramic mixing bowls come in a wide range of colors and can double as attractive serving vessels when you’re entertaining. They are, however, heavy and prone to chipping.
Plastic mixing bowls are typically lightweight and microwave safe. Though they’re generally nonreactive, plastic mixing bowls are prone to staining and can take on unwanted odors.
Size and Weight
Mixing bowls are generally measured by the volume they can hold in quarts. The most commonly available mixing bowls have capacities of one to eight quarts. Most home cooks should look for a set that contains a 1- to 2-quart prep bowl for mixing salad dressings and sauces, as well as two larger bowls that have a capacity of between three and five quarts for tossing salads, whisking batter, and making bread.
Stainless steel and plastic bowls are lightweight and available in a wider array of sizes. Glass and ceramic bowls are heavier and generally have a maximum capacity of four quarts because of their weight.
Number of Bowls
Mixing bowl sets generally contain between three and six bowls, though some large sets include even more. While it may be tempting to purchase a set with a bunch of bowls, think about whether you’ll actually use them all. A set of three to five bowls is plenty for most home cooks. Avid cooks will appreciate having various bowls of similar sizes when making multiple recipes at once.
Most sets of mixing bowls are designed to nest and be stored inside one another. This is especially useful for cooks with small kitchens or limited storage space.
Lids, Handles, and Pour Spouts
Mixing bowls can come equipped with additional features like lids, handles, and pour spouts.
A set of mixing bowls that comes with lids makes it easier to store leftovers without wasting plastic wrap. Lids also allow you to transport dishes to a potluck or get-together without worrying about spilling food on the way.
Some mixing bowls have pour spouts so you can transfer sauces and batters from one vessel to another without making a mess.
Mixing bowls with handles are useful if you frequently blend ingredients using a hand mixer. Having a handle to grasp as you mix provides added stability.
When you’re trying to mix ingredients, the last thing you want is for your bowl to slide around your countertop. If this happens to you, consider purchasing mixing bowls with nonslip bases made from plastic or silicone to ensure they stay in place while you’re working. The one drawback to this design is that food particles can become stuck in the crevice of the nonslip base, making these bowls more difficult to clean.
Oven, Dishwasher, and Freezer Compatibility
Most mixing bowls on the market are labeled as dishwasher-safe and freezer-safe, whether they’re made of stainless steel, glass, ceramic, or plastic. Bowls made from tempered or fortified glass can be oven-safe up to a certain temperature. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you don’t damage your bowls.
Our Top Picks
Now that you know more about mixing bowls, it’s time to start shopping. The following picks were chosen based on the features above, including material, size, weight, and number of bowls. Whatever your requirements might be, you’re bound to find a top-notch mixing bowl set that suits your needs and budget.
Stainless steel mixing bowls are the most versatile choices for most cooking and baking tasks because they’re lightweight and durable. This three-piece nesting set from Cuisinart comes with tight-fitting lids for each bowl, allowing you to easily store leftovers or transport dishes to your next potluck.
These Cuisinart bowls are deep and have tall sides, so they easily contain splatters when you’re using a hand mixer. The bowls’ curved lips are easy to grip while you’re mixing. The set includes 1½-quart, 3-quart and 5-quart bowls. They are all dishwasher safe and can be used in the fridge and freezer.
Those looking for a set of bowls in a wide range of sizes should consider this affordable 6-piece set from FineDine, which includes ¾-quart, 1½-quart, 3-quart, 4-quart, 5-quart, and 8-quart bowls. The capacity of each bowl is clearly marked on the exterior so you can easily grab the one you’re looking for. They have a nesting design so they can all be compactly stored inside one another.
These lightweight bowls are made from stainless steel with a mirror finish that is shatterproof and dishwasher-safe. Each bowl has an ergonomically designed rolled lip so that it can easily be gripped while you’re mixing. The bowls’ flat bases offer added stability.
While ceramic mixing bowls may not be the most practical for all kitchen tasks, they make attractive serving dishes that can do double duty for those with limited storage space in their kitchens. This 3-piece nesting set from DOWAN includes ½-quart, 2-quart, and 4¼-quart bowls that are made from heat-resistant ceramic. The bowls come in two shades of blue, which is a classic look that suits most kitchens.
The DOWAN mixing bowls are safe to use in the dishwasher, microwave, and even in the oven. The downside is they don’t fare well with rapid temperature changes, so they shouldn’t be transferred directly from the fridge to the oven or microwave.
Pyrex makes cookware from sturdy tempered glass that is dishwasher-, microwave-, and freezer-safe. These bowls can also be used in a preheated oven. The nonporous glass won’t stain or absorb food odors. Because the bowls are made from clear glass, they make nice serving vessels if you want to show off the dishes you’ve made.
Though these Pyrex bowls are versatile, the range of sizes in which they’re available is somewhat limited because tempered glass is so heavy. For certain tasks, you might need a larger mixing bowl that isn’t glass. This set comes with three nesting bowls with 1-quart, 1½-quart, and 2½-quart capacities.
When using a hand mixer, it’s important that you have a mixing bowl that you can easily grip and won’t slide around on your countertop. This three-piece set from OXO fits the bill, with easy-grip handles and nonskid bottoms, ensuring the bowls will stay in place. Because they’re designed with tall sides, the contents of the bowl won’t splatter while you’re working. After you’ve finished mixing, the bowls’ spouts make pouring batter a breeze.
The bowls in this OXO set have capacities of 1½ quarts, 3 quarts, and 5 quarts, and they nest together for easy storage. They’re made from BPA-free plastic that is dishwasher-safe. This set is available in black and white or three colorful hues.
This is a terrific option for bread bakers—and will help you get the perfect rise by keeping the temperature of your dough consistent. This three-piece set from OXO is unique because the bowls have a plastic exterior and stainless steel interior. The layer of plastic provides insulation from both high and low temperatures, ensuring you don’t burn your hands if the bowl is filled with hot ingredients.
The set includes a 1½-quart bowl, a 3-quart bowl, and a 5-quart bowl, all of which are dishwasher safe and nest together for easy storage. Nonskid bottoms ensure stability while mixing, even when the bowls are tilted.
This three-piece nesting set from Rorence fits the bill for a variety of kitchen tasks. It includes a 1½-quart bowl, a 3-quart bowl, and a 5-quart bowl, each of which has a matching lid for easily storing leftovers in the fridge. The stainless steel bowls are lightweight and rust resistant and have spouts for clean pouring.
These Rorence bowls have quart and liter measurements on their interiors, which keeps you from having to dirty an extra measuring cup. The bowls have comfort-grip silicone handles as well as nonskid bottoms, making them a great choice for those who frequently use electric hand mixers. All components are dishwasher-safe.
FAQs About Mixing Bowls
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about mixing bowls.
Q. How big should a mixing bowl be?
The size of the mixing bowl you need depends on the task at hand. In order to mix muffin batter or toss a salad, a mixing bowl with at least a 3-quart capacity is ideal.
Q. What are nesting bowls used for?
Nesting bowls are designed to fit inside one another for compact storage.
Q. Can I mix bread dough in a stainless steel bowl?
Yes. Because stainless steel is nonreactive, it won’t affect the rise of your bread dough.
Q. What can you not mix in a stainless steel bowl?
While some other metal bowls—like those made from copper and aluminum—can cause a chemical reaction that imparts an unwanted taste in your food, stainless steel mixing bowls are specifically designed to be nonreactive. That means you don’t have to worry about mixing acidic foods in them.