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Kitchen & Cooking

15 holiday cookie baking tools you need right now

Chocolate chip, sugar cookies, gingerbread men, oh my!

Baking spatula, KitchenAid stand mixer, and oven thermometer on a colorful background Credit: Di Oro / KitchenAid / Admetior / Reviewed

Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed's editors. Purchases made through the links below may earn us and our publishing partners a commission.

Everyone loves the idea of making cookies during the holiday season, but sometimes it just seems like such an undertaking. You’ve got to clear not only counter space but also an afternoon to get everything done.

But what if making and decorating holiday cookies was not only easy but fun? It can be with the right gear and frame of mind. We’ve put together a list of our favorite baking essentials and extras to get you in the holiday baking spirit.

1. A set of great baking sheets

On left, granola on baking sheet. On right, three baking sheets with holiday cookies
Credit: Nordic Ware / Reviewed

We love these multifunctional baking trays from Nordic Ware.

You’ll want to have plenty of baking sheets on hand before you begin your holiday cookie journey. These half-sheets from Nordic Ware, which won our roundup of the best baking trays, are lightweight, large enough to fit more than a dozen cookies, and distribute heat like a dream. Even covered with goodies, the trays are light enough to hold with one hand while you transfer your goodies onto a waiting plate.

If you’re making delicate cookies and are particularly concerned about burnt bottoms, we recommend the AirBake Nonstick Cookie Sheet. Because of AirBake's “micro-dome technology” (the sheet has an insulated “bubble” that separates the bottom of the sheet from the top where your cookies rest), the underside of your cookies will be more even and less likely to burn. During testing, we found this worked nicely for both cookies and pizza.

$21 at Overstock

$34 at Amazon

2. Hassle-free parchment paper or a silpat mat

A Silmat mat covered with cookies on baking sheet
Credit: Mrs. Anderson's

Silpat mats can protect your trays—and cookies—from burning.

Nothing is worse than discovering that you’ve ruined your baking tray—and your cookies—by forgetting to line it with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Cookies benefit from the extra layer of protection and it makes cleanup easier, too.

We recommend the flat pre-cut parchment sheets. They fit a standard baking sheet perfectly and always lay flat, so you don't have to wrestle with flattening out an oddly shaped piece pulled from a roll (we've been there)—plus with 200 sheets per pack, you'll be prepared for many holiday seasons to come.

We also love reusable silicone mats because they're a non-disposable purchase that can easily be cleaned and stored for your next bake. Silpat can also prevent the bottom of your cookies from burning, as it keeps them further away from the searing-hot metal of your baking sheet.

$18 at Amazon

$15 at Amazon

3. The only stand mixer you’ll ever need

On left, blue KitchenAid stand mixer. On right, a Christmas tree-shaped sugar cookie
Credit: Williams-Sonoma / Getty / ALEAIMAGE

Our favorite stand mixer comes in a huge range of colors and designs.

While it’s certainly possible to mix cookie batter by hand or even use a hand mixer to get everything done, there’s really no substitute for the best stand mixer. You can hit the switch for the speed you want, step away for a second, and then when you come back it’s all just done for you. Plus, we swear: If you have one of these, you will use it all the time, for everything. We speak from experience.

Our favorite is the tried and true KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer, which we called the “quintessential stand mixer.” It’s expensive, but it will last you for years—if not decades—so it’s absolutely worth it.

$449 at Amazon

4. Mixing bowls for prep work

A hand sifting flour into a mixing bowl
Credit: Getty / agrobacter

A great set of mixing bowls is essential if you're not using a stand mixer.

If you’re mixing by hand or even if you need to separate dry and wet ingredients, you’ve got to have a set of mixing bowls. Our pick is the set of three Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls with Lids. They’re easy to clean, incredibly durable, and the lids mean that you can mix something up and then store it in the fridge between bakes or while you’re waiting for your buddy to come over and help. They’re just easy.

$40 at Amazon

5. A full set of good, easily washable measuring cups and spoons

Stainless steel measuring cups and spoons on a green background
Credit: Bellemain / Cuisipro / Reviewed

Precisely measure ingredients with these measuring cups and spoons.

Any cookie recipe is going to require at least some degree of measuring. While most people probably already have a set of measuring cups in their cabinets, it doesn’t mean you can’t upgrade to our favorite, the Bellemain Stainless Steel Measuring Cup Set. Better yet, get a second set. That way, when you’ve got to use that quarter cup for both peanut butter and oats, you’re not having to run to the sink over and over.

Apply that same logic to measuring spoons. A great set will make all the difference. We love the Cuisipro Stainless Steel Measuring Spoon Set, which is inexpensive, yet incredibly effective. They even fit in most spice jars which is a big plus, especially when you’re baking.

$21 at Amazon

$16 at Amazon

6. A non-frustrating rolling pin

Two hand peeling an apple on a cutting board, with a rolling pin closeby
Credit: J.K. Adams

We were impressed by this rolling pin throughout testing.

If you’re planning on making anything that requires a solid rolling pin—gingerbread men, for instance, or beautifully decorated sugar cookies—then we recommend the J.K. Adams Plain Maple Rolling Dowel. It might look a little underwhelming, but that’s what makes it great.

As our reviewer writes, “When they say there’s beauty in simplicity, they’re talking about this wooden rolling pin. It’s just a sturdy wooden cylinder of a medium-heavy weight, nothing more, nothing less. But during testing, it rolled out perfect dough every time.”

$26 at Amazon

7. Our favorite flat spatula for easy lifting

A hand moving a cookie onto a plate with a metal spatula
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

A flat spatula will help you easily transport cookies from the tray.

A flat cooking spatula is a kitchen staple—ideal for removing cookies from a baking tray, flipping pancakes and eggs, and any other cooking task that requires slipping under food to move it around.

And the Cutco Turn n’ Serve flat cooking spatula takes the cake. (No seriously, we used it to move a cake and it worked great.) It’s more expensive than I would typically recommend for a spatula, but this is a “you get what you pay for” situation. It’s pricey, but comes with a lifetime guarantee and will never send you back to your utensil drawer looking for a better tool.

$144 at Amazon

8. The best baking spatula we’ve tested

A person mixing batter with a silicone spatula
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

We love this sturdy and easy-to-use baking spatula.

You’ll need a silicone baking spatula to scrape batter and mix ingredients while you bake, even if you’re using a stand mixer. The Di Oro Large Silicone Spatula won its category in our roundup of the best spatulas and is an excellent choice for folding flour into your batter and then scraping down the sides of your bowl. It’s a single, slick piece of silicone, so you don’t need to worry about the head snapping off. The handle is sturdy and solid, while the head is just flexible enough to scrape down tricky-to-reach areas of your bowl.

The one-side-curved, one-side-straight head of this spatula makes it excellent for reaching into different types of corners (like scraping dough from a round bowl or smoothing brownie batter into a square tin). And the medium/large spatula head means you can get the job done quickly and easily—it’s perfect.

$11 at Amazon

On left, bucket of cookie cutters on green background. On right, cookie cutters shaping dough on a countertop
Credit: Wilton / Reviewed

This Wilton Store bundle will be your one-stop shop for Christmas cookie cutters.

If you’re making traditional cutout cookies, pick up a set of cookie cutters. You’re going to want some good ones because bad cookie cutters can turn a fun afternoon of baking into a frustrating battle with sticky plastic and missing gingerbread arms.

Amazon users love Wilton’s set of 101 different cookie cutters, which might seem excessive, but think of it this way: You’ll never have to buy other cookie shapes again. The set includes ten different holiday-themed cutters, including four differently sized gingerbread people. They’ve got no sharp edges, which means they’re great to use with kids, too!

$28 at Amazon

On left, hand spooning dough into cookie press. On right, cookie press filled with batter surrounded by stainless steel designed discs
Credit: OXO / Reviewed

This OXO set has everything you'll need to perfect Christmas cookies.

If you’re more into thumbprint cookies or maybe some good old-fashioned sprinkle-laden butter cookies, you’re going to need a cookie press. Amazon users love OXO’s version, which comes with 12 durable stainless steel discs featuring different cookie designs, including a very festive snowflake, tree, and wreath. Buyers say it’s easy to use, easy to clean, and helps make the cookie-making process extra fun.

$34 at Amazon

11. An oven thermometer for an even bake

An oven thermometer on a rack in the oven
Credit: Reviewed / Kyle Looney

A great oven thermometer will help you achieve an even bake on cookies.

If your oven doesn’t perform like it used to and you’re worried about inaccurate temperatures, you’ll need an oven thermometer to perfect your cookies. Our favorite thermometer by Admetior is an efficient, straight-forward thermometer that meets right at the intersection of great functionality and visual appeal. The no-frills model reported temperatures with great accuracy and responded quickly to any changes in heat.

A temperature gauge that starts at 50° F ensures that you can see the needle move even at room temperature. It's effortless to hang on the oven rack, and although the face is small, it's easy to read thanks to clear, bold print and distinct tick marks.

$15 at Amazon

12. This versatile cooling rack

Cookies sitting on a wire rack
Credit: Plant and Vine

A wire rack is perfect for cooling cookies, but can also be used for cooking.

You’ll obviously need a solid cooling rack (or four) at the ready for your holiday cookies, but did you know they can also be used to cook? Line a baking sheet with a wire rack like this one from Checkered Chef and you'll create the perfect convection cooking space. You see, the air will be able to circulate underneath your food, creating the crispiest bacon or Brussels sprouts on the block.

Long story short—you can never have too many wire racks.

$22 at Amazon

13. An adorable all-in-one decorating kit

Items in a 68-piece cookie decorating set on a green background
Credit: Cakebe Store / Reviewed

Make sure your icing is applied with perfection, thanks to this Cakebe Store selection.

Finding the right piece of cookie decorating equipment at the right time can be a nightmare. Cakebe’s 68-piece decorating kit takes all the questions and struggles out of figuring out how to decorate Christmas cookies.

There are 36 different icing tips in the kit, plus a booklet, which features pictures of the design each one produces. There are also icing bags, bag clips, and even a storage box to keep it all together.

$28 at Amazon

Two side-by-side photos of Cheryl's Cookie dough in a tub next to baked chocolate chip cookies
Credit: Cheryl's Cookies / Reviewed

Opt for pre-made Christmas cookie doughs Cheryl's help.

Do you want to decorate and ice cookies but don’t want to measure, mix and roll? Cheryl’s Cookies has a pre-made kit for that.

Cheryl’s pre-made tubs of both chocolate chip cookie dough and sugar cookie dough require the bare minimum of baking while still benefitting from the smells of freshly baked cookies in your kitchen. Both mixes can either be scooped out with a good ice cream scoop for standard round shapes, or rolled out and cut into holiday shapes with the tools we listed above.

$40 at Cheryl's Cookies

$40 at Cheryl's Cookies

15. Our favorite storage containers

Two side-by-side photos of clear Pyrex containers filled with fruits, veggies, and grains
Credit: Williams-Sonoma

These storage containers are perfect for transporting your holiday creations.

Once you’ve baked all your delectable, festive cookies, you’ll need somewhere to put them. We recommend having our favorite set of storage containers at the ready for storage, transport, and gifting.

We love that these Pyrex containers nest within each other for easy storage, they don't impart off-flavors into our food, and they're marked as dishwasher-, microwave-, and oven-safe. And they’re not just for cookies—they aced every test we could think of. They didn't leak water when we sloshed them around and didn't burst open or shatter when we dropped them from a countertop. When we froze them, expanding food didn't break through the seal and they resisted stains.

$80 at Williams Sonoma

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