Best Types of Mixing Bowls

The 8 Best Types of Mixing Bowls Every Baker Needs To Know

Mixing bowls are an essential tool in every baker’s arsenal. Because these underrated accessories are required for virtually every recipe in your repertoire, no kitchen is complete without them. Whether you’re marinating food, mixing batter, whipping eggs, or measuring ingredients, your trusty mixing bowl can lend a helping hand with an amazing array of tasks.

There’s is a wide range of bowls out there all of which differ in size, material, and price. While it can be a little tricky deciphering which one is right for you, getting your hands on those perfect bowls will make your cooking and baking experience better.

At the most basic level, there are 8 common types of mixing bowls for baking: glass, stainless steel, silicone, ceramic, copper, plastic, and wooden, although there are so many more out there that you might have not heard about. Each type of mixing bowl has its own benefits and drawbacks you will want to into account before spending your hard-earned cash.

So which ones do you need? Let’s find out!

What are mixing bowls used for?

Mixing bowls are a fantastic kitchen tool that can be used for a huge variety of tasks. Most mixing bowls are used for either mixing ingredients together, marinating, or storing food. Of course, you can also use them to make salads, serve food, whisk dressings or sauces together, measure out ingredients, store leftovers and so much more.

Mixing bowls come in a variety of materials, and sizes. You can find them with lids, handles, pouring spouts, and rubber bottoms. Some are made of silicone, while others are made from metal. There is an endless array of mixing bowls to choose from and the best one for you will depend on your needs.

Types of Mixing Bowls

Here are eight of the most common types of mixing bowls, all with their pros and cons.

Glass

Used For: Making salads, marinating, storing food, serving bowls, bain-marie (double boiler)

Glass bowls are perhaps the most common type of mixing bowls bakers use. They are clear so you can easily see what’s inside and they come in a variety of sizes. Glass is also non-reactive which means it won’t absorb flavors or odors from food.

They are also heat resistant which means you can put them in the microwave or oven if you need to. However, glass bowls can be quite heavy which can make them a bit more difficult to carry. They are also fragile and can easily break if dropped. Having said that, tempered glass is more durable and temperature-resistant than the regular stuff.

To get full use out of your glass mixing bowl, opt for one with measuring markings, lids, and pour spouts.

Here are some of our top picks for glass mixing bowls:

Pros 

  • Non-reactive
  • Heatproof
  • Microwave safe
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Oven safe
  • Can be durable if looked after

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Can break if dropped if mishandled
  • Plain design

Stainless Steel

Used For: Bain-marie, making salads, marinating, making batter, whisking, storing food.

Stainless steel mixing bowls are a great alternative to glass bowls. They are affordable, durable, and literally last a lifetime if given a little bit of T.L.C. I recommend opting for stainless steel mixing bowls instead of aluminum mixing bowls as they are non-reactive and won’t absorb flavors or odors.

When it comes to glass v stainless steel mixing bowls, it will ultimately come down to your baking needs. Stainless steel is lightweight which makes these types of mixing bowls easy to carry and they won’t break if dropped. Stainless steel mixing bowls can also go in the dishwasher and the oven too (depending on how thick your bowl is) but are not to be microwaved.

The biggest downside to stainless steel bowls is that they can get hot when used with hot liquids and ingredients. If you use your stainless steel mixing bowls with a hand mixer or whisk, you can end up scraping the bowl which can make your food taste metallic.

Stainless steel bowls can slip and slide around your kitchen, so to prevent this, opt for mixing bowls with a rubber or silicone non-slip bottom.

Check out some of my top picks for stainless steel mixing bowls.

Pros 

  • Lightweight
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Multi-purpose
  • Durable

Cons

  • Not microwave safe
  • Not oven safe
  • Industrial aesthetic (not very pretty)

Ceramic

Used For: Serving bowls, decorative bowls, light mixing

Ceramic mixing bowls are beautiful and come in a variety of colors, designs, and sizes. They add a touch of elegance to your kitchen and can even be used as serving bowls.

What I like about ceramic bowls is that they are non-reactive, heat resistant, and can go in the dishwasher. Most are also microwave and oven safe too.

The downside to ceramic mixing bowls is that they are quite fragile and can easily break if dropped or mishandled. They can also be quite heavy which makes them difficult to carry around and clean. I also recommend keeping any metal utensils away from your ceramic bowls and avoiding using a hand mixer. Metal can scratch the bottom and sides of your bowl.

When choosing a ceramic bowl, go for a high-fired ceramic bowl. These are more durable than their earthenware counterpart.

Take a look at some of our top picks for ceramic mixing bowls.

Pros 

  • Microwave safe
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Oven safe (sometimes)
  • Use as serving bowls

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Prone to chipping
  • Can be expensive

Porcelain

Used For: Serving bowls, decorative bowls, light mixing

Porcelain is very similar to ceramic but it is fired at a higher temperature which makes it more durable. Porcelain bowls are also heat resistant and can go in the dishwasher. Porcelain cookware is also oven safe and can withstand a temperature of up to 500F (260C)

Just like ceramic, porcelain bowls can be quite heavy which makes them difficult to carry around and clean.

Take a look at my favorite porcelain mixing bowl below.

Pros 

  • Microwave safe
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Oven safe
  • Use as serving bowls

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Prone to chipping
  • Can be expensive

Plastic

Used For: Mixing, storing food, serving bowl

Plastic mixing bowls are an affordable and lightweight option for bakers on a budget. They come in a variety of colors and sizes which makes them perfect for any kitchen. Plastic mixing bowls are also microwave, dishwasher, and freezer friendly.

The downside to plastic mixing bowls is that they can melt if they come into contact with hot surfaces. They also absorb strong odors and dye which can be difficult to get rid of, but other than that, they are pretty much indestructible.

Take a look at some of our top picks for plastic mixing bowls.

Pros 

  • Lightweight
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Microwave safe
  • Freezer safe
  • Cheap

Cons

  • Will melt if comes in contact with heat
  • Not oven safe
  • Can absorb odors
  • Can discolor

Silicone

Used For: Mixing, storing food, serving bowls

Silicone mixing bowls are a great option if you are looking for something lightweight and compact. They are temperature proof, nonstick, and collapsible. Not to mention that cleaning them is a breeze. Silicone bowls are also microwave, freezer, dishwasher, and oven safe.

Their flexibility makes them really easy to handle and you can even makeshift a pouring spout by pinching the bowl. Silicone, just like plastic, is indestructible so you know it will last a lifetime.

The downside to silicone bowls is that they retain odors and can misshape and be a bit awkward to handle when making large batter quantities

Take a look at some of my top picks for silicone mixing bowls.

Pros 

  • Lightweight
  • Collapsible
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Microwave safe
  • Oven safe
  • Multifunctional

Cons

  • The texture is not for everyone
  • Retains odor

Wooden/Bamboo

Used For: serving bowl, salad bowl, fruit bowl, centerpeice

Wooden/bamboo mixing bowls are a great eco-friendly and stylish option for your kitchen. They are lightweight, durable and easy to clean. But, apart from being used to serve food or used as a centerpiece, they are not actually that useful in the kitchen.

They are great to make and toss salads in, but when it comes to making dough or whipping up some cupcake batter, they aren’t the best. This is because wood and bamboo bowls are quite porous.

So, if you’re looking for a mixing bowl that you can also use as a serving bowl or decoration, then wooden/bamboo bowls are a great option. But, if you’re looking for something to actually use in the kitchen, then you might want to consider another option.

Take a look at some of the best wooden mixing bowls below.

Pros 

  • Lightweight
  • Durable

Cons

  • Not microwave, oven or dishwasher safe
  • Can warp and splinter,
  • Lingering flavors and odors

Copper

Used For: Mixing, storing food, serving bowl, bain-marie

Copper mixing bowls bring a timeless, classic feel into your kitchen. Copper mixing bowls are most commonly used to whip egg whites in as the copper ions stabilize the egg whites, producing stiff peaks.

They are also pretty lightweight and can be washed in the dishwasher.

The major downside to copper bowls is that they can be quite expensive. That said, if you can see past the price, then copper mixing bowls will certainly add some personality to your kitchen.

Here are some of our favorite copper mixing bowls.

Pros 

  • Lightweight
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Great for whipping egg whites
  • Durable

Cons

  • Can be expensive
  • Can discolor
  • Lingering flavors and odors
  • Can stain
  • Not microwave safe

What is the best mixing bowl material?

The type of mixing bowl you choose should depend on your needs and preferences. If you do a lot of baking, cooking and food prepping you want a bowl that is going to be durable and robust. If you are between glass or stainless steel mixing bowls I would get both!

Glass bowls are great for preparing foods in, melting chocolate in a bain-marie and can be used as serving bowls. Stainless steel can do all of the above too but on top of that, they are ideal for making all your favorite baked treats. If you are looking to serve food with style, then the copper bowls are up there with some of the most stylish cookware. They can add a touch of luxury to any meal and when not in use, they add a touch of luxury to your kitchen as centerpieces. The best copper mixing bowl is definitely the 100% copper bowl set. Expensive but worth it.