As the author of a cookbook dedicated entirely to cookies, I’ve made a LOT of different kinds of cookies. And I’m happy to recommend the tools I use for cookie-baking success to fellow home bakers. This list is a great place to start if you’re a beginner, are creating a registry, or are shopping for a gift for the cookie monster in your life.
Let’s Talk Cookies
At the heart and soul of my baking career, I’m a cookie aficionado. I have 250+ cookie recipes on my website, plus a cookbook with 75 cookie recipes, plus about 15 cookie recipes published in my first cookbook. I also publish a cookie countdown each year called Sally’s Cookie Palooza.
Between testing all of these recipes, plus making them for my own general enjoyment and the enjoyment of others, I’ve made tens of thousands of batches of cookies. And that’s no exaggeration!
With all of this practice (including recipe fails!), I’ve learned which tools are the BEST for baking cookies. I don’t know about you, but I avoid overloading my kitchen with unnecessary gadgets, so this list includes the absolute essentials—the tools you need to help guarantee cookie success.
Like a batch of chocolate chip cookies…
Before we get there, let’s review my top cookie baking success tips:
Cookie Baking Success Tips
- Chill the cookie dough. If the cookie dough is particularly sticky, wet, or greasy, chilling is in its—and your own!—best interest. Chilling cookie dough helps prevent spreading. The colder the dough, the less the cookies are likely to over-spread into greasy puddles.
- Temperature is key. Unless you routinely calibrate your oven, its temperature is probably inaccurate. Get an oven thermometer. They’re usually inexpensive and will save you the headache of wondering why your cookie bake time is off. Likewise, make sure you have room temperature ingredients. And here’s a shortcut to soften butter quickly.
- Ditch the specified baking time. Think of the bake time in a cookie recipe as a general guideline, and use your eyes (and oven light!) to check them frequently. Typically, the cookies are done when the edges are set and very lightly browned.
- One batch at a time. You get the best results when the oven concentrates on a single batch of cookies. If you need to bake more than one batch at a time, rotate the baking sheets from the top rack to the bottom rack a couple of times to encourage even browning.
Even More Cookie Baking Tips:
- How to Freeze Cookie Dough (make them now, bake them later)
- How to Prevent Cookies from Spreading
- Baking Powder vs Baking Soda
- Best Way to Ship Cookies
10 Best Cookie Baking Tools
All of the baking tools in today’s list are items I own. None of this post is sponsored—truly just items I love and am happy to recommend to fellow home bakers. A lot of these links are affiliate links. I include many of these items on my Gifts for Bakers page where you’ll find 100+ carefully selected items that any baker (or you!) would love.
1. HALF SHEET PANS
Quantity recommended: at least 2.
First and foremost, quality cookie sheets are a MUST. Did you know the color and material of your cookie sheets greatly impacts the way your cookies turn out? Dark metal sheets can easily over-bake cookies, and thin, flimsy cookie sheets can result in burnt cookie bottoms.
Both of these brands are excellent quality and have stood the test of time with frequent use. The 12×17-inch size is perfect for a dozen cookies, and the rimmed edges make these pans great for other recipes like toffee, caramel corn, sheet cakes, cake rolls, and slab pies. Traveling with a sheet cake or cookies? Or just want to keep things fresh? Get the half sheet pan with a lid!
Bakers’ Tip: Never place cookie dough on a hot baking sheet. It’s best to own a few cookie sheets so you always have a room-temperature sheet on hand for your next batch. Otherwise, you have to wait for the baking sheet to cool down before placing more cookie dough on it.
2. SILICONE BAKING MATS
What I own and love: Silpat Premium Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat.
Quantity recommended: at least 2.
Baking mats are my favorite cookie-baking tool. Coating your baking sheet with nonstick spray or butter creates an overly greasy foundation, which causes the cookies to over-spread. I always recommend a silicone baking mat (11×16-inch size to fit your half sheet pans) because they grip onto the bottom of your cookies, preventing the cookies from spreading too much. These mats also promote even browning. They’re reusable, dishwasher friendly, and perfect for roasting veggies, meats, fish, potatoes, etc.
I also like these parchment paper sheets, which are already cut to size.
3. COOKIE SCOOPS
What I own and love: OXO Good Grips Cookie Scoops.
Quantity recommended: I have a set of 3 sizes, but if you just want one, the medium size cookie scoop is the one I use most for making cookies.
Cookie scoops are extremely handy. They help keep your drop cookies uniform in size and shape; an easy squeeze of the handle cleanly releases the sticky dough ball; plus, they have so many other uses! I use the large size (3 Tablespoons) cookie scoop for cupcake/muffin and pancake batter, ice cream, meatballs, and even for serving mashed potatoes. I use the medium size (1.5 Tablespoons) for most cookies—particularly textured oatmeal raisin cookies and sticky coconut macaroons. And I use the small size (1 Tablespoon) for truffles, smaller cookies like these peanut butter cookies, and as a melon baller.
4. COOLING RACKS
Quantity recommended: At least 2
I typically allow my baked cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheets once I remove them from the oven. However, I immediately transfer them to a cooling rack after that. Why? The bottoms of the cookies need some air in order to cool, and we want to avoid soggy cookie bottoms. I own a few of these cooling racks. They’re inexpensive, get the job done, and have lasted me years.
5. STAND MIXER
What I own and love: KitchenAid Ultra Power Plus 4.5qt Tilt-Head Stand Mixer.
Quantity recommended: 1
A stand mixer is a must if you bake cookies on the regular. I really like the 4.5-quart size for most baking recipes. You can certainly get away with a hand mixer instead (here’s the hand mixer I own and love), but a stand mixer makes the job easier and is extra versatile since you can use varying attachments with it. When I’m working with an enormous amount of dough/batter or making something that requires several minutes of mixing (old-fashioned fudge, whipped cream or egg whites, bread dough, etc.) a stand mixer is worth its weight in gold. I include a mixer in my Cake Decorating Tools list, too.
6. QUALITY MEASURING CUPS + A DIGITAL FOOD SCALE
Quantity recommended: 1 set of measuring cups + 1 food scale
I love this set of measuring cups because of the soft easy-grip handles and quality stainless steel. I also love this set of measuring cups for the same reasons, and the fact that it includes a 1/8-cup measuring cup. (Which is rare in sets. 1/8 cup = 2 Tablespoons, a measurement used quite often. Very convenient!)
For more accurate measuring, definitely pick up a food scale. This OXO food scale is the one I use. A gram is always a gram. An ounce is always an ounce. A cup is NOT always a cup, and therefore weighing is the most accurate way to measure. My team and I include weight measurements in all my recipes.
7. ROLLING PIN
What I own and love: J.K. Adams Maple Wood Medium Gourmet Rolling Pin.
Quantity recommended: 1
A rolling pin is a must-have for shaped cut-out cookies. Rolling pins vary in price, but the one I have is pretty inexpensive and has lasted me for years, with very frequent use. I highly recommend it.
8. STURDY COOKIE CUTTERS
What I own and love:
- Round: Celebrational Sale 11-Piece Round Cookie Cutter Set
- Other Shapes: Ann Clark Cookie Cutters and Wilton Cookie Cutters
- Cookie Press for Spritz Cookies: OXO Good Grips Cookie Press Set
You may love all the whimsically adorable shapes, but make sure you’re buying quality cookie cutters. By that I mean cookie cutters that are strong, sturdy, and have sharp edges to give you a clean cut.
My must-haves include a set of round cookie cutters—I use them for peppermint bark cookies, striped fudge cookies, homemade thin mint cookies, and more. For a variety of fun and seasonal shapes, pretty much anything from Ann Clark’s collection is fantastic for sugar cookies.
9. SILICONE SPATULAS
Quantity recommended: at least 2
Spatulas are essential in any kitchen, especially if they are well-made and heavy duty. I own plenty, but my favorites and most-used are these silicone spatulas and these Williams Sonoma spatulas. From stirring and mixing, to scraping the sides of bowls, spreading frosting, cooking, etc.—I use them for everything, everyday. And spatulas with cute sayings make a fun gift!
10. COOKIE CARRIER
Quantity recommended: 1
Taking your cookies beyond the kitchen? Whether your batch is for a party, bake sale, or toting along to work, you need a case that will safely transport your cookies. I love this cupcake carrier. I use it for cupcakes, of course, but I also use it for cookies. Here’s my trick: I flip the tray and simply pile the cookies inside. I like this cupcake and cookie carrier, too—it’s larger and stores more.
Now let’s bake some cookies!