Best Mixing Bowls of 2020
The Cuisinart Stainless Steel mixing bowl set is a favorite with its sleek, simple design. This set comes with three bowls: a 1.5-Qt, a 3-Qt, and a 5-Qt, each with an accompanying lid. The lids on the Cuisinart set were some of our favorites since they were secure and easy to use. We also found that these sizes were the most convenient and often used in our kitchen. They are deep enough to contain splashes and spray when whisking, while still allowing for room to toss a salad or mix up a slaw without spillage. Though they don't have a silicone bottom, they were surprisingly stable. The bowls nest well and the lids fit securely, making for easy storage.
Though we appreciated the fact that this set only came with three bowls, some folks may feel that this set falls short in comparison to the sets that come with five or six different size options. Also, the largest size in this set is a 5-Quart bowl, which for large batches of cookies or massive salads could be a bit too small. If you cook in large batches, look elsewhere.
This basic mixing bowl set is a great starter option for a new apartment, or if you're simply looking for a great deal. The Sagler Stainless Set comes with six bowls of varying sizes, with the largest measuring in at 8-Quarts. This set is versatile and easy to store. The sides of the bowls are shallow, which is great for making large salads and whisking. The bowls have a wide, flat base that provides stability when mixing vigorously. We also appreciate that this set comes with six bowls, yet it costs half the price of many other options that are on the market. The bowls nest well and have a large lip which is helpful when tilting the bowl for pouring or whisking.
Though their flat base makes them stable, this design feature also detracts from the aesthetics of this set. We found that the flat-bottomed bowls in this set were great for stability and for things like pasta salad, but were a bit of a nuisance when it came to more advanced baking techniques.
If you're in the market for a robust bowl set with plastic lids and a silicone base, but don't want to spend the extra "dough" on the top-of-the-line brands, the Wildone Stainless Nesting set is a great option. With five bowls in the set, the largest measuring in at 5-Quarts, and the smallest containing only .63-Quarts, the Wildone has a good range of options. These bowls performed similarly to some of our favorites, with a much lower price tag. We liked the stability their silicone bases provided and actually appreciated the grating attachments that come with the set.
The major downside to this set is its storage capabilities. Because there are so many accessories — three grater attachments and lids for all five bowls, storing these stainless bowls can be a real hassle. We also found that the lids were not the most secure we tested and often we had to work hard to get them to really stick.
Our go-to for baking was hands-down the OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Mixing Set. This set contains three sizes: 1.5-Quart, 3-Quart, and 5-Quart. This baker's workhorse set is sturdy, stable, and can handle any whipping, whisking, and mixing that is its thrown. We loved their solid stainless-steel feel and their large lip which provided a great handle when tipping the bowls on their sides. The simplicity of this set was also a major highlight for us — no lids, no extra parts to worry about. They are sleek and stylish and have a deep shape that caters to baking over salad making. Also, their small silicone base makes them feel solid on any countertop.
For true at-home, unprofessional bakers, the fact that these bowls have a silicone base may actually be a deterrent. Because of this feature, the OXO Good Grips Stainless bowls can't function as a double boiler. For some, this is a hard pass, but for others, the OXO may be useful enough for all other baking endeavors to look the other way. We were in the second camp and had no problem using another vessel for double-boiling situations.
The PriorityChef Premium set impressed us right away with the feel of the bowls in our hands. This set comes with five bowls, all with lids and silicone bases. The PriorityChef bowls kept us organized, while also providing a solid base for vigorous mixing. We used the smallest bowl, with a capacity of 1.5-Quarts, for dressings. Many of the other small bowls we tested moved around a ton when mixing dressing, but this bowl did not. We also like the 5-Quart mixer for making cookies and bread, since its secure bottom and hefty stainless-steel sides allowed us to knead and mix thick dough easily.
The drawbacks to this set really come down to the accompanying lids. We found them to be challenging to store and often caused a headache when digging around in the cupboard. The sets with over three bowls plus lids start to feel a bit overwhelming, especially if the lids do not store inside the largest bowl easily. Without the lids, this set would rank as one of our favorites.
The FineDine Stainless mixing set is a great option for those who need to prepare large quantities of food. The largest bowl in this set has an 8-Quart capacity, which equates to a very large salad. The smaller bowls are very useful for the prep stages, and the large bowl is big enough to contain a side dish ready for dozens of dinner guests. The shallow sides of these bowls make it easy to incorporate sauces to potato or pasta salad without too much chance of spillage. The large lip on the FineDine bowls also helps when combining ingredients or scooping out contents when the bowl is tilted. We often used one of the bowls in this set as our receptacle for compost when preparing a large veggie dish. The large bowls in this set also work great as a vessel for tossing veggies pre-oven roast.
We really had few complaints about the FineDine Stainless set. If anything, we felt that this set was too large to store in our cupboard without a ton of adjusting. Though the largest bowl is great for parties and group gatherings, folks who aren't normally preparing food for a large group may not need such a big mixing bowl most of the time.
No mixing bowl review would be complete without a discussion of the classic Pyrex Set. For this review, we tested the Pyrex set of three bowls, with a 1-Quart, a 1.5-Quart, and a 2.5-Quart version. These bowls are sturdy, stable, and are ubiquitous in most kitchens. We were big fans of these bowls when prepping meals for one or two people. Their open shape is deep enough to mix wet ingredients without too much splattering, but they also work well as serving bowls for salads on a casual weeknight. It's an added plus that this set is microwave safe and very affordable.
The biggest disappointment with this set is its size. The largest bowl has only a 2.5-Quart capacity, which is fairly small for baking. We love using large Pyrex bowls for baking, especially bread, but this set didn't have the capacity we needed to take on most baking projects.
We only included one plastic set in this review, because the list of benefits to using stainless-steel is long and fairly obvious. But, we figured that we should include one plastic option, just to see how it compared in our side-by-side tests. The Cook With Color Plastic set includes six bowls, all with plastic lids. This set was nice because it felt versatile — the tiny bowls and their lids doubled as storage containers for leftovers. We were into the wide range of sizes that come in this set, with the largest holding 5.8-Quarts and the smallest only .32-Quarts. The bigger bowls in this set would work great for potlucks and group dinners, where transporting a side dish in a vessel with a lid is key.
We didn't like baking with these bowls since they lacked stability and were hard to scrape batter and dough off the walls. We felt that they were much more suited for potato salad, slaw, or pasta sides rather than baking. In terms of storage, we found that this set of six bowls, all with accompanying lids started to feel pretty overwhelming in the cupboard. The lids were also not the most secure, with only a narrow lip to attach them to the bowl. Most of the other lidded options had more secure lids that we preferred.
This set of five bowls is simple and stable. The Regiller Stainless mixing bowls have silicone bases, which make them stable for vigorous mixing and whisking. They also have a deep shape that helps contain spills and splatters. During our shredding test, these bowls were impressively stable — the 2.5-Quart bowl hardly moved at all when shredding carrots into it. We also liked that the colors add a bit of flair, without being over-powering. Since they don't have lids, the Regiller bowls are easy to store and don't take up too much room.
We had a small issue with the silicone base on these bowls. Unlike some of the other silicone-bottomed sets, we noticed a small gap forming between the silicone and the stainless steel after a few washes. This is a bit of a red flag since that space is a trap for mold and bacteria.
Why You Should Trust Us
From as far back as she can remember, our lead tester, Jane Jackson, has always loved to bake. Whether it was filming mock cooking shows at age nine, baking elaborate cakes for friends' birthdays, or an ongoing obsession with pies in the summertime, there's rarely a time when Jane isn't excited about baking. In addition to being an enthusiastic amateur baker, she is also a seasoned product reviewer who has written detailed reviews of products ranging from bath towels to water bottles to hiking boots. When she's not working, her favorite place to be is by far the kitchen, where she can often be found making salads, slaws, cookies, and other baked goods.
We tested these mixing bowl sets by integrating them into our daily routine of preparing and cooking homemade meals. We used them to mix dough for our daily bread loaves and to toss vegetables in oil and salt prior to roasting. We prepped veggies for salads, using the bowls to keep our countertops organized. Additionally, we conducted multiple specific tests to assess each bowls' performance in a series of thoughtfully crafted rating metrics.
Analysis and Test Results
Though we integrated the mixing bowls into our daily kitchen routine, we also made sure to come up with a standardized set of tests to rank each set's performance as objectively as possible. We considered each sets' bowl shape and size, their countertop stability, overall ease of use, and finally the performance and usefulness of any accessories included in the set. With each set, we prepared a cabbage slaw, which allowed us to assess the shape of the bowls and their ability to toss salads and contain large ingredients. This also allowed us to perform a stability test as we grated carrots into each bowl. Next, we made cookies in each bowl set to assess their ability to contain dough. We then looked at each set's size, shape, and lid components, if any, to finalize our scores.
Size and Shape
To test this metric, we first made note of how many bowls are included in each set. We also recorded the reported volume of each bowl, so that we could compare them all. All of the sets we tested included 3 to 6 bowls; most had either 3 or 5 different sized bowls. For simplicity's sake, we appreciated the sets that came with three sizes, like theCuisinart Stainless Steel. This product comes with three bowls of varying sizes and lids. We also liked the OXO Good Grips Stainless set, which also includes three bowls. For prepping salads, or following more elaborate recipes, sets with five or six bowls can come in handy. We especially liked the PriorityChef 5-Piece with its secure lids and smaller bowl sizes. Sets that include six bowls, plus lids, started to get a little out of control for us. Simply putting the bowls away started to feel like playing with a Russian doll set, and we often found the lids to be cumbersome extras, rather than useful accessories. This was especially true with the Cook With Color Plastic set, which boasts 12 pieces — bowls and lids included.
The shape of each set differs, and some shapes are suited to some tasks better than others. Deep bowls are great for containing ingredients and mixing doughs, but bowls with sloped sizes are more useful for folding and whisking since they allow for more airflow and a wider range of motion that is required for mixing airy batters. Our favorite shallow bowls sets were the Sagler Stainless and the FineDine sets. These both include six bowls that are wide enough to toss salads or whip cream into nice peaks with ease. The Pyrex Glass 3-piece set had a similar shape, but the bowls were too small to really prepare anything substantial.
To assess stability, we used two different testing procedures. The first was a part of our slaw-making test, which included shredding carrots into a bowl using a vertical grater. Bowls that fell short in this metric moved around a lot when we tried to grate carrots into them. Next, we mixed up cookie dough in the bowls, since this firm dough requires a bit of force to incorporate the flour into the butter and sugar mixture. The sets that excelled in this metric were the OXO Good Grips Stainless and the PriorityChef, both with silicone bases. The Cuisinart Stainless was close behind, which surprised us since it lacks a silicone base. That said, the Cuisinart has heft and solid sides that help it stick to countertops more easily.
Both the Wildone and the Regiller Stainless also have silicone bases, which made them rank highly in terms of stability. The Sagler set, though aesthetically not super appealing, has a wide, flat bottom that makes it surprisingly stable as well. The lowest-scoring product in this metric was the Cook With Color set which was plastic and wobbly.
Ease of Use
For this metric, we considered how well the bowls contained salad ingredients when tossed as well as how the sets stacked and stored. A bowl that spills its contents is not easy to use, nor does it do its job very well! The top products in this metric are the Cuisinart Stainless and the OXO Good Grips 3-Piece. Shortly behind is the Regiller Stainless, the PriorityChef, and the FineDine sets. The top-ranking sets were both deep enough to hold the contents of a salad without spillage. We also appreciated the simplicity of these two sets. They each contain three bowls that nest easily, making them easy to store. The FineDine set was also a top performer — their shape was a nice middle ground between the bowls with low-angle sides and the deeper ones, like the PriorityChef. Our top-ranking bowls in this metric are great for doughs and salads, but the Regiller Stainless is our go-to for whisking since it is shallower and allows for a good range of motion when whipping, whisking, or folding.
The size of the sets stored added to their ranking in this metric. With this in consideration, the Cook With Color and the Sagler sets received lower scores since they were so big and cumbersome. It was hard to find space in the cupboard for such massive bowls, especially the Cook With Color set since it came with six lids.
We went into a more detailed assessment of the lids and other accessories in this comparison. Not all of the mixing bowls in this review have lids, but the sets that did have a wide range of styles that performed very differently. Four of the sets in this review came with lids, and some worked better than others. The best lid design that we encountered was on the Cuisinart Stainless set. These lids are secure and reliable, plus each bowl fits inside the other with lids on for easy and convenient storage. The PriorityChef set also came with lids that were similarly secure and easy to use.
Our least-favorite accessories came with the Cook With Color and the Wildone sets. The Cook With Color lids are flimsy and thin, with a tiny lip meant to secure them in place. The Wildone lids also fit over the top of the bowl, rather than inside, which is an issue for storage and for security. This set also comes with a few grater attachments for the smallest bowl. We actually liked this feature but found that these graters didn't work quite as well as a traditional box grater.
Tracking down the right mixing bowl to complete your home-baking set-up is no easy task. Many of the sets in this review excel in some tasks and fall short when assessed using other metrics. A versatile, durable, and sturdy set is your best bet to home-cooking success. Lids are useful for storing prepped food or leftovers, but certainly not deal-breakers. Whether you're a cookie master, an amateur bread-baker, or a cupcake machine, this review will guide you toward the ideal mixing bowl set to suit your needs.
— Jane Jackson