The Best Mixing Bowls (2023)

The research

  • Why you should trust us
  • Choosing between metal and glass mixing bowls
  • How we picked
  • How we tested
  • The best metal mixing bowls: Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set
  • The best glass bowls: Pyrex Smart Essentials 8-Piece Mixing Bowl Set
  • Also great: Thunder Group Standard Weight Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls
  • The competition
  • Sources

Why you should trust us

Since 2015, we’ve spent more than 50 hours researching and testing mixing bowls. As a staff writer for Wirecutter, I’ve authored guides to everything from skillets to stand mixers, and before that I toiled in restaurant, pastry, catering, and test kitchens for many years. As a young garde manger (cold appetizers and salad station) cook, I learned that maintaining my mixing bowls was as important as keeping my knives razor sharp.

We also interviewed Jürgen David, associate director of pastry arts at the International Culinary Center in New York City, and Sam Sifton, food editor for The New York Times (parent company of Wirecutter), for their educated opinions on the most important qualities of mixing bowls for both pro chefs and home cooks. And Wirecutter kitchen editor Marguerite Preston lent her expertise as a former professional pastry cook and fellow kitchen-gear expert.

Choosing between metal and glass mixing bowls

For this guide, we focused on bowls made from stainless steel and tempered glass. Both materials are heatproof and perfectly safe to place over a pot of simmering water to create a double boiler. They’re also nonreactive, meaning acidic foods like tomatoes, vinegar, and lemon juice won’t end up with a metallic taste. But stainless steel and tempered glass each have pros and cons.

Stainless steel is better if you:

  • want a durable bowl that won’t shatter and can stand up to the rigors of a hand mixer
  • need more and larger size options
  • want a lightweight mixing bowl you can easily hold one-handed
  • don’t put mixing bowls in the microwave
  • don’t need a bowl that can double as a serving piece

Tempered glass is better if you:

  • want a microwave-safe mixing bowl
  • want a bowl that can go from kitchen to table
  • don’t use a hand mixer
  • prefer heavier bowls
  • don’t need a bowl bigger than 4 quarts in capacity

Functionally, stainless steel offers more advantages than tempered glass. Glass bowls are much heavier and come in smaller size options than stainless steel ones. The largest bowl we found in a glass set measured 4 quarts (larger sizes, like this 6-quart tempered-glass bowl, are available open stock) but weighed almost double the 8-quart size from our top-pick stainless steel set. Also, let us reiterate that stainless steel bowls are the best vessels if you use a hand mixer. Every drop, tap, and spoon scrape weakens glass at a microscopic level. With that in mind, imagine how much a hand mixer’s whirring beaters can damage glass.

Tempered glass is heat-treated to be more durable and resistant to sudden temperature changes than regular soda-lime glass. If you drop a tempered-glass bowl, it won’t necessarily break (we’ve dropped our favorite drinking glasses onto a marble floor many times in a row without them breaking), but it’s still glass and not totally shatterproof. And, as we learned while researching food storage containers and drinking glasses, minor surface damage can, on rare occasions, cause tempered glass to spontaneously shatter down the road.

How we picked

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In deciding which mixing bowls to test, we immediately dismissed those made from plastic, silicone, or ceramic. Plastic bowls can’t function as a double boiler, while bendable silicone lacks sturdiness and can harbor off smells that may transfer to food. Ceramic bowls are pretty but also very heavy and prone to chipping along the rim. We also excluded stainless steel bowls with rubber-coated bottoms because, judging from our experience, the seam between the nonskid coating and the bowl can harbor bacteria and mold.

A great all-purpose mixing bowl is nonreactive and lightweight yet sturdy. Beyond that, we had a short and simple list of criteria for mixing bowls we wanted to test:

Efficient mixing, folding, beating, and tossing

A great mixing bowl has sloped sides that allow you to cleanly toss nuts or chopped veggies without utensils, has deep walls that contain splatters, and has a wide shape for folding delicate batters. Wide, shallow mixing bowls are great for folding and tossing, but they often can’t contain splashes from a hand mixer. Although deep and narrow bowls help contain ingredients when you’re using a hand mixer or vigorously whisking vinaigrette or cream, narrow bowls don’t allow for the wide range of motion needed to quickly fold whipped batters, and the extra mixing can deflate your end result.

Get a (good) grip

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If you’ve ever struggled to get a secure one-handed grip on a mixing bowl while scraping the last bit of cake batter into a pan, you understand the importance of a wide rim. The rim on a mixing bowl gives your fingers something to hook onto so you can easily pick up the bowl or hold it in place even when one of your hands is busy mixing, whisking, folding, or scraping. We prefer rims that jut straight out to the side with a rolled or slightly bent edge to help anchor your fingertips.

A bowl’s surface texture is also important. Glass and mirror-finish stainless steel can get slippery when your hands are greasy or wet. In our tests, we found that brushed stainless steel bowls added traction for fingertips.

Size options

Though we saw bowls ranging in capacity from 1 ounce to 20 quarts, the most common sizes for home cooks are between 1 and 8 quarts. For stainless steel bowls, we think a set of three with capacities of 3, 5, and 8 quarts is perfect for most home cooks. A 3-quart bowl is appropriate for small jobs like whisking dressings. A 5-quart bowl is the right size for whipping up cakes and cookies with a hand mixer. And a big 8-quart bowl is ideal for making potato salad, coleslaw, and stuffing.

Tempered glass is a different story: Most glass bowl sets max out at 4 quarts. But that isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker. A 4-quart bowl is plenty big for most home dinner prep and simple baking projects that don’t involve a hand mixer, and anything bigger can be too heavy. (For example, we dismissed this open-stock 6-quart bowl because it was too bulky to be a convenient, everyday kitchen tool.) Tempered-glass mixing bowls are a good option if you don’t do a lot of big-batch cooking or if you’re short on kitchen storage space and want a more attractive bowl that’s useful both in the kitchen and on your table.


A sturdy build and a flat base will keep your bowl in place while you mix. Glass and thicker-gauge stainless steel bowls are more stable because they’re heavier. And wider bases are less likely to wobble or tip. But Jürgen David of the International Culinary Center gave us a great tip to keep bowls stable: “Just stick it in a cake ring or a small pot to hold it in place.” A wok ring or a rolled-up dish towel tied into a circle works well, too.

How we tested

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We conducted the same tests on all the bowls. We first whipped up airy genoise cake batter, which allowed us to perform several important tasks in each bowl. The recipe for this classic French sponge requires cooking in a double boiler, high-speed whipping with a hand mixer (ignoring our own advice, we even did this in the glass bowls), and folding in sifted cake flour and melted butter at the end. We looked at how well each 4- to 5-quart bowl fit in a standard 2-quart saucepan for a double boiler, contained splatters from a hand mixer, and allowed for a broad range of motion when we folded ingredients. As we scraped batter into cake pans, we gauged how comfortable and manageable it was to hold each bowl in one hand.

To see how easily and cleanly we could toss together ingredients without the use of utensils, we tossed two cups each of Rice Chex and Wheat Chex together in 4-, 5-, and 8-quart bowls until they were incorporated. Then we checked for pieces of cereal on the floor and countertop.

In our top-performing bowls, we did a second hand mixer test: whipping cream. Since genoise cake batter is pretty viscous to begin with, we wanted to see how our favorite mixing bowls contained splashes from thinner liquids. The best way to mitigate splatters when using a hand mixer is to start slow and gradually build speed as your mixture thickens. But we wanted to see the worst-case scenario in terms of the bowl’s ability to contain ingredients, so we whipped the cream on high speed from beginning to end.

The best metal mixing bowls: Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set

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Our pick

Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls with Lids

The best stainless steel bowls

These deep metal bowls are ideal for containing rogue drips from spinning beaters and everyday mixing jobs.

Buying Options

$33 from Amazon

$33 from Walmart

The Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set is durable, attractive, versatile, and the best choice of all our picks if you use a hand mixer when you bake. They do a better job at containing splatters from the whirring beaters better than our also-great pick, the Thunder Group bowls. The Cuisinart bowls are also lightweight enough to easily hold with one hand and have tight-fitting lids for storing leftovers. But some folks might find the three-piece Cuisinart set limited in capacity with 1½-, 3-, and 5-quart sizes. If you frequently cook big batches—like pasta salad for 20 people—consider our also-great pick, the Thunder Group mixing bowls.

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We’re not saying that those who use hand mixers are the only folks who should get the Cuisinart set, just that if you frequently deploy an electric mixer for baking jobs, this is the best choice of our picks. The 5-quart Cuisinart bowl contains bits of food flung from the beaters better than the shallower Thunder Group ones. And as we stated earlier, glass weakens with each bump, scrape, and clank.

The Cuisinart bowls are durable enough to handle everyday use and abuse. We dropped them on the floor, tossed them in the sink, and subjected them to multiple cycles in the dishwasher on the “pots and pans” setting. And after all that, we never saw a single dent or rust spot.

In terms of aesthetics, the Cuisinart bowls are an objectively attractive set, much more so than the institutional-looking Thunder Group bowls. The Cuisinart bowls have a brushed finish that not only looks good but also provides texture that helps you get a good grip. That brushed metal, paired with the rolled-edge lip, helped us get a secure hold on the bowl with one hand while we scraped the last bit of cake batter into the pan.

The plastic lids included with the Cuisinart bowls snap snugly inside the lip. This feature makes the Cuisinart bowls good for transporting food for potlucks and storing leftovers in the fridge. We tested a similar-looking AmazonBasics set with lids that sat loosely in the bowl. They were leaky and would pop off if you knocked over or dropped the bowl.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

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We think the Cuisinart bowls are solid performers, but this set is limiting since the largest bowl measures only 5 quarts—enough room to mix batter for a standard layer cake or a batch of Toll House cookies but not to season 5 pounds of ground beef for a burger-themed party. The good news: you can always add larger bowls to your collection like the Thunder Group 8-quart and 13-quart sizes. The bad news: they won’t match. But if you get to the point where you need a 13-quart mixing bowl, you probably won’t care.

While the Cuisinart’s deeper, narrower shape is great for using a electric hand mixer, this design might prove to be a little tight for folding airy batters, like a souffle or genoise cake. Wider bowls allow for more range of motion, which lets you gently combine whipped eggs or cream with denser ingredients quicker, breaking as few air pockets as possible. That said, we had no problems with the resulting genoise cake layer we mixed in the Cuisinart bowl. While it wasn’t the tallest in the group (⅛ inch shorter than the cake we made in a Thunder Group bowl), anyone would be satisfied with the result.

The best glass bowls: Pyrex Smart Essentials 8-Piece Mixing Bowl Set

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Our pick

Pyrex Smart Essentials 8-Piece Mixing Bowl Set

The best glass mixing bowls

If you need all-purpose mixing bowls that are also microwave-safe, this durable tempered-glass set has all the functional sizes you need.

Buying Options

$39 from Wayfair

$32 from Walmart

$41 from Amazon

We like the Pyrex Smart Essentials 8-Piece Mixing Bowl Set because it includes the most practical sizes for mixing at the best price. The thick half-inch rim on these bowls made them easier for us to manage with one hand than other glass bowls we tested. And even though we don’t put a lot of importance on the included plastic snap-on lids, they are convenient for potlucks and leftovers. Next to the stainless steel variety, these Pyrex bowls are much heavier, but if you’re looking for microwave-safe mixing bowls, they’re the best choice for the money.

This eight-piece set includes four bowls of different sizes: 1, 1½, 2½, and 4 quarts. The other four pieces are the snap-on lids. In comparing this set with the others we tested, we found the Pyrex sizes most useful. The Duralex set maxed out at 3½ quarts, and the 10-piece Luminarc set included tiny pinch bowls that weren’t practical for mixing. For a straightforward mixing bowl set without clutter-making excess, Pyrex fits the bill.

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In our tests, Pyrex’s 4-quart bowl outperformed Duralex’s paltry 3½-quart size (the largest in that set). The Pyrex bowl was roomy enough for us to whip up a lofty cake batter and quickly fold in flour, while the Duralex bowl’s smaller capacity required us to use more strokes to get the flour completely incorporated, and that extra work resulted in a deflated cake.

Of all the tempered-glass bowls we tested, the Pyrex bowls were the easiest to hold securely because of their thick rims. As on our stainless steel picks, the rims jut out perpendicular from the lip, extending about half an inch from the bowl. The other two glass bowl sets we tested were awkward to grip because of a wide collar that extended down the side of the bowl but stuck out no more than a quarter inch.

We think a lot of folks will find the Pyrex set’s snap-on lids handy. They’re brightly colored with large, easy-to-read embossed numbers denoting the bowl they fit, and they make it easy to tote potluck dishes or to store leftovers. (We’re not huge fans of putting bowls in the refrigerator, however, because they’re space hogs. For something more practical, check out our guide to food storage containers.)

We’d be remiss if we didn’t remind you that glass bowls are heavy, much more so than stainless steel. The 4-quart bowl from this Pyrex set weighs almost 4½ pounds, over 3 pounds more than the 8-quart size from Thunder Group, our top metal-bowl pick. And we don’t think glass bowls are ideal to use with a hand mixer because the spinning beaters can scratch or damage the glass, making it more vulnerable to sudden breakage. That said, if you want a mixing bowl set that’s microwave-safe and attractive enough to pull double duty as serving pieces, the Pyrex set is a solid choice.

The Pyrex Smart Essentials 8-Piece Mixing Bowl Set comes with a two-year limited warranty that covers manufacturing defects but excludes “incidental and consequential damages.” We’re pretty sure that’s legalese for accidents and misuse.

Also great: Thunder Group Standard Weight Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls

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Also great

Thunder Group Standard Weight Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls

Lightweight, reliable bowls in many sizes

Cheap and durable, these lightweight mixing bowls are sold individually so you can assemble your perfect set.

Buying Options

$9 from Amazon

$10 from Walmart

May be out of stock

If the bowls in the Cuisinart set are too small for your needs and you want to assemble your own set, we recommend the Thunder Group Standard Weight Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls. These commercial bowls are mainstays in restaurant kitchens because they’re cheap, durable, and available in nine sizes (up to 20 quarts). They’re wider and shallower than the Cuisinart set, which means they won’t contain splashes from vigorous whisking or hand-mixer beaters as effectively, but they’re still useful for any other mixing job.

If you can find these bowls at a restaurant-supply store, they are super cheap, costing only a few bucks apiece. Unfortunately, the cost of shipping mostly negates those savings when you buy these bowls online: Webstaurant, the most reliable online retailer we found, charges at least $20 to ship items to a residential address. With that added fee, a set of three or four bowls will cost around the same as our top pick, which we think is still a good deal. But we realize that many people will balk at paying twice as much for shipping as for the actual set of bowls, no matter what the total cost is. If it weren't for that, these are versatile enough that they would have been our top pick. And if you don’t mind the shipping, they’re a great choice, especially if you want a bigger set.

One of the best things about the Thunder Group bowls is that they’re available open stock. This gives you the freedom to build a set that’s perfect for your needs. Or, if you already have a collection of mixing bowls but need a bigger one for large batches, these are a great option because they’re inexpensive and lightweight.

The gently sloped sides and wide shape of Thunder Group’s design are ideal for techniques that require a wide range of motion, such as whisking and folding. The genoise cake we made in the 5-quart Thunder Group bowl was the loftiest we made in our tests. All that area was crucial for folding ingredients into our airy batter without it deflating.

We never lost our grip while mixing, tossing, and folding in the Thunder Group bowls. That’s because they are light and have a wide lip with a rolled edge that provided a secure anchor for our fingertips, even with less-than-dry hands. Less heft helps you hold the bowl with one hand while you scrape the last bit of batter into a cake pan or scoop cookie dough. And a low weight is especially important for larger capacity bowls. 10 quarts of food is unwieldy on its own without the extra ounces a thick-gauged metal bowl will add.

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The Thunder Group bowls are “standard weight,” but we found that term to be pretty loose regarding the thickness of the steel. Along with the Thunder Group pieces, we tested standard-weight versions of restaurant-style mixing bowls from Finedine, Vollrath, and Winco, and we found differences in the gauge of each brand. The Finedine and Winco bowls were thin and easily dented. The Vollrath and Thunder Group bowls were about identical in quality, but the latter cost less.

The competition

Our former pick, the Tramontina ProLine stainless steel bowls, are no longer available online at Costco and more than doubled in price at other retailers. We still think they’re great bowls: sturdy, deep yet wide, and available in the most useful sizes. They contain splashes from an electric hand mixer wide enough for you to quickly fold airy batters. This set is a great deal if you can find it at a decent price, say $25. But we’ve had trouble finding them consistently in stock anywhere since the middle of 2018, and it’s unclear if Costco will put them online again.

The Williams-Sonoma Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls are available open stock and in sets (of three and five pieces). They’re wide and come in useful sizes, but they’re also very expensive, and they don’t perform any better than the Thunder Group bowls.

This set from AmazonBasics looks like a carbon copy of our also-great pick, the Cuisinart stainless steel bowls. But the Amazon set doesn’t hold a candle to Cuisinart’s quality. The bowls feel flimsy and the lids fit loosely inside the rims.

Tovolo’s stainless steel mixing bowls are deep, available in practical sizes, and attractive. But the open-stock Tovolo bowls are almost twice the price of our top pick currently, and in our tests we noticed rust developing around the rim after we washed them.

This set of three stainless steel bowls from Tovolo costs less than the company’s open-stock mixing bowls, and we like the ring on the side for hanging them from a hook. But these bowls dent easily, and we expect rust will develop around the site where the ring is attached.

A Cook’s Illustrated pick, the Vollrath economy stainless steel mixing bowls, are good and durable restaurant-supply bowls. You can also find sets of either three or five Vollrath bowls available on Amazon, which isn’t the case for the Thunder Group bows. However, neither set had the ideal sizes. The five-piece set runs from medium to tiny, with the largest bowl being only 5 quarts. The three-piece set includes a 4-quart and a 5-quart bowl, two very similar sizes. We’d prefer a wider variety of bowls, including a couple bigger sizes, and for that you’ll need to turn to Webstaurant, where the Thunder Group bowls are a better deal for similar quality.

Winco’s standard-weight mixing bowls are thin and flimsy. We found that the bottom popped in and out with the slightest pressure from a spoon or whisk.

It’s surprising to us that the Finedine mixing bowl set is an Amazon best seller at this writing because these bowls were the thinnest, flimsiest ones we brought in to test. We disqualified this set out of the box because three of the six bowls arrived with dents.

The Luminarc 10-piece tempered-glass mixing bowl set has a lot of bloat, consisting of 10 bowls. Our glass pick, the Pyrex set, has four. The four largest sizes in the Luminarc set are practical for mixing, while the others are best used only as prep bowls. We also found the rim of the Luminarc bowls awkward to grip.

We suspected that, at 3½ quarts, the largest bowl of the 10 in this Duralex set would be too small, and we were right. The cake batter we made in this bowl deflated the most due to the extra work required to fold in the flour and butter.


  1. Jurgen David, associate director of pastry arts at the International Culinary Center in New York City, in-person interview, November 8, 2017

  2. Sam Sifton, food editor at The New York Times (Wirecutter’s parent company), in-person interview, November 8, 2017

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