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Tackle Holiday Baking with These Top-Rated Essentials

We’re in the season for all kinds of sweets, from decadent cakes to classic cookies. And to make sure all your holiday baking projects go off without a hitch, there are a few key pieces of equipment you’ll need. Trust in our winning pans to give you attractive and evenly browned baked goods. Turn to our favorite cookie scoop and compact spatula to make sure every cookie in your batch is picture-perfect. And if you’re transporting your treats to a party, you can rely on our top-rated carriers to make sure they get there safe and sound.

In need of a few cookie recipes that are guaranteed to impress during the holidays and beyond? Our new release The Perfect Cookie is a beautiful hardcover edition featuring more than 250 recipes, covering every type of cookie, brownie, and bar imaginable. We’ve also included test kitchen tips and tricks throughout, as our editors share 25 years of cookie-making knowledge.

Tackle Holiday Baking with These Top-Rated Essentials
Chicago Metallic Set of 4 Mini Loaf Pans
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Highly Recommended
Chicago Metallic Set of 4 Mini Loaf Pans

This set of pans aced all of our tests, producing loaves with beautifully even browning and tall, pronounced doming. Its squared-off corners also ensured precise, attractive edges. 

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$11.99
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Recommended
MARCATO Biscuit Maker

This cookie press produced well-defined cookies with ease, and it produced mostly uniform designs even when the dough was warmed to 75 degrees. A toggle that lets you switch from smaller to larger cookies sometimes got in the way; we accidentally knocked it from time to time, making our cookies suddenly change size. This machine’s many moving parts do require a small learning curve, but the payoff—visually appealing cookies with minimal fuss—and the press’s excellent durability are worth it.

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$42.00
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Prepworks Collapsible Party Carrier
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Highly Recommended
Prepworks Collapsible Party Carrier

A smaller version of our favorite cake carrier, this collapsible plastic tote expanded to accommodate even our tallest Mile-High Lemon Meringue Pie. Its large, nonskid base held 8-, 9-, and 10-inch pies perfectly in place, even on bumpy car rides. A bonus: It comes with two molded inserts for deviled eggs, one of which can be flipped upside down and used as a second tier for transporting two shorter pies at once. Its one slight fault: The latches took a little finessing to secure properly.

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$23.81
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Progressive Collapsible Cupcake and Cake Carrier
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Highly Recommended
Progressive Collapsible Cupcake and Cake Carrier

Comfortable handles and a sturdy locking system, coupled with its collapsible design for easier storage guaranteed the top spot. It can fit either 9-inch round or square layer cakes, or up to 24 cupcakes (with an included insert).

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$29.95
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Highly Recommended
Nordic Ware Baker’s Half Sheet

Everything prepared in this sturdy, warp-resistant sheet cooked appropriately and evenly. Best of all, our new favorite is a few bucks cheaper than our old winner.

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$14.97
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Nordic Ware ­Naturals Nonstick 9-Inch Round Cake Pan
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Highly Recommended
Nordic Ware ­Naturals Nonstick 9-Inch Round Cake Pan

Solidly built, with light gold nonstick coating, this pan produced tall, fluffy, level cakes. Layers shaped up perfectly, no matter how the pan was greased. Upside-down cake and pizza released and browned well, but cinnamon buns were too pale.

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$14.32
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Winco Revolving Cake Decorating Stand
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Highly Recommended
Winco Revolving Cake Decorating Stand

This stand was tall, providing excellent visibility and comfort. It was solid but light, and its surface and base were attached. This made it easy to carry but also meant it couldn’t be submerged in water (although we did just to see what would happen; it still spun perfectly). It rotated quickly and smoothly yet stopped precisely where we asked it to, and it had three shallow circles etched onto its surface for easy centering.

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$29.98
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OXO Good Grips Bent Icing Knife
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Highly Recommended
OXO Good Grips Bent Icing Knife

From handle to tip, this spatula was sized right. The 6.5-inch blade was sturdy but nimble, and testers made quick work of icing cakes with all types of frosting. It also felt exceptionally comfortable in hand, thanks to an easy-to-grip rubber-coated handle.

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$9.99
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Highly Recommended
OXO Good Grips Large Cookie Scoop

Featuring grippy rubberized handles and an inner spring with just the right amount of resistance, this portion scoop was very comfortable to hold and squeeze. It also dispensed dough with the neatest and most controlled motion.

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$14.97
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J.K. Adams Plain Maple Rolling Dowel
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Highly Recommended
J.K. Adams Plain Maple Rolling Dowel

This pin capably handled dough for pie, cookies, pizza, and yeasted rolls, with gentle weight and a slightly textured surface that holds a dusting of flour for less sticking. Its long, straight shape made achieving even dough thickness and rolling out larger disks easy.

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$13.95
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Highly Recommended
Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch Nonstick Pie Dish

This golden-hued metal plate baked crusts beautifully without overbrowning; even bottom crusts emerged crisp and flaky. Additionally, we liked this plate’s nonfluted lip, which allowed for maximum crust-crimping flexibility. One minor drawback: The metal surface is susceptible to cuts and nicks, but we found that this didn’t affect its performance.

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$18.95
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All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.

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