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How to Get Your Kitchen Ready for the Holiday Baking Season

Updated December 3, 2019
Rolling pin, cookie scoop, baking mat, cooling rack, dough scraper, cookie dough, pot holder, spatula, butter, vanilla, measuring cups, measuring spoons, baking pan, cookie cutters, tubes of frosting
This is the year you’ll be ready for anything in the kitchen.
No more late-night, last-minute trips to the store for a cookie sheet; or “guesstimating” a tablespoon or a teaspoon; or realizing halfway through baking that you used expired baking powder. With a quick check of your inventory and our handy lists of essential tools and ingredients, this holiday season, you can stock up on everything you need to go from baking novice to kitchen ninja in no time.

With cookie-baking season in full swing, the only thing better than actually eating all the cookies is being fully prepared in your home kitchen to bake them. Lucky for everyone, we have the inside scoop on all the tips and tools you need to get your kitchen ready for the holiday baking season this year—so you can spend less time looking high and low for that long-lost set of measuring cups and more time making Christmas cookie baking a tradition worth remembering.

Step 1: Make a Checklist

First things first: Let’s talk about what baking tools are essential for the holiday season. We welcome all types of treats to our dessert tables, but for efficiency’s sake, let’s focus our efforts on cookie baking gear. Here’s what we recommend having on hand:

Write out this list on a sheet of scratch paper so you can refer to it and take notes as you take inventory (Hint: That’s our next step!).

Making a list

As far as ingredients go, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have enough basic ingredients to keep your cookie-baking game strong. Here’s what we recommend always having at the ready:

  • Pillsbury™ refrigerated cookie dough
  • Flour
  • Powdered sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Vanilla extract
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Sprinkles and colored sugars
  • Cookie icing
  • Food coloring

Feel free to write this list on a sheet of scratch paper, too, so you can take notes as you reorganize.

Step 2: Take Inventory

The calendar might say it’s a little too early for resolutions, but there’s no time like the present to take a few minutes to reorganize your kitchen gear and stock up on basic ingredients. To start, empty out any cabinets, drawers or pantry shelves that contain baking gear and ingredients (don’t forget to check the fridge, too!). Lay everything you own out on a large surface, such as a kitchen island or the floor, and take note of everything you have (psst—now’s a great time to look at those sheets of scratch paper). Cross off or draw a checkmark next to each baking tool or ingredient you already have so you know you don’t need to stock up on any more.

Flour, pot holder, spatula, butter, vanilla, measuring cups, measuring spoons, baking pans, cookie cutters, tubes of frosting, paper, pen

Expert tip: Take this opportunity to take note of the quality of your baking gear and ingredients. Throw out any expired ingredients, and if that cookie sheet of yours looks like it’s been through several generations of cookie bakers, consider gifting yourself a new one this year.

Step 3: Organize (and Optimize) Your Baking Gear

Before you put back everything you’ve decided to keep, consider the best ways to store your gear and ingredients to keep them in top shape all season long. For example, if you’ve got a designated drawer for small baking tools, insert drawer organizers so you can find them more easily. Store dry ingredients—such as flour and sugar—in clear-sided, airtight storage containers so they stay fresh and you can get a quick visual cue of what you have in your pantry. Don’t forget to label them, too, so you know exactly what’s in each container without having to play the guessing game.

Containers of flour, sugar, and powdered sugar, a 13x9 in baking pan, with a sharpie

Expert tip: Use a permanent marker to write the dimensions on the undersides of your baking pans and cookie sheets for easy reference (don’t forget to measure them, first!). This trick works great for any pans you have in your kitchen such as cake pans, sheet pans and casserole dishes—not just those used for cookie baking.

Step 4: Stock Up on New Essential Baking Gear

Now for the fun part—stocking up on all the gear you need! Identify those gaps in your checklist and purchase any essential gear or ingredients you need or anticipate using in the holiday baking season. Think about how much or how often you bake, and consider purchasing more than one type of tool (such as cookie sheets or cooling racks) so you have enough to carry the load of your baking bonanzas.

If you’re an avid baker and you’ve got some extra room in your kitchen, you might want to sneak in a few bonus items that make cookie-baking even more of a breeze. Here are just a few of our favorite finds from the baking department:

Rolling pin, cookie scoop, baking mat, cooling rack, dough scraper

Silicone baking mat: This silicone mat helps you make the perfect cookies! With 13 evenly spaced indents and ring templates, you can place and bake equal-sized cookie dough balls on the fiberglass mesh mat—like a reusable sheet of parchment paper—and they’ll consistently turn out evenly baked, round and browned.

Dough scraper: A handy dough scraper helps get every last bit out of the mixing bowl so you’ll never have any wasted cookie dough (hoo hoo!). We love plastic ones with curved edges for best results, and bonus: They work wonders for pizza and bread dough, cake batter and frosting, too!

Adjustable rolling pin: This adjustable rolling pin has removable discs on either side in various widths by fractions of an inch, so you can roll your cookie dough to the perfect uniform thickness.

1-inch cookie scoop: For perfectly round cookie dough balls, the developers in the Pillsbury Kitchens use cookie scoops! This small and nifty tool helps to scoop and shape dough balls of the exact same size, too, so you have picture-perfect cookies once baked.

Folding cooling grid: For those big-batch baking days when you’re planning to cool several dozen cookies at once, this collapsible, multi-tiered cooling rack stacks up high to save the day.

Let’s Get Baking!

Now that your pantries, cabinets, drawers and fridges are completely prepped and ready for the holiday season, let’s kick things off the right way—by baking, of course! Our delicious recipes for Christmas cookies, candies and bars are the perfect way to spark joy in your newly organized kitchen and are fully Doughboy-approved.