How Many Mixing Bowls Do You Need Exactly?

Photos from Pixabay

Bowls are not only good for mixing ingredients and foods; they can do much more. That should guide you on how many of them to have in your kitchen.

One of the most essential and utilized kitchen implement in the house is a mixing bowl.  We do a lot of food preparation using bowls, and it might have crossed your mind just how many do you really need. Although it is good to have many of them, it is more important to make our kitchen not depend solely on the number of mixing bowls that we have. Efficiency in the kitchen is not measured by how many of a kitchen implement you have, but how to use them to your advantage.

How many mixing bowls do you need exactly? According to home-based chefs, you need only four types of bowl in the kitchen.  They are a stainless steel bowl, a glass bowl, a copper bowl, and a wooden bowl.  At least have one of each type. How much work you do in the kitchen, and if cooking is a passion, then maybe you need more.

01 Stainless Steel Bowl

02 Glass Bowl

03 Copper Bowl

04 Wooden Bowl

Choosing the right stuff for your home involves some forethought, research, and planning. That is even more important when buying appliances, gadgets, tools, and equipment for your kitchen. We’re talking about food handling, preparation, cooking, and baking.  And there’s the business of cleaning up, maintenance, and repair.

One of the kitchen implements often used in food preparation and cooking, and an important one at that is the bowl. The mixing bowl specifically is the one mostly used for preparing and mixing food and ingredients.  

Would you do most of the preparation and cooking,  or would you have a trusted food caterer do it for you? Or would you rather take your family and friends to a well-known and fancy restaurant? Whatever alternatives you have in mind, these are some of the questions you musk ask yourself in deciding how many mixing bowls you should have.

How many mixing bowls one decides to have in the kitchen depends on how big the family is, how often and how much cooking is done, how frequently they entertain guests and hold parties, how many special occasions they celebrate, and a lot of other reasons unique to the family. In essence, the more members in the family and the bigger their social circles are, the more mixing bowls they may probably need or maybe bigger bowls.

Ideally and more importantly, every home kitchen should at least have one bowl for each type of material.  From there, you can decide whether to get different sizes or more than one of each type.  It should depend on the kind of preparation and cooking you do most of the time.

Let’s get to know the four types of mixing bowls based on the materials they are made of. 

Public Domain photo from Pixabay

Stainless steel bowls are lightweight and sturdy, which makes it perfect for cooking. It feels good on the hands and can easily be handled to fit your food preparation and cooking style. It can handle knocks and bumps, will not break, or chip, and does not absorb odor, or get stained.

For added flexibility, get stainless steel bowls that sit steadily or be put on top of another bowl, such as a saucepan, without touching the bottom. That setup is a hack for having a double boiler from your existing kitchenware. The stainless steel bowls offer a lot of other uses besides the more obvious ones. Cooking aficionados definitely will have some bright ideas for cooking innovations in the kitchen with the use of stainless steel bowls.

Photo by Pexels from Pixabay

Glass bowls, particularly those designed for microwave cooking, is definitely an excellent addition to anyone’s collection of mixing bowls. They are non-conductive.

Settle for one made of tempered glass, which makes it shatter-proof and heat-proof. Better to have a set of different sizes and stackable to save up on space when not in use. For mixing ingredients, like salads or doughs, use the bigger ones. For vinaigrettes, dressings, and sauces, use the small or medium-sized ones. For the smaller bowls, use them for segregating or collecting ingredients to be used in your cooking. Stackable ones can be set up as double boilers, as well.

Photo by Mrnjaav fromPixabay

With the emphasis on proper nutrition and health as regards cooking and the food we eat, vegetable salads garnished with healthy grains, seeds, and spices will surely up the ante for the nutrition index of your cooking. And preparing your vegetable salad in a wooden bowl is sometimes a better option. If used exclusively for vegetables, the wooden bowls’ ability to retain odors and flavors is actually a good thing here.  Just make sure that it is used only for vegetables.  Wooden bowls are available in different wood finishes such as acacia, bamboo, cork, and olive wood. Wooden bowls cannot be cleaned in a dishwasher. Hand wash them instead.

Photo by Stevebidmead from Pixabay

Having a copper bowl, or a set of copper bowls will round up your list of mixing bowls that any kitchen should have. Specifically, whipping eggs on a copper bowl is good because of the beneficial chemical reaction that takes place with copper ions.  The sheen and distinctive color of copper lend a classic counterpoint to any kitchen, adding a classical ambiance. However, copper bowls are expensive, so you may get the smaller ones.

Before going further, this is a good time to know a little about the difference between metal and steel.

Why Stainless Steel is Sometimes Referred to as Metal

Firstly, steel is an alloy or mixture of different naturally-occurring elements (not man-made), specifically, iron (an element) and carbon (a non-metallic element) metals.  Other elements are added to produce different kinds of steel for specific usage or application. The combined metals account for the steel’s strength and toughness, or hardness.

Stainless steel is one of those types of steel. The element or metal chromium, the main component, is added to the steel alloy to make it stainless steel.  Other metals that may be added to stainless steel to infuse desired properties for different applications are aluminum, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, and vanadium. 

Chromium is good at resisting rust or corrosion; nickel is usually added to enhance that resistance, while molybdenum provides resistance against scarring or localized rusting.  The stainless steel’s structure and properties are further improved with the inclusion of copper, titanium, and vanadium.

In essence, this is a sort of technical description of stainless steel as a material for stainless steel bowls and other kitchen and cooking implements. For casual, everyday conversation, referring to stainless steel as metal is acceptable. We now know that it’s alright to describe a stainless steel bowl as a metal bowl.  After all, it is a kind of steel, which is a material invented by man using the metal element iron and non-metal element carbon, with chromium and other metallic elements further added.

Bowls Made of Other Materials Also for the Kitchen and the Dining Table

The four types of bowls discussed above are the bowls that any home kitchen should essentially have.  But these food containers do come in other materials, and have certain advantages and uses to boot. 


A ceramic bowl that is about the same size as a stainless steel or copper bowl will weigh heavier.  But that is the advantage of using a ceramic bowl when you want it to stay steady and not move around as you stir or process your ingredients. There are microwave or oven-safe versions of it that make it more versatile. Ceramic bowls usually come in more colorful and decorative styles.  That makes it perfect for serving purposes and can add color, good vibes, and personality to your kitchen. 


Plastic bowls for food preparation and serving may be quite out of favor in this age of more versatile and heat-resistant materials like stainless steel, tempered glass, copper, and silicone.

However, its lightweight, durability, and affordability are qualities that make it right for mixing and tossing salads, grains, seeds, and other similar ingredients. For picnics and other outdoor informal activities, it will be one of the preferred types of food containers to bring along and use. 


A recent addition to material options in kitchen gadgets, silicone can withstand high temperature, is non-stick, quite flexible, and easy to maintain. It comes in a variety of colors.  It can handle high temperature making them usable in the microwave and can be cleaned in a dishwasher. Being a flexible material, a silicone bowl’s side can be pinched for a temporary ‘pouring spout’ to quickly pour its contents, especially liquid, to another container.

Ways the Mixing Bowls Can Be Much More Than Just “Mixing Bowls”

The Mixing Bowl can be versatile as a kitchen container when you imagine that for its size, it can also do a lot of other kitchen tasks besides mixing.  To make the most out of it, do not limit its capabilities based on its mere label, for mixing.  What else can it be good for, aside from mixing?  Here are other ways your mixing bowls can steal the limelight.

FOOD AND INGREDIENT STORAGE: A mixing bowl with a lid as the cover can be a good substitute for a food storage container.  It can be refrigerated or left on the kitchen counter if the food inside is not perishable. If it does not have a matching cover, improvise one by using a big enough plastic bag or a shallow sided container that can be placed temporarily over the top as a cover.

FOOD SERVING CONTAINER ON THE DINING TABLE: If the bowl size and shape is right, it can serve as a container or holder for some viands or food items. A suitable serving spoon should be placed beside it.

DECORATIVE PIECE ON THE KITCHEN TOP:  Kitchen cabinets are designed with aesthetics considered.  Top and base cabinets can have door cabinets or not. So, place the good-looking, attractive ones in the open shelves, or the ones with glass doors where it can be viewed even with closed cabinet doors. Depending on the kitchen design, there may be overhangs or suspended shelves where the nice-looking ones can also be showcased.

DECORATIVE PIECE ON THE DINNER TABLE: This is where having at least two of a certain size of Mixing Bowl can work, most probably the medium or large-size would look good.  Just have the mixing bowls function as the serving containers for the two main recipes, it will seem like part of the design scheme for the dining table, a sort of tablescape. This will look nicer on a rectangular or elliptical dining table than on a circular-shaped one.

Deciding How Many Mixing Bowls You Need

For every type of Mixing Bowl that you have in your kitchen, you would rarely need only one size for each. For example, it may be enough to have one large stainless steel mixing bowl. But sometimes some work you do for preparation and cooking will require a different size of mixing bowl. Preparing a meal for the whole family, for extra guests at dinner, or a big party definitely would require a different size for each.

Yes, there may be a workaround to make the only size you have to be enough for all situations.  But that may be less efficient, more difficult to do, more tiring and tedious, and may potentially make the activity less enjoyable, which it should not be.  

Preparing a meal for the whole family, for extra guests at dinner, or a big party definitely would require a different size for each. Yes, there may be a workaround to make the only size you have to be enough for all situations.  But that may be less efficient, more difficult to do, more tiring and tedious, and may potentially make the activity less enjoyable, which it should not be.  

According to knowledgeable home chefs, gourmets, and folks who enjoy cooking and have discovered for themselves little “gems” of advice to help others, here’s what they say. 

Primarily, three sizes for at least the four main types of mixing bowls will cover most of your food and kitchen activities. Those three sizes should be a large size, a middle size, and a small size. Do remember that each one of them can be used not only for mixing.  Keep in mind they are just labels, and don’t let it stop you from imagining other ways it can be used.  Do not forget to factor in the restrictions as per material, such as heat resistance and the effect of caustic ingredients, to cite a few.

From large to small mixing bowls, let us know more about the other kinds of bowls, the smaller ones. These are the bowls used on the dining table, for food serving and eating. This time, every member of the household must be familiar with each type.

Soup Bowls

Probably the most used and versatile bowl present during a meal, it is not surprising since soup is a common item in a complete meal or menu. A diner should not have more than a single bowl of soup lest he ends up too full to enjoy the rest of the foods.

Most people not only have soup on this bowl but also prefer to use one for other food items, which may be out of habit. Or it could be the most familiar, sort of a “go-to” kind of bowl. It’s the one that has the right size and versatility to let you enjoy an optimum quantity of any food you happen to crave for at that moment, without making you too full.  Some bowls come with matching soup spoons.

Salad Bowls

Salad bowls are also gaining popularity with the growing health and wellness mindset happening in many parts of the world. Usually, with a broader rim to make mixing and tossing salad ingredients better, it is common to see ones made of wood or glass where the explosion of different vegetable colors would look more eye-catching and palatable.

Rice Bowls

Social media plays a significant role in bringing not only in our consciousness but also on our dining tables different kinds of foods, mostly exotic ones, from other cultures and countries across the globe. Rice bowls are used in countries where the main food staple is the grain called rice paired with viands such as bite-sized pork, beef, chicken, veggies and fish. The shape is reminiscent of a boat, and often includes chopsticks or variants of it. Designs meant for the international market are also available, with subtle Asian overtones to fit a broader taste.

Cereal Bowls

A cereal bowl is a round food container open at the top used to hold cereal.  It comes mostly in glass, ceramic, or melamine versions. With other material choices available, there is also the extra-large cereal bowl size for those who want a bigger cereal bowl.

Storage Bowls

Storage bowls are used to store foods, leftover meals, extra ingredients, and other foodstuffs that must be kept in the refrigerator.  Grains, cereal, and other similar food can also be placed in it and stored under room temperature, that is, without the need to refrigerate them. A storage bowl comes with its own lid that fits well to protect the food from exposure and contaminants, from ants and other insects.

Dip Bowls

A dip bowl is one of those ingenious inventions or variations of the standard dish for eating food, especially today, where we spend hours in front of a laptop or desktop to have fun or do some work. Of course, you need to have a paper towel and a hand sanitizer to clean your hands when touching your keyboard.

The dip bowl is designed with a wide, elongated oval for the top, open-end, and a much smaller base for a steeper slope from the top rim.  This shape allows you to pour in less dip into it and yet have a deeper level of it. The advantage is that you simply dip your chip in it, and have at most three-fourths of it coated with the dip, and not to have to swish it around.

Quite different in shape compared to the other bowls, it could be great for other uses such as serving fondue on it, an oriental dish with toppings, or a close substitute for a dessert bowl.

Candy Bowls

Candy bowls come in a variety of bowl shapes and can be so decorative that it will look good as an accent piece on any tabletop, whether on the console table, living room coffee table, or side table. Sometimes called nut bowls, place different kinds of nuts in it such as almonds, cashews, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, with raisins as well.  The look will be a complete contrast to the attractive, colorful candy treats, that of neutral colors, or different shades and textures of browns with accents of black from raisins.

Pasta Bowls

A lot of people adore Italian food. Pasta is one of them because of the various kinds of sauce and cheese that can be served with it. Probably the bowl in this group with the lowest profile, or height of the side or rim, it is also one that any pasta-loving family should have in their kitchen. There are many kinds of pasta noodles such as angel hair, fettuccine, gnocchi, linguine, penne, rigatoni, and vermicelli. The pasta bowl is certainly the perfect bowl to enjoy them, both visually and gastronomically.

Decorative Bowl

The decorative bowl is indeed a bowl but does not tie in with this group meant for food containers.  However, other bowls for food can double as decorative pieces. Think of decorative, accent pieces placed on top of the dining table for festive occasions such as a wedding reception or a birthday bash. So, it makes perfect sense to include it in any setting for food enjoyment. Such occasions can benefit from visual enhancements to create a better ambiance and dining experience.

During the holiday season, homemakers get creative and use colorful fruits, foodstuff with attractive packaging and place them on containers such as a bowl. That not only makes an eye-catching and fitting festive dining table accent, or a charming décor on the bar counter, it creates positive vibes and personality in your home.

In the present…thinking…and gearing up for future possibilities

It all started with a simple question: how many mixing bowls would be advisable for any household to have? But thinking deeper on the question, there are a lot of diverse user requirements and preferences that will lead to an answer that may depend entirely on each one of us.

So, we have the necessary information. And here are our thoughts at the end of all the information we have gathered, superficially as it may be, but enough to make a simple choice.

The number of mixing bowls that will work best for most families will depend on what their choice of material is for it, considering how well it suits their cooking requirements. 

That leaves the choice of stainless steel.  It may not be “the best” but it is definitely the best among our available options.

  • Wooden bowls cannot handle the high temperature.
  • Glass bowls are suitable for mixing ingredients and can be used for microwave cooking. But the microwave is not the best or ideal way to cook food. It does quite a passable job at heating and reheating food, but mostly the food becomes dried out. It cannot cook as well as an electric or gas oven, a cooktop, or an induction cooker.
  • A copper bowl is expensive. Copper as a material is reactive, which can either be good or not so good, depending on what you put in it, and the ensuing chemical reaction.

Whether to get a set of mixing bowls or not, it depends entirely on your requirements.

As to the microwave oven, most agree that they would rather use an oven for serious and quality cooking.  The microwave’s main advantage is that it is quick to cook in it, but there are foods and recipes it cannot cook.

Setting our sights to future possibilities, the steam oven is a promising technology as it can cook foods perfectly, in less time, does not require preheating and defrosting. You can still retain your microwave for quick cooking though.

Another kind of cooktop still in the making is the RF oven, available in a few years. Information on the Internet indicates that it will have many cutting-edge advantages that can surpass other existing ones. We will eagerly wait and see.

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