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Mixing bowls


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My medium size plastic mixing bowls are beginning to wear out - the insides are getting fuzzy from too many trips through the dishwasher or too much scrubbing. However they have given long service, but I'm now faced with getting replacements, as the originals (I think from Lakeland) are no longer made.

Which briings me to my question and the need for help from fellow EGers. Too many choices:

What sort of mixing bowls should I get? This is for heavy amateur/semi pro use. We have granite worksurfaces in the kitchen.

Plastic (light, cheap, durable but wear out after 10 years; dont react well to getting too near the stove)

Metal (Stainless I guess, but they feel tinny)

China (heavy, and break)

Glass/Pyrex/Duralex (sometimes break)

Round or flat bottom?

Optimum sizes?

What is your favourite bowl - say the one you reach for to beat eggs in?

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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I have a set of three nesting Pyrex bowls (a very pretty green) that I truly love. I bought them when first married so that would be 17 years ago. They still look brand new.

They're flat-bottomed but the bottom is small enough in relationship to the top diameter to seem almost rounded. (Well, round enough that they can stand in for a pudding bowl!)

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I have a myriad of mixing bowls in my kitchen. I'm not a preofessional & I run my own cake business on the side of my FT job. I have a nesting set of Stainless w/lids that I love - great for storing icing too, a set of nesting Pyrex which I always forget that I have, a set of nesting pottery bolws that weigh a ton, but I've had them for at least 15 years & they're great for heavy bread doughs & such & I also have a nesting set of plastic bowls with rubber grips on the bottom & pour spouts. I am always reaching for the plastic ones. Always.

Rock is dead. Long live paper & scissors!
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I use three sets of mixing bowls, because different bowls are better for different jobs. I have one set of three melamine bowls with relatively straight sides, pour spouts and rubber nonskid rings. These are incredibly versatile and durable (have had for 11 years and they still look quite good after many trips through the dishwasher), and if I could only have one set of bowls this is the one I'd keep. I also have a set of three very heavy gauge stainless mixing bowls. I agree that most stainless bowls sold to consumers are flimsy, but there are heavier, thicker, better ones available at the upscale retailers and professional suppliers. Mine are from Williams-Sonoma. Finally, I have three attractive white-and-green ceramic bowls, because sometimes I want to mix and serve in the same bowl and because they provide excellent insulation (hot stuff stays hot, cold stays cold -- important in some applications).

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
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The heavy, deep, stainless bowls sold at Costco or Sam's Club are excellent. The newer ones even have a rubber ring around the bottom that makes them non-skid.

The large set has 6 bowls from small to huge. I reccomend them heartily for general kitchen work whether homemaker or pro. They can take a beating, do not dent easily, even with being dropped on a concrete patio and clean up easily.

The wider, shallower (thinner and less expensive) bowls in stainless also have their uses. The larger ones are great for mixing salads in big batches, and for nesting smaller bowls in crushed ice. I get them at Star Restaurance supply (starkitchens.com) because they tend to "walk away" at neighborhood gatherings and I don't want to lose expensive ones.

I also have a set of the melamine type bowls - bright orange - made in Denmark by Rosti which I bought in 1968. Except for a small chip in the rim on the smallest, they are in perfect condition.

They were the first bowls I ever saw with a rubber ring on the bottom. However the rubber is now hard and no longer is non-skid.

I have several sets of Pyrex bowls, various shapes, colors and patterns which I use for certain tasks. Ditto Anchor Hocking, Corning, and so on.

I still use the largest of the "primary colors set" made by Pyrex beginning in the 50s, for gelatine or Jello salads. It is just the right size and cools rapidly in the fridge.

I have a couple of huge ironstone bowls for rising yeast doughs. I set them on a heating pad set on low, cover the top with plastic wrap and a heavy towel and the dough rises better than in any other place, including a proof box.

Do NOT microwave melamine or "Melmac" or similar type bowls or plates. Not only will they heat up in spots and crack or even explode, they can give off toxic fumes.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett


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I have 2 nesting melamine bowls with nonskid rings, handles and pour spouts as discussed above. I have nesting stainless bowls with lids. I have the white glass (Pyrex?) mixing bowls from an old mixer. I also have a large shallow stainless bowl perfect for large tossed salads or for mixing bread dough, and a similarly-sized glass bowl that came in an insulated carrying case, that gets similar mixing use.

All types have their places, but if I had to keep just one set it would be the glass mixing bowls. They can be microwaved (unlike the melamine or stainless), they can be covered and refrigerated, and they're the heaviest and most stable. Unlike the melamine or stainless, these glass bowls are heavy enough that I can be beating or stirring with one hand and adding ingredients with the other, without no need for a third hand to hold the bowl in place. The melamine bowls rotate on their bases when I'm doing that, and the stainless bowls are so light that they not only rotate, they can tip over. (Note that I don't have the heavy stainless bowls to which Andie refers. If I did, my opinion might be different.)

I've seen advertised a glass batter bowl with a handle and pour spout like the melamine. That might be the best of all worlds, but I don't know how well it nests.

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I love my stainless bowls, I use them for mixing, over the top of a saucepan as a double boiler, filing with ice and water to shock vegtables to stop cooking, lots of things, I even use them directly over low flame to heat things. They are wonderful to me. I have lots of other bowls, including an old nesting pyrex set my mom gave me. I seem to be the exception so far, but if you make me pick one, I am going for the stainless.

Edited by lancastermike (log)
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I also have stainless ones from Williams-Sonoma. The entire bottom of mine are covered in rubber. They're much lighter than pyrex, certainly not breakable the way glass is, and easy to clean.

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for work, i like my heavy-duty, stainless steel Vollrath bowls. i'm with lancastermike and others who appreciate their versatility.

for eggs at home, i like my old TG Green creamware pudding basins which i've picked up all over the UK. teeny tiny to huge sizes. they're so beautiful.

i have pyrex too, however the s/s is satisfactory for work and the pudding basins satisfy my aesthetic needs as well as my feeling that i really should have been born about one hundred and fifty years ago and done all my baking/cooking with big, crockery bowls and wooden spoons! i wish i could use them at work, however the caterers who use my space on the weekends tend to think that my ingredients and equipment are there for their personal use so i prefer to keep them safe at home.


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I have a set of heavy stainless steel nesting bowls with covers that I bought on eBay, and a set of Pyrex bowls with straighter sides; use both for various applications. I've never liked plastic bowls because they nick and scratch easily, and seem to transfer flavors. Haven't tried melamine. I'm sorry that when I moved to Hawaii, I didn't take my Pyrex batter bowl (with lid). It was the single most useful bowl I've ever owned, and I haven't found an equal replacement.


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I like the stainless for some stuff (they are probably the most versatile for me, since I don't have a double boiler), and I have them in 7 or 8 sizes and often use them for serving at parties (biggest chip bowl evar).

My mother has a 4-c pyrex measuring cup that she uses for mixing/pouring batters. I don't have one of those yet.

The ones I use most day-to-day are the plastic ones from IKEA with the spout and the rubber ring. The rubber holds well on my granite (marble?) counters, and they clean well in the dishwasher and by hand. I try not to use electric beaters in them though. IKEA sells them in sets of three now (used to be two).

IKEA also sells a set of I think five nesting bowls with lids that fit inside the rim, and are wicked practical for bringing leftovers for lunch. I think they don't have the rubber ring, though.

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I swear by stainless bowls, in varying sizes. You can't put them in the microwave, but every other place, no problem.

You can use them right on top of a heat source, in the oven, freezer, they take a lot of abuse and stand up to all of it.

If and when I make tamales, I use a big old pyrex bowl - I love big bowls, but for everyday and everyway, its stainless.

There are flimsy weights of stainless steel bowls out there, but if you can find a good source for restaurant quality stuff (as in good price), buy them up.

I would steer you away from the plastic stuff, I'm sure you've consumed enough bits of plastic by now.


Plastic is so porous as well, not the best thing for beating eggs.

Edited by shelora (log)
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I believe that Dorothy Parker (or someone as smart as she) once said that the best thing to do with your obsessions is to foist them on others, so:

I am here to assert that having a very wide range of stainless bowls -- varying sizes, different steepness levels, some with very flat bases, others with very curved bases -- is really useful. I have about 40 stainless bowls ranging from 1/2 cup to -- jeez, I dunno -- two gallons? I want a couple of bigger ones, though I may be tossed out of the house if I get it, as my partner seems to think that 40 is "more bowls than I need."

But to that I say, "Fie!" I really do use all of them. Need to marinate some cubed meat? You want a flat-bottomed medium bowl so that the marinade doesn't seep down and leave some pieces dry. You want to beat a dozen eggs? You want that large, very concave bowl to keep the sloshing eggs in. Prepping for a stir-fry of some kind? Having eight 1/2 to 4 cup bowls with your ingredients means you take up the minimal amount of counter space and add little weight.

We've also got lots of Pyrex bowls from 1/4 cup to their wonderful nesting large bowls, along with a few square ones. They're great for mixing when you need the weight of the bowl, and we use them for serving, too.

Chris Amirault

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I have a set of 4 nesting Pyrex bowls in various shades of blue that are somewhere beteween 10 and 15 years old. I use at least one of the set daily, and while they have some wear, they're still looking good. They have rounded sides and a small flat bottom. I use them for everything from beating eggs to whipping cream to mixing sliced cauliflower with olive oil for roasted cauliflower.

I used to have a set of plastic bowls. I no longer do because they ALL met the same fate, which can be summarized as: plastic and hot surfaces do not mix.


Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

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I have several glass bowls of various sizes and several white ceramic bowls, all of the same size. These I use the most. Then I also have three green nesting Emile Henry earthenware bowls and a large mustard colored EH that is extra heavy. Also one heavy duty Volrath 5 qt ss bowl that I like a lot. I have been thinking about getting three more of these in various sizes, but they are so expensive I'll have to check out the costco/Walmart ones Andi mentioned. All have their purpose as everyone has noted, and while I had come to think that you can't have too many bowls, Chris has seriously challenged this assumption. I have an aesthetic aversion to plastic, but understand why others like them.

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I vote for variety, too, though I do not use plastic anymore. One thing that drives me crazy is seeing people trying to mix food in too small a bowl. They do it on the cooking shows all the time. And if you use a nice big bowl, some food can be mixed by flipping instead of pushing it about with a spoon.

I have ss bowls from about 5-24" across. I use them all and often. They're real work horses and don't break. I also have a nested set of enameled steel that I prefer to use for refigerator storage or acidic things as they're deep and don't hog shelf space. They even have plastic lids, which, alas, are beginning to crack.

I use a bunch of different sized ceramic bowls that can be used for mixing or popped into the oven. They're nice enough to use at an informal family meal. I don't use them quite as often for just mixing unless I need the weight. They have an exterior lip you can anchor a string on, which makes them good for steamed puddings, too. For some reason I prefer to use these when I'm making bread.

I also have a bunch of 1 cup to 2 quart pyrex measuring cups and a few in that lab glass (never can remember the name) that I use for mixing as well as measuring.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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like everyone I have a variety, but the 2 quart pyrex measuring bowl (with lid) is the one I'd take for my "desert island" choice. it's big enough for most projects, durable, heavy, able to go in the microwave and it has those useful measuring marks going up the side...


Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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I love my mixing bowls, I have something of an obsession...

hmm, for bread making I have two bowls, both pottery and glazed. one larger, one slightly smaller.

for beating eggs and preparing small quantities of liquids I have a nesting set of green pottery bowls from highland stoneware, they have pouring lips.

a large cream pottery jug for whipping cream

small (half litre) pyrex measuring jug

one stainless steel bowl, mainly used when making custard as it cools quickly when put into cold water, thinking about getting rid of it though.

one large plastic bowl with a tight lid, used for resting yorkshire pudding or pancake batter in.

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another pyrex person here ... in a variety of sizes so that I can beat a few eggs, melt lots of chocolate (e.g. on top of simmering water) or use the really big one (must be about 12 inches across in diameter) for cake mixing.

Also have a large plastic one (about 14-15 inches diameter at a guess?) with a pouring lip which I got from IKEA, and has turned out to be very useful for the off occassion when I am doing big cake mixes by hand, and the pyrex ones are too heavy for me to hold for any length.

Admittedly the weight issue is less now that I have a kitchen aid mixer!

never really warmed to metal ones though ..

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to quote my guru - alton brown - plastic has a great affinity for fat and its difficult to get rid of it from the bowl.

possesses a great danger for deflating scouffles ...

don't know about glass / pyrex ones and how they take to repeated hits due to whisking...

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