If you are just getting into baking you may have noticed that it always seems to require a lot of materials. I mean, most fun hobbies do, but it can definitely be overwhelming to think about. This list is comprised of the essential baking ingredients you should be keeping on hand to make sure your baking trials are a success!
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Essential Baking Ingredients
All Purpose Flour
It’s hard to bake almost anything without some all purpose flour. Flour provides structure due to the gluten, so without it it’s kind of hard to make cakes, cookies, or anything else delicious that requires structure.
Baked goods just aren’t the same without white sugar, are they? No.
Brown sugar is great for keeping cookies softer. It’s used in almost every cookie recipe we’ve made like these mini bite sized M&M cookies.
No frosting without powdered sugar. No homemade marshmallows. So many recipes are off the table without powdered sugar…like these Jello soft candies.
Butter is the backbone fat to make baked goods beyond amazing. Make sure you use unsalted butter unless the recipe specifically calls for salted. No one likes overly salty desserts.
Eggs add, moisture, structure, and flavor to your baked goods. I mean, it’s hard to make meringues as cute as these mushroom meringues without eggs.
(PS. perhaps consider getting one of these super cute egg separator to make perfect meringues).
Chocolate bars and chocolate chips an indispensible part of quality baked goods. Chocolate bars make amazingly gooey chocolatey desserts and the chips go well in everything. Don’t skip them.
Both are leaveners that help your baked goods rise perfectly. Baking powder is a combination of sodium bicarbonate and an acid that when it gets wet creates a chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide.
Baking soda is strictly sodium bicarbonate and requires something acidic to get that CO2 release. However, baking soda alone will help your baked goods like cookies spread.
Remember, powder puffs. Soda Spreads.
Cornstarch is an awesome ingredient that’s completely underappreciated. Adding a teaspoon to your cookie dough will keep them soft for weeks. It’s in almost every cookie recipe we make, including these chocolate chip caramel cookies.
Vanilla extract is just great for flavor. You can easily make your own if you want the authentic extract without the huge price tag. However, for more recipes, imitation vanilla works just as well.
It’s hard to make chocolate cake, triple chocolate cookies, or chocolate buttercream without some good quality cocoa powder. I personally really love using Dutch processed cocoa powder because it makes the desserts a richer flavor and color but regular cocoa powder works great too!
Salt is great for bringing out the flavors in baked goods and helps balance sweetness in recipes.
Cinnamon is the spice that brings joy to everyone’s life. Have it on hand and add it to everything, like a chocolate banana smoothie.
Why wouldn’t you need a variety of sprinkles?
Non Essential Baking Ingredients: (But Nice to Have)
Like the heading suggests, these ingredients are nice to have around but aren’t necessary for most recipes but these are nice to have around. Unless the recipe calls for these ingredients, they aren’t necessary but I like to keep them in the cabinet to be prepared for those nights when the baking mood strikes.
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Sweetened condensed milk is great for pumpkin pies, fudge recipes, and classic truffle recipes. It’s non perishable so it’s great to have on hand for when your mother in law decides to “surprise you for Thanksgiving” and you need to quickly come up with a delicious pumpkin pie.
Cream cheese frosting just isn’t the same without, ya know…cream cheese.
Cream cheese is a great addition to many recipes including these red velvet cheesecake cookies. Having it on hand is nice, not just for your morning bagels either.
Other Fun Extracts
You can actually easily make your own extracts.
It’s never a bad idea to have some of those nutty mix-ins stored away in the cabinet. Walnuts, macadamias, pecans….all are great to add to cookies, quick breads, or cakes.
Also, you can’t make white chocolate macadamia nut cookies without nuts.
So ya know….why not stock up and…well, go nuts!
Cream of Tartar
Cream of tartar is a byproduct of the wine making process. It’s an acid that can act as a leavener, helps stabilize egg whites, and prevents sugar from crystalizing, (this helps keep your cookies soft and chewy).
Espresso powder is nice to have on hand not just for when you want an energy boost. Adding espresso to your chocolate desserts can make them taste richer and give them more layers of flavor.
Dessert is always more fun with it’s colorful, don’t you think? You’re going to want some pretty food coloring.
Gel food coloring is much better than liquid coloring. Why? Because it’ll create much more vibrant color with less product. Which is a win in my opinion. I recommend this starter pack of colors.
Candy Mix Ins
Things like M&Ms, mini candy bars, pretzels, caramel bits, etc. are tasty to add into cookies, ice cream all all the other goodies.
(Ps. I’ve found they’re also fantastic to have for midnight snacking).
Rice Krispie Treats are some of the easiest no bake desserts you can make. Everyone loves them and they’re so customizable. But you can’t make those without marshmallows. You also can’t make s’mores, which is a real bummer.
Check out these Fruity Pebble Rice Krispie Treats if you love yourself… you won’t regret it.
Cake flour is important for cakes and cupcakes. It makes a finer, tender crumb, and a fluffier cake overall. All purpose flour can work but your cake just won’t be as good.
Maple syrup isn’t just for pancakes. It’s great to add to fall desserts like oatmeal raisin cookies, apple cider, or cider muffins.
That’s our list. These are the things we actively keep in our kitchen at all times for my serious baking addiction. If you think we missed anything important, make sure you share it down in the comments!
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So what do you think? Did we get all the essential baking ingredients in this list? If we missed one, make sure you share what you need most in your kitchen in the comments below!
Baking is such a fun (and delicious) hobby to have and is definitely worth perfecting! You can literally bake your world into a sweeter place and bring smiles and joy to everyone around you. I mean after all the 6th language of love is of course food!
And since you’re already here, why not check out some of our other baking tips to enjoy everything the season has to offer!
Sharing is caring! Do you know someone who would love this easy chocolate banana milkshake recipe!? Share this post with them and spread some sweetness!