Whether you’re tossing a kohlrabi, orange, candied pecan, and kale salad or whisking up a batch of perfect chocolate chip cookies, you’re going to need a bowl. And while you might be tempted to grab the first one off the shelf that’s big enough to fit all your ingredients, there’s a second factor that you should be considering: your bowl’s shape.
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We have a few different mixing bowl shapes in the test kitchen, and I rounded up a few common ones and put them to work to see how a bowl’s shape can impact your cooking. I found that for some tasks, the shape of your bowl can make your work faster and easier—or even make or break your success. Here’s my guide to the most common mixing bowl shapes and the different tasks they’re best at accommodating.
Tall and Wide
Good for: Mixing batter by hand; emulsifying vinaigrettes; tossing salads; whisking cream, egg whites, and dry ingredients
Why: A roomy width allows you to get your hands and other tools into the bowl comfortably and won’t limit your motion or the angle of the tool. Plenty of height contains the food.
Tall and Narrow
Good for: Proofing dough, beating with a hand mixer, food storage
Why: Steep sides make it easier to tell when a dough has doubled; they also contain splatters while the narrow bottom corrals food, which helps beaters work more effectively. Its narrow footprint is ideal for storage.
Wide and Shallow
Good for: Folding, tossing salads, seasoning foods such as french fries
Why: The wide expanse reduces the number of strokes needed to blend ingredients, resulting in a lighter, airier batter. Its roominess makes it easy to toss foods.