I have a few sets of mixing bowls, and I use them for a variety of things, including:
- mixing ingredients
- organizing measured amounts of ingredients
- storing leftovers
- fruit bowl
- bread bowl
- double boiler
- keeping things warm in the oven
- marinating foods
- microwaving food
- mixing/rising dough
Not all bowls will accommodate all of those uses, but a balanced collection of bowls will cover you in almost any circumstance.
Ceramic or stoneware bowls always seem to be the prettiest. These may not be my most used bowls, but BlissHome, Nigella Lawson’s Living Kitchen, Mixing Bowls, Set of 4 is my favorite set (mine are cream). They’re tactile stoneware, and the largest bowl is quite big, big enough to mix a batch of pasta and sauce for a large crowd. I use mine for serving food at the table often, When used as a mixing bowl, they do nestle comfortably against us, the oval shape seems perfect, and their design makes them well suited for pouring. Also available in black or varying colors. High fired ceramics like La Creuset can also go in the oven.
Glass bowls are non-reactive and microwavable. Tempered glass is preferred, because it can be used in the oven or freezer. When making a transition from fridge to microwave or oven, bear in mind that you can’t blend extreme hot with cold without cracking. Other than that, these are amazingly durable. Pyrex colored bowl sets were immensely popular in the 40s-70s, and many people still use their bowls daily, which are now decades old. They last forever. The Pyrex Smart Essentials 6 Peice Mixing Bowl Set are nice in that they have lids, making them useful for storing baked goods or leftovers. Many people use these bowls for all their casseroles or upside down puddings. This set is an 8-piece set of covered mixing bowls with 1-quart, 1-1/2-quart, 2-1/2-quart, and 4-quart capacities.
As far as workhorses go, this set is something I wouldn’t be without. Stainless steel bowls are lightweight, durable, inexpensive, and these are the bowls I use more than anything else. You can slip one into a pot over a bit of boiling water, propped up with a bit of tin foil, and you have a makeshift steamer, or they make great hand mixer bowls or food prep bowls. They can take heat, so you can pour boiling water into them or pop them in the oven to keep food warm. They’re great for rising bread in. I have a Set of 6 Mixing Bowls Standard Weight Stainless Steel *Mirror Finish* ¾, 1½, 3, 4, 5, and 8 Qt. In addition to this set, I also have an International Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl, 30 Quart primarily for harvesting tomatoes in the fall.
Nothing will do the job of beating egg whites like copper. Copper material interacts with egg proteins to produce fluffy, high-rise whites, allowing them to reach their full volume. If you like to make meringue pies or angel food cakes or soufflé omelettes often, an investment in one good copper bowl would provide you with a superb cooking tool that would last you a lifetime. Mauviel M’Passion Copper Egg White Bowl with Ring is nice because you can hang it to keep it dent free for generations.
These lightweight bowls are typically non stick and easy on the arms if you have a lot of work to do, although not good for some tasks such as beating eggs. Some, like silicone, are temperature proof, but many don’t like the flimsy nature of silicone, other than for little prep bowls. I can see the popularity due to the design of these BPA-free OXO Good Grips Mixing Bowl Set with Handles, 3-Piece. Soft handles and non slip bottom rubber rings would make them easy to manage for people who have trouble holding bowls for long.
Most people who make a lot of salads have one good wooden salad bowl. This Chopping Bowl 12 Inch & Mezzaluna Knife Set – Oiled Finish is interesting – a chopping bowl instead of a chopping block, with a Mezzaluna to fit, Chopped salads are basically a combination of a wide variety of lettuce, mesclun or other greens, mixed vegetables like peppers, cucumbers etc., mixed fruits, nuts, berries, cheeses, anything you want to add, all chopped up and mixed together and tossed with a dressing.