Although the idea of mixing bowls is simple enough, the one complicating factor when deciding what to buy is the material that they are made from. There is a ton of variation in the material makeup of mixing bowls, and each type has some pros and cons. We’ll go over what types of material you can expect to see, and the considerations to keep in mind before buying.

Glass

Among the most versatile and easy to clean options available. Glass mixing bowls are sturdy, machine washable, and can come with measurements printed on to help with prep work. Tempered glass is also available, which allows the bowls to be frozen or used in the oven. Glass options are microwave friendly, a big plus when it comes to thawing and reheating meals. The see-through properties of glass is also a huge bonus when combining ingredients and measuring out recipes. If well taken care of, glass can also last a long time.

On the downside, glass can present some durability issues. Cracks and chips can emerge if not properly maintained, and dropping/shattering glass will always be atop our list of kitchen nightmares. Glass can be heavy, which makes it a bit more difficult to move around the kitchen. Glass products can also skew slightly more expensive, and may not be the right choice for shoppers looking to save some money.

Stainless Steel

stainless steel mixing bowl

Stainless steel is used pretty widely in the restaurant industry, and for great reason. For starters, it’s extremely lightweight, so it’s pretty easy to move around the kitchen. They’re also inexpensive and highly durable. They can withstand repeated and heavy use, and rarely degrade in quality as time goes by. Consider stainless steel bowls to be a true workhorse of the kitchen. They are also non reactive, so you won’t have to worry about the metal messing up the taste of anything.

If you’re looking for something eye catching, stainless steel isn’t it. While metal is pretty sleek, there’s nothing unique or “pretty” about a standard set of stainless steel mixing bowls. Another downside? Stainless steel can get hot quickly, and it can be a pain to handle once it heats up. Also, despite the durability, handling or whisking these bowls roughly can cause scratches.

Plastic

The most lightweight options available, plastic mixing bowls are perfect for budget shopping. These bowls are also super durable; you won’t have to worry about dropping and shattering a plastic bowl, as they are pretty much indestructible. Plastic is also great for storing leftovers, and the cleanup process is a breeze. Just toss them in the dishwasher, and forget about the rest. Most plastic mixing bowls even come equipped with lids!

Despite the great price point, plastic mixing bowls aren’t equipped to handle everything. For starters, they don’t react well to high heat, and the plastic can easily warp and melt. Plastic can also take on the flavors and odors of whatever is in it, a nasty proposition when reusing bowls. That makes it ill-equipped to use when cooking with oils or aromatic ingredients.

Copper

Copper mixing bowl

The Cadillac of kitchen materials, copper stands alone when it comes to mixing bowl performance. Far and away the most beautiful bowls available, copper makes a real statement when displayed around the house. Theres also a scientific reason to choose this material. Copper ions actually react perfectly with egg whites, stabilizing them to create peak consistency. If you’re an experienced cook or just a breakfast lover, it’s a good idea to invest in a set of copper mixing bowls.

With that in mind, copper mixing bowls are the most expensive on the market. The superior performance of cooper products is probably moot in inexperienced hands. While it might not make sense to purchase an entire set, it could be a good idea to grab one copper mixing bowl to add to the collection.

Silicon

These mixing bowls have a few pretty great advantages. They can withstand extreme temperatures, so they’re right at home in the oven, the freezer, or holding scolding hot liquids. The silicon is also a great buffer for the heat, so you don’t have to worry about scalding your hands while handling hot ingredients. Silicon mixing bowls are also unbelievably durable. They don’t scratch, will never break, and are almost impossible to crack. A lot of models of these mixing bowls are collapsable too, so storage is a complete breeze.

Despite all the advantages, like plastic, silicon can react negatively with the food and ingredients stored in these bowls. Taste and smells can become entwined with the interior, which can make for an unpleasant addition to any meal.

Ceramic

ceramic mixing bowls

The aesthetic appeal of ceramic bowls is rivaled only by copper, and they can also double easily as serving bowls. These bowls can be unique and available in an almost endless array of designs and colors. Ceramic mixing bowls are probably the most multi-functional of all bowls available. They can be decorative, equally at home as a centerpiece on the table or countertops as tucked away in cabinets. They’re also usually easy to clean and dishwasher and microwave safe.

Like glass, ceramic can chip, and shatter if dropped. It’s also relatively heavy; good for sturdiness while mixing, but not ideal when trying to move around the kitchen easily. Ceramic can also get super hot to the touch, so this isn’t an ideal material to use with hot items, or one to use in the oven or stovetop.