Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl
Resources > Kitchen Tools and Equipment > Bowls > Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl

Are you a Smart Kitchen™ Chef?

Try it FREE or take a TOUR to explore Smart Kitchen!
+ -

Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls are Mixing Bowls made from durable Stainless Steel. They are generally used to hold and mix foods behind the scenes. They can also be used to Marinade, Temper, Measure, Store, Whisk, Hold, Reheat, etc.

When discussing Mixing Bowls, the first concept we should put forward is that there is not one "best mixing bowl.” There are so many varied uses that one bowl just can't be good at all of the tasks. Each type has pros and cons that may work, or not work, in a given situation. The characteristics that should we consider are Reactivity, Fragility, Absorption, Size, Shape, and Weight.

REACTIVITY

We don't usually think about it a lot, but the kitchen is akin to a culinary chemistry lab so we need to understand that some ingredients and materials don't play well together. When you are the chef, you are in charge. If you make a bad match between materials, you can end up with bad tastes, weird colors, staining, etc.

The most noted reactive compound in the kitchen is Acid, with Vinegar being one of most common of them. But Acid is also found in Wine, Citrus (Lemons, Oranges, etc.), Tomatoes (including Tomato Sauce), and many other Fruits (Pineapple, Peach, Apple, Grapes, etc.). These Acidic Foods can be problematic if they come in contact with metals like Copper, Cast Iron, Aluminum, some types of Steel, or other reactive materials. When working with acid or acidic foods, Glass or Ceramic  Mixing Bowls are best but Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls are also non-reactive and can work well too.

FRAGILITY

Another consideration is fragility, by which we mean, softness, brittleness, and temperature sensitivity. Some materials are softer than other materials or more brittle and subject to shattering. Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls are very durable and hard. Junior Chefs can be left on the floor with a Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl but should not be with a glass or ceramic one. 

Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls can be heated and frozen, but they are such great conductors of heat, that heating them, or filling them with a hot item can cause the whole bowl to heat up to such a degree that your could burn yourself unless you take proper precautions (Oven Mitt, Kitchen Towel, etc.). To confirm if your specific bowls are Oven-Safe or Freezer-Safe check with your manufacturer.

 ABSORPTION

Some mixing bowl materials do a better job of repelling fats and repelling odors, Stainless Steel is one of them. Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls can be used to work with Onions or Garlic without worrying about tainting the next item. A wash is generally all that is needed between uses.

SIZE

Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls come in many sizes. Not every size is right for every kitchen or chef. Generally, Mixing Bowls can be classified by size as:

1. Under Two Quarts

2. Two to Four Quarts

3. Five to Seven Quarts

4. Eight to Ten Quarts

5. Eleven to Twenty Quarts

6. More than Twenty Quarts

The smallest Mixing Bowls are easy to store and can be handy for small tasks like Whisking together a few eggs. Slightly larger bowls are good for handling parts of a Recipe that will later be consolidated in a larger bowl. Separately mixing the wet & dry ingredients for a batter, is a good example. Bowls larger than 5 quarts tend to have enough space to hold multiple ingredients and still do some work. The larger the bowl, the better your margin for error when stirring, mixing, whisking, beating, etc. Tall sides will help keep any of your mistakes or missteps inside the bowl and off of the counter.

Once you get over ten quarts, you are probably working with larger batches or have copious storage space available. Over twenty quarts in size and you are probably going to be working with double-sized, or triple-sized recipes. Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls are on the lighter side so you will see many of the larger bowls made from it.

Most home-chefs choose a Small (under two quarts), a Medium(two to four quarts) and a Large Mixing Bowl (five to seven quarts) as a starting point.

SHAPE

The issues with Mixing Bowl shape really come down to depth, geometric shape and rims.

Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls are most actively used for Mixing, Whisking and Tossing. Generally, Mixing requires higher sides, meaning a deeper bowl. Keeping the mixed contents inside the bowl leads to a better yield and an easier clean up. Higher sides are also best for holding rising dough.

If the sides are too high, it can be more difficult (especially for shorter chefs and junior chefs) to reach inside the bowl and do their work. This is especially true for Whisking, where a shallower bowl makes it easier to tilt and maneuver the bowl to get the job done. With Tossing the trade off is maneuverability versus containment. We tend to favor tossing with bowls where the height is just slightly more than the width / diameter. 

As to specific shapes, Mixing Bowls are normally round but technically can be any shape. A lot of time can be spent discussing the slope of the interior walls, the type of seams / edges, etc. but we think those items are matters of personal preference. If you don't have a preference now, you will form one as you are trying to pour out the contents or scraping down the edges and fishing out those last bits of dough from a difficult seam.

The issues with Rims are mostly about manipulation. How easy, and or comfortable, is it to grasp and move the bowl?  A rim gives you something to hold on to while you work. One quarter inch to one half inch of rim is our preference.

WEIGHT

The issue of weight in Mixing Bowls comes down to how much weight can you manage. Some Mixing Bowls can weigh three or four pounds standing alone, empty. Add the contents to be mixed and a lid and they may get too heavy to be managed by some people. Generally, plastic bowls are lightest, followed by metal bowls, like Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls which are light enough for almost everyone to use.  

Availability

Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls are found at most places that sell bowls, from grocery stores, to home goods stores to restaurant-supply stores.

Purchasing

Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls are among the most affordable bowls and are so versatile that they can perform many tasks. When picking a specific bowl, or bowl set, there are a lot of choices. We like to have a few different sizes available, typically at least a small, medium and large sized mixing bowl.

They can be standard weight for everyday use, or heavy weight for extended use. Which one is right for your kitchen will depend on the desired application.

Some stainless steel mixing bowl sets are designed to be “nested” or stored one inside the other from largest to smallest. Nested mixing bowls come in various sizes ranging from ¼ cup - 12 cups. There are also Mixing Bowls that have handles and / or built in spouts to ease pouring. Others have non-skid materials to prevent slipping. You can find Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls with measurement gradations.

Some come with covers for each of the bowls. Lids are handy to maintain freshness and avoid flavor migration in the refrigerator, if you plan to use your Mixing Bowls as Storage Bowls as well. There are many factors to consider when Purchasing Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls.

Culinary Uses

Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls are round, variously sized containers used for combining ingredients manually or mechanically. Stainless Steel mixing bowls are chosen, because they are non-reactive (won't react with Acids) and won't make food change color or taste metallic. They are also chosen because of their durability for tasks like Tossing,  Whisking, Kneading Dough, Mixing Batters, using the Immersion Blender on Sauce ingredients, etc. Their strength to weight ratio is good so they can handle the metal on metal contact but still be light enough to tilt or maneuver by hand.

Of course they can also be used for Stirring, Beating, Whipping, Marinating, etc. They can also be used to store,  freeze, Ferment, Temper, Re-Hydrate, Melt, etc.  In a pinch, Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls can work with a Sauce Pan to create an improvised Double Boiler.

The major negative with a Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl is that you cannot use them in the microwave. Another problem is that they conduct heat very well and can burn you if you are not prepared (Oven Mitts, Kitchen Towel, etc.) Their conductivity works in reverse, in our favor, by the way, when using them to make an Ice Bath, where we want food to stop cooking and cool down quickly.

Finally, Junior Chefs can be left on the floor with a Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl and a Wooden Mixing Spoon