Large Mixing Bowls A Comprehensive Kitchen Guide

woman with an extra large mixing bowlwoman with an extra large mixing bowl

(last modified :2023-06-19T00:00:00.000Z)
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In every kitchen, one piece of equipment that often goes overlooked, yet is incredibly essential, is the humble mixing bowl. They are workhorses, facilitating everything from ingredient prep to bread kneading, salad tossing, and cake mixing. Among them, large mixing bowls stand out for their versatility and capacity, making them an indispensable tool for home cooks and professional chefs alike.

In this blog post, we will dive deep into the world of large mixing bowls, touching on various types including the extra-large mixing bowl, the large ceramic mixing bowl, the large glass bowl, and the large stainless steel mixing bowl. We'll also explore different sizes of mixing bowls, including the dimensions of the notable 20 qt and 16 qt bowls.

How big of a bowl do you need to mix a cake? What are large mixing bowls used for? What are the four common sizes of mixing bowls? Are plastic or metal mixing bowls better? What do chefs use for mixing bowls? We will answer these questions and more as we journey through the wonderful world of mixing bowls.

So, let's dive in and expand our understanding of these kitchen essentials, gaining insights to help us make the best choices for our cooking and baking endeavors.

mixing bowls in different sizes

I. Extra Large Mixing Bowl

Extra large mixing bowls are a kitchen staple for those who often find themselves cooking or baking in large quantities. As the name suggests, an extra large mixing bowl is significantly larger than a standard bowl, typically measuring 16 to 20 quarts in capacity.

The increased size of these bowls allows for greater volume and ease when mixing large amounts of ingredients. Whether you're preparing dough for a big batch of cookies, tossing a salad for a family gathering, or marinating meat for a BBQ, an extra large mixing bowl comes in handy.

The size of a mixing bowl significantly impacts its functionality. The larger the bowl, the easier it is to mix ingredients without spillage, which is especially useful for recipes that require vigorous stirring or whisking.

II. How Big is a 20 qt Bowl?

A 20 quart bowl is considered an extra large mixing bowl. Its dimensions typically measure around 18.75 inches in diameter and 5.75 inches in height, though this can vary based on the specific design and brand.

These large-capacity bowls are ideal for food service applications, large family gatherings, or when cooking in bulk. From mixing large dough batches to tossing salads or combining ingredients for a large casserole, the 20 qt bowl is a versatile tool in any kitchen.

III. Mixing a Cake: Choosing the Right Bowl

The size of the bowl you need to mix a cake greatly depends on the size and type of the cake you're making. As a general rule, for most standard cake recipes, a bowl with a capacity of 3 to 4 quarts is sufficient.

However, if you're preparing a larger cake or a recipe that requires a significant volume of ingredients, you might find a 5 to 6 quart bowl more suitable. Remember, it's crucial to choose a bowl that provides enough room for all the ingredients to be mixed well without overflowing.

IV. What is a Large Mixing Bowl Used For?

A large mixing bowl is used for a wide variety of kitchen tasks. From mixing batter for pancakes or cakes, to whipping up a marinade for meat, to tossing a salad, its uses are almost limitless.

Having a large mixing bowl in your kitchen has several benefits. It provides ample space for mixing ingredients without worrying about spills or mess. It's also handy for proofing dough, serving salads or pasta, or even as a vessel for an impromptu popcorn movie night. These versatile kitchen tools make preparing meals easier and more enjoyable.

mixing bowls large and small

V. The 4 Common Sizes of Mixing Bowls

Mixing bowls commonly come in four sizes: small (1 to 1.5 quarts), medium (2.5 to 3 quarts), large (4 to 5 quarts), and extra large (6+ quarts).

  1. Small Mixing Bowls: Ideal for beating eggs, mixing spices, or holding prepped ingredients.
  2. Medium Mixing Bowls: Useful for whisking pancake batter, making small batches of cookies, or tossing a salad for two.
  3. Large Mixing Bowls: Perfect for making cake batter, bread dough, or mixing ingredients for a big meal.
  4. Extra Large Mixing Bowls: Great for mixing large volumes of ingredients, such as for potluck dishes or for bulk baking and cooking.

VI. Large Ceramic Mixing Bowl

Large ceramic mixing bowls are not just kitchen tools, but also pieces of art. They offer a few unique benefits:

  • Heat Retention: Ceramic bowls are excellent at retaining heat, which is particularly helpful for recipes that require warm ingredients.
  • Weight: They're heavy enough to remain stable while mixing ingredients, reducing the chances of spillage.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Their decorative potential allows them to double as serving bowls, adding a touch of elegance to your table.

Ceramic bowls are ideally used for serving salads, pasta, or even displaying fruits due to their beautiful designs and finishes. They're also great for recipes that need gentle, consistent heat, like melting chocolate.

VII. How Big is a 16 qt Mixing Bowl?

A 16 quart mixing bowl falls into the "extra large" category. In terms of dimensions, these bowls typically measure around 17.5 inches in diameter and 5.5 inches in height, though there may be slight variations depending on the brand and design.

These bowls are particularly useful for large baking projects, marinating large cuts of meat, or when preparing meals for big gatherings.

VIII. Different Sizes of Mixing Bowls: A Comparison

Choosing the right size mixing bowl depends largely on the task at hand. Small bowls are perfect for minor tasks like beating a couple of eggs or holding prepped ingredients. Medium bowls work well for smaller batches of batters or doughs. Large bowls are great for general, everyday use in meal preparations, while extra large bowls are suited for bulk cooking or baking.

In essence, the size of the mixing bowl you choose should provide enough space for your ingredients to move around freely without overflowing, allowing you to mix effectively and cleanly. Having a variety of sizes at hand will cover all your cooking and baking needs.

mixing bowls in various sizes

IX. Plastic vs. Metal Mixing Bowls: Which is Better?

Choosing between plastic and metal mixing bowls depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Plastic Mixing Bowls:


  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • Often have a non-slip base
  • Generally cheaper


  • Can become scratched, which may harbor bacteria
  • Can absorb strong odors and stains

Metal Mixing Bowls:


  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Do not absorb odors or stains
  • Generally safe for dishwasher and freezer use


  • Can be noisy during whisking or mixing
  • Not microwave-safe

Factors to consider when choosing between the two include your budget, intended use, the need for microwave-safe bowls, and personal preference for weight and handling.

X. Large Glass Bowl

Large glass bowls offer their own unique set of benefits:

  • Transparency: The clear material allows you to see your ingredients from all sides, making it easier to ensure everything is well-mixed.
  • Microwave-safe: Most glass bowls can safely be used in the microwave, which is great for melting ingredients.
  • Odor and Stain Resistance: Glass does not absorb odors or stains, making it easy to clean.

Large glass bowls are ideal for whipping up desserts where transparency is important (like layered trifles), serving salads, or for recipes requiring the use of a microwave.

XI. Large Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl

Large stainless steel mixing bowls are a favorite in many kitchens, and for good reason:

  • Durability: These bowls are practically indestructible and can withstand a lot of heavy use.
  • Chill Retention: Stainless steel bowls can be chilled before use, which is particularly helpful when whipping cream or making certain doughs.
  • Lightweight: Despite their durability, they are usually quite light and easy to handle.

Large stainless steel bowls are versatile and can be used for anything from mixing batter to tossing salads to proofing dough.

XII. Mixing Bowls in Professional Kitchens: What Do Chefs Use?

Professional chefs often lean towards stainless steel or copper mixing bowls due to their durability, versatility, and temperature control. Glass and ceramic bowls are also commonly found for their aesthetic appeal and specific heat-retention properties.

Understanding the choices of professional chefs can guide home cooks in their selection of mixing bowls. Remember, the perfect bowl for you depends on your cooking style, needs, and personal preferences.

large mixing bowls to small mixing bowls


Here are our top recommendations for large mixing bowls, each presenting a unique set of features to suit different needs:

Note: Each title image is linked to an affiliate product. As an Amazon Associate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

1. Extra Large Plastic Mixing Bowl

Extra Large Plastic Mixing Bowl An affordable, lightweight, and easy-to-handle option. The non-slip base ensures stability during use. Check Price Here

2. Large Ceramic Mixing Bowl

Large Ceramic Mixing Bowl This beautifully designed ceramic bowl not only functions well but also adds a touch of elegance to your kitchen. Check Price Here

3. Large Glass Bowl

Large Glass Bowl A clear, versatile bowl that's perfect for microwaving and for recipes that require visual monitoring. Check Price Here

4. Large Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl

Large Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl A durable and versatile choice that's great for any mixing needs, from batter to salads and dough. Check Price Here

Further Reading

For more information on mixing bowls, their sizes, materials, and uses, check out our comprehensive guide to mixing bowls:

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