Here are 10 essential baking pans you'll want to have on hand, how to use them, and the best all-around pick that's reasonably priced, durable, and high quality. It has sides that come up to about an inch high, so unlike a baking sheet, it can handle runny batters from cakes or breads.
Nordic Ware Naturals Baker's Half Sheet is budget priced at just over $10. These pans do not typically nest for storage given their straight sides and uniform sizing.
Fat Radio's nine-inch diameter version comes in varying depths (two, three, or four inches) and is much beloved as a kitchen staple, earning thousands of five-star reviews. A square baking dish, typically eight or nine inches to a side, is essential for whipping up brownies, bar cookies, cornbread, and the like.
Clifton's nonstick eight-inch version has interlocking layers to release even sticky baked goods cleanly. Its steel core heats evenly and creates crisp, straight edges.
Spring form pans have removable sidewalls that separate from the base, which is ringed with a groove where the walls connect. This construction method makes it possible to remove cakes such as tortes and cheesecakes, without damaging fragile details.
Thousands of reviewers appreciate the tight seal to prevent leaks and spills from this pan, which doesn't stain or bend. Trays most typically bake a dozen cupcakes or muffins, with room for about 3.5 ounces in each cup, but smaller and larger versions are also available.
(Bonus: A portion of the sales goes to Yum-o!, Ray's nonprofit that helps families develop healthy relationships with food.) It typically comes in a nine-by-13-inch configuration, a standard size that matches up with most recipes and baking mixes, so it's a multitasking essential.
Note that a tube pan is similar, sometimes with detachable sides, to help you invert such delicate cakes as angel food. Nordic Ware's 60th anniversary pan is a close cousin to its first cast aluminum version.
This beloved tool made of durable cast aluminum has a narrow base, straight sides, and extra-large center tube. Williams Sonoma's professional-weight, aluminum-coated steel version is loved for its even baking and consistent results.
Gold touch nonstick coating releases and cleans up easily (and makes a decorative presentation to boot). It is important to invest in a good cake pan that is versatile, reliable, and durable.
Sturdy cake pans with features like non-toxic coating, high sides, and a textured surface improve the process of baking. In fact, these versatile tools can also be used to whip up different types of foods like roasted chicken, quiches, homemade bread loaves, lasagna, etc.
In this article, we have reviewed some of the best cake pans currently available and the important factors to keep in mind if when buying one. Fat Radio’s PRD-92 Round Cake Pan is made with Safe Seal anodized aluminum that is durable and does not rust, chip, flake, or peel easily.
It can be used in professional as well as home kitchens due to its great quality and sturdiness. The anodized coating does not react with acidic ingredients, unlike the traditional cake pans that tend to get oxidized.
It also does not absorb fats, sugar, oil, dish soap, and detergents that it comes in contact with. Since the pan reaches high temperatures quickly, it gives a good rise to your cakes.
Durable Anodized aluminum baking surface Non-reactive finish Freezer-safe Heats up and cools down quickly Eco-friendly Sturdy Rust-resistant Compatible with pressure cookers and air fryers It is coated with American Plus, a patented non-stick silicone that releases the cake easily without breaking or sticking to the pan.
This durable, reliable pan has a long service life due to the high-quality materials used. The unique fluted surface design adds strength and improves air circulation.
Unique fluted design American Plus non-stick coating Aluminized steel construction Durable Warp-resistant Comes with a limited lifetime warranty It bakes the cakes evenly with a smooth surface that is a clean canvas for decoration.
Commercial grade Lightweight Easy to use and clean Warp-resistant Durable Heats up quickly Bakes evenly Chicago Metallic Professional Round Cake Pan Set is made with heavyweight aluminized steel for superior heat conduction.
The set comprises small (6”), medium (8”), and large (10”) pans that can be used to whip up various desserts and baked treats. Rachael Ray 54072 Yum-O Non-Stick Bakeware Cake Pan is made from heavy-gauge steel that is durable and reliable.
Its sturdy construction helps in delivering consistent results every time you bake. It also resists warping as it can withstand temperatures up to 500° F. This cake pan has a long-lasting non-stick coating that helps in easy food release and clean-up.
This high-quality bakeware shares its profits with Yum-o!, Rachael Ray’s non-profit organization that helps kids and parents develop healthy relationships with food. Play Premium 9-Inch Cheesecake Pan is made from high-grade stainless steel that is strong and durable.
The aluminum distributes heat uniformly so that the cake bakes evenly and with a smooth surface for decorating. They have high, sturdy sides and rolled lips for baking cakes with beautiful straight edges.
Ox Good Grips Non-Stick Pro Round Cake Pan is made with durable heavy-grade aluminum steel that helps in quick, uniform heat distribution for even baking. This 9-inch pan has a commercial-grade, double-layered, ceramic-reinforced PTFE coating that protects it against scratching, staining, corrosion, and abrasion.
Their high-quality aluminum construction helps in even heating and increases their lifespan and durability. They have high sides and rolled lips that help you make cakes with sharp, straight edges.
You can use grease or parchment before pouring the batter into these pans to avoid messy clean-up and ensure an easy release. Durability: Cake pans that can withstand high temperatures and do not warp are the best choices.
Silicone cake pans are growing in popularity due to their durability, flexibility, and versatility. Non-stick coating is another coveted feature as it helps in effortless cleaning and easy release of the food.
They can be used to bake cakes, brownies, cheesecakes, and even savory dishes like quiches and lasagna. She has been an avid reader since childhood and is passionate about stories that help decipher life and its meaning.
Whether you’re baking a cake for your two-year-old’s birthday, or simply because it’s Tuesday, a good pan can make all the difference. We’ve tested cake pans in three essential shapes (round, rectangular/square, and loaf), and found picks that produce a golden crust, don’t stick, and are easy to clean.
They're highly recommended by experts, and feature a combination of a slightly corrugated texture with nonstick coating that releases better than any of the competition. In our tests, even sticky sugar from cinnamon buns didn’t stick to the pan.
If you can’t find this pan in stock, King Arthur sells a version stamped with their logo. Collapse all Before turning to writing, I worked for several years as a professional baker in Brooklyn, at Pies ’N’ Thighs and the Greene Grape Annex (now closed), so I’m familiar with all the ins and outs of making everything from bunt cakes to cupcakes.
Nick Algiers is a former pastry chef and the current director of the baking program at New York’s Institute of Culinary Education, as well as a James Beard Award-winning author of 12 cookbooks, including Perfect Cakes. Fish Boyle is the editor of Dessert Professional magazine and the author of multiple cookbooks, including The Cake Book.
Even if you’re a from-the-box type of baker, a high-quality pan can help keep your brownies fudge and your yellow cake layers intact. We started this guide with the basic shapes (round, square/rectangular, and loaf) because they're the most versatile and can work with both sweet and savory recipes.
For one thing, silicone pans are floppy, and very difficult to maneuver in and out of the oven when full of batter. And as Rose Levy Geranium and Fish Boyle both pointed out, cakes baked in silicone tend not to brown at all on the outside.
Round corners are easier to clean and to butter, but they can be shallower than the rest of the pan, leaving you with a dry piece of cake or a burnt brownie. Ceramic and glass conduct heat less efficiently, baking your cake more slowly.
For that reason, you’ll never see them in professional kitchens, and Nick Algiers told me he “would never trust them.” He prefers uncoated pans, which may be prone to sticking, but will work just fine if lined with parchment. Some people are also reluctant to use nonstick cookware because of concerns that PTFE coatings (such as Teflon) can cause cancer.
First was a basic banana bread recipe from Cook’s Illustrated (also available without a subscription from Late’s Culinary). Then we baked a simple white sandwich bread in each pan, using this recipe from King Arthur Flour.
Ideally, a loaf of yeast bread should balloon above the edge of the pan and bake quickly enough that the crust sets while it’s still tall and puffy. The crust should be an even golden brown, and the loaf should pop out easily from a buttered pan.
It’s sturdy, and though its nonstick coating isn’t impenetrable (none are), it holds up well even under a paring knife. The cake made in the USA Pan Bakeware Aluminized Steel 9×2 Inch Round Cake Pan baked up almost flat on top, popped out effortlessly, and was a beautiful golden brown.
Worst was Cuisinart’s Easy Grip Bakeware pan, which produced a dark crust thanks to an exterior coating that is almost black. On the other end of the height spectrum was Nordic Ware’s Natural Aluminum Nonstick Commercial pan.
Photo: Michael HessionThe cinnamon roll test was where the USA pan really proved its nonstick power. Photo: Michael Session the scratch test, USA, Williams-Sonoma’s Gold touch, and Chicago Metallic were the most difficult to damage, though not impenetrable.
The Gold touch, which is ceramic-based and claims to be “more resistant to abrasion than normal nonstick surfaces,” actually felt a little harder than the other two. But scratches were still not deep on the USA pan (which uses a silicone-based coating), and its ridges kept the knife off of half the surface.
First, we think the corrugation does give it a slight edge in the nonstick department, as demonstrated by the cinnamon roll test. One unfortunate inevitability of pans with perfectly straight sides is that they don’t nest inside each other.
The USA pan is made in America, and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Rose Levy Geranium says it’s her “favorite pan,” and Fish Boyle is also a fan.
It’s highly rated on Amazon, with 4.8 out of 5 stars over 4,000 reviews, and it was recommended by Cook’s Illustrated (subscription required). Cakes came out cleanly and the nonstick coating felt durable, but unlike our main pick, it did retain rings of sugar from the cinnamon rolls.
For that kind of variety, I’d recommend Parrish Magic Line, which makes pans in every size (the diameter increases by 1-inch increments) between 3 inches and 16 inches, at prices low enough that you can afford to expand your options. Though we found they baked cakes paler than other pans, this can be remedied by an extra few minutes in the oven.
Magic Line pans aren’t completely nonstick, but they do release cakes better than Fat Radio’s, the only other brand to come in so many sizes. It’s safest to line the pan with parchment, but it’s good to know that I'm a pinch it should work just fine without.
Some may be concerned that the corrugated texture of the USA pan makes for a weird-shaped cake, but those ridges are shallower than they look. Like all of USA’s pans, they were highly recommended to me by both Rose Levy Geranium and Fish Boyle.
Cook’s Illustrated also recommends them, though some of its testers preferred the corrugated texture of the more expensive Williams-Sonoma Gold touch pan. It also makes square and rectangular pans in numerous other sizes, which are great for playing around with tiered cakes.
Plus the wide lip jutting out from the rim of these pans makes them easy to pick up and flip over. The reflective aluminum sides will deflect heat, meaning your cakes may need a few extra minutes in the oven.
The sandwich bread, meanwhile, came out a beautiful golden brown and had an ideal mushroom shape. Bread baked in the other pans was also a nice golden color, but never achieved that shape.
It comes with that same limited lifetime warranty as all USA pans, and it’s highly recommended by both Boyle and Geranium. The coating on the USA pans is also quite strong, and the corrugation helps them resist deep scratches.
Other Wire cutter staffers who own USA Pans are similarly pleased with their performance, though one concern I’ve heard is that the folded (rather than welded) corners of the loaf, square, or rectangular pans may trap crumbs or water. I’ve never had an issue with trapped water in the corners, however, and have found that the Ox bottle brush is great for scrubbing crumbs from the crevices while still being soft enough to avoid scratching the pan’s nonstick coating.
But the handles are too stubby to get a grip on, and it was smaller than a true 9 by 5 inches, plus the glass didn’t bake sandwich bread quite as evenly as any metal pan. Marguerite Preston is a senior editor covering kitchen gear and appliances at Wire cutter, and has written guides to baking equipment, meal kit delivery services, and more.
She previously worked as an editor for Eater New York and as a freelance food writer. From doing daily upkeep to getting rid of years of scorched-on food with minimal elbow grease, here’s how to keep your stainless steel cookware gleaming.
Cake and cookies came out evenly browned and had a fine texture with few air pockets, and broccoli also came out nice and consistently crisp. We like that the set comes with two round cakes pans so you can easily make a tiered cake, a cover for the rectangular baking pan so goodies can be stored or transported easily, and a rack that can be used for cooling, roasting, or as a trivet.
This Chicago Metallic set can't be beat for its performance, ease of use, and price. It earned perfect scores in our tests for performance, and was just shy of a perfect score for ease of use since the pans lack handles. We love the sharp corners and straight sides that produce professional-looking cakes, brownies, and bars.
In terms of performance, the only difference was that the cookies took a little longer to bake than the manufacturer's instructions. Since these grips also make the pans nonslip, keep in mind they might be a little difficult to take out of the oven.
They performed very well across baking and roasting tests, but be warned that broccoli caused some staining and the pan required some elbow grease to clean. The pans feature a wavy, textured pattern, which, according to the brand, allows for more airflow and even baking.
During our tests, this set stood out for ease of use and would be a great addition to any baker's kitchen. The baking sheet trays in this set are ideal for home chefs.
Included with this set are two handy quarter sheet trays (which offer the same quality of the half sheet tray, but are easy to clean in your sink and can also be easily placed in the dishwasher), a half-sheet pan, two jelly roll pans, a cookie sheet, and a pizza pan for any culinary task. The bottom of each pan is textured to increase airflow for even cooking, and in our tests, cookies baked perfectly on the half sheet tray, and although the pan was a little hard to clean by hand, it produced good crispy veggies.
Nicole Papantoniou, Good Housekeeping Institute Senior Testing Editor & Producer Nicole is a recipe developer trained in classic culinary arts and culinary nutrition who specializes in testing and developing kitchen appliances; she currently runs the Good Housekeeping Kitchen Appliances Lab. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses.