Types of Baking Pans: Home Cook's Buying Guide
Does the type of baking pan you use really make a difference in your cookies, cakes or pasta bakes? Each material and style of pan has its own pros and cons. With so many different types of baking pans, how do you choose the right ones for your baking needs?
Whether you are preparing a mountain of cookies for the school bake sale or a crispy lasagna for Sunday dinner, choosing the right type of baking pan can make the difference between a soggy bottom and baked to perfection.
Below, we break down the different types of baking pan materials and some of our favorite products for bakes of every style. Pair our top pans with an online baking class to enhance your skills and become the star baker of your next cookie exchange or office potluck.
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- Best Aluminum Baking Pans
- Best Steel Baking Pans
- Best Cast Iron Baking Pans
- Best Glass Baking Pans
- Best Ceramic Baking Pans
- Best Silicone Baking Pans
Best Aluminum Baking Pans
Aluminum is an all-around excellent material for baking and one of the best materials for baking sheets. Aluminum pans conduct heat well and distribute it evenly throughout the food. The material is lightweight, durable and will not rust, making it a long-lasting addition to your bakeware collection.
For this type of baking pan, you will want to use grease, parchment paper or a silicone baking mat unless made with a non-stick coating. Aluminum pans can be challenging to clean and are prone to staining, so be sure to hand wash with warm, soapy water and avoid using sharp utensils to avoid scratching.
Also, be careful not to use aluminum baking pans for acidic dishes like those heavy on tomatoes or lemon. The acid in the tomato sauce of your baked ziti might react with the material leaving a metallic aftertaste in your dish, especially if you plan on freezing it or storing it in the same pan.
1. Nordic Ware Harvest Bounty Loaf Pan
Crafted from cast aluminum, the ornate Nordic Ware Harvest Bounty Loaf Pan makes a stunning centerpiece with ease. The festive holiday embellishment celebrates the autumn harvest and makes for beautiful breads, cakes or desserts.
2. Nordic Ware Baker’s Delight 3-Pc Set
The Nordic Ware Baker’s Delight 3-Pc Set features variety and durability with three sheet sizes made of pure aluminum and galvanized steel rims. The rust-proof aluminum conducts heat evenly while the galvanized steel prevents warping.
3. Mrs. Anderson’s Quarter Sheet Baking Pan
The small yet mighty Mrs. Anderson’s Quarter Sheet Baking Pan is a versatile pan made of 19-gauge heavy aluminum. This durable sheet pan is oven and freezer-safe and is perfect for small batch baking or sheet pan dinners for one or two.
4. Nordic Ware Deep Dish Pizza Pan
Fans of deep dish pizza will love the Nordic Ware Deep Dish Pizza Pan. Achieve an evenly baked crust to hold all of those delicious fillings with this raised edge, aluminum pan — an essential pizza making tool.
5. Nordic Ware Anniversary Bundt Pan
With a modern twist on a classic design, the Nordic Ware Anniversary Bundt Pan looks as beautiful in your cabinet as the bakes it produces. The alternate vertical flutings of this cast aluminum pan make lifting, unmolding and slicing effortless.
Best Steel Baking Pans
Steel baking pans are true workhorses in the kitchen. The material is resistant to scratches and corrosion, it is dishwasher safe and can be used for many years with the proper care.
Although it is not non-stick and you will want to use a little grease, parchment or a silicone mat, the material is relatively easy to clean and durable. This type of baking pan is less likely to leach any off-flavors into the food thanks to the alloys in high-quality steel.
6. Anolon Advanced Bakeware 10"x15” 2-Piece Crisper Pan Set
The Anolon Advanced Bakeware 10”x15” 2-Piece Crisper Pan Set is perfect for achieving a perfectly crisp pizza crust or reheating crunchy fries. The non-stick finish makes it easy to clean and the silicone grips offer non-slip handling in and out of the oven.
7. Anolon Advanced Bakeware 9” Springform Pan
A must-have for cheesecakes, tortes or layered desserts, the Anolon Advanced Bakeware 9” Springform Pan is a sturdy and versatile type of baking pan to add to your bakeware collection. The carbon steel allows for quick heating and even browning along with leak-proof and easy-to-release clamps.
8. Anolon Advanced Bakeware Muffin Pan With Lid
Ideal for baking and transporting muffins, cupcakes and more, the Anolon Advanced Bakeware Muffin Pan With Lid pairs superior baking with added convenience. The heavy-gauge steel retains and evenly distributes heat for consistent baking. The silicone grips and attachable lid allow you to transport bakes with ease. For one of the best muffin pans on the market, this one earns top marks.
9. Anolon Advanced Bakeware 5-Piece Bakeware Set
The Anolon Advanced Bakeware 5-Piece Set combines go-to types of baking pans into one durable and convenient set. Featuring a classic sheet pan and cooling rack, two 9" cake pans and a 9" square pan, this heavy-duty steel set is a fundamental collection for the home baker.
10. Mrs. Anderson’s Non-Stick Cookie Sheet
The professional-quality Mrs. Anderson’s Non-Stick Cookie Sheet makes baking easy and efficient. Made with durable carbon steel with PFOA-free non-stick coating, this best cookie sheet will have you baking batch after batch of perfect sweets, pastries, biscuits and more.
Best Cast Iron Baking Pans
The versatile cast iron pan has a long list of benefits: According to Michigan State University, longevity, dependability, heat retention and iron absorption are just a few of the upsides to cooking with cast iron.
One of the most durable types of baking pans, cast iron pans can last generations when cared for properly. Cast iron heats well, stays hot and gets better seasoned every time you use it making it one of the best bakeware materials. The best cast iron pans also make for a beautifully rustic serving dish, especially for breads and pies.
Although they are very heavy and can rust if not cared for properly, well-seasoned cast iron becomes virtually non-stick and easy to clean. Because it is made of one piece of metal, cast iron can be slow to heat but gets very hot when it does, so be sure to handle it carefully when removing this type of baking pan from the oven or stovetop.
11. Staub Traditional 11” Skillet - Matte Black
Built to last, the Staub Traditional 11” Skillet in Matte Black will serve the home baker for years to come. This versatile, enameled cast iron pan transfers easily from stovetop to oven to table.
12. Staub 12x8” Roasting Pan
Bringing the benefits of traditional cast iron with a modern flair, the Staub 12x8” Roasting Pan is a well-crafted addition to your bakeware collection. This versatile pan can be used for everything from roasting vegetables or proteins to baking cakes and cobblers. With sturdy handles on each end, this sleek pan transitions easily from oven to table.
Best Glass Baking Pans
Although it is not the best heat conductor, glass baking pans do have benefits for the home baker. A good option for pasta bakes, quick breads and casseroles, this type of baking pan is great for effortless storage and reheating. Glass bakeware is also typically dishwasher safe and easy to clean.
It is easier to tell when your food is perfectly browned through a glass baking pan than other materials since you can see the sides and bottom of the dish. Glass baking pans also do not react to acidic foods and will not leave any off-flavors in your food.
Bakers must be wary of temperature as the glass in this type of baking pan may crack or shatter if moved too quickly from hot to cold, such as moving a dish from the oven straight to the fridge or freezer without allowing time to cool.
13. Lock N Lock Purely Better Glass 9"x13” Baker With Lid
Save yourself from doing extra dishes with the versatile Lock N Lock Purely Better Glass 9”x13” Baker With Lid. This unique glass baking pan is safe for use in the microwave, oven and freezer. Bake, store and reheat meals quickly with this airtight and leak-proof storage container and baker in one.
Best Ceramic Baking Pans
Both functional and attractive, ceramic baking pans are a popular choice for home bakers and professional chefs alike. Ceramic makes some of the best baking pan material for heat conduction providing an even and consistent bake. This type of baking pan also retains heat well and is safe for metal utensils, microwaves, ovens and freezers.
Like glass, bakers should be cautious when exposing ceramic bakeware to extreme temperature changes. It may take a little bit of elbow grease to thoroughly clean, but this type of baking pan is often dishwasher safe to help with the cleaning process.
14. Staub 3-Pc Mixed Baking Dish Set
The Staub 3-Pc Mixed Baking Dish Set is practically all you need for perfectly baked casseroles, lasagna, pies and desserts. This set features three ceramic baking pans including a traditional rectangular pan, an oval casserole dish and a classic ridged pie dish all with convenient handles. These ceramic baking pans bring elegance and functionality from the oven to the table and are safe to use in the microwave, under the broiler and in the freezer.
15. Staub 13x9” Baking Dish
The Staub 13x9” Baking Dish is one of the best ceramic baking pans due to its versatility, durability and vibrant color. The ceramic dish is safe to use in the oven, microwave or under the broiler and it safely stores leftovers in the freezer. It does not scratch easily and is resistant to both impact and thermal stress.
16. Staub 3-Pc Mini Round Cocotte Set
Both elegant and versatile, the Staub 3-Pc Mini Round Cocotte Set effortlessly transfers from oven to table to freezer. These adorable ceramics are also safe for use on the stovetop, in the microwave and under the broiler. They make excellent serving dishes for individual baked sides and desserts with their charming glass porcelain finish available in four colors.
17. Fante’s Pizza 13” Stone
Create brick oven-quality pizzas at home with Fante’s Pizza 13” Stone. The ceramic stoneware absorbs moisture to distribute heat evenly for a crisp and airy crust. This pizza stone is safe for use in the oven and even on the grill.
Best Silicone Baking Pans
Despite not being the best type of baking pans for quick and even heat conduction, silicone baking pans have risen in popularity due to their versatility. Silicone baking pans are non-stick and require little or no grease for easy removal. This type of baking pan is dishwasher safe and easy to clean.
These pans can be used in the microwave, oven and freezer. Silicone pans are also lightweight, flexible and easy to store. Silicone baking pans also come in a variety of shapes and colors and can be used not only for baking but also to make molded desserts, ice cream and more. However, silicone pans are not as stable as other types of baking pans and must be handled with care, especially around knives or sharp utensils.
18. Mrs. Anderson’s Baking Silicone Muffin Pan
The flexible and convenient Mrs. Anderson’s Baking Silicone Muffin Pan turns out perfect muffins and cupcakes quickly and with practically no mess. This microwave- and freezer-safe silicone baking pan’s non-stick qualities allow home bakers to produce batch after batch of tasty treats with ease.
19. Mrs. Anderson’s Silicone Donut Baking Pan
Mrs. Anderson’s Silicone Donut Baking Pan is a fun and unique addition to your bakeware collection. Make delicious baked donuts and more at home with this easy-to-use, non-stick, microwave- and freezer-safe silicone baking pan.
Knowing the pros and cons of different types of baking pan materials and which ones are right for you will have you turning out delicious cakes, breads and pastries with consistency and ease.
Whether you choose aluminum or steel for their durability, cast iron for its longevity, glass for its visibility, ceramic for its versatility or silicone for its flexibility, understanding the best type of baking pan material for your recipe is sure to enhance your skills and confidence when shopping for and using your bakeware.
For even more ways to elevate your kitchen, check out chef-recommended cookware in the Cozymeal Shop.