Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Stock Your Kitchen with These 8 Baking Pans

Stock your kitchen with these 8 essential baking pans-- the most versatile and useful baking pans for your kitchen!

Welcome back to my baking basics series! As a sequel to my 14 kitchen tools every baker needs post, today I’m sharing the exact baking pans I use in my kitchen. These are baking pans that I find most useful, most versatile, and best quality for their price. I use these 8 baking pans more than anything else in the kitchen and highly recommend them to any and all bakers– both beginner and advanced.

Today’s list and last month’s kitchen tools post are two resources I wanted to share to help you stock your kitchen with personally tested and highly approved (and highly reviewed!) tools. My goal is to encourage you to bake with the most reliable tools that you can. Recipes can only be as successful as the tools you use to create them, so don’t overlook these lists! For some of these pans, I own a few different brands– so I can provide some options at different price points.

Overall, my favorite lines are Nordic Ware, Calphalon, and Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch. You can’t go wrong with any baking pans from these 3 lines. I own Wilton brand, too, and they’re fantastic but I find they scratch very easily. This obviously does not ruin the baked good, it really just roughs up the look. (Maybe you’re going for that?!) I bake in my glass Pyrex pans as well, but that is mostly for casseroles and savory dishes. Why? Glass takes longer to heat than metal, but when things do get hot– they get really hot. Recipes with lots of sugar brown quicker in glass pans which may not be ideal for the recipe– like a yellow cake, for example. So light-colored metal is usually my prime choice for bars and cakes that require longer bake times.

From one baker to another, my 8 recommended baking pans:

1. HALF SHEET PAN
What I own and love: Calphalon Classic Rimmed Baking Sheets and Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Half Sheet (just got one and I LOVE it)
Quantity recommended: at least 2

Calphalon Classic Rimmed Baking Sheets

I touched on this briefly last month, but rimmed baking sheets (the half sheet size) are the best pan for your baking and cooking needs. I own 7 (yes, 7!) and I have NO IDEA what I would do without them. I use half sheet pans for baking cookies and scones, I also bake sheet cakes in them, breads and pastries on them, I use them for pouring out toffee or chocolate bark, roasting fish, vegetables, meat, you name it. The 12×17 inch size is perfection for holding a dozen cookies and the rimmed edges prevent any sauces/syrups from dripping off the sheet.

Traveling with a sheet cake or cookies? Or want to just keep things fresh? Get the half sheet pan with a lid! How convenient is that.

2. 9×13 PAN
What I own and love: Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Quarter SheetPyrex Basics 3 Quart Glass Oblong Baking Dish, and Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch® Nonstick
Quantity recommended: 1

Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker's Quarter Sheet

One of the most useful pans in a baker’s kitchen is the 9×13-inch rectangular baking pan, also known as a quarter sheet pan. This holds about 3 quarts and can be used for everything from brownies and lasagna to casseroles and rice krispie treats. This pan can be made of glass, metal, or ceramic– but metal seems to be the most basic option. I use my glass pan for casseroles, but when I’m baking brownies or cakes– it’s always metal. Why? Recipes with lots of sugar brown quicker in glass pans. So metal is usually my prime choice for sweets.

3. 9×9 SQUARE PAN
What I own and love: Wilton Recipe Right Square 9 by 9 Inch Covered Pan and Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Square Cake Pan with Lid
Quantity recommended: 2

Wilton Recipe Right and Nordic Ware Square

I use this size pan ALL the time for things like brownies, cookie bars, fudge, caramels, small cakes, etc. Since they’re so versatile, I recommend having 2. I like these pans to have lids because I mostly use them for dessert bars– and I travel a lot with bar treats. So it’s super convenient. The 8×8 square bake pan size also works for most recipes, but if swapping one size for the other– the bake time may change.

4. 9-INCH ROUND CAKE PAN
What I own and love: Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum NonStick Commercial Round Layer Cake Pan and Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch® Nonstick
Quantity recommended: 3

WS Goldtouch

Why 3 of them? For layer cakes, of course! If you have less, you’re limited to how much batter you can bake at once. It’s best to bake cake batter all at once and if you only own 2 round cake pans– you’ll have to wait to bake that final layer. And that layer may not come out perfectly because of the long delay. The two brands I own are “deep dish” style, meaning that you are not limited to the height of cake. Some round pans are only 1.5 inches high and if your recipe calls for a 9×2 round cake pan (most of mine do!), you cannot use it.

5. STANDARD 12-COUNT MUFFIN PAN
What I own and love: Wilton Recipe Right Nonstick 12-Cup Regular Muffin Pan and Lucentee® Large Muffin Pan (just got this and I’m obsessed)
Quantity recommended: 2

12 Count Muffin Pans

I recommend owning two standard 12-count muffin pans because many muffin or cupcake recipes yield more than 12. And if you like baking muffins or cupcakes often (of course you do!) owning two of these is essential. I’ve had my Wilton muffin pan for over 8 years and it’s a favorite. If you get this one make sure you get the “standard” size– there are a lot of options in the Amazon listing. Another option I’m currently loving is this silicone muffin pan. SUPER non-stick– everything slides right out and it’s dishwasher safe. The listing says “jumbo” but it’s for standard size muffins and cupcakes. Bonus: it’s a gorgeous blue color.

6. 24-COUNT MUFFIN PAN
What I own and love: Wilton Recipe Right 24 Cup Mini Muffin Pan
Quantity recommended: 1

Wilton 24 Mini Muffin Pan

For all the mini muffins and cupcakes you make. Also for homemade mini peanut butter cups (I’ve got a recipe for those in Sally’s Candy Addiction!). I’ve had this Wilton mini muffin pan for years and besides a few scratches, it still gets the job done. Fantastic quality for its price. If you get this one make sure you get the “mini” size– there are a lot of options in the Amazon listing. I don’t own one yet, but the Lucentee® silicone muffin pan linked above comes in mini muffin size too!

7. 9-INCH PIE PLATE
What I own and love: too many to list! I collect them. A great place to start is this clear glass deep dish pie plate or the Pyrex version.
Quantity recommended: 1

pie dishes

Though I own ceramic, metal, and glass, I’d say my preferred choice is glassware for pie, quiche, & pot pie baking. Glass heats slowly and this gradual heat is perfect to evenly cook your pies– from the bottom of the crust, the filling, and the edges. You can also SEE the bottom of the crust browning which helps with dishes with long bake times. Both inexpensive options I listed have fluted rims, allowing you to crimp the edges of your crust with ease. They each have thick glass and through all of my pie-baking, they do not warp. I also love my Emile Henry ceramic ruffled pie dish because the pies are consistently gorgeous– and so is the pie dish! Ceramic pie dishes are similar to glass in that they heat slowly and evenly. Again, this gradual heat is fantastic for pies.

8. 9×5 INCH LOAF PAN
What I own and love: super inexpensive Farberware Nonstick Bakeware 9-Inch x 5-Inch Loaf Pan
Quantity recommended: 1

Farberware Nonstick Bakeware 9-Inch x 5-Inch Loaf Pan

You can cook everything from banana bread and zucchini bread to pound cakes and yeast breads. My Farberware pan is incredible quality for its super low price. Durable, sturdy, and warp-resistant– which is what you always want to look for! 9×5 is the standard size, so that is the size I highly recommend.

5 Useful Extras

If you’d like to extend your bakeware collection beyond the basics, I highly suggest these pans as well:

– 9-inch springform pan for cheesecakes and tarts. I love my Calphalon springform pan, but also heavy-duty and leakproof variety is perfect.

– 12-cup bundt pan for beautiful bundt cakes. I only own ONE and it’s this Anolon fluted pan. It’s top quality, has lasted through all my bundt cake baking, and its design makes the prettiest cakes.

– 6-count donut pan for donuts. Baked donuts are my obsession and I always recommend you get the same pan that I use– inexpensive and top quality Wilton Nonstick. Obviously you need the heart-shaped one for pink party donuts too.

– 9-inch tart pan for tarts and such. Make sure you get one with a removable bottom for easy cutting and serving– I own this Wilton nonstick tart pan and it’s great quality for the price.

– 6-count jumbo muffin pan for giant bakery-style muffins. I own the Wilton brand (make sure you click “jumbo”). I love extra large muffins– and you can take any regular muffin recipe and bake them larger size in about 25-28 minutes.

What are your favorite baking pans? Share your favorites with the rest of us!

More Baking Basics Posts

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I am not working with any of these brands, though some of these links are affiliate links. These baking pans are brands I trust and encourage you to use in the kitchen as well!

74 comments

  1. Will definitely save this list for when I move out of my parents’ home in a couple years time! Thank you!

  2. Good list. I could not LIVE without my square pan or my half sheet pan. Back in the day, I accidentally bought a 10-inch pie pan instead of 9-inch, and I kept wondering why my pies were so…flat. Live and learn!

  3. Thank you for all of the advice, Sally! I need to buy a new mini muffin pan. Mine are outdated! 

  4. Great baking pan roundup Sally! Is there a huge difference in results for a 9×5 loaf pan recipe baked in an 8×4 pan? I currently own an 8×4!

    • Not a HUGE difference. It’s a smaller pan, obviously, so the bread will likely be taller and if a recipe calls for a 9×5 loaf pan and you bake in the smaller 8×4 loaf pan– the bake time will be longer than the recipe states. Does that make sense?

  5. There’s so much great stuff on this list, and I use it all! I also love my mini donut pan and mini (5.5 x 3 x 2.25) loaf pans. I usually divide a normal 9 x 5 bread recipe into 3 of them, so I can have one to snack on, one to freeze, and one to give away!

  6. Sally, I’m so glad you made this post! Erik and I just moved cross country (like a year ago… but it goes quick) and we had to get rid of almost everything… Yep, even my beloved bakeware. 🙁 As a fellow baker, I’m always drooling over the millions of pans and other kitchen tools on the market, but I’m never really sure what I actually need. It’s super helpful to be able to read your advice on this.
    Love that you suggested the TWO half sheet pans. Those half sheets are big, but fit into most common ovens. Plus, who really has time to wait for a pan to cool off straight out of the oven when they have like 48 more cookies to bake? 😉
    Lot of sugar browning in glass pans: Interesting factoid. The more ya know…
    Thanks so much for another helpful baking basics post. Looking forward to the next! Have a great weekend, Sally! xo

    • More power to you– I could get rid of all my clothes if needed but never my baking pans. I’m so glad this is helpful Demeter!

      • Haha… yeah. But it was a good thing (although it was tough at the time). It was a healthy purge of, frankly, a lot of novel bakeware that was just giving me a big headache during baking. The cool part was that I was able to shop again once I got here! And now I’ve got this nifty guide to help point me towards more awesome tools of the trade. 😉

  7. I love these posts! As a novice at baking, it’s so helpful to see the basics listed her. It makes me super happy to see how affordable all your picks are- it’s nice to know all my baking essentials don’t HAVE to come from Williams-Sonoma (though I would love that, my wallet would not) to get the picture perfect results we see from you. Keep the baking basics posts coming!

    • Most of the pans I use are less than $15 each. And all excellent quality, standing the test of time. AND heavy usage!!

  8. Yes, yes, and yes! The only other bakeware that I use as much as this stuff (or more!) is my pair of quarter sheet pans. There’s only two of us in my house, so if we want a couple cookies baked from frozen or a few slices of bread tossed into the oven alongside whatever’s already in there they are perfect! (and fit into the sink way easier for washing up…)

    • Woops – realized you had the 9×13 labeled as a quarter sheet. I always thought of that as having higher sides… I have one similar to the Williams-Sonoma plus two like the Nordic ware 🙂

      • Any 9×13 size pan (high sides vs low sides) is typically also called a quarter sheet pan, yes!

  9. GREAT recommendations, Sally! I desperately need to get my hands on a 24 count mini muffin pan (or “Pecan Tassie pan” as my family calls them haha) – I only have 12-counts and it would be SO nice to not have to juggle pans!

  10. I love to bake too and my cookie sheets are my go-to for cookies, scones, biscuits and for roasting. I don’t own a jumbo muffin pan and I do like to make muffins in mini and standard sizes. I do own 4 donut pans since it’s easier to bake with multiple pans when doubling a donut recipe.
    Thanks for the recommendation! 

  11. Hi Sally!

    This is such a great list, and I a few of these things. Now I want to stock up on more stuff from your list!

    I was wondering I have three spring form pans and I thought they were meant for baking cakes in it. I did some research online and it says for cheesecake and tortes…I was wondering do I need to get a cake pan like the one you listed for regular cakes?

    Let me know what you think!

    • They’re mostly used for cheesecakes, but I’ve used mine for regular cakes before too. Having regular cake pans is ideal because if your cake batter is slightly runny, it can leak out of the springform pans.

      • Ah I see, thanks for getting back to me! This really makes sense since the last time I tried to make a cake it did leak out a little in one of the pans. I am definitely going to make sure I get some soon! 

        Thanks again! =)

  12. My go-to baking dish is my 12 by 15 Pampered Chef baking stone. I use it for everything from cookies to buns to scones to pizza. Everything comes off beautifully soft and it’s basically impossible to burn the bottom of your baking. It’s the secret to most of my baking success.

  13. I might not be the best baker, but I love Williams Sonoma Gold touch pans. They are far and way the best pans and worth the investment. little by little, I swapped out all my old bakeware for the WS ones. 

  14. Hi Sally! TGIF! Oh my! The Emile Henry ruffled pie plate is GORGEOUS! I just ordered one off of W&S in burgundy…must have! I love my mini muffin pan….I too have the 24ct Wilton pan and use it for mini muffins, brownies and mini quiches.

    • I own two and they are absolutely stunning. I always get compliments on it! I have the brown and beige. I want the burgundy, too!

  15. I already own some of the classic size baking pans and sheet pans, but I didn’t know that some of them came with lids. Those would be so convenient when you’re headed to parties or bringing treats to a friend. Now, I’ll have to look into it. Not that I need more… lol

  16. Hi Sally,
    Great post!!  Its nice to know about the glass vs metal too, I had no idea.  Will have to invest in a metal 9 x 13 (currently have 1 glass & 1 ceramic).  One pan I have that I like is a mini loaf pan. The batter that would go in a 9 x 5 loaf pan fits nicely in it making 8 mini loaves (essentially muffins really, just different shape).  Oh, and my mini muffin pan holds 32 which is nice. I will be making your funfetti layer cake next week for a friend’s birthday but gotta go get a 3rd cake pan first!! 🙂

  17. Great selection! I can’t live without my 9×9 pan and the baking sheets. I use them for almost everything. 

  18. Ah, I have many copies of those 8 pans 🙂 but I don’t have a jumbo muffin tin or a mini muffin tin! Kind of want one too, nothing is cuter than mini cupcakes! And nothing is more fun then splitting a giant muffin right down the middle with your BFF. Maybe this list will help me get on ordering these two pans. When I do, the first thing I’ll make will probably be your snickerdoodle cupcakes (SO good), mini style! 

  19. Nice roundup!! I love my baking pans and we agree on several of them!

  20. Thank you so much for all your Baking Basic Series. I have been pinning these to Pinterest and then sending them to my granddaughter who is only 11 but loves to bake with me. Hopefully these will give her tools to build on as she continues baking on her own.

  21. This is just what I needed! I have all of the basics but I’m considering getting a donut pan. I’m a total donut junkie, and I can still have my donuts, but healthier, right? 😉

  22. Very informative! I think I have all the pans you listed except the square 9×9 pan. Gonna get that one soon! And I never knew about the difference between glass and metal pans, so thanks for putting that down.

  23. When it comes to baking in glass pans I have always reduced the oven temperature by 25 degrees and all turns out well

  24. Sally this is a great list! I think that ll beginning bakers should know this list! I would be lost without my 1/2 sheet pans and parchment paper! I use them multiply times a week. Great read! 

  25. This is SUCH a helpful list! I find myself with too many items in the kitchen and always get stuck when trying to choose something to remove. We don’t have much storage space in our kitchen, so having a list of essentials is so useful.

  26. Hey Sally- so glad you wrote positively about the silicone muffin pan. I have a small collection going on of Silicone pans. I have 2/ 9 inch round pans with 2″ sides, 2 9″ square pans and 2 sheets that I always use for candy making. I really enjoy using them- no spray needed and everything slides right out! Oh, I also have silicone muffin cups(6). I mostly use these for my tasting cakes. I wouldn’t dare “taking ” a cake to someone that hasn’t been tasted! Since I have been cooking/ baking for a very long time because I love it, I own many pans, of many sizes and of many materials! The silicone is something new for me. The 9″ square silicone is wonderful for candy and bars-you would love it! Got mine at Aldi’s for either $2.99 or $3.99! Can’t beat it! They sell for $12.99 up at kitchen shops! Love you! You are a favorite! Feel like I know you!

  27. This is such a helpful list! I need to get my hands on some 9 inch round cake pans, ones without a removeable bottom!

    And pans with lids?! I never even knew they existed, so cleaver and handy for transporting baked goods!

    • The pans with lids are a lifesaver. I always have batches of brownies or bars to take with me somewhere, so it’s perfect! I just need to remember to NOT forget it when I leave!

  28. Such a great list and I couldn’t agree more! I just recently used my round pans for the first time and I am so excited I can finally make a layered cake! Also– LOVE my silicone muffin pan. But mine is red and I’d much rather have blue color, too pretty.

  29. I love your baking basic series, I found the information really helpful especially the last couple of posts which I will use when I buy new stuff for my kitchen. I would love it if you make a post on the different flours and also the different names they are known by. All the different flours that I see in recipes do get a bit confusing, especially for someone like me that is Australian, and not sure if whole wheat flour is what we call wholemeal 🙂

    • I’m so glad you find these posts helpful! What a great idea for a post. Though I’m unsure I can fit it in, I’m always happy to help if you want to shoot me an email about it. 🙂 sallysbakingaddiction (at) gmail.com

  30. What an incredibly helpful list! Do you have a place to store all these, Sally? I have a small kitchen. I have my pans in the oven (hate that). I’m wondering if you have a separate storage unit (or if you can recommend one) to store all your baking supplies.

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