Stock Your Kitchen with These 8 Baking Pans

Here’s a set of 8 must-have baking pans that every baker needs. Updated in 2019.

collage of 8 baking pans that every baker needs

As a sequel to my 14 kitchen tools every baker needs page, today I’m sharing a list of the exact baking pans that 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.

My goal is to encourage you to bake with the most reliable tools available. Recipes are only as successful as the tools you use to create them, so don’t overlook this list! I own a few different brands so I can happily provide options at different price points.

Overall, my favorite lines are Nordic Ware, Calphalon, Wilton, Fat Daddio, and USA Pan. You can’t go wrong with any baking pans from these 5 lines. I bake in my glass Pyrex pans as well, but that’s mostly for casseroles and savory dishes. Why? Glass takes longer to heat than metal, but when things do get hot– they get really hot.

1. HALF SHEET PAN

What I own and love: Calphalon Classic Rimmed Baking Sheets and USA Pan Bakeware Half Sheet Pan.

Both excellent quality. I find the USA Pan pans don’t warp as easily, which is great. I use half sheet pans for baking cookies, scones, vegetables, potatoes, fish, meat, croissants, pastries, breads, pouring out toffee or chocolate bark, and so much more. The 12×17 inch size is perfect 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! (Nordic Ware is also an excellent brand.) Quantity recommended: at least 2

2 rimmed baking sheets

2. 9×13 INCH PAN

What I own and love: USA Pan Bakeware Quarter Sheet Pan. For glass, I highly recommend Pyrex Basics 3 Quart Glass Oblong Baking Dish

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. Quantity recommended: 1

3. 9×9 SQUARE PAN

What I own and love: Wilton Recipe Right Square 9 Inch Covered Pan, Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Square Cake Pan with Lid, and USA Pan Bakeware Square Cake Pan.

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 usually use them for dessert bars– I travel a lot with bar treats. 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. Quantity recommended: 2

2 square baking pans

4. 9-INCH ROUND CAKE PAN

What I own and love: Fat Daddio’s 9 Inch Cake Pan.

Fat Daddio’s is the common preferred brand for cake bakers. I began using these pans in 2018 and immediately fell in love. Great quality for the price! I recommend owning 3. If you own fewer, 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 have to wait to bake that final layer. Purchase 2-inch deep cake pans or those labeled “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 inch round cake pan (most of mine do!), you can’t use it. Quantity recommended: 3

Fat Daddio's round 9-inch cake pan

5. STANDARD 12-COUNT MUFFIN PAN

What I own and love: USA Pan Bakeware Cupcake & Muffin Pan and Lucentee® Large Muffin Pan

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. The silicone muffin pan is 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. Quantity recommended: 2

12 count muffin pans

6. 24-COUNT MUFFIN PAN

What I own and love: Wilton Perfect Results Premium Mini Muffin Pan.

This pan is for all the mini muffins and cupcakes you make. 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. Quantity recommended: 1

24 count mini muffin pan

7. 9-INCH PIE DISH

What I own and love: Too many to list! I collect pie dishes. A great place to start is this Pyrex Bakeware Glass Pie Dish.

Though I own ceramic, metal, and glass, my preferred choice is glassware for pie, quiche, & pot pie baking. Glass heats slowly and this gradual heat is perfect to evenly cook pie including the bottom of the crust, the filling, and the edges. You can also SEE the bottom of the crust browning, which is helpful for dishes with long bake times. This Pyrex pie dish has fluted rims, allowing you to crimp the edges of your crust with ease. It has thick glass and has never warped– even through my hundreds of pies! 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. Quantity recommended: 1

glass pie dish and ceramic pie dish

8. 9×5 INCH LOAF PAN

What I own and love: Farberware Nonstick Bakeware 9 x 5-Inch Loaf Pan.

You can cook everything from banana bread and zucchini bread to pound cake and yeast bread. This Farberware pan is incredible quality– durable, sturdy, and warp-resistant. 9×5 inch is the standard size recipes call for. I own and love the 8.5 x 4.5 inch USA Pan loaf pan too. It works just fine for most bread recipes that call for a 9×5 inch loaf pan too.

Quantity recommended: 1

loaf pan

5 Useful Extras

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

  1. 9-inch springform pan for cheesecakes and tarts. I use and recommend this Calphalon springform pan because it’s heavy-duty and leakproof.
  2. 12-cup Bundt pan for beautiful Bundt cakes. I own several and my favorite is this Anolon fluted pan. It’s top quality, has lasted through all my Bundt cake baking, and its design makes the prettiest cakes. Nordic Ware is another popular choice for Bundt cakes.
  3. 6-count donut pan for donuts. I recommend the same pan year after year– inexpensive and top quality Wilton Nonstick Doughnut Pan.
  4. 9-inch tart pan for tarts. Make sure you get one with a removable bottom for easy cutting and serving. I recommend this Wilton nonstick tart pan because it’s great quality for the price.
  5. 6-count jumbo muffin pan for giant bakery-style muffins. I recommend the Wilton brand (make sure you click “jumbo”). I love extra large muffins. You can take any regular muffin recipe and bake them in a larger size in about 25-28 minutes.

More Baking Basics Posts

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!

19 Comments

  1. I adore your site and agree with you on all of the pans. I do not have your bread pan suggestion…just have a glass Pyrex. It rocks!

  2. Hi Sally,
    When I bake cakes, I typically half the recipe because I have a household of two. A whole cake is simply too much cake for two people!

    What round cake pan size would you recommend for half a cake recipe? A 5″round? A 6″ round?

    And if I go with a 3″ deep, will that effect baking times vs if I went for a 2″ deep (which I think is more standard)?
    Thanks!
    MK in Seattle

    1. Hi MK, When I make smaller cakes I like to use a 6 X 2 inch pan. My best tip for making 6 inch cakes is to use a cupcake batter instead of trying to alter larger cake recipes. Cupcake batter that produces about 12-15 cupcakes is the perfect amount for a 3 layer 6 inch cake. I wrote this post on it with lots of tips that you might find helpful!

  3. I have had great success with the USA Bakeware brand, especially the muffin tins. They come right out, even blueberry!

  4. I’m interested in round cakes; three layer round cakes at that. I see a lot of recipes out there for 8″ round cakes. Do you prefer the 9″ round sizes? Is there a true standard?

    1. Hi Lyla, 8 and 9 inch round pans are usually interchangeable, oven temperatures and bake times are the same! Eight inch is more popular when making tiered cakes (For example if you have 10, 8, and 6 inch layers).

  5. I’m curious about loaf pans. I have two that re Le Creuset… gifts. Should I adjust my baking time for breads because of the type of loaf pan?

    1. If they are ceramic pans, the baked good(s) will take a little longer to cook through.

  6. Hi Sally,
    I love your baking tips and advice. I’ve been baking for many years and would like to get some new baking pans… as layer cakes go, all I have is 9″x1.5″ I got from my mom. I find 1.5″ is too low. I’ve been contemplating to get an 8″ but cannot decide which will serve me better in the long run… 8″x 2″ or 8″x 3″. What do you recommend? Appreciate any advice on this. Thanks so very much.

    1. Hi Dahlia, Just about all of my pans are 2 inches high. Have fun shopping 🙂

  7. Hi Sally! I was going to buy the Pyrex glass pie dish that you listed on Amazon, but after reading reviews I’m kind of wary about buying. Multiple people all had the pie dish explode during/after baking, glass flying everywhere. The first 10 pictures are all of exploding pie glass. I assume this has never happened to you or else you wouldn’t recommend it. Would ceramic pie dishes be less likely to break?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ashlee, Sally uses the linked Pyrex pie dish in most of her pie recipes and has never had a problem with it! I just checked the link and don’t see any exploding pictures but you can certainly go with ceramic if you are more comfortable.

  8. Hi! I am a beginner that should’ve paid WAY more attention in math eons ago! I am making one cake and going to use 2 8″ pans. I have an 8×3 and an 8×2. Can I use 2 different depths if I am pouring equal amounts and keeping an eye on the doneness?
    Thanks so much for helping the baking-challenged like myself! You’re the best! Stay safe!
    Jodi

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jodi, Yes you can use them both and the bake time will still be the same if they have the same amount of batter in them.

  9. I have some of the Fat Daddio round pans, but they’re all 3 inches deep instead of 2. Will that make any difference in my cakes? Obviously I won’t fill to 2/3 full and will instead just evenly split my batter between pans, but just wondering if that extra inch changes anything.

    1. Hi Cathy, from what I’ve tested and learned, it doesn’t make a difference as long as you don’t over-fill the baking pans.

  10. I read your article on the must-have baking pans. I’m currently using two 9X2 inch Nordic ware pans for over a decade. I was looking to make smaller cakes and I noticed you recommend Fat daddies brand. Is there really that much of a difference between the two brands? I’m looking for an 8 x 2 round cake band

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Michael, If you love your Nordic Ware pans then stick with those! The most used cake pans in our kitchens are Nordic Ware, Calphalon, Wilton, Fat Daddio, and USA Pan and you really can’t go wrong with any of those brands.

      1. Thank you for the quick reply. I decided to buy two Nordic Ware springform pans and try two Fat Daddio round baking pans.

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