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
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 Sheet, Pyrex Basics 3 Quart Glass Oblong Baking Dish, and Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch® Nonstick
Quantity recommended: 1
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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
- Top 10 Baking Tips
- 14 Kitchen Tools Every Baker Needs
- Favorite Candy Making Tools
- Measuring is Everything
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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!