Are you looking for the best baking pans? Just a short stroll through any kitchen department, and you'll see those familiar Pyrex dishes, some Corning casseroles, and all manner of metal cake pans.
So many choices. How do you know what the best baking pans would be? What baking sheet sizes, what kind, what material? It's mind-boggling.
Well, everyone should start with the essentials — the ones that can get you through just about every baking need you'll have. Once you have the basics, you can expand your collection of best baking pans as your culinary knowledge and experience grow.
So what are the essential baking pans?
The 7 Best Types of Baking Pans
Our essential seven best baking pans will let you bake just about anything and everything. And even more.
1. Half-sheet pans
You can never have too many half-sheet pans; they're the multi-tasker workhorses of every kitchen. You can click here for other sizes of baking sheets.
In the oven, you can use them for baking cookies, fish, roast veggies, baking artisan bread, pizza — the list is endless.
With rims deeper than 1 inch, they're useful for laying out prepped food, holding zip bags of marinating food, or acting as trays.
While there are many aluminum sheet pans available, and even though aluminum is a oven of heat for sheet pans, we recommend stainless steel.
Stainless steel sheet pans are the choice of most commercial kitchens because they are sturdy, resistant to corrosion and rusting, and are dishwasher safe. And that makes them useful for your kitchen as well.
2. Muffin pan
Muffin pans are great for muffins and cupcakes, but they're also suitable for baking individual portions of meats and vegetables.
Use them as molds for single-serving sizes of gelatin or rice. Or fill the cups with water and put a sprig of mint or lemon slice in each cup and freeze for over-sized ice cubes.
One 12-cup muffin pan is suitable for most kitchens unless you have school-age children and you're making cupcakes for the cake sale.
3. Loaf pan
While you can bake a meatloaf on a sheet pan or even in muffin cups, there is something to be said for a traditionally shaped meatloaf.
And if you're baking a banana nut loaf bread, you need a loaf pan. But one will probably serve you well until you formulate that to-die-for loaf of bread that you will be giving family and friends as gifts.
4. 9-inch cake pan
Sooner or later, everyone bakes a cake, even if it's from a box. Yes, you can use the half-sheet pan or a 9-inch by 13-inch pan to bake that cake. You could also opt for cupcakes.
But there's something special about a layer cake, especially when it's frosted with a creamy milk chocolate frosting.
Also, Aunt Martha's sour cream coconut cake has to be a layer cake; it won't look or taste the same in any other form.
And our 9-inch best baking pans pick is deep enough to use as a casserole dish too. So, it's always a good idea to have two of these pans at the ready.
5. 9-inch by 13-inch pan
If we're going to call the half-sheet pan the multi-tasker workhorse of the kitchen, then the 9-inch by 13-inch pan has got to be that workhorse's photo-finish second.
This all-purpose pan is excellent for casseroles, desserts, cakes, roasting, baking, and serving. It will also hold enough for leftovers or a holiday dinner party.
One of these will serve you well to start, but it won't be long before you add one or two more to your collection.
6. 8-inch pan
Most brownie and bar cookie recipes call for this size pan. But this pan can do more than bake brownies.
It's good when you want to bake small casseroles, roast a cornish hen, cakes, or smaller portions of anything you'd bake or roast in a 9-inch by 13-inch pan.
Unless you like to make square layer cakes, one of these pans will do for a start.
7. Pie plate
Well, you can't very well bake a pie without a pie plate. Most pie plates are safe to use in the freezer, dishwasher, microwave, and oven. So think outside the pie plate and use it where you need it.
You can start with one pie plate, but they're so versatile, you'll add a few more.
How We Picked the Best Baking Pans
Our seven best baking pans review is an independent analysis of the different baking pans available for today's home bakers.
To narrow our list, we searched the internet to find the most used and desired baking pans, read manufacturer's specifications, and then read customer questions, comments, and reviews.
The purpose of this review is to give you sufficient factual and unbiased information so that you can make a confident, informed, and easier decision when purchasing your best baking pans.
Our 7 Best Baking Pans
These are the seven best baking pans that should be in every kitchen.
Teamfar Baking Sheet with Cooling Rack
Teamfar's Baking Sheet with Cooling Rack is stainless steel and dishwasher safe. It's highly probable that your oven will see this pan more than any other in your kitchen.
This stainless steel half-sheet pan measures 19.6 inches by 13.75 inches by 1.3 inches. And the stainless steel cooling rack measures 18.75 inches by 12.5 inches by .75 inches.
The rack fits perfectly in the rolled-edge pan. That means when you use this pan and rack together, air will circulate while your food bakes. Think of a tender tilapia filet.
This 18/0 stainless half-sheet pan can handle ribs, wings, bacon, and yes, cookies too. They're also perfect for supporting other pans like springform and silicone. And cleanup's a piece of cake since you can put both the rack and pan in the dishwasher.
Amazon customers rated this half-sheet pan 4.6 out of 5 stars. A remarkable 83 percent of reviewers rated this product 5.0 out of 5 stars.
Keliwa 12-Cup Silicone Muffin Pan
Keliwa's 12-Cup Silicone Muffin Pan, made with FDA approved, BPA-free, food-grade silicone, is freezer and dishwasher safe. And it's bright red so it will be easy to spot in your pan drawer.
Each cup is about 2.5 inches in diameter and holds 1/4 to 1/3 cup or up to 2.6 ounces of batter. The pan measures 13 inches by 10 inches by 1.125 inches.
Before you fill the cups with goodies to bake, place the pan on a cookie or sheet pan for stability. The sheet pan we mentioned above would be an excellent choice.
This non-stick muffin pan lets muffins, cupcakes, eggs, and even keto fat bombs pop out easily. And after you have popped out your goodies, you can put it in the dishwasher.
Amazon customers rated this muffin pan 4.6 out of 5 stars. An impressive 80 percent of reviewers rated this product 5.0 out of 5 stars.
Rachael Ray Nonstick Bakeware 9-inch x 5-inch Loaf Pan
Our pick for best loaf pan is Rachael Ray's Nonstick Bakeware 9-inch by 5-inch Loaf Pan. This loaf pan has a removable insert perfect for lifting out a 2-pound meatloaf.
Remove the insert and bake all kinds of bread, including your favorite sugary fruit bread, and they will slide out of this non-stick pan easily. A quick wash with warm soapy water, and you're ready to bake again.
The exterior measurements of this loaf pan are 12 inches by 6 inches by 3.25 inches, with internal measurements of 9 inches by 5 inches. The insert sits .5 inches from the bottom so that grease can drain from your meatloaf.
The handles on both the pan and insert allow safe and secure handling of this pan, especially when removing from the oven. And with proper care, this carbon-steel pan with its non-stick surface will not rust.
Amazon customers rated this loaf pan 4.8 out of 5 stars. An extraordinary 92 percent of reviewers rated this product 5.0 out of 5 stars.
Last Confection 9" x 3" Deep Round Aluminum Cake Pan
Our 9-inch pan choice is Last Confection's 9-inch by 3-inch Deep Round Aluminum Cake Pan. This non-reactive, anodized aluminum pan with its extra-thick, seamless, even-wall construction has superior heat distribution.
This pan measures 3 inches deep with a diameter of 9 inches. The right-angle edges of this pan make stacking layers and frosting them easier. And your cakes will rise level and flat.
The non-reactive, anodized aluminum make this pan perfect for batters containing acidic ingredients like vinegar and lemon juice.
In this 3-inch deep, heavy pan you can make dense cakes like carrot or cheesecake and light, airy cakes like a fluffy, jiggly Japanese Cheesecake. And you can use this pan as a gelatin mold, that right-angle design would make an attractive presentation.
Amazon customers rated this 9-inch pan 4.8 out of 5 stars. An incredible 91 percent of reviewers rated this product 5.0 out of 5 stars.
Emile Henry Modern Classics Large Rectangular Baker
Emile Henry's Modern Classics Large Rectangular Baker gets our pick for best 9-inch by 13-inch pan. They make this pan in France with all-natural, high-fired Burgundy clay, giving the pan even heat diffusion and heat retention.
Every kitchen needs a 9-inch by 13-inch pan for casseroles, lasagne, mac and cheese, and even cakes. And this one is attractive, durable, and scratch-resistant and has two handles that make it safe and secure to remove from a hot oven.
The internal measurements of this pan are 11.5 inches by 8.25 inches by 2.5 inches, just a bit larger than that popular Pyrex 9 by 13. Which, by the way, has an internal measurement of 11.75 inches by 7.25 inches by 1.75 inches.
This 9-inch by 13-inch pan can go directly from freezer to oven, up to 520 degrees Fahrenheit. Then after you gobble up the goodies, you can put it in the dishwasher for easy clean-up. And it comes with a 10-year warranty.
So make that lasagne for next week's party and put it in the freezer. Next Friday, take it out of the freezer and put it directly in the oven. Then after it's baked, take it to the table, cut that perfect piece of lasagna, and serve it piping hot.
Amazon customers rated this 9-inch by 13-inch pan 4.5 out of 5 stars. An incredible 86 percent of reviewers rated this product 5 out of 5 stars.
Astra shop Square Cheesecake Pan with Removable Bottom
Our pick for the best 8-inch square baking pan is Astra shop's Square Cheesecake Pan with Removable Bottom. This 8-inch by 8-inch square pan, made of non-reactive, anodized aluminum, both heats and cools quicker.
The non-reactive, anodized aluminum means you can bake batters that include vinegar or citrus juices without any discoloration of your cake or your pan. And the finish will not rust, peel, chip, or flake.
The removable bottom will let you remove brownies, cheesecakes, and specialty cakes easier and neater.
The pan measures 8 inches by 8 inches by a deep 3 inches, and the seamless 14-gauge pan has right-angle corners that will make stacking, frosting, and serving easier.
So use this pan to make those delicious Linzer torte's, chocolate chip brownies, triple chocolate mousse cakes, and peanut butter fudge. They'll come out of the pan with crisp right angles, and you can serve lovely neat squares of yumminess.
Amazon customers rated this 8-inch pan 4.6 out of 5 stars. An outstanding 91 percent of reviewers rated this product 5.0 out of 5 stars.
Pyrex Watercolor Collection Blue Lagoon 9.5" Pie Plate
Our pie plate pick is the Pyrex Watercolor Collection Blue Lagoon 9.5-inch Pie Plate. It is a durable, high-quality, tempered glass pie plate that resists stains and does not absorb food odors or flavors.
The measurements of this beautiful pie plate are 9.5 inches in diameter, and 1.75 inches deep, and Pyrex backs this pie plate with a 2-year limited warranty.
This deep pie dish is perfect for Grandma's apple pie, a mile-high lemon meringue pie, a dinner party size flan, or even a crustless pizza.
Pyrex pans are dishwasher, freezer, microwave, and preheated-oven safe. And this pie pan will fit in most toaster ovens, so you can make that delicious pie and not heat the kitchen.
Amazon customers rated this pie plate 4.7 out of 5 stars. A remarkable 92 percent of reviewers rated this product 5.0 out of 5 stars.
Serve It on Your Prettiest Plate
We've told you the seven best baking pans you need in your kitchen and even how many you should have. So head to the kitchen department of your favorite store knowing what to get for your kitchen.
Once you have all the tools at your disposal, you'll want to take care of them. So, make sure that you know how to clean baking sheets so they'll last for many years.
Then start baking!
Let us know in the comments below how many of our essential best baking pans are in your kitchen, and how you use them.
Featured Image via Pixabay