Which baking pan is best?
If you enjoy baking, then you know that the success of your food depends on three major factors: a great recipe, good ingredients and quality bakeware.
Consider what you like to bake most frequently and if your priority is reliable, predictable results or easy cleaning and simple maintenance. No matter your preference, the Nordic Ware Classic Metal Covered Cake Pan is an excellent all-purpose choice. Made from professional-grade aluminum, this pan ensures a consistent temperature and years of great baking results for both hobbyists and professional chefs alike.
What to know before you buy a baking pan
Baking pans are usually made of metal, glass, ceramic or silicone. For insight into specific pans made from these materials that are not described in this article, check out BestReviews’ baking pan buying guide.
Metal baking pans are commonly used. They are usually made from aluminum or steel coated with a nonstick surface. While stainless steel baking pans are available, they don’t provide benefits compelling enough to justify their higher prices. Metal baking pans conduct heat evenly through your food, making it easy to follow recipes and achieve your intended results.
Glass baking pans do not conduct heat as well as metal alternatives. As a result, food that is prepared in glass bakeware requires careful monitoring to avoid overcooked edges. Glass is easy to clean but heavy and fragile.
Silicone baking pans are becoming popular thanks to their nonstick surfaces that stay cool to the touch even right out of the oven. Silicone bakeware is flexible and easy to store. This material is not good at conducting heat, so users of silicone products need to add some extra baking time to their recipes.
Ceramic baking pans are aesthetically pleasing for some due to their classic, traditional look. They are usually the heaviest option, and they retain heat very well. Porcelain bakeware can easily chip, resulting in sharp, hazardous edges.
Thin baking pans are lighter and less expensive than thicker options. However, they don’t conduct or retain heat as well as thicker cookware. Thicker pans generally make for more consistent baking.
Consider what your baking plans are and choose a pan that comes in a shape that will be most appropriate for your needs. If you intend on baking stacked cakes, for example, avoid pans with steeply angled sides. If you regularly make casseroles, choose a pan with an appropriate depth.
Some people just bake occasionally for themselves. Others bake food for commercial use or large events. Select a baking pan size that is appropriate for your most common tasks and recipes. Some baking pan sets include multiple sizes you can conveniently purchase together.
What to look for in a quality baking pan
At face value, nonstick surfaces are the best choice for hassle-free baking. However, these surfaces lack resilience and eventually wear off. Baking pans that are not coated with a nonstick surface will require more preparation on your part to ensure that your food comes out easily.
Dark-colored pans retain and conduct more heat than lighter ones. This means that foods baked in dark pans are more likely to have overcooked, burnt edges. Choose a pan that is lighter in color to ensure even, predictable baking.
Select a baking pan that has smooth lines and no extra details, deeply embossed logos or other features that food can accumulate in. Even nonstick pans can become challenging to clean if ingredients become repeatedly baked onto them. Glass, silicone and ceramic baking pans are dishwasher safe.
Other baking pan features to consider
- Use the proper size. Recipes call for specific baking pan sizes to ensure that the food is cooked appropriately. Using a pan that is too large or too small changes the thickness of what you are baking and therefore affects your results.
- Use oven mitts. Metal, glass and ceramic baking pans get extremely hot and can cause severe burns. Always use oven mitts or a silicone grabber when removing them from the oven.
- Want to serve your baked treat warm? Glass baking pans retain heat better than metal. If your dish is best served right from the oven, baking it in a glass pan will keep it hot long after it has been removed.
How much you can expect to spend on a baking pan
High-quality baking pans can be affordably purchased for $15-$20. Full sets of baking pans that include a variety of shapes and sizes can cost as much as $100, depending on what they are made of, how many pieces they include and if they are from a premium manufacturer.
Baking pan FAQ
Will the material of my baking pan affect my baking?
A. Yes. Baking with metal pans requires less time than baking with other materials because metal is an excellent conductor of heat. Silicone baking pans, however, are heat resistant and will necessitate more time in the oven to ensure thorough cooking. The heat conductivity of different materials will require some experimentation to fully understand how it may affect your favorite recipes.
Which baking pan material is nonstick?
A. Silicone’s naturally slick surface and flexibility make it the number one choice for bakers who prioritize nonstick surfaces and fast cleanup over heat retention and quick baking time.
Why is food sticking to my nonstick baking pan?
A. Nonstick surfaces wear off over time. While disappointing, it doesn’t mean that your baking pan can’t still be used. Simply treat the bakeware with a nonstick spray or parchment paper as you would a traditional pan.
What’s the best baking pan to buy?
Top baking pan
What you need to know: Exceptional quality and durable aluminum construction make this baking pan ideal for long-term use.
What you’ll love: This large pan includes a matching aluminum storage lid. It is made in America and its tough build means it is designed for longevity even in demanding professional kitchens.
What you should consider: This pan is not dishwasher safe, nor is it treated with a nonstick coating.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top baking pan for the money
What you need to know: This set includes two large baking pans at a very competitive price point.
What you’ll love: These baking pans feature a nonstick surface and aluminum construction. Their heavy gauge metal prevents warping in high temperatures and spreads heat evenly.
What you should consider: While these pans are dishwasher safe, the manufacturer recommends hand washing them in warm, soapy water to extend the life of their nonstick coating.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This three-piece baking pan set features a nonstick surface and rubbery silicone grip pads.
What you’ll love: These pans are made from strong, nonstick steel. Silicone handles provide a safe, secure grip for easy removal from hot ovens.
What you should consider: Some users note that the pans are prone to rust and the silicone grips can come off after exposure to high heat.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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