The Calphalon Simply Nonstick Bakeware 6-Piece Set has all the pans you need to get started baking immediately at a reasonable price. If you're focused specifically on baking cakes, the Fat Daddio's Anodized Aluminum Round Cake Pan Celebration Set includes three pans, perfect for baking anything from a simple one-layer cake to a complex three-tiered cake.
Anybody who bakes a lot has learned at least two important things: It takes a lot of different pans to make a lot of different pastries, and the quality of the pans really matters. It’s easy to create an endless variety of baked goods as a pastry chef because of the pans and tools at their disposal in a well-curated professional kitchen. For home bakers, picking out the right pans means selecting and sourcing the right types and making sure they are of adequate quality all on your own.
It can be quite an investment and should be approached with careful thought. What do you most like to bake? What do the people you feed most like in terms of desserts, pies, cakes, breads, tarts, cookies, cupcakes, muffins? Specialty baking can also be quite addictive, with so many possibilities of unique and personal expressions of love all baked into something delicious to eat.
Here, our list of the best baking pans.
Calphalon Simply Nonstick Bakeware 6-Piece Set
Great quality at an affordable price
Prone to scratches
Everybody’s heard of Calphalon, but what, exactly, is it? It’s actually both a brand name and an invention. In 1963, Ronald M. Kasperzak started a company called Commercial Aluminum Cookware in Perrysburg, Ohio, and by 1968, had developed a process to create hard-anodized aluminum cookware using techniques borrowed from the aerospace industry, which make cookware more durable and resistant to corrosion and warping.
The name has represented a quality product ever since, from first being sold in specialty stores and cooking schools to now being widely available. This set is composed of two 8-inch round cake pans, one medium loaf pan, one 9 x 13-inch cake pan, one 12-cup muffin pan, and one 10 x 15-inch baking sheet. These are nonstick, dishwasher safe, and supremely practical. Customers highlight how well-built and sturdy these pans are, as well as their stackability.
Price at time of publish: $44
Material: Heavy-gauge steel, nonstick coating | Oven Max Temperature: 450 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Pieces Included:  8-inch round cake pans,  medium loaf pan,  9 x 13-inch cake pan,  12-cup muffin pan,  10 x 15-inch baking sheet
Best Cake Pans
Fat Daddio's Anodized Aluminum Round Cake Pan Celebration Set
Convenient variety of sizes
Even heat distribution
Aluminum finish oxidizes if machine washed
Round cake pans are a requirement in any baker’s collection because of their flexibility. They can be used to create birthday layer cakes, Italian ricotta cheesecakes, clafoutis, and more. This set is exceptionally well-made of commercial-grade anodized aluminum that weigh less than steel pans. The aluminum pans heat quickly and evenly, allowing cakes to cook faster without drying out in the oven. The pans also cool faster, making them easier to handle when it's time to flip out your cake rounds to cool completely.
This three-piece set features a 3, 5, and 7-inch diameter pan, each with a height of 2 inches. Fat Daddio's claims that this set is perfectly-sized to accommodate one boxs' worth of cake batter. These pans should be hand-washed and are easy to clean, even if food sticks to the bottom or sides of the pan during the baking process. If you do run the pans through the dishwasher, the anodized finish will oxidize from the extreme heat and chemicals of the machine wash, although the pans will still be useable.
Price at time of publish: $20
Material: Anodized aluminum | Oven Max Temperature: 550 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: No | Pieces Included:  2-inch deep round pans in 3, 5, and 7-inch diameters
"I use Fat Daddio's cake pans at home and in the professional kitchen because of how consistently they cook and how reasonably priced the pans are. They make a great range of pan sizes in 2, 3, and 4-inch depths that are ideal tiered cakes. The pans have perfectly straight sides, which produce cake layers that are easier to frost than tapered cake layers, and pans nest neatly inside of each other by descending size for consolidated storage." — Jenny Kellerhals, Baking Expert at The Spruce Eats
Best High-End Set
Wilton Diamond-Infused Non-Stick Navy Blue Baking Set, 7-Piece
Great quality nonstick
All pans have handles
Baking sheets may warp at 450+ degrees
If you’re looking for a high-quality set that covers most of your bakeware needs—and one that also looks good—several customers recommend this one by Wilton. Not only are the pans coated with a non-stick finish that helps everything you cook cleanly release from the surface of the pans, but the coating is "diamond-infused" — making the surfaces scratch resistant, even when using metal tools. The added bonus is that all seven pieces have a great-looking, slightly glossy navy blue finish.
The set is composed of a 12-cup muffin pan; large, medium, and small rectangular baking pans; a loaf pan; and two round baking pans. All feature a diamond-infused nonstick coating and large, curved handles that make handling the pans easier. They are dishwasher safe, and sturdy enough to use daily.
Price at time of publish: $70
Material: Heavy-gauge steel, nonstick coating | Oven Max Temperature: 450 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Pieces Included:  9-inch round cake pans,  9.25 x 5.25-inch loaf pan,  9 x 13-inch cake pan,  12-cup muffin pan,  11.5 x 17.2-inch baking sheet,  13 x 9-inch baking sheet
Best Loaf Pan
Chicago Metallic Commercial II Traditional Uncoated 1-Pound Loaf Pan
Even cooking and browning
Heavy-duty construction prevents warping
Requires lining or thorough greasing
There's a wide variety of loaf pans available these days, but if you're looking to outfit your bakeware collection from scratch, or are ready to get serious about baking, the Chicago Metallic Commercial II Traditional Uncoated 1-Pound loaf pan is absolutely essential. Unlike other pans, this one's made out of uncoated stainless steel, which is going to provide you with years, if not decades, worth of use.
The 1-pound description doesn't refer to how heavy the pan is. Instead, it's a rough indication of how much dough the pan comfortably bakes — an especially great reference point when baking yeasted loaves, and just as helpful when working with quick breads and batters. The pan itself weighs a little over 12 ounces, so it's not as light as some other pans, but that extra weight has several benefits. The heavy-gauge stainless steel construction, with sharp 90° folded corners (not rounded, as you'll see with other pans) and a rolled top edge prevent the loaf pan from warping under high heat. The thicker steel walls will also help move heat more evenly around your loaf while it bakes, and provide a beautiful, even browning to your loaf in the process.
During testing, our baker used the pan to make both vanilla pound cake and banana bread, noting that the browning was perfectly consistent on each. Because the pans are uncoated, our tester found that the pan needed a substantial coating of baking spray to ensure that the loaves don't stick. Clémence Gossett, the owner of The Gourmandise cooking school in Santa Monica, California, also recommends lining the pan with parchment paper to easily prevent sticking, and make lifting the baked loaf out of the pan while it's still warm.
This loaf pan can be cleaned in the dishwasher but can just as easily be washed by hand, which will extend the lifespan of the pan. The pans are also available in a 1.5-pound size.
Price at time of publish: $16
Material: Alloy steel | Oven Max Temperature: 700 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Pieces Included:  8.5 x 4.5 x 2.75-inch loaf pan
Best Bundt Pan
Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Anniversary Bundt Pan
Large, 10-15 cup capacity
Backed by lifetime warranty
Long-lasting sturdy construction
Hand wash only
In the early 1950s, the owner of Nordic Ware, a Minneapolis-based company, designed the pan now known as the Bundt specifically for the Hadassah Society, a group of women who were looking for a way to replicate the Kugelhopfs known in Europe. After grabbing attention at a national baking competition, the pan became a regular fixture in home kitchens across the US. This anniversary edition Bundt pan takes the original Bundt pan design that made Nordic Ware famous and presents it to a new generation, with a few upgrades.
This pan is made still made in the US with cast aluminum, which in testing, makes for cakes that are baked evenly with perfect browning all the way around. The material is a little heavier than others, but seemed like a worthy trade-off for such pristine baking. The pan is also finished with a proprietary platinum non-stick finish. While baking at home, our tester noted that cakes released effortlessly from the pan without needing additional greasing. Additionally, the handles on this pan make it easy to move in and out of the oven, as well as flip the cake out of the pan to finish cooling.
Nordic Ware claims the pan can fit from 10 to 15 cups of batter, but we noticed that the pan can easily fit up to 14 cups of batter and bake up nicely, depending on the type of cake batter you're using. The pan should be hand-washed with a soft sponge and warm soapy water. Avoid abrasive tools, sponges, and soaps to keep the integrity of the pan's finish intact.
This was the first style of anniversary Bundt pan released by Nordic Ware. Since it hit the market in 2000, Nordic Ware has released several impressive new Bundt pan shapes for subsequent anniversaries, including a crown design, as well as magnolia, "Brilliance", cut crystal, chiffon, heritage swirl, blossom, and braided designs. There is also a 6-cup capacity of the classic anniversary Bundt pan for smaller gatherings.
Price at time of publish: $58
Material: Cast aluminum with nonstick coating | Oven Max Temperature: 400 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: No | Pieces Included: 10-15 cup capacity Bundt pan
Made In Square Baking Dish
Durable construction and materials
Attractive design and color options
Easy to clean
More expensive option
While some of the other pans on this list are really only useful for cakes, loaves, tarts, or pies, the Made In porcelain baking dish covers a much wider range of baked foods. Our tester baked everything from dessert and casseroles to vegetables and biscuits in this baking dish, with fantastic results every time. The restaurant-quality ceramic construction heats slowly and evenly, making it perfect for baked dishes that spend a little more time in the oven, like brownies and baked pasta dishes. The handles make the pan easy to get a grip on, and the dish itself cools slowly, keeping your foods warmer for longer while you're enjoying dinner.
The design of the Made In ceramic baking dish is timeless, with a nod to the white vintage enamel-coated sheet trays with a blue pinstripe around the edge of the pan. The dishes are also available with a red rim, as well as a slate blue or olive green finish to fit your tastes. Our tester tried the 8 x 8-inch square baking dish and noted that even without greasing the dish, there was very little sticking from anything that was baked in it. Additionally, they noted that the dish was easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher. The ceramic is of course oven-safe up to 650°F, but can also be used in the refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, and microwave.
Price at time of publish: $99
Material: Porcelain ceramic | Oven Max Temperature: 650 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes, but handwashing recommended | Pieces Included:  8 x 8-inch dish
"[This baking dish] worked well, looked good, and felt sturdy no matter how I used it. When I was done with all my cooking, it even worked well as a serving dish for salad, and it would work well for storing fresh fruit on the counter for easy snacking." - Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best Springform Pan
Fat Daddio's Aluminum Springform Cake Pan
Wide base with raised bottom reduces leaks
Available in several sizes
While springform pans don’t typically see as much baking action as other pans in your baking arsenal, it’s still a good idea to have a few on hand for special baking projects like cheesecakes, flourless chocolate cakes, tarts, and pies—or anything that you’ll need to use extra care removing from the pan. Our favorite multi-purpose springform pan is made by Fat Daddio’s, and is made from professional-grade anodized aluminum.
There are two features that set these springform pans apart from traditional springform pans. The first is the wider base that extends past the round cake form, angling slightly up like the rim of a plate. Additionally, the base of the pan is raised inside the round cake form to create even more protection against leaking, as well as deterring water from entering the form if you’re baking using a water bath. There is still an inner rib on the inside of the plate for the form to grip onto, holding the pieces together, but the updated design helps to keep everything where it’s supposed to be and makes for an easy release when you remove the round form.
The anodized aluminum is lightweight and quickly conducts heat to what’s inside, making for an efficient and even bake. The pans are available in five sizes, and all of them have 3-inch sides. It’s recommended that you hand-wash these pans to prevent the aluminum from oxidizing and extend the life of the pans.
Price at time of publish: $27
Material: Anodized aluminum | Oven Safe Temperature: 550 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: No | Sizes Available: 6-inch, 8-inch, 9-inch, 10-inch, 11-inch
"These pans have greatly helped to reduce the stress that comes with baking flourless chocolate cakes and cheesecakes in a water bath. While I still wrap the base in foil, I'm far more confident that if any water manages to seep in, it's not going to ruin my cakes." — Jenny Kellerhals, Baking Expert at The Spruce Eats
Best Pie Pan
Emile Henry French Ceramic Ruffled Pie Dish
Appropriate for pies of all depths
Makes any pie look gorgeous
Slightly more expensive option
Emile Henry is known for its high quality ceramic bakeware, with clean designs, and stylish color choices. The Emile Henry Ruffled Pie Dish might look like it’s all frills, but this dish is built to bake just about any pie you can throw at it. It’s made with Emile Henry’s signature Burgundy ceramic, which retains and disperses heat evenly around what’s inside. The plate itself is then glazed with a hard and glossy glaze. During testing, we noticed that the glazed surface made it easier to remove extra-sticky pies where the filling had bubbled over the crust, and there were no signs of scratch marks even after slicing pies in it with a serrated knife.
The sides of the pie dish are 2.5 inches tall, allowing for an incredibly deep pie, should that be what you’re trying to make. But because of the way the dish is designed, you can just as easily fit it with a regular pie crust with a slightly rolled edge and molded into the fluted side of the pan for a traditional-depth pie. Our tester noticed that there is no differentiation between wall and edge of this pie plate, so your pies can be as shallow or deep as you like, with lovely results either way.
The dish can be used in the oven, of course, but it’s also safe to use in the microwave, store in the refrigerator or freezer, and is safe to clean in the dishwasher. While pies were the intended purpose of this dish, it’s also appropriate for other baking projects, like cinnamon rolls, single-layer cakes, cobblers, gratins, baked pastas, and more.
It’s a more expensive option than several of the other pie dishes on the market, but we think it’s worth it if baking pies is high on your list of favorite cooking projects. It’s also ideal if you’re concerned about making nice-looking pies, as just about anything you bake in it is destined to look good, even if too much juice bubbles over the crust or it’s a little burnt on one side. But be warned, if you bake a pie for someone in this dish, expect that you might not get it back.
Price at time of publish: $55
Material: Ceramic | Oven Max Temperature: 520 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Pieces Included:  10.5 x 2.5-inch deep dish ceramic pie dish
"During testing, I wasn't expecting to like this pie plate as much as I do, but the ability to make a shallow custard pie or deep dish fruit pie in it with the same even cooking and beautiful presentation made this my favorite dish to bake pies in at home." — Jenny Kellerhals, Product Tester
Best Muffin and Cupcake Pan
USA Pan Bakeware Cupcake and Muffin Pan
Clear nonstick silicone coating
Heavy gauge aluminized steel
Limited lifetime warranty
Heavier than other muffin pans
If you don’t own a muffin pan yet, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll need one. Even if you only bake using boxed-mixes, this pan is an absolute must-have. And since it’s constructed for the long-haul, it’s probably the only muffin pan you’ll need for the foreseeable future. The American-made USA Pan Muffin and Cupcake Pan is constructed from aluminized steel, giving it the undisputed strength of steel to prevent warping, and the heat conductivity of aluminum for evenly-baked muffins. Its also coated with a proprietary clear silicone coating, so you don’t necessarily need paper liners for muffins or cupcakes. Good news when you’re told last-minute that you need to send muffins to school tomorrow for a bake sale, but you’re out of liners and the grocery store closed an hour ago.
While this pan should only be hand washed, you can rest easy knowing that any batter spills or sticky bits should release from the pan quickly, also thanks to the non-stick coating. The wider rim around the muffin cups makes it easier to grip the pan when turning and moving it in and out of the oven, even with clunky oven mitts on. Furthermore, the lighter metal finish keeps your baked goods from baking too quickly, and potentially browning faster on the bottom while the rest of your muffins bake.
Price at time of publish: $30
Material: Aluminized steel with nonstick coating | Oven Max Temperature: 450 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: No | Pieces Included: One 12-cup muffin pan
The Calphalon Nonstick 6-Piece Bakeware Set comes with a good selection of pans at a great price point for the newly-hatched baker/pastry chef. If you’re looking to invest in a set of pans with a scratch-resistant finish and an extra sheet pan for larger baking projects, consider the Wilton Non-Stick Diamon-Infused 7-Piece Baking Set.
What to Look for in a Baking Pan
Type of Baking Pan
Depending on the baked goods you're planning to make, you'll likely need a specific type of baking pan. Some of these pans, of course, are multipurpose. Besides the standard square and rectangular roasting pans and baking dishes, there are also cake pans, bundt pans, loaf pans, muffin tins, jelly roll pans, doughnut pans, pie pans, springform pans, tart pans, and more.
Equally important to the type of baking pan is the material it's made of. You'll commonly find glass, metal, silicone, and ceramic—each with its pros and cons. For instance, glass pans conduct heat well, while silicone ones often don't; however, the latter are great for cupcakes and muffins because they're nonstick. Ceramic pans also conduct heat evenly, but unglazed ones need to be seasoned; metal pans are the most common and most versatile. Furthermore, within these categories there are variations. For instance, under metal alone there are several different types: aluminum, anodized aluminum, stainless steel, insulated, nonstick, and more.
Similar to looking at the type of baking pan, your recipe will dictate the size of pan you need. The standard baking pan size is 9 x 13 inches, and any basic cupcake or cake recipe can be converted to be baked using this versatile pan, with very few adjustments. If a recipe calls for a baking pan you don't have, you can typically use a similarly sized pan—mainly, just make sure it is as close to the same volume capacity as the original pan the recipe called for.
Is there a big difference between using parchment paper versus greasing a pan?
While many recipes—especially more traditional ones—call for greasing your baking pan, many professionals prefer parchment paper. According to Clemence Gossett, owner of the Gourmandise School in Santa Monica, greasing pans might leave an unsavory coating around your baked goods, and create a slippery surface that prevents most of your cake batters from climbing up their cake pans. Parchment paper makes for easier cleanup and foolproof release.
How do you line a baking pan with parchment paper?
To line a square or rectangular baking pan, cut a length of parchment paper long enough to cover the bottom of the pan with a little extra hanging over the sides. Make a crease in the parchment along the edges so that it fits snugly on the bottom. A completely optional step: use a little nonstick spray in the pan first to help tack down the parchment paper so it doesn't move. Some people also prefer to make cuts in the corners for a neater presentation. For round cake pans, you can trace the pan onto a sheet of parchment and cut just inside your tracing—the lining for a cake pan doesn't necessarily need to come all the way up the sides as you can easily loosen the cake with a spatula once it's finished baking.
How do you grease a baking pan?
If you must grease a baking mold, the easiest way is to use a nonstick cooking spray to lightly coat the inside of your pan. You can also use a paper towel with a bit of oil, shortening, or butter on top, dragging the fat along the insides of your baking pan until it's coated in a sheer layer.
Do silicone and other nonstick baking pans need to be greased?
Silicone is nonstick and tends to release without any issue. Most nonstick pans do not need any additional greasing either, but for easier cleanup, you can always opt to line a rigid cake or sheet pan with parchment paper.
What's the best way to remove finished baked goods from their pans?
How We Researched & Tested
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ease of use, material, or price—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. Our team also incorporated their own personal experiences testing products in their own lives. We then used these insights from our research and testing to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Karen Resta is a writer specializing in food culture and history, cooking, pastries, and restaurants. She's also a former pastry chef and has traveled to Budapest, Kyiv, and Paris during their Fashion Weeks as a photographer and writer, always finding the best authentic pastries along the way. She now spends a lot of her free time baking at home and recommends quality within your given budget. Having the right tools available and knowing how to use them well (it can take practice, like anything else) makes all the difference, and she curated this list with that in mind.
This piece was updated by Bernadette Machard de Gramont, an LA-based writer who specializes in global food and wine content. After a 2-year stint at Williams-Sonoma Headquarters in San Francisco, she now researches and tests a variety of cookware, bakeware, and wine tools, and interviews field experts for their insight.
Additional updates by: Jenny Kellerhals