Baking a cake is a lot like building a house—it all starts with a solid foundation. In cake making, that means having the right cake pan is essential. The wrong pan can cause all sorts of problems, like burned edges or, worse, a crumbling, stuck-on mess. The good news: You don’t have to look far to find a great one. Whether you’re a novice baker experimenting with a bundt cake fit for a birthday or a budding professional making a special wedding cake, these highly-rated cake pans will get the job done.
Read on for our picks for the best cake pans to create your next baked masterpiece.
Fat Daddio's Anodized Aluminum Round Cake Pan Celebration Set
Nice assortment of sizes
Advanced bakers may want more pieces
Hand wash only
Consider this bestselling set of three round cake pans (a 3 x 2-inch, a 5 x 2-inch, and a 7 x 2-inch) the ideal starter set. Though extremely budget-friendly, the quality is there. The pans, which are made of aluminum, heat and cool quickly, allowing for a faster, more even rise. The material is also extremely durable and naturally resists rust and corrosion (great for anyone who regularly bakes with highly acidic ingredients, like citrus).
Anyone with concerns about nonstick coatings will love that these pans are anodized, not coated. This environmentally friendly process yields similar results but contains no chemical additives, dyes, or potentially harmful compounds that can transfer peel, or flake into baked goods.
Price at time of publish: $19
Material: Anodized aluminum | Oven Maximum: 550 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: No
"Fat Daddio's cake pans bake are resilient enough for both home and professional bakers. While the pans should only be hand-washed, they're very easy to clean. A quick soak to soften any stuck-on cake crumbs, and these pans wipe clean and look brand new — even after years of use." — Jenny Kellerhals, Baking Expert for The Spruce Eats
Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick 9-Inch Round Cake Pan
Durable Teflon-style coating
Perfectly perpendicular sides
Cakes cook slightly darker
Let's face it, just as much effort goes into preparing to bake and then cleaning up as it does actually mixing and baking the cake. Anything to help cut down on prep and cleanup time is a welcome addition to your baking arsenal. The Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick 9-Inch cake pan reduces the amount of effort that goes into prepping your cake pan because it really only needs a quick hit of cooking spray before filling with cake batter, as opposed to the more labor-intensive process of butter and flouring your pans. Additionally, the nonstick coating reduces stuck-on crumbs and releases any that may have managed to stick anyway without extensive soaking. Instead of washing by hand, you can toss this cake pan in the dishwasher with the rest of your baking mess and let the machine handle the dirty work.
The pan itself is made with heavy-duty alloy steel and coated with Whitford Xylan, a tough nonstick coating that's comparable to Teflon — which means that it's also hard to scratch. The sides of the pan are perfectly straight, so you're getting a professionally-shaped cake that's ideal for making stacked layer cakes. You'll notice that the outside of this cake pan is dark, which will absorb head faster than lighter-colored aluminum pans, but to help evenly dissipate the heat, the inside of the pan is light silver. Even still, cakes in this pan may cook a few minutes faster than in lighter pans, so make sure to keep a close eye on your cakes if switching pans.
Additionally, this pan comes with a limited lifetime warranty, which is useful in the unlikely event that your pan warps or the nonstick coating is damaged with regular use. As a note, the user manual specifies that this pan should not be used under a broiler.
Price at time of publish: $20
Material: Non-stick coated alloy steel | Oven Maximum: 450 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Farberware Nonstick Baking Pan With Lid
Quality construction with reinforced rim
Convenient cover for storage and transport
Good heat conductivity
Can be bulky to store
A 9 x 13-inch rectangular baking pan is a must in any kitchen, certainly for sheet cakes but also for a multitude of other baked foods, including lasagna, casseroles, cobblers, and cornbread. There's also a good chance that whatever you're baking in a rectangular pan, you'll be sharing with other people. This pan includes a snap-on plastic lid that protects what's inside if you need to stack anything on top of it, covers the edges of the pan to prevent any spillage, and allows you to see what's inside during transport.
The pan is made of alloy steel and finished with rolled edges to prevent warping during baking and transport. It also has a nonstick surface, making it easier to pry off crunchy lasagna edges and release perfectly square slices of cornbread. The pan itself is dishwasher-safe to make cleanup easier after your next potluck or birthday party, but the lid must be washed by hand. Some reviewers mention that the lid does almost too good of a job, and can be difficult to get off of the pan.
Price at time of publish: $17
Material: Alloy steel and plastic | Oven Maximum: 450 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Pan is, lid is not
Nordic Ware 75th Anniversary Braided Bundt Pan
Creative design that looks great when baked
Top of the line construction
Made in the USA
Sharp tools may scratch inside coating
If you want to impress a crowd, but are wary of Bundt pans because of their intricacy, this is a great pick. The design is solid and interesting enough to please the eye, but it doesn’t have fanciful, deep grooves that can make releasing the cake a nerve-wracking feat.
Nordic Ware is a leading producer of Bundt cake bakeware and uses top-of-the-line materials. The durable cast-aluminum construction has a premium PFOA-free nonstick coating. Together these features ensure even baking and easy removal, so you can confidently serve up a beautifully designed naked cake. Nordic Ware also releases new Bundt pan designs regularly, ranging from simple sculptural shapes to more intricate architecturally inspired silhouettes.
Price at time of publish: $58
Material: Nonstick coated aluminum | Oven Maximum: 400 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: No
Best for Birthdays
Wilton Countless Celebrations 10-Piece Set
Fun and versatile concept
Easy to use and clean
Doubles as a regular baking pan
Minor leakage can happen under dividers
If you really want to surprise the special birthday honoree, trade your typical round cake for a more highly personalized one. This affordable 10-piece set comes with a unique rectangular pan that features a grid and inserts that allow you to create any letter of the alphabet and numbers from zero to nine.
Despite the perceived intricacy, there’s little fuss for the baker to endure. The pan, which is made of steel and has a nonstick coating, allows for both easy release and quick cleanup—two things you’ll be grateful for when you have a lengthy to-do list to tackle in preparation for the party.
Price at time of publish: $32
Material: Nonstick coated steel | Oven Maximum: 450 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Best for Beginners
Wilton Easy Layers Cake Pans Set
Easy releasing nonstick pans
Allows novice bakers to achieve professional layer style
Perfect for rainbow cakes
Layers are on the thin side
May take trial and error to get desired results depending on cake batter
Just because you’re a novice baker doesn’t mean you have to stick to simple one-layer cakes—particularly if you have this four-piece set at your disposal. With a single box of cake mix, you’ll have enough batter to fill all four pans, creating four 8-inch layers that don’t require any cutting to assemble. It is also available in a five-pan, 6-inch diameter set as well.
There’s minimal risk of sticking, too, since each pan is constructed of heavy-duty nonstick aluminum. For added effect, you can use food dye to color each layer differently—opt for a rainbow or varying shades of the same color for a cool ombre effect. Either way, you’ll be left with a truly impressive dessert—minimal skills required.
Price at time of publish: $20
Material: Nonstick coated steel | Oven Maximum: 450 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Best Angel Food/Tube Pan
Chicago Metallic Professional 2-Piece 9.5-Inch Angel Food Cake Pan
Removeable base makes releasing cake easier
Feet and extended tube for inverted cooling
Easy to use, even for beginners
Cake may stick, even with nonstick coating
This 9.5-inch tube pan from Chicago Metallic addresses several of the issues that bakers face when making angel food cakes. The pan itself is nonstick, but not in an overly-slick way. It's got just enough texture to help your cake climb up the sides without falling down, and then help it release cleanly once the cake is cool. The pan set comes in two pieces, with a removable bottom. Once the cake releases from the sides of the pan, you can then release it from the removable bottom to make sure the cake doesn't break. It's designed with three little feet that extend from the edge of the pan, and the extended tube balance the cake in the center when cooling upside-down.
The pan is made of alloy steel and is dishwasher safe. Angel food cake batter is fluffy and relatively dry compared to typical cake batter and should not leak from the base of the cake pan. If you're concerned about leaking, you can still wrap the bottom of the pan in foil. Several reviewers also noted that the pan worked fine for baking pound cake without leaking.
Price at time of publish: $18
Material: Alloy steel | Oven Maximum: 450 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes, but handwashing recommended
Angel food cakes are notoriously finicky to bake. The cakes are essentially just meringue that's been folded together as tenderly as possible with cake flour. In the oven, the batter climbs up the sides of the tube pan as the egg whites expand, before setting into an ultra-fluffy pure white cake. But the cake recipe is only half the work with this particular cake.
Good angel food cake pans have little feet extending from the top rim of the pan, which is designed specifically for cooling the cake upside-down — a method that's supposed to ensure that the fluffy cake doesn't collapse when it comes out of the oven. It's also imperative that the cake batter climbs up the side of the cake pan, which means that you're not supposed to grease the pan before baking. But a non-greased cake pan means the likelihood of the cake sticking is much higher.
Best for Gifting
Great Jones Patty Cake
Bold trendy colors
Corrugated bottom for easier release
Nonstick, non-toxic, and dishwasher safe
Metal utensils may scratch colorful finish
You've probably seen Great Jones cookware and bakeware splashed across social media and the pages of glossy cooking magazines, and for good reason — the kitchenware is incredibly attractive and cleverly named. No longer do cake pans need to be generic silver. These "Patty Cake" cake pans are available in a bold green "broccoli" color, as well as deep blue "blueberry". That colorful ceramic coating is also nonstick and non-toxic (PTFE and PFOA-free).
The pans are 9" in diameter and made of aluminized steel, so you're getting a heavy-duty pan that performs. You'll notice that the bottom of this cake pan is also corrugated, making it easier to release your cake after baking. Each pan currently costs about $28, which is on the higher end of cake pan prices but understandable given how fashionable it is. Two cake pans are available as part of the "Fully Baked" complete bakeware set, which would also make a very generous and fashionable gift for your favorite baker.
Price at time of publish: $28
Material: Aluminized steel with nonstick ceramic coating | Oven Maximum: 450 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes, but handwashing recommended
Our top pick is Fat Daddio's Anodized Aluminum Round Cake Pan Celebration Set, thanks to the unbeatable combination of great quality, performance, and affordability. For baking and transporting sheet cakes with ease, go with the Farberware Nonstick 9 x 13-inch Rectangle Cake Pan with Lid.
What to Look for When Buying a Cake Pan
Not all cake pans are created equal. Look for pans that are durable, nonstick with easy-release, and have sealed corners so no cake batter can seep through during baking. Additionally, lots of pans now claim to be resistant to warping, which not only keeps your cakes looking professional but also adds to their longevity.
Be aware of what kinds of cakes need what kinds of pans, and what temperatures are needed for baking your favorite cakes. Some pans provide a more consistent bake than others, thanks to their heat conductivity ratings as well as temperature threshold. It may be worth it to spend a few extra bucks on a pan that will provide a moist, even bake to avoid overbaking, burnt edges, or a gooey middle.
Are you wanting to make a bunch of different cakes in your pan, or are you a beginner baker? For the former, a cake pan set might be your best bet so you cover a lot of ground in one go. Otherwise, pick a pan that can be used for everything under the sun, from brownies to birthday cakes to making layered sponge cakes.
How do you get the cake out of the pan?
Most cakes require a little cooling off before attempting to remove them from their baking pan—a just-baked cake tends to fall apart when it's hot. Your recipe should specify how long to wait, but if it doesn't say, wait at least 15 to 20 minutes. Then gently flip your cake over (either using your hand or a plate to catch it) and set it on a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
How full do you fill a cake pan with batter?
A good rule of thumb is to fill your cake no more than half full (two-thirds full for extra deep baking pans), leaving enough room for the cake to expand without overflowing.
How do you prevent the cake from sticking to the pan?
It depends on the type of cake you're baking. Many recipes will specify how you should prepare a baking pan—some call for just greasing the tin, others may instruct you to grease and flour, and some cakes require no pan preparation at all. If you're worried about your cake getting stuck, you can always opt to line your baking pan with parchment paper; it guarantees that your baked goods won't stick and makes it very easy to clean up when you're finished.
What should you do if the cake is stuck to the pan?
If your cake doesn't easily release from its pan on the first attempt, try running a knife or thin offset spatula along the edges to release any batter that is holding onto the sides. If that still doesn't work, you can try freezing the cake for a few hours, then trying to loosen the cake from the pan by sliding a spatula underneath to gently pry it away from the pan's bottom.
Are silicone cake pans safe?
Yes. Food-grade silicone is approved by the FDA as a food-safe substance and can generally be used at temperatures between freezing and 500 degrees. As always, check the manufacturer's specifications to know the exact temperature thresholds for your silicone bakeware.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This roundup was written by Brigitt Earley, who has written and edited hundreds of articles in the food space for various publications over the course of the last 10 years. Brigitt also attended the French Culinary Institute in NYC. Her kitchen is stocked with a mixture of Nordic Ware and Calphalon baking pans.
This piece was edited by Bernadette Machard de Gramont, an LA-based writer who specializes in global food and wine content. She researches and tests a variety of cookware, bakeware, and wine tools, and interviews field experts for their insight.
Additional updates by Jenny Kellerhals