Are You Using the Best Baking Pan For Your Recipe?

Baking is a tricky science to master. From cakes to brownies to soufflé, using the right equipment is essential. Here's our guide to the best baking pans for any recipe.

various shape and size container for baking usePhoto: Shutterstock/aminphotoz

Baking can be one of the most relaxing and rewarding hobbies for any home cook. (Know your way around a lightly-floured counter? Check out our baking bucket list!) Although it may seem straightforward, this scientific art can be tricky to master at first. It may seem straightforward, but how do you know you’re using the best baking pan for your recipe? We’ve got the guide to exactly how to use them.


This pan is the most basic piece of cookware in the kitchen—and the most essential. Good for everything from sheet cake to cookies to chicken casserole, 13×9 pans are a home cooks’ secret weapon and a crucial part of any culinary artillery. To achieve perfectly moist brownies, make sure to buy a 13×9 cake pan with straight sides, rather than curved. This helps the batter to cook more evenly rather than pooling together in the center. Cake pans are best for sheet cake, cream cheese swirled brownies, or our crispy pretzel bars.

Muffin/Cupcake Pans

For perfectly moist muffins with a crispy, crunchy top make sure to use a muffin or cake pan. By evenly distributing heat and batter, muffin pans help to achieve the perfect size and shape for these idyllic pastries. Try these muffin recipes worth waking up for.

That’s not all—cupcake pans are perfect for savory breakfast items like these mini spinach frittatas, and for appetizers, too.

Loaf Pans

Loaf pans create the perfect size and shape for a luscious loaf of bread. Be it zucchini bread, banana bread or sourdough, loaf pans are a must-have. The tall sides of the pan conduct more heat than a shallow pan would. This creates a crispy, browned crust on all four sides. Most importantly, this pan helps to preserve the shape of the loaf of bread throughout the cooking process.


A springform pan is a specific style of bakeware that has removable sides. The sides fit into the base of the pan by sitting in a groove, and latch on the sides to stay in place. These pans are hugely helpful for making desserts with delicate sides, like this elegant ricotta cheesecake. Springform pans allow for the easy, gentle removal of soft cakes without disrupting the bottom layer. Get more dessert recipes for your springform pan.

Pie Pans

Ever wonder how Grandma gets perfectly crispy pie crust with soft and tender fruit inside? A pie pan is essential to executing any pie recipe. Aside from the obvious round shape, it differs from a square cake pan in that the sides are sloped. The fluted edge allows for even distribution of heat, which gives us flaky, layered crust that holds in tender, sweet filling. For best results, use an aluminum pie pan (either disposable or not). Aluminum conducts heat more quickly than ceramics or stone—and hotter pans make for more flaky crust.

When choosing the right recipe for your baked good, make sure to have the proper tools on hand. Using the correct pan takes the guessing game out of baking and ensures crusty, delicate and perfectly cooked desserts each time.

Get baking!
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Laura Denby
Laura is a New York-based freelance food writer with a degree in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education and a degree in Journalism from Penn State. Her work has appeared in Taste of Home, Chowhound, the Culture Trip and Patch.