Stock Your Kitchen With These 8 Baking Pans

As a published baking cookbook author, I’ve tested out MANY baking pans. And I’m happy to recommend my absolute must-haves to fellow home bakers. This list is a great place to start if you’re a beginner baker, are creating a registry, or are shopping for a gift for someone who likes to bake (or wants to learn).

collage of baking pans with Sally's Baking Recipes logo

Today I’m sharing a list of my very favorite baking pans, which I personally use and love. I originally published this post in 2016 and many of my preferred brands have remained the same because they’re such great quality. These are the baking pans that my team and I find the most useful, most versatile, and best quality for their price. They’ve also held up well over the years, which is saying something considering I most likely give them more of a workout than the average home baker!

These are My Favorite Brands

All of the baking pans in today’s list are items I own. None of this post is sponsored—truly just items I love and am happy to recommend to fellow home bakers. A lot of these links are affiliate links.

Overall, my favorite lines are Nordic Ware, Calphalon, Wilton, Fat Daddio, and USA Pan. You can’t go wrong with any baking pans from these brands.

You can find some more of my baking tool recommendations here:

8 Baking Pans for Your Kitchen

I use these 8 best baking pans more than anything else in the kitchen and highly recommend them to any and all bakers—both beginner and advanced.

1. HALF SHEET PAN

What I own and love: Nordic Ware Half Sheet Pan or USA Pan Bakeware Half Sheet Pan.

I use half sheet pans for baking cookies, scones, vegetables, potatoes, fish, meat, croissants, pastries, breads, pouring out toffee or chocolate bark, cookie decorating parties, Christmas sugar cookies, and so much more. Both of these brands are excellent quality and have stood the test of time (and frequent use). The 12×17-inch size is just the right size for a dozen cookies, and the rimmed edges prevent any sauces/syrups from dripping off the sheet. Traveling with a sheet cake or cookies? Or just want to keep things fresh? Get the half sheet pan with a lid!

Quantity recommended: at least 2.

two Nordic Ware brand baking sheets

2. 9×13-INCH BAKING PAN

What I own and love: In metal, I recommend USA Pan Bakeware Quarter Sheet Pan. In glass, I highly recommend Pyrex Basics 3 Quart Glass Oblong Baking Dish

One of the most useful pans in a baker’s kitchen is the 9×13-inch rectangular baking pan, also known as a quarter sheet pan. This holds about 3 quarts and can be used for everything from homemade brownies, lasagna, vanilla sheet cake, casseroles, overnight cinnamon rolls, rice krispie treats and more. This pan can be made of glass, metal, or ceramic, though I recommend metal or glass because ceramic takes a long time to heat and your bakes will most likely need an extended bake time.

Quantity recommended: 1

USA Pan brand quarter sheet baking pan

3. 9×9-INCH SQUARE PAN

What I own and love: Wilton Recipe Right Square 9-Inch Covered Pan, Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Square Cake Pan with Lid, or USA Pan Bakeware Square Cake Pan.

I use a 9×9-inch size square pan ALL the time for things like brownies, cookie bars, fudge, caramels, small cakes, and more. Since they’re so versatile, I recommend having 2. I like these pans to have lids because I usually use them for dessert bars, which travel well. The 8×8-inch square bake pan size also works for most recipes, but if swapping one size for the other, keep in mind the bake time may change.

Quantity recommended: 1

square baking pans by the brand Wilton

4. ROUND CAKE PANS

What I own and love: Fat Daddio’s 9-Inch Cake Pan or Fat Daddio’s 8-Inch Cake Pan.

Fat Daddio’s is a common preferred brand for cake bakers. I began using these pans in 2018 to bake layer cakes and immediately fell in love. They’re great quality for the price! I recommend owning 3. If you own fewer, you’re limited to how much batter you can bake at once. It’s best to bake cake batter all at once, and if you own only 2 round cake pans, you have to wait to bake that final layer if you’re making a 3-layer cake. Purchase 2-inch deep cake pans or those labeled “deep dish” style—some round pans are only 1.5 inches high, and you could end up with batter spilling over the edges. Pay attention to whether the cake recipe calls for an 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pan, and adjust your baking time accordingly if you swap one for the other.

Quantity recommended: at least 2, preferably 3

3 cake pans with cake batter

5. STANDARD 12-COUNT MUFFIN PAN

What I own and love: USA Pan Bakeware Cupcake & Muffin Pan or Williams Sonoma Goldtouch Pro Nonstick Muffin Pan.

I recommend owning 2 standard 12-count muffin pans because some muffin or cupcake recipes yield more than 12. My vanilla cupcakes recipe makes 14! It’s like a Baker’s Dozen +1… we’ll call it a Sally’s Dozen, LOL. And if you like baking muffins or cupcakes often (of course you do!), owning 2 of these is essential.

Quantity recommended: 2

USA Pan muffin pan

6. 24-COUNT MUFFIN PAN

What I own and love: USA Pan Bakeware Mini Cupcake & Muffin Pan or Williams Sonoma Goldtouch Pro Nonstick Mini Muffin Pan.

This pan is for all those adorably bitesize mini muffins and cupcakes you want to make. The Williams Sonoma Goldtouch muffin pans are a newer addition to my kitchen, and I’m definitely a bit starry eyed for that matte gold finish (which also happens to be super nonstick).

Quantity recommended: 1

7. 9-INCH PIE DISH

What I own and love: Too many to list! I collect pie dishes. A great place to start is this Pyrex Bakeware Scalloped Pie Plate.

Though I own ceramic, metal, and glass, my preferred choice is glassware for pie baking. Glass heats slowly and this gradual heat is perfect to evenly cook pie, including the bottom of the crust, the filling, and the edges. You can also SEE the bottom of the crust browning, which is helpful for dishes with long bake times. This Pyrex pie dish has fluted rims, allowing you to crimp the edges of your crust with ease. It has thick glass and has never warped—even through my hundreds of pies!

  • I also love my Emile Henry French Ceramic Ruffled Pie Dish ceramic ruffled pie dish because the pies are consistently gorgeous and so is the pie dish! However, ceramic pie dishes heat slowly and your pies may take much longer to bake.

Quantity recommended: 1

apple pie and cookies and cream pie pictured in glass pie dishes

8. 9×5-INCH LOAF PAN

What I own and love: Farberware Nonstick Bakeware 9×5-Inch Loaf Pan.

You can cook everything from banana bread and zucchini bread to pull apart bread and croissant bread. This Farberware pan is incredible quality—durable, sturdy, and warp-resistant. A 9×5-inch loaf pan is the standard size most bread recipes call for, but you can also use the 8.5×4.5-inch USA Pan loaf pan too. I own and love both sizes.

Quantity recommended: 1

two loaf pans by Farberware and USA Pan

5 Extra Baking Pans That Are Useful

If you’d like to extend your bakeware collection beyond these 8 basics, I recommend these:

  1. 9-inch springform pan for cheesecakes and tarts. I use and recommend this Calphalon springform pan because it’s heavy-duty and leakproof.
  2. 6-count donut pan for baked donuts. I recommend the same pan year after year: the inexpensive and top-quality Wilton Nonstick Doughnut Pan.
  3. 9-inch tart pan for tarts. Make sure you get one with a removable bottom for easy cutting and serving. I recommend this Wilton nonstick tart pan because it’s great quality for the price.
  4. 6-count jumbo muffin pan for giant bakery-style muffins. I recommend the Wilton brand (make sure you click “jumbo”). I love extra-large muffins. You can take any regular muffin recipe and bake them in a larger size by upping the baking time to about 25–28 minutes. Try my jumbo raspberry chocolate chip muffins recipe!
  5. 10-12 cup Bundt pan for Bundt cakes. I own several and my favorite is this Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Anniversary Bundt Pan. I’m so tempted to buy more of Nordic Ware’s beautiful bundt pans, too—how gorgeous is this gold Braided Bundt Pan, and this Blossom Bundt Pan, oh and this Cut Crystal Cast Bundt Pan…? Ahem. Where was I?
carrot cake Bundt cake with a cream cheese swirl in Nordic Ware Bundt pan