Whipping Up Sweets To Bust Stress? These Cake Pans Turn You Into A Master Baker

pouring vanilla batter into cake pan

Though it’s never listed as an ingredient in a recipe, using the best cake pan is key to baking your best cake. Choosing the right material and shape can result in a better-looking and better-tasting cake that’s evenly baked every time. To find the best pan for you, it's helpful to consider a few key factors.

Metal Materials, Decoded

Metal cake pans are popular because they offer efficient baking times, thanks to their excellent heat conductivity. But all metal pans are not created equal. Pans advertised as heavy-gauge are thicker than your average pan and will conduct heat more evenly. Textured bottoms (or sides) on pans allow for more airflow and limit batter contact for less sticking and more even baking. You'll also want to choose a light-colored or shiny pan to avoid over-browning. From there, consider the pros and cons of specific metals.

  • Aluminized Steel: One of the cons of using steel cookware is rust — a problem solved when you choose cake pans made from aluminized steel, which is carbon steel coated or dipped in an aluminum-silicon alloy that provides rust protection, no matter how often you wash your pan. Just remember to avoid using metal utensils on this kind of pan — it will scratch, which can cause it to be an unsafe material to cook with.
  • Anodized Aluminum Steel: This type of pan won’t react with acidic food (that includes buttermilk, not just citrus) so they’re more durable, less likely to scratch, and more nonstick than uncoated steel — though usually a bit more expensive.

Don't Forget About Glass

Glass pans also conduct heat well and won't pick up odors, but they are better suited to recipes that don’t need to brown as much. Some bakers simply love glass pans because there's no nonstick coating to question in regards to health risks. But it's also important to only use glass within its recommended temperature range, since it can explode when exposed to high heat. Ceramic options usually offer similar benefits as glass, and can be more decorative. And though silicone molds can be helpful for popping muffins out easily, their flexible nature can prove unsteady for larger cakes, so for that reason silicone options aren't included in this roundup.

Now it's time to shop for the best cake pans. My picks below are highly rated on Amazon, including several with thousands of reviews.

We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.


The Best Round Cake Pan

This round cake pan is made of anodized aluminum, and comes from the delightfully named Fat Daddio's — a family-operated company in the Pacific Northwest that has been around for decades. It reflects heat, meaning it can reach your desired baking temperature faster and bake your cake evenly. Plus, it cools quickly once you remove it from the oven, so your cake won't over-bake and dry out.

The anodizing process doesn't coat the pan, so it's free of chemical additives and dyes, and it won't flake off or rust. You'll also love this straight-edged, 8-inch pan's extra depth of 3 inches; where most cake pans are 2 inches deep, you won't have to worry about batter overflowing here.

This cake pan is used in many commercial kitchens, and it has an impressive 4.7-star rating with more than 2,000 reviews. Reviewers commented they also like using this cake pan in their Instant Pots and Air Fryers. Just remember to wash this pan by hand, which is recommended for better performance and lifetime use of the product.

They also make a square cake pan.

A helpful review: “Love Daddio pans. They bake even and last forever. I am a professional baker and [these] are my favorite pans ever.”


The Best Sheet Cake Pan

This sheet cake pan has a textured bottom for more even baking and better release of baked goods, setting it apart from other 9 by 13-inch pans you've known. It's made of commercial-grade, heavy-gauge aluminized steel; this makes it pleasantly non-stick, and it resists scratches, stains, and corrosion.

This sheet cake pan is 2 inches deep with a classic rectangular shape and straight sides. Plus, the square-round edges of this highly rated pan are easier to clean crumbs out of than pans with folded or sharp corners.

The brand also makes a variety of pans with textured bottoms, like a 9 by 9 inch cake square pan and round cake pans.

A helpful review: “OXO - where have you been all my life? Used this pan for [the] first time tonight to make a sheet cake. Came out perfect. I've been baking for 30+ years and this is best pan I've ever used.”


The Best Loaf Pan

For even baking of any kind of bread or cake, this textured loaf pan is the way to go. This highly rated pan is made of commercial-grade, heavy-gauge aluminized steel. The combination of a completely textured pan and non-stick Americoat coating creates an easy release of baked goods that reviewers commented is "spectacular" and "magic."

The rectangular pan measures 9 by 5 by 2.75 inches, and it comes in three sizes, including the one-pound capacity. This pick has an incredible 4.8-star rating with more than 1,700 reviews. Some reviewers do note they'd appreciate some handles, so consider the brand's loaf pan with handles if you'd like that convenience; just keep in mind only the bottom of that pan is textured for that pick.

It's best to wash this loaf pan by hand according to reviewers, who also happily report that batter does not get stuck in this pan's straight corners. Plus, it's rustproof.

A helpful review: “[...] They are excellent quality, and banana bread literally drops out of these pans when you turn them over. Nothing sticks to them. You don't even have to run a knife around the edges. Just amazing. They bake evenly as well. And made in the USA! The quality of this product cannot be beat. [...]”


The Best Bundt Cake Pan

Nordic Ware has been around for decades, and they're the company that originally introduced the bundt cake pan to America, according to Food & Wine, who also claims this pick as their favorite. This bundt cake pan is their anniversary edition, one made of cast aluminum with a steel rim and defined ridges that resist rust and warping with a convenient non-stick coating.

The pan's 10- to 15-cup capacity is sufficient for most bundt cake recipes. It has a classic fluted design and handles for an easier time turning out the cake onto a cooling rack. Wash this one by hand with a mild detergent. Reviewers commented they love its heavy-duty quality, and this pan bears a 4.8-star rating with more than 1,900 reviews.

A helpful review: "Bakes up a beautiful cake. I purchased the 10-15 cup Anniversary pan. The benefit of this pan is no batter overflow. The edges of your cake won't burn or get crunchy because the cake rose too close to the top of the pan. It's a heavyweight pan. The little handles are a real plus when removing from oven and turning out of pan. This pan releases easily; even with a cake coming right out of the oven."


A Glass Cake Pan Set That's So Versatile

Pyrex has long been a staple of kitchen bakeware, and this sturdy and versatile glass baking dish set, which includes one 13-by-9-inch pan and one 11-by-7-inch pan, is a great addition to your collection.

These rectangular cake pans are also safe to use in the refrigerator, freezer, microwave, and dishwasher, plus their rounded corners make them easier to clean. Two handles on each dish are convenient for pulling cakes, brownies, or bread puddings out of a hot oven, and the pans conveniently nest in each other for compact storage.

A helpful review: "What a fantastic Pyrex deal. Two perfect sizes, so many different things to make with them, brownies, chicken, reheat the tamales & chicken leg and bake that potato 350 degrees for one point five hours. The big one [is] perfect for that slab of cake, brownies, lasagna, or a Sicilian pie."


The Best Springform Pan For Cheesecake

Cheesecake fans, consider adding this springform cake pan to your bakeware collection. The 8-inch round pan is 3 inches deep like my first pick and made of anodized aluminum. A stainless steel latch and removable bottom make releasing cheesecakes simple.

Reviewers report this springform pan works well in a traditional water bath for cheesecake and in their Instant Pots. Just be sure to wash this straight-sided pan by hand.

Fat Daddio's also makes a cheesecake pan with a removable bottom, if you love cheesecake but are interested in an alternative to springform pans altogether.

A helpful review: "I have baked cheesecakes for years and have an assortment of pans by various manufacturers. [...] Although I always cover the bottom of the pans with two layers of foil and then bake my cheesecakes in a water bath, often the water seeps into the pan making the bottom crust wet. These pans are the best design ever!! No way for the water to seep in. The cakes release easily and bake perfectly. I am replacing all of my cheesecake pans with this design by Fat Daddios!!"


A Decorative Set of Ceramic Bakeware For Baking And Serving

Though metal pans are incredibly functional bakeware, a ceramic cake pan can also be attractive enough to serve on your table. This set of ceramic pans is hand painted with a beautiful floral design and includes a 10.5-inch round pan and 8-inch square pan with handles, so you're covered for everyday cakes, brownies, and more. If you love this bakeware, there's good news: it comes in other styles like a 16-piece dinnerware set and serving platter.

The design of these dishes is inspired by Old World European dinnerware, and they're conveniently dishwasher and microwave-safe.

A helpful review: "Love, love, Love. Colors are far nicer than pictured and are just beautiful. I’m thrilled!"


Also Great: The Best Pan For Cupcakes Or Muffins

Smaller baked goods also benefit from using the right pan, and this is a great all-around cupcake and muffin pan. The 12-cup pan is made of commercial-grade and heavy-gauge aluminized steel with a non-stick Americoat coating. Texturing on some of the pan helps resist warping.

The dozen wells are sized for standard muffins or cupcakes. The pan has an impressive 4.8-star rating with more than 1,300 reviews, and many reviewers commented that baked goods — even salted caramel brownies or sticky frittatas — pop right out without greasing or spraying the pan.

The manufacturer recommends scrubbing this pan clean with hot water, mild soap and a gentle brush or sponge.

A helpful review: “I have been baking for over 50 years, and this is the best pan I have ever used. What makes it different? First, the pan is heavier, stronger and more well made than some of my other pans. Second, I didn't grease the pans (as others have mentioned), and the muffins popped right out onto the counter after I let them rest for a couple of minutes. Finally, I didn't have any inconsistent results when I compared the muffins with each other.”