Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Loaf Pan

Help your baked treats rise to the occasion.

byJeremy Helligar|
Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Loaf Pan
On a baking kick? You need a loaf pan!. Anfal Shamsudeen

Baking is an art form with myriad benefits. It can bring family members together, relieve stress, or simply satisfy a sweet tooth’s craving. Whether you (and your baked goods) rise or fall during the process depends on using the right ingredients and having a good loaf pan. While a recipe will generally take care of the former, the latter requires a bit more consideration. The secret to finding the best loaf pan for your next banana bread, cake, or meat loaf is choosing one that’s the right size, the right material and the right design. Here are our picks.

This nonstick option is great for baking little lasagnas, casseroles, and a variety of desserts.

To ensure that baked goods cook slowly and evenly with burning, be sure to get the right size loaf pan. The baking standard is somewhere in the vicinity of 9 by 5 inches and 8 ½ by 4 ½ inches, which is versatile enough for different types of breads and cakes. Some recipes may require a pan of a specific size, so it’s a good idea to keep an assortment of larger and smaller loaf pans to avoid excess batter overflowing a too-tiny pan and burning the oven, as well as underloading a too-big one, which can flatten a loaf.

This is microwave- and dishwasher-safe, and the topper means you can use it to store food in the refrigerator or freezer.

Should you go aluminum, heavy-duty steel or glass? Aluminium heats evenly, but it’s not particularly durable. Steel is durable and low-maintenance, but not as good at heat distribution. Glass loaf pans (our favorite) are naturally non-stick, non-reactive, and non-toxic, and they allow you to see what you’re baking on all sides as it heats up. On the downside, they’re fragile and slower to heat, which may result in uneven baking. Cast iron and ceramic are durable and heat easily, but the former is extremely heavy while the latter shatters easily,

These are versatile, stackable, and can withstand freezer and oven temperatures between -20F and 450F.

Dark metal pans heat more quickly and produce more browning, while lighter-colored pans absorb less heat and are great when you don’t want your cake or cookies to be too brown on the bottom. A loaf pan with handles will make it easier to remove a hot pan from the oven, and dishwasher-safe materials will come in handy at clean-up time.