If you’re a home baker looking to bakea delicious loaf of banana bread or other scrumptious treats, a reliable loaf pan is a must-have in your bakeware collection. Loaf pans are incredibly versatile, accommodating not only quick breads and yeasted loaves but also delectable creations like babkas, pound cakes, coffee cakes, and even frozen desserts. For those who enjoy savory cooking, a sturdy loaf pan serves as an excellent vessel for making meatloaf, gratins, and adventurous terrines. With loaf pans available in various materials such as metal, tempered glass, ceramic, and silicone, there’s an option to suit every preference.
To assist you in selecting the perfect loaf pan for your baking endeavors, Food and Meal sought expert opinions and conducted extensive testing in a home kitchen. We evaluated each loaf pan based on its design, quality, performance, ease of cleaning, and overall value. Numerous batches of banana bread and pound cake were lovingly baked to ensure that these loaf pans truly deserve their spot as the best options available.
Without further ado, here are the 7 best loaf pans of 2023 according to our thorough testing and evaluation.
What to Look for When Buying a Loaf Pan
|Material||commonly metal (aluminum, stainless steel, aluminized steel), with alternatives like glass, ceramic, and silicone. Glass/ceramic insulate and suit casseroles, while silicone is nonstick, insulated (less heat retention), can warp under heaviness.|
|Size||Most home baking recipes call for its in the range of 8 x 4 inches to 9 x 5 inches. It’s recommended to have pans of various sizes or adjust the recipe to fit the pan available.|
|Features||While loaf pans are primarily rectangular with narrow rolled edges, there are variations in design. Some pans have wider rims or handles for easier handling. Textured sides or bases can enhance heat conductivity. There are also specialized loaf pans with removable bases for dishes like meatloaf, or pans with lids for square bread loaves.|
|Sets||usually sold individually, but smaller pans may come in sets of two or more. This is beneficial for recipes that yield multiple loaves or for freezing and gifting purposes. If a preferred pan is only available individually, having two can be useful for larger baking projects.|
Best Loaf Pans of 2023
If you’re in search of a professional-grade metal loaf pan, the Chicago Metallic Commercial II is our top recommendation based on expert advice and user testing. This loaf pan is the perfect size for baking delicious treats like babka, banana bread, or a hearty sourdough loaf. Crafted from aluminized steel, it boasts a reinforced rim and folded corners, minimizing the risk of warping compared to lighter pans.
In our tests, both banana bread and vanilla pound cake turned out evenly cooked and beautifully browned. Due to the steel construction, it is recommended to generously apply baking spray on the bottom and sides. However, when properly greased, the cakes effortlessly slid out of the pan without any sticking issues. One drawback is that the pan lacks handles, which made it slightly cumbersome to maneuver in and out of the oven, especially with bulky oven mitts. Removing the cake from the pan was also a bit challenging unless it was fully cooled, requiring careful inversion.
As a pro tip from Food and Meal, lining the pan with a quarter sheet of parchment paper instead of solely greasing it not only facilitates easy removal and cleanup but also creates convenient handles for lifting the cake. This trick not only simplifies the cleaning process but also aids in extracting the cake from the pan, as noted by our tester.
Great Jones Breadwinner
If you haven’t discovered Great Jones’ collection of vibrant and well-designed kitchenware, now is the time to do so. Their eye-catching loaf pan, known as the Breadwinner, is crafted from aluminized steel and boasts a colorful ceramic nonstick coating that performed admirably in our tests.
In addition to its stunning appearance in the kitchen, this pan is scratch-resistant, making it ideal for those times when you need some extra effort to release a sticky loaf. Our tester successfully baked banana bread and vanilla pound cake in the Breadwinner pan, achieving beautiful, evenly cooked, and moist results. The cakes had a slightly more domed shape, adding a rustic charm to their appearance.
While the pan is lightweight, the absence of handles made it a bit challenging to handle when placing it in the oven and removing it. This also posed some difficulty when inverting the pan, but the combination of the nonstick ceramic coating and a light coating of baking spray ensured easy release of the cakes after they had cooled.
The main drawback of the Breadwinner pan is the open seam in each inner corner. During the cleaning process, it required more effort to remove crumbs from these corners compared to other pans. However, this issue can be resolved by using parchment paper instead of baking spray, but it’s worth considering.
Although the Breadwinner pan falls on the higher end of the price range for loaf pans, it delivers in terms of both aesthetics and durability. If you’re seeking an incredibly attractive pan that can withstand heavy use for years to come, you won’t be disappointed with this choice.
Le Creuset, renowned for its vibrant enameled Dutch ovens, also excels in the realm of stoneware. Their Heritage Loaf Pan is a standout in their bakeware collection, available in various colors to add a beautiful touch to your kitchen. Chef Johnson, based in Food and Meal, praises its even heating and sturdy construction, making it her go-to pan for baking bread.
Crafted from high-fired stoneware, this loaf pan is a durable addition to your bakeware arsenal. Its enamel-glaze finish resists stains, odors, and scratches, ensuring easy cleaning. It is oven, freezer, and microwave safe, withstanding temperatures up to 500 degrees.
In our tests, the Heritage Loaf Pan demonstrated the exceptional quality associated with the Le Creuset name. Cakes rose uniformly, achieved a beautiful browning on the top and sides, and experienced minimal cracking during baking. With a light coating of baking spray, cooled cakes effortlessly slid out of the pan without sticking, simplifying the cleanup process.
One consideration with the stoneware pan is its weight, which is notably heavier compared to steel and nonstick pans, especially when filled with denser batters like banana bread. However, the vintage-inspired design features stylish scalloped handles that provide a secure grip, facilitating easy transportation to and from the oven.
Wilton is a renowned brand in the world of bakeware, and their popular loaf pan exemplifies why. It offers exceptional performance at an unbeatable price point. Chef Kelly herself considers the Wilton Perfect Results pan her top choice. This robust loaf pan is constructed from carbon steel, providing the necessary sturdiness and structure to prevent warping. Its excellent heat conduction ensures even baking and beautiful browning of cakes during testing.
The pan boasts a reinforced nonstick surface, which served as a solid foundation for baking. With a light coating of baking spray, the cakes effortlessly released from the pan once it had cooled down. The nonstick surface also made cleaning a breeze, requiring minimal effort. There were no stubborn crumbs left behind, so a simple wash with soap and hot water was sufficient to keep the pan clean.
In addition to its performance, the pan features thoughtful design elements. Unlike many classic nonstick pans, this model includes handles, making it one of the easiest to grip and transfer to and from the oven, even while wearing oven mitts. Moreover, this loaf pan is slightly larger than traditional ones, accommodating a loaf that is approximately 25 percent larger, equivalent to around 2 pounds. This makes it ideal for baking family-sized sandwich loaves or preparing quick bread for a crowd.
Silicone bakeware has gained popularity in Europe and has been a go-to choice for specialty pans and molds. Unlike traditional metal counterparts that require greasing and flouring, this Trudeau loaf pan is made of food-grade silicone, offering a lightweight and easy-to-clean option that eliminates the need for extra preparation steps.
In our testing, this pan performed admirably alongside steel and ceramic counterparts. It produced beautifully baked cakes with a slightly domed top and minimal cracking. Within minutes of removing it from the oven, the pan was cool to the touch, and after just 10 minutes, we successfully inverted the pan to remove the cake. Silicone is also resistant to thermal shock, allowing for smooth transitions from the oven to the freezer if needed.
While the Trudeau pan is thicker and more robust than other silicone pans we’ve used, it exhibited slight buckling when placed on a wire rack in the oven. However, the generously sized handles made it easy to move and position the pan correctly. To ensure optimal support and effortless movement in and out of the oven, we recommend placing the loaf pan on a sheet tray.
Cleaning the pan is a breeze, although our tester observed that the silicone tended to attract small bits of dust and debris, which sometimes stuck to its surface, giving it a less-than-pristine appearance.
When it comes to baking mini loaves, it’s often convenient to make multiple smaller loaves at once. The USA Pan Mini Loaf Pan is designed to accommodate up to 8 miniature loaves simultaneously, allowing you to divide your usual recipe quickly and bake them all together. This eliminates the need to search for individual loaf pans in your pan storage.
During baking, the pan’s lighter steel color and silicone coating help regulate browning, addressing the common issue of smaller loaves browning too quickly in uncoated darker pans. The silicone coating also ensures that the loaves easily release from the pan without sticking.
Constructed from heavy gauge aluminized steel, this pan maintains its shape and resists warping during baking. It is also more resistant to accidental dents. The pan features extended edges around the loaf wells, making it convenient to grip when turning or moving in and out of the oven. To preserve the finish and prevent steel oxidation, it is recommended to wash this pan by hand.
If you’ve ever wanted to achieve the perfect loaf of sandwich bread, using a pullman loaf pan is essential. This unique pan features straight sides, squared dimensions, and, most importantly, a lid. With the lid in place, the bread rises only to the top of the pan, resulting in a delicate crumb and moist bread, as less moisture is released during baking.
To put the pan to the test, our tester used a basic white pullman loaf recipe. The bread turned out beautifully golden brown on all sides and had a perfect square shape, thanks to the secure lid. (For a domed loaf, you can bake without the lid). While the pan is advertised as nonstick, a generous amount of baking spray was needed to ensure the loaf slid out smoothly.
There were a couple of downsides with this pan. The lid proved challenging to remove and reattach, which made retrieving the loaf after baking a bit inconvenient. Greasing the inside of the lid well can help ensure a clean release. Additionally, the pan required some extra effort during cleaning. Due to its grooved design, crumbs occasionally clung to the sides and bottom, even with proper greasing.
FAQs about Best Loaf Pans
Q: What are the best loaf pans?
A: The best loaf pans can vary based on individual preferences and needs. However, some popular options include the Chicago Metallic Commercial II, Great Jones Breadwinner, Le Creuset Heritage Loaf Pan, Wilton Perfect Results, Trudeau Silicone Loaf Pan, USA Pan Mini Loaf Pan, Pullman Loaf Pan, and the Chicago Metallic Non-Stick Healthy Meatloaf Set.
Q: What should I consider when choosing a loaf pan?
A: When choosing a loaf pan, consider factors such as material (steel, stoneware, silicone), nonstick coating, durability, heat conduction, size (standard or mini), handles or grips for easy handling, ease of cleaning, and any additional features or accessories.
Q: What are the benefits of using a nonstick loaf pan?
A: Nonstick loaf pans make it easier to release baked goods without sticking, reducing the need for excessive greasing or flouring. They also simplify the cleaning process, as food residue is less likely to cling to the surface.
Q: Can I use a loaf pan for other types of baking?
A: Yes, loaf pans are versatile and can be used for various baking purposes. Besides traditional bread, they are suitable for making cakes, meatloaf, pound cake, banana bread, quick bread, and more. Some loaf pans even come with inserts or features that allow for different baking options.
Q: Are silicone loaf pans safe to use?
A: Silicone loaf pans made from food-grade silicone are generally safe to use. They are flexible, lightweight, and offer easy release of baked goods. However, always ensure that the silicone used is food-grade and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe usage.
Q: How do I clean and maintain a loaf pan?
A: Cleaning and maintenance depend on the specific material and nonstick coating of the loaf pan. Generally, hand washing with mild soap and warm water is recommended. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or utensils that could scratch the surface. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper care and maintenance.
Q: Can I use a loaf pan in the oven and freezer?
A: Most loaf pans are safe for use in the oven at recommended temperature limits. However, not all loaf pans are freezer-safe, so it’s essential to check the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the pan’s suitability for freezing.
Q: Are the loaf pans dishwasher-safe?
A: Dishwasher safety varies depending on the specific loaf pan. Some loaf pans are dishwasher-safe, while others require hand washing. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for guidance on dishwasher use.
18 October ·
Best Loaf Pans POPCAST
By Food And Meal
If you’re a home baker looking to bakea delicious loaf of banana bread or other scrumptious treats, a reliable loaf pan is a must-have in your bakeware collection. Loaf pans are incredibly versatile, accommodating not only quick breads and yeasted loaves but also delectable creations like babkas, pound cakes, coffee cakes, and even frozen desserts. For those who enjoy savory cooking, a sturdy loaf pan serves as an excellent vessel for making meatloaf, gratins, and adventurous terrines. With loaf pans available in various materials such as metal, tempered glass, ceramic, and silicone, there’s an option to suit every preference. To assist you in selecting the perfect loaf pan for your baking endeavors, Food and Meal sought expert opinions and conducted extensive testing in a home kitchen. We evaluated each loaf pan based on its design, quality, performance, ease of cleaning, and overall value. Numerous batches of banana bread and pound cake were lovingly baked to ensure that these loaf pans truly deserve their spot as the best options available. Without further ado, here are the 8 best loaf pans of 2023 according to our thorough testing and evaluation