Best Loaf Pans

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

15 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
134 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best loaf pans

Last Updated August 2019

From moist banana bread to citrusy lemon loaves, it’s great to have loaf pans on hand when you have a hankering to bake something sweet — or savory. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or just need the correct mold to shape your famous meatloaf, a loaf pan is a seemingly simple yet versatile kitchen accessory.

If you’re shopping for a loaf pan, you’ll soon find that there are a wide range of choices on the market. You’re going to want to consider the material with which the pan is made, the size, and of course the price. Adding a loaf pan to your kitchen cupboard shouldn’t be a complicated affair. That’s why we created this shopping guide: to help you find the best loaf pan for your culinary needs.

Read on to learn more about loaf pans, including how to choose the correct size and material for your baking endeavors.

A loaf pan isn’t just for baking loaves of sliced white bread. Use it to shape vegetarian or vegan nut, seed, and lentil loaves.

Considerations

Your baking needs

Your top consideration is your baking needs. What do you bake most often? Loaves of white bread? Nut loaves? And why does this matter?

The fact is, certain pans work better for baking traditional loaves, while others are better for shaping loaves made of ingredients other than flour (like meatloaf). If your favorite type of loaf is the sweet kind, a silicone loaf pan is an excellent all-around kitchen accessory. If you bake multiple loaves at once, you may prefer a multi-mold loaf pan designed for baking large quantities.

In short, there isn’t just one type of loaf pan, so you’ll want to take inventory of your baking habits to figure out which type would serve you best.

Size

A standard-size loaf pan measures 9 x 5 x 3 inches. If you plan to bake a variety of loaves in your new pan, a standard one may your best bet. If you have a specific recipe in mind, however, you should pick your pan size according to the recipe you’re using. Otherwise, the wrong loaf pan size could lead to improper rising or spilling of ingredients. Fortunately, most recipes specify the pan size that you need.

Material

Loaf pans may be constructed from several materials. The most common choices are metal, ceramic, cast iron, silicone, and glass. Here’s a look at each type.

Metal: Stainless steel pans are durable and easy to clean, but they don’t heat evenly, which isn’t great when it comes to baking bread. Aluminum, on the other hand, is inexpensive and heats evenly. However, aluminum does nick easily, and aluminum pans require more frequent replacement than other pan types.

Ceramic or cast iron: Cast iron and ceramic are both long-lasting options that distribute heat evenly. Notably, ceramic is relatively delicate and will break or crack if dropped. Cast iron can be heavy, but if treated well, it can last a very long time.

Silicone: Silicone is easy to clean, highly durable, and safe for use in the refrigerator, freezer, microwave, and oven. As mentioned, a silicone loaf pan is an apt choice for people who like to bake sweet breads.

Glass: If you opt for a glass loaf pan, choose ovenproof glass to prevent shattering. Glass is delicate, but it heats slowly. Slow heating isn’t necessarily ideal for baking bread, as it could cause loaves not to cook all the way through while the exterior becomes rock hard and too dark. Notably, glass works well for non-yeasted loaves, and its transparent nature allows you to keep tabs on your creation.

If you have pets in your home, choose pans that are clearly marked PTFE and PFOA-free. Birds and small rodents have sensitive respiratory systems that may be affected by the fumes given off by certain cookware coatings.

EXPERT TIP

Not interested in kneading and paying attention to a ball of dough before you bake it? Get yourself a bread maker and use it to make big batches of dough to bake in your loaf pan. Put the extra dough in the refrigerator or freezer for later. You can also use a stand mixer for kneading dough.


Staff  | BestReviews

Shape

Most loaf pans are rectangular in shape. However, there are specialty pans with decorative molds available as well. These are typically used for baking cakes rather than breads.

Nonstick coating

Some loaf pans have a nonstick coating. This coating may wear off over time, but it’s ultra-convenient and prevents frustrating accidents caused by batter and dough that stick or burn onto your cookware.

Dishwasher safe

Check manufacturer instructions to be sure it’s safe to place your loaf pan in the dishwasher. If in doubt, wash the pan by hand to avoid damaging it.

Handles

A loaf pan with prominent handles is easier to remove from the oven. What’s more, you won’t accidentally puncture your perfect loaves if you have something to grab.

Embossing

Embossing is a handy feature for frequent bakers with multiple pans. Some loaf pans have handy markings with the size of the pan, which allows bakers to quickly find the right vessel for their immediate baking needs.

The perfect banana bread is sweet and moist. Use yogurt or applesauce in place of oil for a delicious piece of lower-calorie banana-flavored goodness.

Loaf pan prices

A single loaf pan made of metal, glass, or silicone won’t set you back more than $15. You may pay slightly more for ceramic or decorative pans, however. Stoneware selections vary in price, but for a high-quality pan with a sturdy chip-proof construction, expect to pay at least $35. Brand name loaf pans typically cost upwards of $50.

Tips

  • Wash your loaf pan after each use. Hand-wash it with warm, soapy water for best results, or feel free to use the dishwasher if the pan is dishwasher-safe. Soak the pan if needed to dislodge stuck-on bits of food.
  • Don’t scrub metal pans. Use a soft sponge to wash stainless steel, metal, and nonstick pans to prevent scratching and damage to the nonstick coating.
  • If your pan lacks a nonstick coating, line it with parchment paper to prevent sticking. You may also grease the pan, but be sure that the entire surface is properly oiled.
  • Follow a recipe. Baking is more of a science than an art, and while it’s fun to be creative, making a picture-perfect loaf requires precision.
  • Purchase a thermometer. Buy an oven thermometer to verify that the temperature is just right each time you’re ready to bake.
  • Keep in mind that temperature and altitude affect how long it takes for dough to rise. In the winter, find a warm spot for your dough to rise. In the summer, place your ball of dough somewhere cooler.
  • Remember that yeast has a limited shelf life. If you don’t bake yeasted loaves frequently, you may need to buy a new pack or container of yeast to replace the one that’s been sitting in your pantry.
  • Choose the right type of yeast for your baking needs. Carefully read your recipe before getting started. If you’re a frequent bread baker, have active dry yeast on hand. It’s the yeast most commonly called for in bread recipes. 
  • Don’t mistake nutritional yeast for bread yeast. Nutritional yeast is a non-active form of yeast that contains B vitamins. The savory flavored granules are often used by vegetarians and vegans as a substitute for cheese.
  • Don’t forget to preheat your oven before sticking in your loaf. If you’re baking yeasted bread, it’s a good idea to preheat your loaf pan, as well.
  • If you’ve made too much bread, don’t waste it. Use leftover bits from stale loaves to make croutons for salad or add to French onion soup.
EXPERT TIP

You can use your loaf pan to make a layered no-bake dessert for a summertime treat. Make an ice cream sandwich cake for your next BBQ!


Staff  | BestReviews

Other products we considered

The GreenLife Loaf Pan is a nonstick option made of high-quality ceramic. The attractive pan features a steel interior for even heating and is oven-safe up to 450°F.

AmazonBasics bread pans are sold in a handy set of two. These standard-size pans heat evenly and feature a nonstick coating. The OXO Good Grips Pro Loaf Pan is another nonstick option made of heavy steel that’s durable and capable of even heat distribution.

Finally, Rachel Ray’s Yum-o! Loaf Pan features a sturdy, smart design with easy-grip handles. The surface is nonstick, and a portion of profits for every pan sold goes to a children’s charity.

For convenience, choose a cast iron loaf pan that’s enameled or already seasoned. Keep in mind that over time, you may need to re-season non-coated cast-iron.

FAQ

Q. My bread doesn’t look right. Did I use the wrong type of pan?
A
. It may be an issue with your oven, your recipe, or perhaps the size of your pan. If you’re baking in a pan that’s too large, your bread may not rise and dome accordingly. The standard loaf pan size is best for bread recipes calling for 3.5 cups or more of flour. If the recipe calls for less flour, you’ll need to pick a smaller loaf pan for your baking.

Q. I use a loaf pan to make banana bread, and it never seems to cook all the way. What’s going on?
A.
You likely need to adjust your method, not your pan. Increase the oven temperature (did you know that many ovens don’t heat accurately?) or the cooking time, so the center is cooked and doesn’t come out raw. Use a toothpick to test the center when removing your loaf from the oven. The larger the loaf, the more baking time required.

Q. I’d like to bake a round loaf. Is there a loaf pan for me?
A.
Your best bet is to invest in a Dutch oven in order to bake perfectly risen round loaves of bread.

Q. Is baking homemade bread healthier than buying store-bought bread?A. Homemade bread tends to be nutritionally superior to store-bought sliced white bread. In addition, it’s usually cheaper. The downside, however, is that baking yeasted loaves requires a significant time commitment. Thankfully, active cooking time is minimal. You’ll spend most of your time waiting for the dough to rise, and while that happens, you can happily perform other household tasks, head out to work, or run errands. The best part of baking bread at home is the amazing smell!

The team that worked on this review
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Kristin
    Kristin
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Steph
    Steph
    Writer

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