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best baking pan

I'm a newbie to baking, so I need help in trying to find the best baking pan- I hate it when I buy something cheap that I end up throwing away later and kicking myself for not buying a quality product in the first place.

Pyrex seems to be the classic choice, and cheapest as well. But, if money were no object, would the pyrex 9X13 baking pan still be the favorite? I'm looking at all these other, more expensive choices, and I'm curious if anything can challenge Pyrex for the title of best baking pan?

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  1. If you are looking for a casserole pan, then yes Pyrex is a good choice. I also like Corning's French White baking dishes. If you are looking for a good non-stick baking pan, I like the Calphalon line. I usually buy mine somewhere like TJ Maxx or Tuesday Morning. I've never paid more than $10 for a pan there. I also like Wilton's non-stick line at Wal-Mart.

    1. There a lot of nice options on sale on the Bridge Kitchenware website if you like Apilco.

      1. I believe I have a chicago metallic baking pan. It seems to work rather well.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Is there any advantage to getting a good non-stick baking pan over a glass pan like Pyrex?

          Wouldn't a glass pan be more versatile than a non-stick pan?

          1. re: hobbess

            Are you planning to use this for baking cakes? If so I'd recommend a Chicago Metallic or Cuisinart metal pan. The pyrex can't be beat for casseroles or lasagne, but a cake will brown too quickly in a glass pan.

            1. re: iluvcookies

              For baking recipes, do they usually specify to use a baking pan 9 X13? If so, that might change what pan I'd get.

              At first, I was thinking something like glass for lasagna because of its versatility where I could use it for lasagna.

              But, if a 9 X 13 baking pan is needed for a lot of baking recipes, then I might lean towards something metal. From what I had skimmed looking through a baking book, it seemed that the baking recipes were more for those smaller square pans. But, then again, maybe I missed the baking recipes that required a baking pan.

              If metal is best for baking and glass is best for casseroles and lasagna, do most people just compromise and get 1 baking pan or do they get two baking pans- one glass and one metal?

              1. re: hobbess

                Any baking recipe will specify the type of pan to use... a cake recipe will specify 2 8" rounds, 24 cupcake tins, 9x5 loaf pan, etc. You can modify a recipe for one pan to fit another but you need to adjust timing, and that will depend upon the recipe.

                I personally have over a dozen different pans...
                both metal and pyrex 9x13
                metal 8" rounds
                metal and pyrex 8" squares
                pyrex 9x5 loaf pan
                metal 18x12 half sheet pans that I also use as cookie sheets
                pyrex pie plates
                metal muffin/cupcake tins

                My best suggestion for you is to check out a book such as Baking Illustrated---this will give you a very good overview of the types of pans and their uses. You can get decent pans for very little money, but you need to be sure you pick the ones you are really going to use. Can you post some of the recipes you have in mind, or what you are interested in learning about? I can help you with your pan decision.

              2. re: iluvcookies

                In my experience, there's no overbrowning problem with baking cakes in a glass pan. If I could only have one 9x13 it would be glass or opaque ceramic like Corningware. When I made lasagna in a metal pan, I found that after a few days the leftovers picked up a metallic taste, due to the acidic ingredients interacting with the metal.

                Also, you can microwave in glass/ceramic. You might not often need to, but it's nice to have the option - quick baked apples, rice pudding, etc.

                The amount of batter in a typical layer cake (such as what you'd get with a cake mix) can also be baked in a 9x13. Not as visually appealing, but easy. It is usually not turned out from the pan, just frosted and served from the pan. You can get Pyrex and other glass/ceramic pans with accompanying rubber lids, which is extremely convenient for storing leftovers and transporting cakes and casseroles.

                I really like the glass Martha Stewart Everyday pan from an old K-Mart line. Wish I'd gotten more sizes. The one I have is about 7x10 but deeper than a lasagna pan, so it holds the same volume. It has a pale green lid and takes up less fridge space than a typical pan.

                1. re: greygarious

                  If you bake a cake in clear glass then the oven temp needs to be adjusted... in metal pans I bake at 350 but in pyrex I bake at 325. This is why pyrex is great for pie crust, where you want browning. Pyrex 9x13 pans are also rounded on the edges, where metal pans are square---much more appealing for a cake.

                  Since the OP is new to baking, recommending to use different pans than what a recipe calls for isn't advisable.
                  And I always use pyrex for lasagna---you are 100% right about the storing acidic ingredients in metal.

                  1. re: iluvcookies

                    I just don't find an overbrowning problem with cakes in Pyrex. I don't change the temp or baking time. But it IS true that I think the crust is the best part so if it gets a little darker, it tastes all the better. I even "flour" my baking pans with sugar, which makes the crust a little crispy (and no, it does not burn - I learned this on Martha Stewart and have done it with all sorts of batters). Since a cake baked in a Pyrex pan is usually served right from the pan, the rounded edges are hardly noticeable. I do use metal for some things but since the OP is a self-described baking newbie I believe she'd get more use from Pyrex than metal, if a choice must be made. Cook's Illustrated recommends the Williams-Sonoma gold-toned nonstick in its baking pan tests if price is no object but Pyrex as first choice for pies and, along with Baker's Secret and Chicago Metallic, the best buys in lower-priced pans.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      You have some valid points... I think it really depends on what the OP wants to make and how interested she is learning. Hopefully she'll reply and we can give her some specific advice.

                      BTW... I baked a hot fudge pudding cake this afternoon in 8" square pyrex and it was delicious :)

          2. For a 9x13 pan I like the Wilton one - it's nice and deep and has true square corners, which the Pyrex doesn't. Will probably get the same in 8x8 and 9x9 one of these days. They clean up easily and last a long time (mine must be about 10 yrs old and still looks pretty new).