If you’re just starting to bake at home, picking the best cake pans may seem like a difficult process. What’s wrong with picking up the cheapest pan you see at the grocery store? Or maybe you want to spend some big bucks at a specialty store for some high-end bakeware.

Well, you don’t have to worry anymore! Picking the best cake pans for any baking application — and we mean any! — is as simple as finding the right material, and the right shape.

Even better, the real best cake pans won’t run up too much of a tab. That way you can save for the big-ticket items you’ve had your eye on, like that new professional stand mixer.

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Picking the Best Cake Pans for Your Kitchen Needs

The best cake pans can make all the difference in the kitchen. A good cake pan can make your cake bake more evenly, and make the cakes come out cleaner. No one likes to lose a chunk of your perfect cake to a sticky pan!

If you’re a regular baker, or even just whip a cake together for birthdays, getting the best cake pans will really help your desserts come out perfectly.

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In fact, the best cake pans aren’t just for cakes! They work for pretty much everything you might want to bake because the metal heats quickly. Plus, high sides will keep everything nicely contained.

Let’s take a look.

What makes one cake pan the best?

Like we hinted at earlier, the metal that goes into a cake pan is pretty much the most important feature. When looking for cake pans, your first choice should be aluminum. Aluminum conducts heat most evenly of any metal used for cake pans.

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The best cake pans are most likely going to aluminum. It lets cakes rise evenly, so you don’t have any bulges or overcooked spots. If you want a nonstick option, aluminized steel gives you the same benefits as aluminum at a higher cost.

 

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The second thing to look for in the best cake pans is high walls. The Kitchen recommends 2-inch deep cake pans. This is plenty of room to let the cake rise without letting it spill over. It also makes it great for everything from cookies to biscuits, since nothing will fall off in the oven.

Finally, you want to get cake pans in a few sizes. For round cake pans, at least one 9-inch pan is essential. If you have two, you’ll be able to bake layer cakes all at the same time.

As for rectangular, a 13-by-9 inch and a 9-inch square are good too. But, if you’re just starting out and don’t need cakes in every shape, a 9-inch round cake pan is a great place to start.

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How We Picked the Best Cake Pans

When picking something that seems as basic as a cake pan, it’s always good to go to the experts. They’re the ones who will tell you what the best cake pans are made of, and how to find them.

It can be all too easy to just pick the first inexpensive cake pan you see and think it’ll get the job done. We trusted review experts at Business Insider and the New York Times’ Wirecutter to help identify which are really the best cake pans.

Of course, the experts don’t always have time to put a pan through the paces that a home baker can. The people who are using these cake pans every day often find ways to stress test these pans that professional reviewers can’t (or don’t) think of.

You may be surprised what sort of tests the everyday user finds! We looked at reviews from customers on Amazon to help us decide which are the best cake pans. Pans had to earn at least 4.0 stars out of 5 in order to make our list.

How Much Will You Pay for the Best?

The good news about the best cake pans is that they really don’t cost that much. A solid pan made out of aluminum will be the cheapest option, with others made of metals like aluminized steel being a bit more expensive.

If you’re looking for a way to get a whole set of the best cake pans — two 8 or 9-inch rounds, plus a 13-by-9 and a 9-inch square — don’t worry too much about your wallet.

All of the pans we mention here are low-cost. Most of the round cake pans fall in the $10 range, while square pans made of aluminized steel will run closer to $20.

The most expensive single pan is a little less than $30. There are also a couple of options that are sets of two, but even these pans do not break the $30 mark.

Our Top 8 Choices for the Best Cake Pans

The pans we have chosen as the best are included below. We have not ranked them against each other, and have listed them in alphabetical order.

Calphalon Nonstick 8-Inch Square Cake Pan

Calphalon (BW3208) Classic Bakeware 8-Inch Square Nonstick Cake Pan
  • Nonstick, 8-inch cake pan made of heavy-gauge aluminized steel that resists rusting
  • Dishwasher safe for easy clean up
  • Reinforced nonstick

Square cake pans are ideal for bar cookies and baked goods, especially those that should come in smaller batches than a 9 by 13-inch pan would suggest. Overall, selecting a square cake pan gives you an additional level of versatility when baking, and is an important tool in any baker’s kitchen.

Calphalon’s Nonstick 8-Inch Square Cake Pan fills this space beautifully. It’s perfect for reasonable batches of the stickiest baked goods you can find because of its double layers of interlocking nonstick coating. Plus, this makes sure you won’t leave any of your cake behind.

If you love using square pans, Calphalon has you covered. This aluminized steel pan has rolled edges to make sure it holds its shape and a full lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.

This pan earned 4.5 stars out of 5 from 50 customer reviews on Amazon. It costs $25 to $30.

Calphalon Nonstick 9-inch x 13-inch Cake Pan

Calphalon Nonstick Bakeware, Rectangular Cake Pan, 9-inch by 13-inch
  • Heavy-gauge steel core won't warp and heats evenly without hot spots so your cookies and cakes come out of the oven...
  • The interior of each piece has interlocking non-stick layers that are designed to deliver long-lasting, high-performance...
  • Nonstick finish is beautiful and practical.

Calphalon’s nonstick rectangular cake pan offers a high degree of versatility due to its shape. Because it is rectangular, this cake pan works well for sheet cakes, as well as other treats like brownies and bar cookies.

One of the most prominent features of this cake pan is its nonstick coating. The cake pan has two interlocking layers of nonstick, which makes for excellent release properties. This means you won’t have to worry about anything sticking to the pan, even gooey brownies!

This rectangular cake pan will also last you a long time. It has rolled edges, which give it durability and mean you won’t have to worry about the pan warping in the oven. Calphalon used a folding construction, which will give your baked goods clean edges and prevent leaks.

Calphalon’s Nonstick 9-Inch by 13-Inch Cake Pan earned 4.5 stars out of 5 from 66 Amazon customers, as well as an Amazon’s Choice Award. This pan costs $20 to $30.

Chicago Metallic Professional Non-Stick Round Cake Pan, 8-Inch

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Chicago Metallic Professional Non-Stick Round Cake Pan, 8-Inch, Gray -...
  • CREATE MULTI LAYER CAKES: This cake pan can be used to create single, double or even triple layer cakes for all types of...
  • DURABLE AND STRONG: The Chicago Metallic Cake Pan is made from heavy weight aluminized steel for superior heat...
  • NON STICK BAKEWARE: This cake pan features an easy release, silicone based, non stick coating for ease of baking and...

This cake pan is made of sturdy aluminized steel, giving it a degree of reinforced strength. In fact, the whole pan is built around durability. Its nonstick surface is 10 times more durable than other finishes, according to the product description.

The Chicago Metallic Professional Non-Stick Round Cake Pan, 8-Inch, has reinforced rims and folded corners. Both of these eliminate warping and give three layers of strength to keep your pan in shape.

Aluminized steel gives this cake pan all of the heat-conducting benefits of an aluminum pan. At the same time, the steel makes this pan durable and strong. As a bonus, the pan’s alloy helps it resist corrosion, meaning your pan will last even longer.

This pan earned an incredible 4.8 stars out of 5 from 374 customer reviews on Amazon, meaning 90 percent of Amazon customers gave it a 5-star rating. It also has an Amazon’s Choice award. The Chicago Metallic Professional Non-Stick Round Cake Pan, 8-Inch, costs $10 to $12.

Fat Daddio's PRD-83 Round Cake Pan, 8 x 3 Inch

Fat Daddio's PRD-83 Round Cake Pan, 8 x 3 Inch, Silver
  • FITS PERFECTLY - Fits 8-quart pressure cookers and 5.3 & 10-quart air fryers
  • ANODIZED ALUMINUM - It’s the ideal baking surface. Our ‘Safe-Seal’ anodizing process creates a safer, stronger...
  • HEATS & COOLS QUICKER - By reflecting heat, rather than absorbing heat, ProSeries cake pans reach baking temperatures...

Fat Daddio’s PRD-83 Round Cake Pan is one of the least expensive and simplest pans we have included here. But, as we mentioned earlier, simplicity is an asset in the best cake pans. This unassuming cake pan is the pan of choice for Serious Eats.

This pan is anodized aluminum, which heats up and cools more quickly than traditional aluminum. It is also non-reactive and, unlike a nonstick coating, will never peel or chip. Since the pan is one solid piece, there’s no chance of leaking and no weak points.

Since there is no chemical coating, this pan can go to seriously high temperatures, up to 550 degrees. And if you need to chill your baked goods for any reason, this pan also goes into the freezer.

On Amazon, the Fat Daddio’s PRD-83 Round Cake Pan, 8 x 3 Inch, earned a rating of 4.3 stars out of 5 from 420 customers. It also received an Amazon’s Choice award. This pan costs $7 to $15.

OXO Good Grips Pro Nonstick 9 x 13 Inch Rectangular Cake Pan

OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Pro Cake Pan 9 x 13 Inch
  • Commercial-grade, heavy-gauge aluminized steel provides fast, even heat distribution and lasting durability & stability
  • Swiss-engineered PTFE, ceramic-reinforced, two layer, commercial-grade coating provides the ultimate non-stick food...
  • Micro-textured pattern ensures even baking by minimizing surface contact and promoting airflow, and adds structural...

OXO has a reputation for durable kitchen products that are easy to use, and their Pro Nonstick 9 x 13 Inch Rectangular Cake Pan is no different. Consisting of a solid piece of heavy-gauge aluminized steel, this cake pan features a ceramic-reinforced non-stick coating.

This coating is commercial-grade and double-layered. And since it is resistant to all manners of wear and tear, including scratches, stains, and corrosion, you’ll be able to use this pan for years to come. If something should happen to it, it also has a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.

This pan has a textured pattern across the bottom which improves airflow and makes for more even baking. Plus, the pan is plainly marked with its dimensions, so you’ll never have to guess if you have the right size.

The OXO Good Grips Pro Nonstick 9 x 13 Inch Rectangular Cake Pan earned 4.4 stars out of 5 from 512 reviewers on Amazon, as well as an Amazon’s Choice award. It costs $20 to $25.

USA Pan 9 Inch Round Cake Pan

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USA Pan Bakeware 1070LC Round Cake Pan, 9 inch, Nonstick & Quick...
  • 9 inch round Cake Pan; commercial grade and heavy gauge aluminized steel with a lifetime warranty
  • USA Pan baking pans feature Americoat which promotes quick release of baked-goods plus fast and easy clean up; wash with...
  • Nonstick Americoat coating - a patented silicone coating which is PTFE, PFOA and BPA free - provides quick and easy...

The USA Pan 9 Inch Round Cake Pan features heavy duty aluminized steel alongside USA Pan’s AMERICOAT lining. This lining is non-stick silicone, which means your cakes will slide right out of the pan. Plus, it is FDA approved and does not include harmful chemicals.

In addition to this proprietary nonstick coating, the USA Pan 9 Inch Round Cake Pan has a ridged texture on the bottom. This feature helps facilitate air circulation and heat distribution for your cake. In fact, it is efficient enough that you may need to reduce bake time to accommodate this feature.

You can rest easy knowing that this cake pan will last as long as you want to bake with it. It has a rustproof design trusted by professional bakers and has a limited lifetime warranty protecting it.

USA Pan’s 9 Inch Round Cake Pan earned 4.7 stars out of 5 from 390 customers on Amazon, as well as the Amazon’s Choice award. This pan costs $15 to $20.

USA Pan Rectangular Cake Pan, 9 x 13 inch

Sale
USA Pan Bakeware Rectangular Cake Pan, 9 x 13 inch, Nonstick & Quick...
  • 9 x 13 inch rectangular Cake Pan; commercial grade and heavy gauge aluminized steel with a lifetime warranty
  • USA Pan baking pans feature Americoat which promotes quick release of baked-goods plus fast and easy clean up; wash with...
  • Nonstick Americoat coating - a patented silicone coating which is PTFE, PFOA and BPA free - provides quick and easy...

USA Pan’s rectangular aluminized steel cake pan offers some of the best USA Pan has to offer, all in a versatile shape.

Like other USA Pan products, this cake pan comes with their proprietary AMERICOAT nonstick silicone coating. Free of harmful chemicals, you’ll never have to worry about leaving treats in the pan.

One of the other key features of USA Pan products is the ridged texture on the bottom and walls of the pan. With this, air circulates more evenly and keeps the whole pan at an even temperature. Your baked goods will come out clean and even every time.

The USA Pan Rectangular Cake Pan, 9-inch by 13-inch, earned 4.5 stars out of 5 from 692 customer reviews on Amazon. It is also the recipient of an Amazon’s Choice award. This pan costs $19 to $25.

Wilton Aluminum Performance Pans Set of 2 9-Inch Round Cake Set, 9"

Wilton Performance Aluminum Pan 9-Inch Round Cake Pans, Set of 2
  • Make medium-sized layers for tiered cakes with this round pan
  • Durable aluminum construction ensures even heating and long wear; generous 2 inch depth for higher cakes
  • Color: Silver

If you love making layer cakes, Wilton’s set of two aluminum cake pans may be the best option for you. These are one of the least expensive options by far since even with two pans they cost less than most individual pans on our list do.

Wilton’s Performance Aluminum Pans 9-Inch Round Cake Pan set are quite simple. They do not feature a nonstick coating or any advanced features to speak of. They are two inches deep, making them good for most standard applications. As always, aluminum heats quickly and evenly.

One note worth making is that these pans have a slight slant in their walls, which lets the pans stack and makes cake removal easier. If you’re planning on layering your cake, you may want to trim this off. However, reviewers on Amazon did not seem to be concerned with this.

On Amazon, 261 customer reviewers gave this cake pan set 4.2 stars out of 5. It should be mentioned that many negative reviews were a result of customers putting these cake pans in the dishwasher rather than handwashing them. Make sure to follow all instructions to preserve your pans for future use.

Wilton Performance Aluminum Pans 9-Inch Round Cake Pans cost $11 to $15 for a set of two.

How to Choose the Best Cake Pans

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Picking the best cake pans for your kitchen needs doesn’t need to be so hard. Only a few different metals actually work when it comes to creating an even bake every time. And you don’t need to worry yourself with a dozen different sizes of pans unless you plan on opening a bakery.

Our choice for the best cake pan out of all of these is the Fat Daddio’s PRD-83 Round Cake Pan, 8 x 3 Inch.

This pan has extra high walls and a good standard size that will work for any round cake. Plus, it’s aluminum. This kind of pan will last you for years and never fail you in the oven. What’s best is that this cake pan only costs around $15 at most.

If you want a rectangular cake pan, the USA Pan Rectangular Cake Pan, 9 x 13 inch is a great option.

It is nonstick, so you can use it for pretty much any baked good you want. And, it optimizes heat distribution so your cakes bake evenly. What’s more, it’s one of the least expensive rectangular cake pans on our list.

No matter which pans you decide are the best cake pans, we know none of these will let you down in the kitchen.

Have you tried any of these cake pans? Share your experience in the comments!