The best loaf pan

Cookware

You can use loaf pans to bake a range of foods, including loaves of bread, quick breads such as banana bread, loaf cakes, nut loaves and meatloaves.

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Bake with the best loaf pan

Any keen baker should own a loaf pan. This versatile pan is excellent for baking bread loaves, loaf cakes, and zucchini bread, to name but a few options. It can be tough to know which loaf pan to buy that will be reliable and durable. 

We’ve done our research to bring you all the information you need before choosing a loaf pan and included a trio of recommendations. Our top loaf pan is the Anolon Advanced Loaf Pan with its handy perforated insert.

What to consider about loaf pans

The size of loaf pan you need

A standard loaf pan measures 8.5 inches long by 4.5 inches wide and 2.5 inches tall. If a recipe calls for a loaf pan without specifying the size, you can generally expect it to be referring to this standard loaf pan size. Another typical loaf pan size is 9 inches by 5 inches by 3 inches. While you might not expect the half-inch size difference to matter, a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan holds 8 cups while an 8.5 by 4.5-inch loaf pan holds 6 cups, so you can’t necessarily use them interchangeably without adjusting the cooking time. You can also find much larger loaf pans, up to 13 by 5 inches, designed for baking large bread loaves of a similar size to store-bought sliced bread.

The material of the loaf pan

You can find loaf pans in a range of materials, each with unique pros and cons. 

  • Stainless steel and aluminum loaf pans are generally inexpensive though they’re the least durable options, especially when they have non-stick coatings, which degrade over time.
  • Ceramic and glass loaf pans are sturdy and durable unless dropped when they can break or chip. 
  • Cast iron loaf pans are incredibly durable and retain heat well for evenly-baked results. If coated in enamel, they don’t need seasoning.
  • Silicone loaf pans are cheap and make it easy to turn out baked goods without them sticking, but they don’t retain heat in the same way as metal, glass, and ceramic, so they don’t produce a good crust or promote even cooking.

What to look for in a quality loaf pan

  • Loaf pans with a non-stick coating helps prevent your baked goods from sticking to the pan, meaning you shouldn’t need to line or grease the tin. The bad thing about non-stick coatings is that they’re easy to scratch or chip if you use metal utensils. 
  • Loaf tin handles make it easier to grasp the tin and remove it from the oven without dropping it or burning yourself.
  • For many buyers, their loaf pans must be dishwasher safe to avoid the chore of washing them by hand. 

Cost of a loaf pan

You can buy inexpensive loaf pans for less than $10, while high-end ceramic or enameled cast iron loaf pans can cost more than $60. Most cost under $20, however.

Loaf pan FAQ

What’s the difference between a bread pan and a loaf pan?

A. You can bake bread in any loaf pan, but you can find some loaf pans geared toward baking bread than loaf cakes or other foods. These bread-focused loaf pans are often larger since standard loaf pans make relatively small loaves of bread, especially if you’re baking bread for the whole family. Some loaf pans designed for baking bread come with a cover you can use while proofing your dough in the pan. 

What can I use if I don’t have a loaf pan? 

A. If you’re baking a cake, an 8-inch square pans has a volume of 8 cups, which is the same volume as a 9 inch by 5-inch loaf pan. Bear in mind that the resulting cake will be much flatter if you cook it in an 8-inch square pan instead of a loaf pan, and the cooking time will be reduced by at least half. There’s no real alternative to a loaf pan if you’re baking bread, though you can find plenty of recipes for free-form bread loaves, such as boules and braided loaves.

What’s the best loaf pan to buy?

Top bread pan

Anolon Advanced Loaf Pan

Anolon Advanced Loaf Pan

What you need to know: A highly durable loaf pan with a perforated insert for meatloaf.

What you’ll love: Made from quality heavy gauge steel. Effective non-stick coating. Easy-grip handles.

What you should consider: On the pricier side. Not everyone will use the perforated insert.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

 

Top bread pan for the money

Wilton Recipe Right Medium Bread Loaf Baking Pan

Wilton Recipe Right Medium Bread Loaf Baking Pan

What you need to know: A standard 8.5 by 4.5-inch loaf pan ideal for buyers on a budget who don’t need anything fancy.

What you’ll love: The stainless steel material is relatively durable, and the non-stick coating allows easy release of baked goods.

What you should consider: Bread tends to form a hard crust when baked in this pan, which isn’t ideal for those who prefer soft loaves.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Farberware Bakeware Loaf Pan

Farberware Bakeware Loaf Pan

What you need to know: Quality 9 by 5-inch loaf pans for buyers who want a slightly bigger loaf.

What you’ll love: Available as a single pan or a set of two for a reduced price. They are made from heavy-duty steel with a rolled rim. The non-stick coating is durable and effective.

What you should consider: Only suitable for handwashing. It can stain over time.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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