The 8 Pans Every Home Baker Actually Needs

Walking into a kitchen supply store can be an overwhelming event. All those gadgets, all those specialty tools, all kinds of pans and tins stacked as high as the ceiling— it’s difficult to know where to begin when you’re supplying your first home, registering for a wedding or learning how to bake. Sometimes it can seem like you need to have a specific pan for every possible cake, cookie, pastry or dessert you want to make, but that’s not true! You actually only need the basics, and they don’t even have to be fancy or – more importantly – expensive. Here’s what you really need when it comes to baking supplies.

  1. 9-By-13-Inch Baking Pan

  2. What Kind To Get: Glass and metal
    How Many You Need: 2 total, 1 of each material
    Use Them For: Sheet cakes and double-batch brownies in the metal pan, and casseroles and serve-in-pan cakes in the glass pan


  3. Angel Food Cake Pan

  4. What Kind To Get: 10-inch lightweight aluminum tube pan
    How Many You Need: 1
    Use It For: Angel food cake, chiffon cake, sponges, and anything that calls for a tube pan


  5. Bundt Pan

  6. What Kind To Get: 12-cup pan made of heavyweight dark metal, in whatever design you like
    How Many You Need: 1
    Use It For: Bundt cakes and similar desserts


  7. Cookie Sheet

  8. What Kind To Get: Rimless and non-insulated. Avoid special surfaces, dark colors, and nonstick coating.
    How Many You Need: 1
    Use It For: Moving and lifting delicate cake layers, NOT for baking cookies


  9. Half Sheet Pans

  10. What Kind To Get: Basic, medium-weight, and 12-by-16-inch in size
    How Many You Need: 2
    Use Them For: Cookies, jellyrolls, thin sheet cakes, tripled brownie recipes, toasted nuts, croutons, roasted vegetables, chicken, and much, much, more!


  11. Layer Cake Pans

  12. What Kind To Get: 2-inch deep, 8-inch and 9-inch in size, round and square. Avoid dark finishes and nonstick coating.
    How Many You Need: 4 total, 1 of each size and shape
    Use Them For: Cakes (in the round pans), and brownies and bars (in the square pans)


  13. Loaf Pan

  14. What Kind To Get: 6-cup pans in any material you like, including glass, ceramic and steel
    How Many You Need: 2
    Use It For: Breads, meatloaf, and loaf cakes


  15. Tart Pans

  16. What Kind To Get: Aluminum with removable bottoms, 3-inch deep, and round
    How Many You Need: 2 total, 1 8-inch and 1 9-inch
    Use Them For: In place of springform pans, for cheesecakes and anything else else that usually calls for a springform pan

Once you have these eight kinds of pans in your possession, you should be all set for any and all baking needs. You should be able to find affordable ones online and in restaurant supply stores very easily. Are there any pans you rely on regularly that didn’t make the list? Anything you would take OFF this list? Tell us what you think!

Thanks to our partners at Food52 for the great information and advice!