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
    9-x-13-Inch Baking Pan for casseroles and sheet cakesTarget

    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

  2. Angel Food Cake Pan
    10-inch Angel Food cake panBed Bath and Beyond

    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

  3. Bundt Pan
    Bundt pan buttered and dusted with flourFood52

    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

  4. Cookie Sheet
    Rimless cookie sheet for moving cake layersKaTom Restaurant Supply

    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

  5. Half Sheet Pans
    Half sheet pans for cookies, jellyrolls and moreFood52

    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!

  6. Layer Cake Pans
    Layer cake pans for cakes and browniesFood52

    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)

  7. Loaf Pan
    Loaf pan for breads and meatloafPixelsAway via Deposit Photos

    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

  8. Tart Pans
    Tart pan for cheesecakes and springform substitutionFat Daddios via Amazon

    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!