This story was updated in October 2021 to replace sold-out items and add in three new top-tested picks, including a Best Baking Pan Set for Cooks pick and a Baking Pan Set with Lids pick. The list reflects top-performing items from Kitchen Appliances Lab tests overseen by Deputy Director Nicole Papantoniou, as well as others that have performed well in our recent road tests.
Whether you're an accomplished baker or just starting out with your first kitchen, a baking pan set is a must. You can collect the pieces over time, but a packaged, uniform set is an easy way to get all the essential pans you need that are designed to work together. Most baking sets come with five to 10 pans to help you tackle baking and roasting; some include a rack that can be used for cooling — and if it's heat safe, it can also be used for roasting and as a trivet.
Types of baking pans
Here, a list of the most common pans professional chefs say you'll want to stock in your kitchen. When shopping for a baking set, you can find the one that includes the pans essential to your baking style:
- Eight- or nine-inch cake pans, so you can easily make a tiered cake
- A nine- by 13-inch rectangular pan for cakes and casseroles
- An eight- by eight-inch or nine- by nine-inch square pan for brownies and bars
- A half sheet tray that can be used for cookies but can also tolerate high oven temperatures for roasting chicken and veggies
- A six- or 12-count muffin tin for muffins and cupcakes
- A loaf pan for banana bread or two-person lasagna
How we test baking pans
In the Good Housekeeping Institute, we tested 14 baking pan sets for performance and ease of use, including nonstick options (and, yes, nonstick cookware is safe — read more on the topic below). We made over 200 cookies and roasted almost 20 pounds of broccoli to ensure even cooking in the oven, easy cleaning and no warping. We whittled down the offerings to those baking pan sets that are a cinch to clean, can handle repeated washing and can stand up to high heat. We chose sets that can turn out evenly browned, level cakes with a fine texture, bake uniform cookies and provide consistently roasted veggies.
We tested baking stalwarts like Wilton as well as faves from our stainless steel cookware tests like All-Clad and Anolon. Our kitchen experts believe these are the best baking pan sets you can buy in 2021:
- Best Overall Baking Pan Set: Circulon 10 Piece Non-Stick Bakeware Set
- Best Value Baking Pan Set : Chicago Metallic Commercial II 6 Piece Non-Stick Bakeware Set
- Best Baking Pan Set with Lids: Nordic Ware Naturals 13-Piece Bakeware Set
- Best Baking Pan Set for Beginners: Wilton Diamond Infused Navy Blue Baking Set with Utensils
- Best Non-Slip Baking Pan Set: Calphalon Premier Countertop-Safe Bakeware
- Best Basic Baking Pan Set: Anolon Best Starter-Set Baking Pan Set
- Most Durable Baking Pan Set: All-Clad Pro-Release 10 Piece Non-Stick Bakeware Set
- Most Stylish Baking Pan Set: Wilton Texturra Performance Non-Stick Bakeware Set
- Best Baking Pan Set for Cooks: Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Bakeware 6-Piece Set
- Best Baking Pan Set for Frequent Bakers: Anolon Eminence Nonstick Bakeware Set
This Circulon baking pan set scored perfect scores in our performance and ease-of-use tests. Cake and cookies came out evenly browned and had a fine texture with few air pockets, and broccoli also came out nice and consistently crisp. The pans are super easy to clean, and the wide rims allow for easy handling. We like that the set comes with two round cakes pans so you can easily make a tiered cake, a cover for the rectangular baking pan so goodies can be stored or transported easily, and a rack that can be used for cooling, roasting or as a trivet.
- Cakes baked evenly with a fine crumb
- Good assortment of pans
- Includes lid for 9x13-inch pan
This Chicago Metallics set can't be beat for its performance, ease of use and price. It earned perfect scores in our tests for performance and was just shy of a perfect score for ease of use since the pans lack handles. We love the sharp corners and straight sides that produce professional-looking cakes, brownies and bars. The only downside is that it includes just one round cake pan.
We also tested the Chicago Metallic Professional Non-Stick 8-Piece Bakeware Set, which ranked just a smidge below the featured Commercial set. In terms of performance, the only difference was that the cookies took a little longer to bake than the manufacturer's instructions. The Professional set includes eight pieces instead of six, and comes with two half sheet trays, two round cake pans and a rack, instead of square baking pan.
- Great price
- Good performance results
The Nordic Ware Naturals sheet pans are amongst the most common sheet pans we use in both the Kitchen Appliances Lab and Test Kitchen for testing. Like the bakeware pieces in this set, they're made of aluminum, which means they heat quickly and evenly. They also allow the ingredients to brown well. The pans benefit from greasing or lining with parchment before use since they are not coated with a nonstick material– a traditional method professionals and traditionalists can appreciate. They're sturdy and will last you a long time, especially if you skip the dishwasher, which causes aluminum to discolor.
The pans are lightweight and come with lids so you can cover baked goods for storage as well as easily take your creations on the go. The assortment of sizes is useful, as is the included cooling rack.
- Includes numerous lids
- Some people may prefer nonstick
This set delivers on all the basics for new bakers, including three nylon utensils that help prevent scratching. The pieces are nonstick with oversized handles that are easy to grasp — the 9x13-inch cake pan even comes with a lid that has a carrying handle.
In our tests, Wilton came out on top for their nonstick ability and even browning. The set is dishwasher safe, but we recommend hand-washing (as we do all nonstick cookware and bakeware) for the longest-lasting results.
- Good starter set
- Lid has a carrying handle
- On the pricier side for a minimal assortment of pans
Each pan in this set from Calphalon has silicone grips on the bottom, so you can place the pan directly on your counter straight from the oven. Since these grips also make the pans nonslip, keep in mind they might be a little difficult to take out of the oven. In our tests, the cookie sheet produced impressively even cookies, and we like the assortment of pans that are included in this set.
- Pans have crisp edges for professional results
- Non-slip grips on bottom of pan
- Pans don't slide out of oven as easily as other pans
For minimalists or those with small kitchens, Anolon's Advanced Nonstick Bakeware set has the most useful assortment of pans to get started, including two round cake pans and a square pan for cake or brownies. The half sheet tray resembles a cookie sheet with shallow edges, but is still rimmed, which makes it good for roasting juicy foods. It also has a large surface area. The cooling rack is an added bonus that can be used to cool cookies or serve as a trivet or roasting rack. All of the pans performed well in our tests, and they scored the highest for ease of use.
- Only essential pieces
- Though handles are helpful, wide rims make pans feel a little bulky
All of the All-Clad Pro-Release pans are solid and sturdy, made of heavy gauge aluminum. The cookie sheet has a wide, comfortable handle and pairs well with the rack for cooling (it's also oven-safe for roasting). The set performed very well across baking and roasting tests, but be warned that broccoli caused some staining, and the pan required some elbow grease to clean. We like the assortment of pans, which includes two round cake pans, a half sheet tray, a rectangular pan and a square pan. The quarter sheet pan is a bonus that will go to good use in most kitchens.
- Wide assortment of pieces
- Thick material feels strong in hand
Wilton is known for baking, so it's no surprise that its eight-piece Texturra set was one of the top performers in our tests. The pans feature a wavy, textured pattern, which, according to the brand, allows for more airflow and even baking. One downside is the pattern imprinted on the bottom of our cakes, so we recommend lining the pans with parchment if you'd like to avoid that.
In our tests, we were impressed with the nonstick coating that caused the cookies to practically slide off the pan – in a good way! The set includes a loaf pan and muffin tin for breads and quick breads as well as an oblong pan for focaccia as well as snacking cakes. We're also fans of the handles, which made rotating and moving easy.
- Performed very well in all tests
- Easy to handle
- Textured pattern imprinted on bottom of cake
Best known for cast iron skillets, Lodge recently introduced seasoned cast iron bakeware. While heavy, cast iron offers even heating and optimal temperature retention, which comes in handy when making foods like casseroles or quiche that benefit from gentle cooking for the perfect golden crust and fluffy, not overcooked interior. It can also be nonstick if you build up the coating and maintain it right.
At 15 inches in diameter, the pizza pan in this set stands out, since cast iron can get really hot (up to 600ºF in this case) and make crispy crusts. The handles with silicone grips help with maneuvering the pans in and out of the oven – just be sure to always use mitts until the pan completely cools to prevent any potential burns. (Remember: Cast iron takes longer to cool than aluminum and other common bakeware materials.)
The pans can be washed with soap and water, but never put them in the dishwasher (and for tips on how to maintain them, read the How to Season Cast Iron section).
- Will last a lifetime when taken care of properly
- Good heat retention
- Require more maintenance than typical baking pans
During our tests, this set stood out for ease of use and would be a great addition to any baker's kitchen. Each of the pans has generous handles that make them easy to grab and rotate, and they're super simple to clean. In addition to including the pieces we value most (two round cakes pans, a half sheet tray, a rectangular pan and a square pan), the set comes with a rack and two loaf pans to meet all your baking needs as well as a cover for the rectangular pan for easy transporting and storage.
- Versatile assortment
- Large handles
- Rimmed handles may seem a little bulky to some
✔️ MATERIAL: Many baking pans are made of aluminum or aluminized steel, which is valued for being lightweight and conducting heat evenly. Thicker, more durable pans are usually more expensive, as they perform well and generally last a long time. Ceramic is common for pie pans due to its gentle heating and retention properties; glass is a good choice for savory cooking like casseroles. (We largely stuck to testing aluminum and aluminized steel for its versatility and popularity.)
✔️ NONSTICK VS. NONCOATED: Baking pans treated with a nonstick coating don't require greasing but often lose their effectiveness over time. Pans that aren't nonstick will last longer but require greasing and/or lining with parchment for the best results. In general, the browning in nonstick pans is not as robust as with non-coated pans, which can be a good thing for desserts but less desirable for savory foods. In our tests, many of the nonstick baking sheets were still able to brown broccoli well. One caveat: Nonstick pans often can't handle high oven temps, so they're not recommended for broiling.
✔️ VARIETY: Look for a set that suits the foods you cook and bake the most. We like sets that include at least two round cake pans so you can make a layered cake and one or more half sheet pans for cookies and roasting. We also like eight-inch square pans for thick brownies and a nine-by-13-inch pan for sheet cakes and savory foods.