Last Updated: May 30, 2023 @ 11:12 am.

What is the best cake pan? We tried out several popular pan brands and started baking. Which was best for layer cakes? Sheet cakes? Here are the ones we'd recommend.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. To keep things independent, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review! Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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Best Cake Pan Set

Made of carbon steel
If you are new to baking, this is where we'd start: an excellent 3 piece set that is non-stick and easy to clean. BPA-free. Very good performance at price that is easy on the wallet.

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Best Cake Pan Set: Chicago Metallic Professional Non-Stick 3-Piece Round Cake Pan Bakeware Set, Black

What are the best cake pans? To find out, we whipped up some flour and eggs and started making cakes.

We tried out several top brands, judging them on sturdiness, ease of cleaning and overall performance.

Here’s a three layer cake we made using the pans tested in this article:

Test Cake for the Best Cake Pans

For beginner bakers, we recommend starting out with a cake pan set: 6″, 8″, 10″ pans are the foundation of many layer cake recipes.

After trying out a few sets, we recommend Chicago Metallic Professional Non-Stick 3-Piece cake pan set. It hit all the right notes: excellent performance, yet easy on the wallet. Good news: there is no need to spend a fortune to get quality cake pans!

Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Non-stick coating worked its magic in our tests. Cakes came out of the pan easily.

• Easy to clean.

• Sturdy. These pans are made of carbon steel.

• BPA-free.

• Dishwasher safe (but the maker suggests hand washing).

• Straight sides.

What Needs Work

• Edges of pans are sharp.

• Dark coating can cause outside edge and bottom of cake to brown too much. Our advice: reduce the heat about 25 degrees for your cake recipes.

• Durability could be better. We see reports the non-stick coating can peel off after a year or so of use. We didn’t have the ability to do long term testing to see if this in fact an issue, or an isolated quality control issue.

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Best 9” Round Cake Pan

Made of aluminum
Excellent pan for layer cakes, this 2" deep pan is a workhorse—easy to wash and lightweight. Caveat: also easy to dent and scratch, unfortunately.

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Best 9” Round Cake Pan: Wilton Performance Aluminum Pan 9” Round

A 9″ aluminum round cake pan is probably the most popular cake pan called for in most recipes. Our pick for the best pan in this category is Wilton’s Performance Aluminum Pan—it does the job and is affordable!

What We Liked

• Two pan set.

 Lightweight. That’s one advantage of aluminum over steel pans—they are much lighter in weight

• Easy to clean.

• 2 inch depth works well for most recipes.

• Overall great performance.

• Many other sizes and shapes available.

What Needs Work

• Not “non-stick.” Yes, you have to grease and flour this pan to keep your cake from sticking.

• Dents too easily. 

• Scratches too easily.

• Hand wash only. You can’t put this in a dishwasher.

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Best 8” Round Cake Pan

BPA-free, aluminum construction
This pan is the perfect size for cake or yeast bread. And yes, you can wash it in the dishwasher (even though hand washing is recommended by the maker).
$16.83 ($8.42 / Count)

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Best 8” Round Cake Pan: Wilton Performance Aluminum Pan 8” Round

We like Wilton’s Performance Aluminum pans so much we’ll also recommend this 8″ version. Same pros and cons as above! Excellent performance, but remember to grease it up beforehand so you cake doesn’t stick!

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Best Sheet Cake Pan

Great for potlucks!
We love this brand for its overall quality and durability. This covered cake pan is great for travel. Made in the USA. Caveat: hand wash only.

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Best Sheet Cake Pan: Nordic Ware Classic Metal 9×13 Covered Cake Pan

Nordic Ware is one of our favorite bakeware brands—and we’re not saying that because they paid us! (We don’t take money or freebies from the brands we review, FYI).

As a baking enthusiast, Nordic Ware pans are the kind you don’t have to worry about—they work consistently and durably. For the best sheet cake pan with lid, we’d suggest Nordic Wares Classic Metal 9″ x 13″ covered cake pan.

What We Liked

• Excellent for potlucks!

• Easy on the wallet.

• Aluminum pan with aluminum lid.

• Made in the USA.

• Lightweight.

What Needs Work

• Sharp edges.

• Hand wash only.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported! So we thank you for reading this article.

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