Before delving into the intricacies of what constitutes a best loaf pan there’s one thing that you’ll notice after perusing my choices for the best loaf pans: these bread baking tools are cheap.
Also, whether you use the term bread pan or loaf pan, you should know that they mean the same thing. When it comes to a rectangular-shaped baking tool made either of aluminum, aluminized steel, non-stick heavy gauge steel, glass or silicone, we’re generally calling these fantastic baking tools by the name of loaf pans.
1. Overall Best: USA Pan Bakeware Aluminized Steel Loaf Pan
A very famous, very praised best loaf pan that’s sturdy, bakes great loaves, releases them without trouble, all for a really affordable price – the perfect package.
2. For Sandwich Bread: USA Pan Bakeware Pullman Loaf Pan
The main differences between these two from the same manufacturer? This one has a lid for creating the perfect sandwich bread, a very different size, and a higher price
3. Perfect Set of 2: Wilton Recipe Right Non-Stick Long Bread Loaf Pan
Besides the fact that you get 2 of these for a cheap price, the shape is quite different, too: it’s quite long and narrow but other than that, they’re excellent.
4. Sturdy: Cuisinart Easy Grip Bakeware 9-Inch Loaf Pan
This is a sturdy one with very nice handles and an overall sturdy appearance, it will last very long, which might make the higher price worthy.
5. The Silicone One: SILIVO Silicone Bread and Loaf Pan
Very cheap, durable, easy to handle, releases loaves without a problem, and it’s easy to clean.
6. Big Size: Calphalon Nonstick Bakeware Loaf Pan
The price is pretty high but the quality is top-notch.
7. The Mini Option: Wilton Recipe Right Non-Stick Mini Loaf Pan
If you want to make smaller loaves, these ones will be perfect and you get 4 slots in one body, they’re great.
Best Loaf Pans: Top 7 Choices
Let’s see what I found as candidates for the best loaf pans. They’re going to be some best mini loaf pans mentioned, as well.
All my 7 choices for the best loaf pans are some of the best and users’ reviews testify to that. So, there’s just one thing that I will mention before reviewing these pans. It’s related to how a loaf pan should be used.
The dough should only fill 2/3 of the pan. If it’s less than that, there’s no problem, the bread won’t rise as beautifully but it will still be delicious. If it exceeds the 2/3 recommendation, it might overfill when it rises in the oven during baking.
1. USA Pan Bakeware Aluminized Steel Loaf Pan – Overall Best Loaf Pan
The USA Pan Bakeware Aluminized Steel Loaf Pan is overall the best loaf pan. It’s also incredibly popular and highly praised.
It’s a heavy, sturdy-looking pan. However, it’s a bit hard to handle it since there are no handles.
The amazing quality combined with a pretty awesome price, leave me no choice than to nominate it as my first recommendation.
What you get if you pick the USA Pan Bakeware Aluminized Steel Loaf Pan:
it measures 8.5 x 4.5 inches – this measurement is called a standard loaf pan
perfect for recipes that feature 3 or 3 1/2 cups of flour
it’s made of steel, aluminized steel to be more exact – that’s a very good choice for a material and it’s one of my favorites, one of the most frequently encountered in this niche
- the aluminized surface ensures that the breads will be baked evenly and the crust will be close to perfect, too
highly durable, very resistant, you can enjoy baking as often as you can, for many years to come
PTFE, PFOA and BPA free because it’s coated with a silicone called Americoat
You should wash it by hand and dry it immediately with a towel. The corners can be a bit hard to clean, you can use a toothpick if there’s anything stuck in the corners but, it shouldn’t be a problem because the breads are released immediately
It’s an amazing choice as one of the best loaf pans for bread, including banana bread.
Where to Buy?
2. USA Pan Bakeware Pullman Loaf Pan
If you want to make your own perfect pain de mie or, more popularly known as sandwich bread or pullman loaf, then you really need the USA Pan Bakeware Pullman Loaf Pan.
It’s the best loaf pan for sandwich bread.
I suggest getting the one with the lid to obtain the perfectly squared sandwich slice.
You won’t ever buy sandwich bread ever again, it will look just like the one in the store but you’ll know exactly what ingredients were used.
It will be delicious and the price for the USA Pan Bakeware Pullman Loaf Pan, even though high for the ones with a lid, can be worth it over time if you end up using it very often.
You can use a bread maker to make the dough if making the dough by hand is not your thing. Bread machines have a sandwich cycle but most of them only bake horizontal loaves. Those look nothing like the store-bought sandwich loaves.
Only the Zojirushi bread makers bake rectangular loaves but not even those look like the ones baked in a best loaf pan.
This loaf pan shares the same characteristics with the above model (material, sturdiness) since they’re made by the same manufacturer.
The USA Pan Bakeware Pullman Loaf Pan is not only good for baking sandwich bread but it’s very good for baking gluten-free breads, too. Some describe the USA Pan Bakeware Pullman Loaf Pan as the must-have loaf pan for gluten-free bread baking.
When it comes to the USA Pan Bakeware Pullman Loaf Pan there are two sizes to choose from:
- 13 x 4 x 4 inches – the very large option
- 9 x 4 x 4 inches – as the smaller option
Where to Buy?
3. Wilton Recipe Right Non-Stick Long Bread Loaf Pan, 2-Piece
For an incredible price, you actually get 2 pans. That’s quite a deal. I love things like that.
With that in mind, there’s no way that I could resist the temptation of adding the Wilton Long Bread Loaf Pan to my list for the best loaf pans for bread.
You can definitely consider this one a best loaf pan for banana bread, too.
The thing is that these 2 Wilton pans are quite long. The size is not something that we usually get when talking about loaf pans.
They measure 12 x 3.125 inches. Compared to the classic 9 x 5 inches or the popular and usually preferred 8.5 x 4 .5 inches, this Wilton model doesn’t fit the norm.
Is it going to be a problem?
The final shape of your baked goods is going to be different, they’re going to be longer and narrower at the bottom. You get more slices of bread or more slices of meatloaf. You can make meatloaf, too.
Other than that, there’s no problem.
These pans are made of aluminum – the breads will be evenly baked with a very nice crust. Thar also makes them very durable.
There’s a non-stick coating – the coating is silicone polyester, which is why they’re PFOA and PTFE free. The coating works beautifully, the breads are released quickly
They also have very narrow handles.
They’re dishwasher safe but, if you want them to last longer, I would recommend washing them by hand and drying them with a towel. Surprisingly, they come with a 5-year warranty.
If you’re not particularly fond of this long shape but you like this manufacturer, they also have a classic 8.5 x 4 .5 inches model, called the Wilton Recipe Right Medium Bread Loaf Baking Pan.
Where to Buy?
4. Cuisinart Easy Grip Bakeware 9-Inch Loaf Pan
There are a few things that immediately stand out when it comes to the Cuisinart Easy Grip Bakeware 9-Inch Loaf Pan:
the expensive price, a bit more affordable if you get it on sale
the large handles, easy grip is in its name
the very sturdy appearance
it looks pretty similar to the Boxiki Kitchen Loaf Pan, you should check that one out, too
Now, let’s dig deeper and see what makes this Cuisinart one of the best loaf pans:
it measures 9 x 5 inches – larger than the standard model
made of heavy gauge steel, aluminized steel to be more exact
it definitely looks durable and able to withstand baking for years and years to come
non-stick coating for easy release
the cushions on the handles are made of silicon, they offer ample space
dishwasher safe but I recommend washing it by hand and drying it with a towel after
One last thing: it can definitely be used as a best loaf pan for banana bread and all other kinds of breads, whatever you want to bake, you can.
Where to Buy?
5. SILIVO Silicone Bread and Loaf Pan
It couldn’t be a complete post on the best loaf pans without including a silicone loaf pan. It’s good to have different options. Especially one as affordable as this one.
The price is definitely lower for this silicone one than the aluminized steel best loaf pans.
The SILIVO Silicone Bread and Loaf Pan:
withstands temperatures up to 450°F so, there’s definitely nothing different in this area
is quite large – it measures 8.9 x 3.7 inches
is made of silicone, it releases baked goods immediately without effort
it’s not made of steel but that doesn’t mean it’s not durable, you can end up using it for years without having to get another one
If there’s one thing to keep in mind when it comes to silicone loaf pans is this: keep in mind that you won’t get the same browned crust that you get when baking in steel pans. But you can bake anything in it, it’s highly versatile.
Where to Buy?
6. Calphalon Nonstick Bakeware Loaf Pan
Here’s what to expect from the Calphalon Nonstick Bakeware Loaf Pan as one of the best loaf pans:
a very big size 10 x 5 inches, it’s a large pan indeed
made of heavy gauge aluminized steel, it looks incredibly sturdy, kind of has a no-nonsense look about it, I quite like the basic look
you will get even baking and nice crusts
just like the name says, it’s non-stick, easily released breads should be a guarantee
very small edges
oven safe up to 500°F
dishwasher safe but wash it by hand and dry it after
a bit difficult to clean along the rolled edges
Where to Buy?
7. Wilton Recipe Right Non-Stick Mini Loaf Pan
After all of the above big loaf pans, it’s time to talk about the best mini loaf pans. Well, one in particular. The Wilton Recipe Right Non-Stick Mini Loaf Pan.
It has 4 slots but there’s also a version from this manufacturer with 8 slots. The one with 8 slots is incredibly popular and highly appreciated by those who want to make single-serving mini breads.
It depends how tiny you want your mini breads to be.
With the Wilton Mini Loaf Pan, you can also bake mini banana breads and pretty much whatever bread recipe strikes your fancy.
I’ve chosen to talk about the Wilton Mini Loaf Pan that’s made of steel, non-stick obviously. It’s a fantastic choice.
But I must also tell you that there’s almost an exact replica of this one with the 4 cavities, only that it’s made of silicon. It’s a vibrant blue, the cavities are almost the same size, and the price is pretty close.
The Wilton Mini Loaf Pan, the one made of non-stick steel, is a bit more affordable than the 8-cavity one.
They’re both perfect if you want to bake individual smaller breads at the same time.
Each of the 4 cavities measures 5.75 x 3 inches. In contrast, each of the 8 cavities measures 3.8 x 2.5 inches.
It’s best to wash it by hand.
Where to Buy?
Best Loaf Pan for Banana Bread
The best loaf pans that I reviewed above are going to be the best loaf pans for banana bread, too. There are no separate pans made just for baking banana bread.
When it comes to baking banana bread, you have two options:
searching for the best loaf pan, which is the same as searching for the best loaf pans for banana bread
or using a cake pan instead of a loaf pan – the batter will be thinner if you put it into a cake pan so, the baking time is significantly reduced – since it will bake much faster in a cake pan, you need to watch it closely after about 20 minutes of baking and see how much longer it needs, it depends on the size of your cake pan and the thickness of the dough
How to Choose the Best Loaf Pans
They’re not many criteria to consider when looking for the best loaf pans.
Those few that are, are important. I’ll just talk shortly about them so, you know what to expect.
There are a few sizes to choose from, it depends on the manufacturer, it also depends on how much bread you want to bake in one session.
The most common sizes are:
9 x 5 inches loaf pan – the biggest size, holds 2 pounds dough, great for recipes that require 3.75 cups of flour or more
8.5 x 4 .5 inches is the standard loaf pan – it holds 1.5 pounds dough, for recipes that require 3 or 3.5 cups of flour
You can definitely bake a dough made from 3.5 cups of flour in a 9 x 5 inches pan.
If you have a large family, get the bigger pan, if not you can get the smaller version.
There are also best mini loaf pans but those are entirely a different matter and they can’t be categorized by size since each manufacturer has its own version. It’s easier to categorize them by the number of slots that they feature.
You’re looking for a pan that cooks the dough slowly and evenly – you don’t want to end up with one part being burnt or one under-cooked.
All the above loaf pans reviewed above have that quality.
If you’re looking for the best loaf pans for banana bread, I’ve already mentioned that they’re the same as the best loaf pans or you can bake a banana bread in a cake pan. If you get the timing right, both choice will make delicious banana breads.
The materials also vary, let’s find out more about each material:
aluminum loaf pans are those shiny silver pans – they’re great for even baking due to the fact that this material provides even heat but, if you want a dark well-textured crust, this material shouldn’t be your first choice
the aluminized steel ones are more prevalent, they’re perfect for baking at home – you can expect them to be sturdy with non-stick surfaces and they deliver even heat distribution
dark steel pans, the heavy-weight ones, are what professional bakers prefer because they can obtain that nice golden brown color for the crust, this material is perfect for baking thick-crusted breads, like the European or artisan breads
dark nonstick pans tend to brown the bread more quickly, especially on the edges, it’s best to lower the temperature by 25°F
a glass baking dish can be another good option, you can see the crust starting to bake and turn brown and the heat is distributed evenly however, I’m not that comfortable with handling one because it can easily suffer from thermal breakage, they’re not at easy to handle as metal ones
silicone is kind of a new material on the market but it’s becoming more and more popular, many users who end up buying a silicon loaf pan end up being impressed and very satisfied – they’re easy to handle, pretty cheap, and they bake pretty evenly, even though they won’t create the same browning as a metal pan
ceramic loaf pans are another interesting choice because ceramic is an excellent heat conductor, it will bake the breads evenly and deliver browned crusts however, they’re not that many and they’re not that popular plus, they tend to be quite expensive and they require a lot more care than the steel ones
Why Choose to Bake in a Loaf Pan?
If you aren’t too keen on the idea of using a bread machine but you’re very interested and excited about making the dough by hand or with the help of a stand mixer and then baking it in your oven then, you need to know about the best loaf pans for bread baking.
Using the best ingredients, kneading the dough properly for up to 25 minutes if you knead if by hand, letting the dough rise properly during the two rising phases are all part of making the most delicious breads.
Making bread at home doesn’t stop there. The baking is just as important as making a good dough. For that you need a best loaf pan for bread and a good oven.
I can help you with the part of finding the best loaf pans, including the best loaf pans for banana bread or for gluten-free recipes or for any other type of bread that you can think of.
I leave the entire effort of making and baking the dough to you.
Why a loaf pan though? Because it’s an inexpensive bread baking tool, doesn’t take much space, it’s very easy to use, and the result is amazing. It’s quite an essential bakeware.
What Breads Can You Bake in a Loaf Pan?
I think answering this question will clarify whether a loaf pan is the right bakeware for your needs.
The thing is that it can definitely be the right bakeware for you because you can bake all types of breads in a loaf pan as long as you like the container shape.
That means that you can make yeasted breads, gluten-free breads, sweet loaves, and so on. Even artisan loaves can be baked in a loaf pan.
The exception is made by baguettes, focaccia or if you want a round loaf.
Loaf Pan Alternatives
You can bake bread without a loaf pan. The most common replacement is a baking sheet (sheet pan). But there are other a lot more expensive and a bit more complicated-to-use baking tools, like baking stones and Dutch ovens.
We all know what a baking sheet is, there’s actually no need for an explanation. Baking sheets are a very good alternative to loaf pans because they have pretty similar prices but they are a lot more versatile since they can be used for much more than baking breads.
Pizza stones (also called baking stones) and Dutch ovens are more complicated to use because they must be preheated before placing the dough for baking and they’re a lot more expensive but they also create superior baking experiences similar to professional bread bakeries or similar to a wooden oven in the case of pizza making.
Baking stones are not perfect just for making pizza but for various breads, too – you can even bake baguettes on them – but they’re especially good for thick-crusted breads. I’ve written a post on the best baking stones, if you’re interested.
Dutch ovens have one major advantage: they can be the perfect bakeware as well as the perfect cookware. The quality of the breads baked in Dutch oven is amazing but you can also use this round pot with a lid on the stovetop to cook at medium to low heat all kinds of delicious recipes.
All in all,
I hope you find the best loaf pan for you from these seven best loaf pans and, remember, each one works great as a best loaf pan for banana bread, too, and the USA Pan Bakeware Pullman Loaf Pan is a perfect choice for gluten-free breads, besides being the top option for perfect sandwich bread.