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 mixer and then baking it in your oven then, you need to know about the best loaf pans for bread baking.
Getting the dough right is, obviously, crucial.
Making bread at home doesn’t stop there. The baking is just as important as making a good dough.
You need a great 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 about.
I’m even going to feature some best mini loaf pans.
It’s going to be great.
That’s my effort.
I leave the entire effort of making and baking the dough to you.
7 Best Loaf Pans – Steel and Silicone Pans
Let me just say from the start that the best loaf pans 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
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.
1. USA Pan Bakeware Aluminized Steel Loaf Pan
This is one sturdy-looking pan.
It’s definitely heavy.
It’s a bit hard to handle it since there are no handles.
The amazing quality combined with a pretty good 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
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 and one of the most frequently encountered in this niche
highly durable, very resistant, you can enjoy baking as often as you can, for many years to come
the aluminized surface ensures that the breads will be baked evenly and the crust will be close to perfect, too
obviously, it’s non-stick
PTFE, PFOA and BPA free because it’s coated with a silicone called Americoat
wash it by hand, 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 has no handles, it can be a bit tricky to handle it
It’s an amazing choice as one of the best loaf pans for bread, including banana bread.
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.
Getting back to the USA Pan Bakeware Pullman Loaf Pan:
you have two sizes to choose from
the large one is indeed large measuring 13 x 4 x 4 inches
the smaller version measures 9 x 4 x 4 inches
they’re made from heavy gauge aluminized steel, non-stick, PTFE, PFOA and BPA free
very sturdy and durable, which makes the investment well worth it over time
easy to clean, the breads are released instantly and nothing sticks to the surface so, there’s won’t be anything left behind
wash it by hand and dry with a towel afterward
they’re not only good for baking sandwich bread, for example, they’re very good for baking gluten-free breads, too – some describe it the USA Pan Bakeware Pullman Loaf Pan the must-have loaf pan for gluten-free bread baking
there are no handles
You’re going to find quite a few recipes, just search for pain de mie recipes and see which one you’d like to try first.
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.
That’s why the word long is incorporated in the name.
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.
All in all, these are the main characteristics for the Wilton Long Bread Loaf Pan:
you will get two pans for a really great price, it’s even better if you get it on sale
each measures 12 x 3.125 inches, they’re quite long and narrow
made of aluminum – the breads will be evenly baked with a very nice crust
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
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
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.
It’s a bit more expensive and you only get one best loaf pan, not two.
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
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.
5. SILIVO Silicone Cake 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.
What you’ll get with the SILIVO Silicone Cake Pan:
it withstands temperatures up to 450°F so, there’s definitely nothing different in this area
quite a large size 8.9 x 3.7 inches
made of silicone, it released the baked goods immediately without effort, it’s non-stick
it’s not made of steel but that doesn’t mean it’s not durable, you’ll end up using it for years without having to get another one
just keep in mind that you won’t get the same browned crust that you get when baking in steel pans
you can bake anything in it, highly versatile
6. Calphalon Nonstick Bakeware Loaf Pan
If you want a really affordable steel loaf pan then, look no further.
The Calphalon Nonstick Bakeware Loaf Pan is exactly what you’re looking for.
I’m pretty sure you can’t find something more affordable of this quality but I might be wrong.
Besides the enticing price, 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 are 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
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.
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 (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 (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 or more.
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.
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, which will save you buying an additional pan, it just won’t look like a traditional banana bread but it will be baked perfectly in a cake pan, too.
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
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
The color of the pan also influences the color of the crust – if you want a darker crust get a darker pan, it depends on what you prefer.
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.