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  • Rachael Ray Yum-o! Nonstick Oven Lovin' Loaf Pan

  • USA Pan 1 1/4 Lb. Loaf Pan

  • How We Tested Loaf Pans

  • How to Choose the Best Loaf Pan

  • Other Loaf Pans We Tested

  • More Articles You Might Enjoy

Our Favorite Loaf Pans of 2021

  1. Best Overall

    Rachael Ray Yum-o! Nonstick Oven Lovin' Loaf Pan

    Pros

    • Large, grippy handles

    • Nonstick coating safe up to 500°F

    • Large capacity

    Cons

    • None that we could find

    Skip to the full review below
  2. Best for Tender Cakes

    USA Pan 1 1/4 Lb. Loaf Pan

    Pros

    • Nonstick finish performed well in testing

    • Easy to clean

    • Great for non-crust breads and cakes

    Cons

    • No handles

    Skip to the full review below
A Rachael Ray Yum-o! Nonstick Oven Lovin' Loaf Pan is in the center of a crowded kitchen counter. Inside the pan, there's a loaf of quick bread.
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The best loaf pan we tested is Rachael Ray's Yum-o! Nonstick Oven Lovin' Loaf Pan.

Best Overall
Rachael Ray Yum-o! Nonstick Oven Lovin' Loaf Pan

It has a silly name and it doesn’t look like a professional tool, but when it came to results and ease of use, we liked everything about the Rachael Ray Yum-o! Oven Lovin' Loaf Pan for loaf baking. First of all, the handles are large and have silicone inserts in Rachael’s signature orange color that make it super easy to get a firm grip on the pan. The nonstick finish never faltered, even when we didn’t grease the pan. And because the nonstick finish is dark, it gave a nice deep crust to white bread. The Rachael Ray is roomier than some of the others we tested, so meatloaf juices never bubbled over onto the oven floor. As it’s safe up to 500°F, you can quickly brown off a crumb topping, if need be.

Pros

  • Large, grippy handles

  • Nonstick coating safe up to 500°F

  • Large capacity

Cons

  • None that we could find

The USA Pan with a loaf of lemon pound cake is next to a carton full of eggs and a halved lemon.
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The USA Pan Loaf Pan will save your cakes from a deeply browned crust.

Best for Tender Cakes
USA Pan 1 1/4 Lb. Loaf Pan

When you’re baking a lemon pound cake, bread loaf, or a blueberry quick bread, you probably don’t want a thick and deeply browned crust. For those times, it’s best to choose a pan with a light-colored finish. Our top performer in this category was the USA Pan Loaf Pan, which is made of steel coated with aluminum. It has a colorless silicone nonstick finish that helped everything we baked pop right out of the pan and made hand washing a cinch. The downside to this pan is that it has no handles so you have to grasp it firmly on the sides.

Pros

  • Nonstick finish performed well in testing

  • Easy to clean

  • Great for non-crust breads and cakes

Cons

  • No handles

How We Tested Loaf Pans

The Tester

Hi, I'm Valerie Li Stack, Reviewed's senior staff writer on the kitchen team. I've tested a range of kitchen gadgets from espresso machines to mini food processors since joining Reviewed. As an avid baker, I'm always on the hunt for better tools and equipment that make the process stress-free.

And I'm Sharon Franke. I’ve been reviewing kitchen equipment for more than three decades. Before that, I cooked and baked professionally in New York City restaurants for seven years. I know that as simple as quick breads and pound cakes sound, they’re not that easy to get right. A good loaf pan can help you get Instagram-worthy and delicious results.

The Tests

We tested eight loaf pans in the first round of testing and added four later. In each pan, we baked two banana breads from two different recipes, two white breads using store-bought dough, and a classic meatloaf. As we worked, we noted if we could get a good grip on the pans, how well-baked items released from the pans, how easy the pans would be to transport, whether or not they were dishwasher safe, and how much effort needed to be put into cleaning them by hand. We noted if the pans could withstand a high temperature if you wanted to brown off a crumb topping on a coffee cake or a glaze on a meatloaf.

Clockwise from top left: A fully baked loaf of bread in a USA Pan loaf pan, a fully baked loaf in a Pyrex glass loaf pan, a loaf of bread sliced in half in the middle, and a fully-baked loaf of sandwich bread in a ceramic loaf pan.
Credit: Reviewed / Sharon Franke

We baked banana bread, meatloaf, and white bread in each of the different loaf pans we tested.

How to Choose the Best Loaf Pan

Loaf pans come in a variety of sizes, colors, and materials. For best results, it’s important to use the size called for in your recipes. If you use a different size, your baked goods may not come out with the texture and/or height that you expected and may also take more or less time to bake than specified in the recipe.

Related content

Dark-colored pans hold in more heat and consequently give a darker, thicker crust, which makes them excellent for breads. However, you may also want to have a lighter colored pan in your collection for those times when you’re baking cakes and prefer a lighter, more tender crust.
For ease of use, you can’t beat metal pans. They’re lightweight and easy to handle and of course, pretty much unbreakable. If you plan to serve right from the pan, ceramic or glass pans are more attractive. However, they may not brown as deeply or evenly as metal pans.

Our tests proved that nonstick pans really help when it comes to releasing baked goods and cleaning up. But even when you use a pan with nonstick finish, it’s best to grease the pan as extra insurance against sticking.


Other Loaf Pans We Tested

Product image of Pyrex Easy Grab 1.5-qt Loaf Pan
Best Non-Nonstick Loaf Pan
Pyrex Easy Grab 1.5-qt Loaf Pan

If you’re hell-bent on avoiding nonstick, consider the Pyrex Easy Grab Loaf Dish. Just be absolutely sure to grease the glass well before using it for baked goods. With its large handles, the Easy Grab is a great upgrade on the classic Pyrex glass pan as it lives up to its name and lets you get a really good grip even with bulky oven mitts. Unlike many of the metal pans, this one can be cleaned in the dishwasher and can also be used for microwaving meatloaf.

Pros

  • Great handles

  • Microwave and dishwasher safe

Cons

  • Must grease well

Product image of Wilton Perfect Results 9.25 x 5.25 Large Loaf Pan
Wilton Perfect Results 9.25 x 5.25 Large Loaf Pan

The measurements are embossed right on the handle of the Wilton Perfect Results Loaf Pan so you never have to wonder if you’re using the right size pan for your recipe. With its dark-colored nonstick finish, it gave our white bread beautiful crusts. But we did get some sticking, so make sure you grease this pan well. When it comes to clean up, the nonstick finish does come in handy.

Pros

  • Dark nonstick coating good at crusting

  • Easy to clean

  • Dimensions printed clearly on pan

Cons

  • Nonstick coating performed so-so in testing

Product image of AmazonBasics Nonstick Carbon Steel Bread Pan
AmazonBasics Nonstick Carbon Steel Bread Pan

You can’t beat the price on the Amazon Basics Nonstick Carbon Steel Bread Pan which is sold as a set of two. If you’re baking pumpkin or zucchini bread to give as a gift you can gift the pan right along with the loaves or if you bring one to a party, not worry if you forget to bring home the pan. The dark nonstick gave a nice dark crust to bread but occasionally failed to release cleanly. While the pan does have handles, they’re small and can be hard to grasp with bulky oven mitts.

Pros

  • Sold as a set of two

  • Dark nonstick coating good at crusting

Cons

  • Nonstick coating performed so-so in testing

  • Small handles

Product image of Staub Cast Iron Loaf Pan
Staub Cast Iron Loaf Pan

This enameled cast iron loaf pan doesn’t require seasoning. It made a perfect loaf of banana bread with a superbly browned exterior and evenly cooked interior. Though it weighs 6 pounds, making it the heaviest loaf pan we’ve tested, its two handles make lifting and transporting the pan to and from the oven a lot easier.

For people who cook a lot in loaf pans and expect a perfect outcome each time, the Staub won’t disappoint. Thanks to its cast iron construction, it can be brought up to a temperature higher than other pans we’ve tested and maintains that temperature so the food gets evenly cooked.

However, in terms of cleaning and maintenance, the dark color made it harder for our tester to see the food bits that got stuck in the pan.

Pros

  • Superb heat retention

  • Large, grippy handles

  • Good at crusting

Cons

  • Heavy

  • Color makes it hard to clean

Product image of Williams-Sonoma Traditionaltouch Pullman Loaf Pan
Williams-Sonoma Traditionaltouch Pullman Loaf Pan

The Williams Sonoma Pullman Loaf Pan is a durable, solidly made choice for those who regularly bake a loaf of sandwich bread. It’s made of aluminized steel, which is known for even and quick heat distribution. It has a sliding lid that helps rising dough to swell and form into a perfectly square-shaped loaf.

The banana bread had a nice shape and was exceptionally tasty, but the exterior didn’t obtain much browning. The sandwich loaf was airy and soft. However, if you prefer a crusty bread, this loaf pan may be too gentle for that—the loaf had a light golden finish.

Cleaning the pan is straightforward in most cases. If you make a loaf of bread, there won’t be too much scraping for you to do. However, if you make a meatloaf, the corner construction makes reaching leftover grease difficult and may encourage grime build-up over time.

Pros

  • Lightweight aluminized steel construction

  • Even heat distribution

Cons

  • No handles

  • Not good at crusting

Product image of Nordic Ware Naturals 1.5 Pound Loaf Pan
Nordic Ware Naturals 1.5 Pound Loaf Pan

This is a simple light-colored aluminum pan without a nonstick finish of any kind. By using the Nordic Ware Naturals Loaf Pan, you’ll avoid over browning which you’ll appreciate when you’re baking a pound cake but might miss if you’re the kind of person whose favorite part of a loaf of sourdough is the crispy chewy crust. You will definitely want to hand wash the Nordic Ware or the aluminum will discolor and could skew your results.

Pros

  • Prevents overbrowning

  • Simple and lightweight aluminum construction

Cons

  • Requires washing by hand

  • Not ideal for developing crusts

Product image of Le Creuset Heritage Loaf Pan
Le Creuset Heritage Loaf Pan

This stylish ceramic loaf pan has two large, flared handles and the iconic Le Creuset color scheme. It made a soft, creamy loaf of banana bread despite the exterior being on the paler side of all the banana bread we baked. We like the smooth ceramic construction with curves, which made cleaning much easier than the straight-sided pans.

However, the pan isn’t without flaws. This pan was the slowest in our tests to reach the optimal temperature for bread. As a result, the bottom of the sandwich bread didn’t fully expand and the top grew much bigger than the bottom, leading to a final product that was too wobbly to stand on its own. It also doesn’t retain heat well, as evidenced by the sloppy shape of the banana bread.

Pros

  • Easy to clean

  • Gorgeous design

  • Large, grippy handles

Cons

  • Slow to heat up

  • Doesn’t retain heat well

Product image of Emile Henry Ruffled Loaf Dish
Emile Henry Ruffled Loaf Dish

Made in France, the ceramicware Emile Henry Ruffled Loaf Pan comes in several sophisticated colors including burgundy, charcoal, and oak and has a decorative edge which makes it a smart choice if you opt to serve whatever you bake right from the pan. While it’s not really a good idea to cool breads and cakes in the pan, you could use the Emile Henry for a twist on the usual mac ‘n cheese or a lasagna. Plus, it’s microwave and dishwasher safe. However, it has no handles and it’s heavy so it’s not easy to maneuver in and out of the oven. In addition, it has a smaller capacity so the juices from a two-pound meatloaf boiled over onto the oven.

Pros

  • Decorative with several color options

  • Microwave and dishwasher safe

  • Versatile

Cons

  • Handle-less design

  • Heavy

  • Small capacity

Product image of Chicago Metallic Uncoated Textured Aluminum 1-Pound Loaf Pan
Chicago Metallic Uncoated Textured Aluminum 1-Pound Loaf Pan

While white bread rose high and beautiful in the Chicago Metallic Uncoated Textured Loaf Pan, our loaves came out with barely any browning on the sides or the bottom. In addition to not having a nonstick finish, this pan has very sharp corners where food gets stuck and is hard to get off. Plus, the pan has no handles so you have to grasp it by the sides to take it out of the oven.

Pros

  • None that we could find

Cons

  • No handles

  • Design makes it difficult to clean

Product image of Great Jones Breadwinner
Great Jones Breadwinner

The Great Jones Breadwinner loaf pan comes in a set of two and is available in green and blue. The pan is made in the U.S. of aluminized steel and finished with a layer of nonstick, ceramic coating. Similar to Great Jones’ cake pan, the bottom of the pan has a wavy, corrugated pattern.

Performance-wise, it baked a loaf of quick bread with a crispy exterior and a moist, soft interior. However, the unevenness was noticeable on the loaf—the side closer to the heating element was more cooked than the side close to the oven door. The uneven heat distribution caused more problems when baking the white bread, as part of the loaf domed more than the rest.

We also deducted a few points because of some usability issues. It has no handles, which makes transferring the pan inconvenient. Cleaning is also difficult—it was really hard for our tester to reach the corner crevices due to its depth and the straight sides. We don’t recommend making meatloaf or wet food in this pan because you won’t be able to get the grease out.

Pros

  • Lightweight

  • Easy to store

  • Sold as a set of two

Cons

  • No handles

  • Design makes cleaning difficult

  • Uneven heat distribution

Meet the testers

Sharon Franke

Sharon Franke

Contributor

Sharon has been testing kitchen equipment for the past 30 years. Before becoming a cooking tools maven, she worked as a professional chef in New York City restaurants for seven years.

See all of Sharon Franke's reviews
Valerie Li Stack

Valerie Li Stack

Senior Staff Writer

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Valerie Li Stack is a senior staff writer for Kitchen & Cooking. She is an experienced home cook with a passion for experimenting with the cuisines of countries she's visited. Driven by an interest in food science, Valerie approaches the culinary scene with a firm grasp of cooking processes and extensive knowledge of ingredients. She believes food speaks to all people regardless of language and cultural background.

See all of Valerie Li Stack's reviews

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