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Types of Baking Pan Materials

Baking is both a science and an art – just as every ingredient has a purpose in a recipe, so does the type of pan you use. This guide will break down the various bakeware materials, so you can find the best baking pan material for every creation.

Different Types of Baking Pan Materials

Each bakeware material reacts differently with food and heat, giving each a place in the kitchen.

Brownies being removed from a silicone mold
Brownies being removed from a silicone mold
Silicone Baking Molds

Silicone baking molds are naturally non-stick and flexible, making them ideal for foods that don't easily release, such as muffins, cakes, and breads. This material is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

Pros
  • Does not require non-stick sprays or oils
  • Resists stains and odors for long-lasting use
  • Extreme heat resistance
Cons
  • Poor heat conductor
Roasted chicken and potatoes in a stainless steel pan
Roasted chicken and potatoes in a stainless steel pan
Stainless Steel Baking Pans

Stainless steel baking sheets and pans are best used for searing meats to achieve crispy, caramelized crusts, or for when baking with acidic ingredients. This material is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

Pros
  • Non-reactive
  • Corrosion- and rust-resistant
  • Durable and long-lasting
Cons
  • Distributes heat unevenly
Baked cookies on an aluminum baking sheet
Baked cookies on an aluminum baking sheet
Aluminum Baking Pans

Aluminum baking sheets and pans are best used for food that’s cooked at high heat for short amounts of time, such as cookies, biscuits, muffins. This is because they heat up quickly and promote even browning. To maintain aluminum baking pans, we suggest hand washing or using metal-safe dish detergents.

Pros
  • Heats up and cools down quickly
  • Promotes even browning
  • Resistant to rust and corrosion
  • Lightweight and affordable
Cons
  • Can react with acidic food
Baked pie in a glass dish
Baked pie in a glass dish
Glass Baking Dishes

Glass baking dishes are best used for casseroles, braised dishes, and other foods where a consistent, constant temperature is needed, as well as when cooking with acidic foods. This material is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

Pros
  • Non-reactive
  • Holds heat to evenly cook food
Cons
  • Poor heat conductor
  • Can cause browning in sweet dishes
  • Susceptible to thermal shock
Baked pie in a stoneware baking dish
Baked pie in a stoneware baking dish
Clay / Stone Baking Dishes

Clay / stone baking dishes are non-reactive and are quality heat-holders, making them ideal for baked pasta dishes, casseroles, gratins, bread puddings, and pies. Plus, a clay baking dish doubles as an attractive serving dishes once the baking is complete. This material is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

Pros
  • Non-reactive
  • Conducts heat slowly and evenly
  • Perfect for oven to table service
Cons
  • Can cause browning in sweet dishes
  • Susceptible to thermal shock and breakage
  • Typically heavy to lift and move
  • Sometimes requires seasoning
Baked muffins in a carbon steel muffin pan
Baked muffins in a carbon steel muffin pan
Carbon Steel Baking Pans

A staple in many restaurant kitchens, carbon steel is pressed from raw, heavy-gauge steel, making it a stronger, more durable option than aluminum. Carbon steel baking pans are ideal for casseroles, cakes, breads, pies, and other desserts. To maintain carbon steel pans, scrub the interior with hot water and a soft-bristle brush; avoid using soap. It is important to note that carbon steel pans require regular seasoning and maintenance.

Pros
  • Extremely long-lasting when properly cared for
  • Excellent heat conductor
  • Achieves and maintains both very low and very high temperatures for greater versatility
  • Naturally non-stick
Cons
  • Susceptible to rust if not properly cared for
  • Requires seasoning
Proofed bread dough in an aluminized steel bread loaf pan
Proofed bread dough in an aluminized steel bread loaf pan
Aluminized Steel Baking Pan

Aluminized steel is steel that has been hot-dip coated with aluminum-silicon alloy. Aluminized steel baking sheets are best used for roasting and low / moderate heat applications. As long as it is cared for properly, aluminized steel bakeware is safe to use. To maintain, we suggest hand washing or using metal-safe dish detergents as well as only using non-metal utensils on the pan's surface.

Pros
  • The most common material of choice for professional bakers
  • Superior durability and corrosion resistance for long-lasting use
  • Uniform heat transfer for even baking and browning
Cons
  • Typically more expensive
  • Can react with highly acidic foods
Tin-plated steel deep dish pizza pan on a counter
Tin-plated steel deep dish pizza pan on a counter
Tin-Plated Steel Baking Pans

Tin-plated steel is sheets of steel that have been covered with a thin coat of tin. Tin-plated steel baking pans are ideal for cakes and deep dish pizzas. To maintain tin-plated baking pans, we suggest hand washing with warm soapy water, being careful not to use metal scouring pads or abrasive materials. Place in a warm oven to dry completely. It is important to note that tin-plated steel pans require regular seasoning and maintenance.

Pros
  • Non-reactive
  • Distributes and retains heat well
Cons
  • Can rust easily
  • Darkens with use
  • Requires seasoning
Roasted potatoes in a cast aluminum roasting pan
Roasted potatoes in a cast aluminum roasting pan
Cast Aluminum Baking Pans

Cast aluminum is aluminum that has gone through one of the several casting processes. Because of its superior heat distribution, cast aluminum baking pans are ideal for roasting and oven-to-table service. To maintain, we suggest hand washing or using metal-safe dish detergents.

Pros
  • Promotes even baking
  • Superior temperature retention
  • Durable construction
  • Lightweight, cost-effective alternative to cast iron
Cons
  • Can react with highly acidic foods
Pizza in a hard anodized aluminum baking pan
Pizza in a hard anodized aluminum baking pan
Hard Anodized Aluminum Baking Pans

Anodized aluminum is aluminum that undergoes an electro-chemical process to harden its outer layer and thicken its surface. Its non-reactive characteristics make it especially great for cakes with acidic batters, as well as pastries and other delicate dessert recipes. To maintain anodized aluminum baking pans, we suggest hand washing or using metal-safe dish detergents. It is important to note that anodized aluminum pans require regular seasoning.

Pros
  • Non-reactive
  • Superior durability and scratch resistance
  • Metal utensils, with the exclusion of sharp knives, can be used on the pan without damaging the surface
  • Excellent conducting properties; reflects heat rather than absorbing it
  • Non-stick
Cons
  • Cook time may need to be adjusted in recipes
  • Requires seasoning
Matfer Bourgeat 345658 Exoglass 4
Matfer Bourgeat 345658 Exoglass 4
Exoglass® Baking Pans

Proprietary to Matfer Bourgeat, Exoglass® is a non-porous, natural non-stick composite. It is ideal for cakes, breads, tarts, quiches, and other delicate pastries. This material is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

Pros
  • Withstands temperatures from -20 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Long-lasting and durable; won't warp or deform over time
  • Can be used for both sweet and savory products
  • Requires little to no greasing
Cons
  • Expensive up front
Matfer Bourgeat 330641 Exopan steel mini non-stick fluted brioche mold
Matfer Bourgeat 330641 Exopan steel mini non-stick fluted brioche mold
Exopan® Baking Pans

Proprietary to Matfer Bourgeat, Exopan® is a fine steel with a nonstick coating inside and protective enamel. It is ideal for cakes, breads, tarts, quiches, and other delicate pastries. To maintain Exopan® baking dishes, wipe the pan inside and out by hand with hot water, a degreasing product, and a soft cloth.

Pros
  • Withstands temperatures from -20 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Long-lasting and durable; won't warp or deform over time
  • Edge is rolled around copper wire for ultimate heat distribution
  • Requires little to no greasing
Cons
  • Expensive up front
Expert Tip



These are generalized care instructions for each material. Always reference specific care instructions for your pans prior to using.

Non-Stick Coatings and Glazes

Non-stick coatings are engineered to reduce the ability of food particles to stick to your metal cookware's surface, which effectively reduces the amount of oil and fats required in the cooking process, as well as makes for easy cleanup.

Silicone glaze, a popular type of coating with non-stick properties, aids in food release at a more economical price point. The glaze is designed to last 500-600 uses before being reapplied, and may still require some oil or release spray depending on what you are baking.

Specific non-stick coatings include:
Close up of a PTFE coating on a baking sheet

PTFE Coatings

PolyTetraFluoroEthylene (PTFE) coatings offer a durable, heat-resistant finish and nearly complete chemical inertness. They are designed to last through 3000+ uses.

Baking pan with DuraShield coating

DuraShield Coating

Proprietary to Chicago Metallic, this coating offers a durable, heat-resistant finish and is also certified free of potentially harmful perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). It is designed to last through 3000+ uses.



Specific silicone glazes include:
Muffin pan with AMERICOAT® ePlus coating

AMERICOAT® ePlus Coating

Proprietary to Chicago Metallic, this leading silicone release technology provides up to 30% more release than other competing silicone glazes for longer-lasting performance. It is PFOA free, and reduces pan oil usage up to 50% helps as well as staining.

Baking Pan Colors

While choosing light baking pans versus dark baking pans is mostly a personal decision, it is important to know the effects each color can have in your baking.
Light colored muffin pan

Light

Lighter colored pans are ideal for baking food where minimal browning on the bottom is desired, such as cookies and cakes, because they absorb less heat.

Dark colored muffin pan

Dark

Darker colored pans absorb and spread heat more quickly and promote browning, so they are ideal for using when crispness is desired, such as for pizzas and cornbread.

Purple colored muffin pan

Purple

Designated for allergen-free cooking, purple pans provide easy identification for staff to effectively reduce cross contamination in your kitchen.

Muffins in a muffin pan going into the oven

How to Adjust Bake Times for Pan Colors

  • If cooking with lighter pans when your recipe calls for a dark pan, increase the oven by 25 degrees Fahrenheit to help your baked goods bake in the same amount of time, as well as ensure optimal browning.
  • When cooking with darker pans, you may need to decrease the baking temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure your baked goods do not heat up or brown too quickly. Check for doneness 10 to 15 minutes before the recipe instructs you to do so to ensure you do not overbake.

White cake in different sizes of cake pans

How to Adjust Bake Times for Pan Size

  • If you use a larger pan than your recipe calls for, the depth of the batter will be shallower - this will cause the batter to bake more quickly. To ensure optimal baking results, increase the oven's temperature and decrease the bake time.
  • If you use a smaller pan than your recipe calls for, the depth of the batter will be deeper - this will cause the batter to bake more slowly. To ensure optimal baking results, decrease the oven's temperature and increase the bake time.

General Baking Materials Tips

  • Use parchment paper or silicone baking mats to promote a more even bake. They also make cleanup a breeze at the end of use, which will help prolong the life of your pans.
  • Thinner gauge metal pans are cheaper to buy up front, but are more prone to warping when exposed to high temperatures, which can cause uneven baking.
  • Always allow your bakeware to cool before cleaning to prevent warping.
  • Always remove food from the pan before slicing or cutting.
  • If your pan needs to be seasoned, be sure to season it regularly for proper maintenance and longevity.

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