What Are the Different Types of Bakeware?

Published on 04/26/2024 · 7 min readExplore the variety in bakeware: From silicone molds to heavy-duty cast iron, our guide details the different types and their best uses in your baking endeavors!
Shelby Owens, Kitchen Expert
By Kitchen Expert Shelby Owens

Photo by Taylor Heery

Tl;dr: To bake well, you’ve got to have the right bakeware. Consider what you’ll be making, because most items will have a pan specific to them. You will also want to think about the material, shape, and heat conductivity of each piece.

When you have all the gizmos and gadgets you need, the possibilities are endless. In this article, I’ll take you through each type of bakeware and its uses, and I’ll also give you my favorite product for each type. Let’s dive right in.

What Is Bakeware

Let’s keep it simple. Anything you put in the oven can be considered bakeware! These categories can include baking pans, sheets, and dishes made from materials such as metal, ceramic, or glass. Bakeware is tailored to withstand the high temperatures of ovens. When made right, they will evenly cook your dishes for the perfect sweet and savory treats. With non-stick coatings, heat-resistant properties, and durability, bakeware simplifies the baking process, making it the hero of any kitchen!

What to Consider When Buying Bakeware

First, assess your culinary style — are you cookie-obsessed or a cake queen or king? Consider the materials too. Whether metal, ceramic, or glass, your bakeware needs to handle the heat like a pro. Nonstick coatings, durability, and heat resistance are the secret ingredients that transform your bakeware into a kitchen superstar.

Metal Bakeware

  • Conducts heat efficiently for even baking
  • Comes in various finishes, including non-stick coatings
  • Ideal for cookies, brownies, and savory dishes

Ceramic Bakeware

  • Retains heat well, keeping dishes warm
  • Excellent for casseroles, lasagnas, and baked pasta
  • Elegant for oven-to-table serving

Glass Bakeware

  • Transparent for easy monitoring of the baking process.
  • Suitable for pies, cobblers, and casseroles.
  • Can be used for both sweet and savory dishes.

Silicone Bakeware

  • Flexible and non-stick for easy food release
  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • Ideal for muffins, cupcakes, and intricate molds

Stoneware Bakeware

  • Durable and resistant to scratches
  • Suitable for bread, casseroles, and desserts
  • Enhances flavors and textures in baked goods

Cast Iron Bakeware

  • Durable and versatile for stovetop-to-oven cooking
  • Creates a delightful crust on bread and desserts
  • Ideal for baking and serving rustic dishes

What Are the Different Types of Bakeware?

Bakeware isn't a one-size-fits-all situation, it's a diverse cast of characters, each with its own special role in the kitchen. Here’s what I make sure to have when I’m ready to bake.

Baking Sheets

Photo by Victoria Hunter

Let’s go back to the basics! Baking sheets, also known as cookie sheets, are the versatile multitaskers of the kitchen. These flat, metal trays with raised edges are the go-to for baking cookies, roasting veggies, and even preparing an entire sheet pan dinner. Their large, flat surface allows for even heat distribution, ensuring that your cookies come out golden brown and your vegetables are perfectly roasted. Baking sheets are a must-have for any home baker, offering endless possibilities for both sweet and savory creations. Don't have nonstick baking sheets? Silicone baking mats and parchment paper will be your perfect companion.

Cake Pans

Photo by ninikas

Cake pans are the heart of any baker's toolkit, shaping dreams of towering layer cakes and decadent cheesecakes. These round pans come in various sizes and depths, allowing for the creation of diverse cake styles. Note that you can get springform and regular cake pans. Always opt for springform! A springform pan has removable sides and a removable bottom. The sides are held together with an interlocking band that can be opened and removed once your cake is out of the oven.

Rectangular and Square Pans

Photo by Yellyana

Get your recipe out for Mama’s lasagna! (Shouldn’t every family have a lasagna recipe?) Square and rectangular pans are the unsung heroes behind the scenes, creating the perfect stage for brownies, casseroles, and more. These pans offer a larger surface area compared to round pans, making them ideal for bar cookies and layered dishes.

Cupcake and Muffin Tins

Photo by Neta Livne

If cakes are your arch nemesis, cupcakes will be your best friend! There’s no sticking, layering, or accidents. Cupcake and muffin tins are the miniature wonders that bring joy in bite-sized portions. These multi-cup pans are perfect for crafting individual treats, from cupcakes and muffins to savory quiches.

Casserole and Baking Dishes

Photo by Angelika Heine

Calling all pasta lovers! Casserole and baking dishes seamlessly transition your creations from the oven to the table. These versatile dishes are perfect for hearty, savory dishes like lasagnas, casseroles, and baked pastas. Casserole dishes come in various shapes and sizes, from classic rectangles to elegant ovals. The depth of these dishes allows for layering, creating complex flavors and textures in every bite.

Bread and Loaf Pans

Photo by P Maxwell Photography

Banana bread please! Bread and loaf pans are the unsung heroes behind every fluffy loaf and hearty quick bread. These pans come in various sizes, accommodating everything from traditional loaves to artisanal shapes.

Bundt Pans

Photo by Arina P Habich

Bundt pans turn ordinary cakes into stunning works of edible art. These pans feature intricate designs that effortlessly transfer to your baked goods, creating show-stopping desserts with minimal effort. My fave recipe? Angel food cake all the way.

Features to Look Out for When Buying Bakeware

As you gear up for your baking adventure, focus on these three things and choose according to what will be most important to you.

Nonstick Coating

A nonstick coating will ensure easy food release and even easier cleanup. And who doesn’t want that? You’ll want to take care with your nonstick coating, though, as it can be scratched easily with the wrong utensils.

Heat Conductivity

Your bakeware's superpower! Even heat distribution will yield consistent results and well-cooked goodies. Poor conductivity, on the other hand, will give you soggy centers and burnt edges. Glass pans take longer to conduct heat and may not be ideal for brownies and blondies. Also, a dark-colored cookie sheet will get hotter than a light-colored one and may crisp up your treats a little too much.

Durability

Invest in bakeware that will stand the test of time. Of course, a lot also depends on how the pans are cared for. Handwash your bakeware, but let it completely cool before to avoid warping. Dry them thoroughly before storing them away for next time.

How to Choose the Right Bakeware

Choosing bakeware is like finding a dance partner — compatibility is key. Here are a couple of examples of different bakers and what I would select for each.

JR

A self-taught cook and baker, JR is obsessed with the Food Network and watches all their shows. He loves experimenting and frequently tries new recipes out on his friends and family. He can afford top-quality equipment and is looking for some eye-catching, brightly colored bakeware that is easy to clean.

Features JR should look for:

  • Best-quality construction
  • Beautiful colors and designs
  • Nonstick coating for easy cleanup

Bakeware examples: Caraway nontoxic ceramic nonstick 11-piece bakeware set, Le Creuset bread oven

Paige

Despite having two jobs, Paige has some free time, and she likes to spend it in the kitchen. Her enthusiasm sometimes outpaces her knowledge, and she can be somewhat rough on her equipment. The colors in her kitchen are orange and blue for her favorite baseball team, so she’d like to buy some bronze-toned bakeware to match.

Features Paige should look for:

  • Durable construction to withstand almost anything
  • Attractive bronze finish

Bakeware examples: Circulon bakeware nonstick 10-piece set, Anolon nonstick bakeware cookie pan set

Find the Best Bakeware for You

Photo by MaraZe

Ready to elevate your baking game? Curated only carries the best products, it’s why we’re here. You don’t have to worry about the choice you make because this is a Curated selection just for bakers. Need a little help narrowing down your choice? Our Curated Kitchen Experts can chat with you and tell you about their experience with these amazing products.

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Shop Kitchen on Curated

Caraway Baking Sheet · Medium
$45.00
Anolon Advanced Bakeware Springform Pan · 9 Inch
$19.99
Caraway Rectangle Pan · 9" x 13"
$55.00

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Anolon Advanced Muffin Pan with Lid · 12 Cup
$36.99
Le Creuset Heritage Rectangular Casserole · 4 QT
$135.00
Anolon Nonstick Bakeware Cookie Pan Set · 3 Piece Set
$29.99
Anolon Advanced Bakeware Fluted Cake Pan · 9.5 Inch
$24.99
Circulon Bakeware Nonstick Bakeware Set · 10 Piece Set
$99.99

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