If you love preparing freshly baked bread, meatloaf, or moist quick breads, you need more than a good recipe. The best loaf pans are made of a nonstick material that evenly distributes heat to ensure you get consistent results every time, no matter what you’re preparing. As you shop for a loaf pan, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Most quick bread and meatloaf recipes call for a 1-pound loaf pan, which generally measures 8.5 by 4.5 inches and is 2.75 inches tall. Styles can vary though, with some pans measuring slightly longer and wider. Which you choose comes down to preference, but keep in mind that different dimensions may change your recipes’ cook times slightly, and the final appearance may be flatter versus taller if it's wider than the standard.
The material of your loaf pan is important, too, and should distribute heat evenly so you don’t risk burning your recipe or cooking it unevenly. Aluminized steel pans are a popular choice because they heat up quickly and retain temperatures for even browning and internal cooking. Try to avoid thin, flimsy pans, as these can lead to warping and hot spots.
To create a nonstick surface on your loaf pan, you can line it with parchment paper or choose a model that has a nonstick coating. Nonstick pans make it easy to remove even the stickiest recipes after they've finished baking. Silicone bakeware is naturally nonstick, and another good option as well as very easy to clean.
Choose one of the best loaf pans, and your baked goods will come out perfectly every time!
1. The Overall Best Loaf Pan
- Dimensions: 8.5 by 4.5 by 2.75 inches (length by width by height)
USA Pan’s aluminized steel loaf pan is made from a blend of new and recycled steel, and has a heavy-gauge construction that ensures even heating and baking. This loaf pan will hold a standard 1-pound bread recipe, and can also be used to make meatloaf, cakes, and layered desserts. The inside surface of the pan has a unique corrugated texture that allows for air to circulate during baking, so batters and doughs cook and brown evenly, and release from the pan when done. It also features USA Pan’s patented Americoat silicone coating, which is free of PTFE, PFOA, and BPA. USA Pan’s loaf pan has over 3,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, and is a durable option for novice and experienced bakers alike. One note: This loaf pan is not dishwasher safe, so if that's a deal breaker for you, the option below might be a better pick.
2. The Runner-Up: A Slightly Larger Option
- Dimensions: 9 by 5 by 3 inches (length by width by height)
The OXO Good Grips nonstick loaf pan has a similar aluminized steel construction as the USA Pan, with a slightly longer and wider design. The OXO is truly nonstick, as it has a PTFE, ceramic reinforced coating that allows food and sticky substances to release and clean quickly. In addition, the bottom surface of the pan has a honeycomb texture that allows for air flow and even browning. Since the OXO pan’s edges are rounded, baked loaves will have a softer appearance compared to square pans, with the added benefit of being easier to release recipes compared to some pans with sharp corners or edges. The pan’s square rolled edge makes it easy to grip and transfer heavy recipes into and out of the oven, and the design is dishwasher safe.
A note about nonstick coatings: Some people prefer to avoid PTFE (commonly known as Teflon), due to concerns that PTFE turns into the toxin Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) at elevated temperatures. However, PFOA is no longer in use in the U.S. in the last decade and recent research has shown that Teflon was not a significant source of PFOA. This shouldn't necessarily discourage you, but might be something to consider depending on your own preferences.
3. The Best Silicone Loaf Pan
- Dimensions: 8.5 by 4.3 by 2.7 inches (length by width by height)
This silicone loaf pan from Aichoof has a unique design feature that many flexible loaf pans lack — a reinforced steel rim. This provides structure and stability to the pan, so you can cleanly remove your bread or meatloaf recipe without damaging or squashing it, something that often happens with freeform silicone molds. The Aichoof has relatively standard dimensions for a 1-pound loaf pan, and since its silicone material is naturally nonstick, it is a great choice for sticky or sugary recipes, or if you'd rather not spray or butter the pan. With a dishwasher-safe and rust-proof design, the Aichoof is incredibly versatile and easy to care for and maintain.