Baking isn't always as simple as "a piece of cake," so knowing the differences in loaf pans can make all of the difference in your baking project. There is a large assortment of loaf pans, making choosing the right one a difficult decision. We have searched through multiple sites to bring you a thorough but concise selection of different types and sizes of loaf pans.
Loaf pans are typically used for different types of loaves of bread, so these rectangular pans are quite versatile. Not every loaf pan is created equal. They come in sizes, big and small, with different qualities for different baked goods. The loaf pans that we will discuss in more depth are as follows:
- 9" x 5" loaf pan
- 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan
- 8" x 4" loaf pan
- 2 lb loaf pan
- Mini loaf pan 5¾" x 3¼" (per loaf)
- Metal loaf pan
- Glass loaf pan
- Ceramic loaf pan
- Nonstick loaf pan
- Silicone loaf pan
- Aluminum loaf pan
- Cast iron loaf pan
- Round-edged loaf pan
- Sharp-edged loaf pan
- Instant pot mini loaf pan
- Pullman loaf pan
You can find the volume of a pan to know which pan to use for your baking project by a couple of different methods. If mathematics is your thing, you can use the measurements of the inside of your pan and convert these dimensions into volume, which can then be converted into cups or milliliters.
To skip the math, fill your pan with water and then measure the amount of liquid using a measuring cup. The easiest way to figure out the size of pan you will need is to look up a pan size chart.
Loaf pans by size
Finding the right size for your loaf is the first step in the loaf baking process. The wrong-sized loaf pan can result in less than the desired outcome.
If you use a loaf pan that is too big, your loaf may not rise correctly. If your loaf pan is too small, your loaf could overflow the pan. Choosing a loaf pan that is too large is better than choosing one that is too small.
1. 9" x 5" loaf pan
One of the most commonly found loaf pans, a 9" x 5" loaf pan, makes the perfect-sized slice of bread. This loaf pan size holds approximately 8 cups of volume or 1 1/4 to 2 pounds of dough. A 9" x 5" loaf pan is generally used for banana, zucchini, or regular baked loaves of bread. The loaf of a 9" x 5" pan is wide and short with just a small rise with more surface area.
2. 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan
Recipes typically refer to the 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan as the "standard loaf pan." This medium-sized loaf pan will hold around 6 cups of volume. When comparing an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan to a 9" x 5" version, the difference of half an inch seems insignificant, but the result of your loaf looks very different. The smaller width of the 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" pan causes a higher rise in your loaf than the 9" x 5".
3. 8" x 4" loaf pan
When a smaller loaf is desired, such as a coffee cake, consider an 8" x 4" loaf pan. This pan is also the perfect size for meatloaf. An 8" x 4" loaf pan holds about 4 cups of volume or about 7/8 to 1 1/2 pounds of dough. About 12 slices of bread can be made from an 8" x 4" loaf pan, also known as the 1-pound loaf pan.
4. 2 lb. loaf pan
The dimensions of a 2-pound loaf pan are usually 16" x 4". If the 8" x 4" loaf pan yields the size of loaves that you prefer, but more product is desired, the 2-pound loaf pan may be just what you need. This pan is double the length of the 8" x 4" loaf pan, yielding about 24, 1-ounce slices of bread.
5. Mini loaf pan 5¾" x 3¼" per loaf
Just the right size for gifting friends and family, the mini loaf pan makes perfectly shaped mini loaves of baked goods in individual-sized servings. Individual loaf pans are available, but so are groupings of 4, 8, 18, or even 28 cavities if you need a big batch of mini loaves.
Along with size, you will also want to consider some other traits of your pan before choosing the right loaf pan for your baking project.
While a pan may seem like a pan, this isn't necessarily the case. Different loaf pans can be made of materials that contribute various traits to your baking project. You will find that various results can be achieved depending on what material you choose for your loaf.
6. Metal loaf pans
Metal pans are usually what come to mind when thinking of a loaf pan. They conduct heat, making them heat faster. This is the type of pan that you should use when baking yeasted bread to achieve the desired "oven spring." These will need to be washed by hand to prevent scratching, leading to rust and stuck-on food.
7. Glass loaf pans
Glass pans are durable and safe for dishwashers, freezers, and microwaves. These pans do not conduct heat like a metal pan, so they should not be used for yeasted bread.
One major disadvantage of glass loaf pans is that they can break and crack with extreme fluctuations in temperature or if dropped.
8. Ceramic loaf pans
Humans have a history of cooking with stone, dating back to the stone age. Ceramic loaf pans use the same concept of using a natural stone material that has many benefits.
These pans are naturally a nonstick surface, available in many beautiful colors. Because they are made from a natural substance, you will not be exposed to any toxins by eating from them.
9. Nonstick loaf pans
The loaf pans shown above are made coated with nonstick materials, so removing baked goods is easy. They are also very easy to clean. A drawback to nonstick loaf pans is that the nonstick coating can scratch and peel over time.
10. Silicone loaf pans
Silicone pans are made flexible to easily release your baked good. Easy cleaning and storage are also benefits of the silicone material. Silicone loaf pans are available in many bright, vibrant colors. Because of the nature of the flexible material, silicone can absorb odor.
11. Aluminum loaf pan
For the ultimate convenience, disposable loaf pans made from aluminum are perfect for one-time use or for gifting loaves of baked goods. These pans are available to purchase in large quantities, as shown above. Aluminum can also be washed and reused if you desire.
12. Cast iron loaf pan
Cast iron loaf pans are the ultimate in durability. This material can create a crispy, crusty outer layer unmatched by other kinds of loaf pans. Cast iron products are quite heavy, so they require hand washing, regular seasoning to prevent rust and aren't microwave safe, but the result will be well worth the extra work.
The shape of your pan may not seem like it plays a part in the overall results of your baking project, but it can. Loaf pans come with rounded corners or sharp-edged corners that can change your baking projects' shape and overall look.
13. Round-edged loaf pans
Pans made out of glass, ceramic, and cast iron materials typically have rounded corners. Rounded-edged pans generally are easier to clean because baked goods are more easily removed from pans with rounded corners. A round-edged loaf pan will give your baked product a soft and round look.
14. Sharp-edged loaf pans
A cleaner and sharper look are achieved using pans with sharp angles. Sharp-cornered pans are usually made of metal, so they may be a bit more challenging to clean.
15. Instant pot mini loaf pan
If you have limited oven space or want another cooking option, consider the Instant pot loaf pans. Designed to be used with the Instant pot instead of the traditional oven pans, these mini loaf pans are versatile and convenient.
Using the two separate pans, you could even cook a main course and dessert simultaneously. These mini loaf pans are nonstick and can also be used in your oven.
16. Pullman loaf pan
Named because of their use on Pullman railway carts, Pullman loaf pans were designed to minimize crust. This lidded pan is long and narrow, measuring 7.5" x 4". It was initially used to make sandwich bread for the passengers on Pullman railway cart and is still popular for baking bread loaves to this day
Baking is done with love, so the right pan for your particular baking project can make all the difference in the world. Finding the right loaf pan can be a bit overwhelming when considering all of the choices. We hope to have helped you in the search for the perfect loaf pan with the above selection.
Before you go, here are some other articles that may be of help to you.