Could it possibly make much difference which metal 13 by 9-inch pan you use? Several dozen rounds of baking later, the answer was an unequivocal yes.
Last Updated Nov. 21, 2022. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 21: Elegant French Desserts
Several new models have hit the market since we last reviewed 13 by 9-inch baking dishes/pans. After testing three new models, the Williams Sonoma Goldtouch Pro Nonstick Rectangular Cake Pan is still our winner. It browned foods more evenly than any other model we’ve tested. Plus, its nonstick coating is slick, so it releases food easily and is a cinch to clean.
Baking with our favorite 13 by 9-inch cake pan, the Williams Sonoma Goldtouch Pro Nonstick Rectangular Cake Pan, is a pleasure. It produces evenly baked, golden-brown cakes with tall sides and crisp corners. It also bakes up consistently well-browned sticky buns. Its nonstick coating easily releases all food baked in it, including sticky sugary syrup.
What You Need To Know
We can’t think of a piece of cookware that’s more basic than the 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan, but we also can’t think of one that’s more essential. It’s the vessel that we pull out for everything from sheet cakes and sticky buns to brownies and bar cookies. At first glance it might seem as though any one of the generic-looking metal boxes on store shelves would do just fine. But you’d be surprised: Choose the wrong one and your cake won’t bake evenly, and the sticky part of your sticky buns will stick to the pan, not the buns. We baked Yellow Sheet Cake and Sticky Buns in pans of different materials and designs and compared the results.
What to Look For
Nice to Have
What to Avoid
The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.
Carolyn is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She's a French-trained professional baker.