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The Best 13 by 9-Inch Baking Pans/Dishes

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

Update, November 2022

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.

See Everything We Tested

What You Need To Know

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

  • Golden-Color: Golden pans produced tall, delicately colored, evenly baked yellow sheet cake. Sticky buns baked in golden pans were perfectly bronzed as well. 
  • A Slick Nonstick Coating: We often line pans with a foil sling when making brownies and bars, guaranteeing easy removal, but a nonstick coating is essential for any recipe in which you might need to invert the pan to release the food once baked, such as an upside-down cake or sticky buns. Pans with slick nonstick coatings easily released the food baked in them, including sticky sugary syrup. They were also simpler to clean. 
  • Straight Walls: Pans with straight walls produced straight, tall, evenly baked cakes. 

Nice to Have

  • Crisp Corners: We preferred pans that had sharp, 90-degree (rather than curved) corners. Pans with these sharp corners produce cakes and bars with well-defined, professional-looking edges. 
  • Handles: When we’re carrying pans in and out of the oven, it’s nice to have a place to rest our hands. A few of the pans in our lineup had dedicated handles that made it easy to securely grip even with bulky oven mitts on.

What to Avoid

  • Pans Without A Nonstick Coating: We found that sticky buns baked in pans without nonstick coatings either had to be chiseled out one by one or, if they did release from the pan, left behind nearly all their glaze. You can use parchment paper and baking spray to avoid this, but we prefer not to.
  • Deeply Sloped Walls: Walls with deeply sloped sides had added surface area that allowed the batter to spread out more and ultimately resulted in thinner cakes. 
  • Multi-part Baking Dishes: Most of the pans i...

Everything We Tested

Good : 3 stars out of 3.Fair : 2 stars out of 3.Poor : 1 stars out of 3.
*All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.
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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 Grillo

Carolyn is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She's a French-trained professional baker.