When it comes to easy cooking, the 9x13-inch pan is the single piece of cookware we reach for most. We know it's a mainstay for cold-weather casseroles and cakes, but it also pulls its weight from breakfast through dinner when lighter, summery dishes are on the menu.
1. Pancakes for a Crowd
Making pancakes for the whole family doesn't have to mean being a slave to the stovetop. Swap the stack for a pancake casserole that can be prepped a day ahead of time. We went with a classic blueberry situation, but any berries will work.
Get a Recipe: Blueberry Pancake Casserole
2. Egg Casseroles Filled with Summer Favorites
From breakfast casseroles to frittatas, the 9x13 pan is your best ally when making eggs for a crowd. Make them feel especially summery with hyper-seasonal ingredients like Hatch chile peppers.
Get a Recipe: Hatch Chile Breakfast Casserole
3. Icebox Cakes
Made with graham crackers, whipped cream, and fresh fruit, this no-bake cake is the darling of the summer dessert table. Swap in whatever fruit looks best at the market and make these throughout the season.
Get a Recipe: How To Make a No-Bake Icebox Cake
4. Fruit Crisps and Cobblers
Summer simply wouldn't be complete without baking our favorite berries and stone fruits into sweet crisps, crumbles, and cobblers for dessert. When baking for a crowd, or for when you want guaranteed dessert leftovers, this is the pan for you.
Get a Recipe: How To Make a Fruit Crumble with Any Kind of Fruit
Just because you don't have an ice cream maker doesn't mean icy-cool desserts are beyond your grasp. Granitas are like an icier, flakier version of sorbet, and often made in our favorite baking dish.
Get a Recipe: Sweet and Savory Lime Granita
6. All the Eggplant
The 9x13 pan proves to be one of the most valuable pieces of cookware to be sure you get your fill of eggplant. You can use this pan to make everything from eggplant fries to eggplant rollatini to eggplant parm.
Eggplant Recipes to Make in Your 9x13
7. Enchiladas, Casserole-Style
Use a 9x13 pan to give your enchiladas the lighter, layered treatment this summer. Pile on the veggies while they're here to make the most of them, and dine al freso with this easy and casual meal when you can.
Get a Recipe: 6-Ingredient Vegan Enchilada Casserole
8. Ice Cream Sandwiches
Ready to up your ice cream sandwich game? Instead of making those sweet treats one at a time, employ your 9x13 pan for a big-batch version that will keep your sweet tooth satisfied for days to come.
Get a Recipe: How To Make Ice Cream Sandwiches for a Crowd
9. Puff Pastry Tart
No baking sheets handy? No problem. Swap in a 9x13 baking pan for your puff pastry tart. Depending on the dough, you may need to cut it to fit the pan, but it will bake up wonderfully. Pile on your favorite summer veggies. When it's tomato season, the choice is pretty obvious.
Get a Recipe: 15-Minute Fresh Tomato and Feta Tart
10. Baked Chicken Thighs
When chicken is on the menu for dinner, thighs are our number-one choice. They're not as lean as chicken breast, but the extra fat also means extra flavor. We reach for the 9x13 pan anytime we cook chicken thighs with a sauce or marinade.
Get a Recipe: Maple-Mustard Chicken Thighs