The Very Best Bakeware for 2021

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Credit: Courtesy of Checkered Chef

This past year has turned lots of people into bakers. Many of us have learned how to make sourdough breadturn overripe bananas into banana breadbake the very best cinnamon rolls, and create puffy, cheesy breadsticks.

With that in mind, a few weeks ago we launched our guide to the very best kitchen tools and gadgets for 2021 (it’s called Kitchn Essentials, and you can browse the whole thing here). Of course, we included a whole section on our top bakeware picks. And we pulled that section out into this post to create a super-awesome, bookmark-worthy guide.

Here are our picks for the top baking pans, baking sheets, and baking tools. They’re all easy to clean, easy to use, and will easily help you make the best treats.

Note: We’ve indicated which ones are “repeat winners,” meaning they were also chosen as our top picks in last year‘s Kitchn Essentials!

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Cooling Rack

Without a cooling rack, your cookies could continue to bake and get overcooked, or your bread could end up steaming itself from the bottom up. "These racks have little feet on the bottom so air can circulate around your food while it cools on the counter," explains Executive Food Director, Nina Elder. "The criss-cross design is also super sturdy and prevents the rack from wobbling or warping." And they fit in a half-size baking sheet if you want to, say, bake your bacon (which we highly recommend).

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Baking Sheets
Great Jones

These restaurant-style Vollrath baking sheets were our go-tos for years, but Great Jones recently came along with this brilliant idea of a nonstick ceramic-coated baking sheet and we've been converted. Under the coating lies aluminized steel that's reinforced with steel rods, so these pans will not warp. And the bright blue or green hues are Fun with a capital F.

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Quarter Baking Sheets

If you don't have quarter baking sheets, you're missing out. And these are the ones to buy. "Quarter sheet pans are the perfect size for cooking for two, baking little sheet cakes, toasting nuts, and more," says Senior Contributing Food Editor, Sheela Prakash.

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Loaf Pan

Buy this loaf pan and you'll never need to buy another one in your lifetime (unless you want to be able to bake two banana breads at once). It's heavy-duty and turns out breads that are tall and evenly baked. And thanks to the corrugated design, your baked treats release and pop out fairly easily.

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9x9 Square Pan

We're going to make a bold statement and call this the ultimate brownie pan. It gets edges perfectly crisp and chewy (the corners are the best!) and the rest cooks incredibly evenly, thanks to the micro-texture on the bottom that promotes airflow and easy release when it's time to slice.

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9-Inch Round Pan

Can't seem to make a perfectly flat cake like the ones you see all over Instagram? It might be your pans. Get two of these and they'll release your cakes time and time again. And they'll give you uniformly flat cakes that you won't have to trim or shave.

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Pie Pan

If you're gonna get a pie dish (and we think you should), you may as well go all out and get this extra-deep, extra-gorgeous one. And then set it out on your stovetop or on a shelf when it's not in use so that it can double as a decorative touch.

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Bundt Pan
was $20.70

Nordic Ware is known for its intricate Bundt pan designs and shapes. We picked this more classic pan because it has handles and they make all the difference when you’re trying to get the pan in and out of the oven. Just note that it’s probably going to be thinner and lighter than other Bundt pans — but that only makes your life easier!

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Cupcake Tin

You know what's not great? Reaching into the oven to retrieve your muffins or cupcakes and having your oven mitt accidently squish a treat or three. This pan has a generous rim, giving you plenty of space to grab onto, keeping your cupcakes and muffins safe. It also browns beautifully and can be cleaned in the dishwasher.

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Baking Mat

We love Silpat mats because they help cookies brown evenly and slide right off the tray (no parchment paper or greasing required!). While there are plenty of other silicone and similar mats out there these days, Silpat is the original and nothing compares to it. Silpat also now makes molds if you want to try mini loaves, madeleines, fluted tarts, and more.

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Rolling Pin
Sur La Table

No, it doesn't look like the traditional rolling pin, but trust us when we tell you that this super simple French version is far superior. Because it doesn't have handles or ball bearings, the design is much sturdier and gives you more control. This one is made of American hardwood that's extra durable and smooth.

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Pastry Brush
Williams Sonoma

This all-silicone basting brush is great for basting roasts and turkeys while they stay right in the oven. The long handle gives you plenty of reach and it is heat resistant to 600°F, so it won't burn or melt. Plus, the whole thing can go right in the dishwasher — no wooden handle to worry about.

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Offset Spatula

If you think an offset spatula is just for frosting cakes, think again. Use this to push batter into the corners of pans and transfer a handful of cookies at once to a cooling rack. Beyond baking, you can use it to test the doneness of potatoes or other vegetables when grilling, lift crispy bacon out of a hot pan, and even to flip pancakes or fritters! Jesse Szewczyk, our Studio Food Editor and resident cookie pro, says every home cook should have one of these.

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Parchment Paper
King Arthur Baking Company

Parchment paper makes for easy cleanup, ensuring nothing sticks to your baking sheet. This parchment paper, in particular, is the best because it is so convenient. It's already cut into sheets that fit perfectly inside half sheet pans, so you don't have to guess where to tear the roll!

Credit: Kitchn