For many bakers, some of their earliest recollections in the kitchen conjure fat, flour, sugar, chocolate, and a brownie pan. Not only are the ingredients easy to assemble, a batch is quick to mix and can be customized to your liking. Whether your brownie allegiance is truffle-y, cake-y, fudge-like, or crackle-topped brimming with add-ins, no doubt the end result will be dictated by the quality of your ingredients and the baking method you follow.
But did you know that the type of brownie pan you choose will also play an integral role in the process? Before you pour yourself a tall glass of milk and begin rhapsodizing over your quintessential brownie recipe, start with the pan. If you are still using a wobbly aluminum foil version, a heavy glass pan, or a well-loved, (but well-worn) lackluster pan, you deserve an upgrade. Consider a minor investment in one of the best brownie pans, tested and guaranteed to make every batch perfect.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: USA PAN 8-Inch Square Cake Pan
- Best Value: Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker's Half Sheet
- Best Uncoated: Parrish Magic Line Square Pan 8" x 8" x 2"
- Best For Bite-size Brownies: Nordic Ware Pro-Cast Brownie Bites Pan
- Best For Brownie Sundaes: All-American Brownie Mix and Brownie Bowl Pan Set
- Best Lidded Pan: Nordic Ware Covered Aluminum Cake Pan
Best Overall: USA PAN 8-Inch Square Cake Pan
Size: 8" x 8" x 2.25" | Material: Aluminized Steel | Nonstick Coating: yes | Dishwasher Safe: No
- Surface affords easy release
- Heavy-weight, well constructed
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Best to use a non-abrasive brush to clean corners
- Best to purchase directly through the manufacturer
- Hand-wash and dry
Why we chose it: Top-notch construction plus a unique corrugated bottom ensures excellent heat distribution; the environmentally friendly coating ensures pan release is a cakewalk.
Worthy of your favorite batch of brownies, the USA Pan 8-inch square is highly touted by home bakers and pros for a reason. Crafted out of heavy-duty aluminized steel, the pan is sturdy, reinforced with a rust-resistant coated wire that prevents warping. Its corrugated surface provides even and consistent heat distribution; no hot spots, no raw middles. Unlike some other pans with nonstick coatings, this pan delivers a finish that is neither too dark nor too light, ensuring the brownies achieve a deeply burnished edge with a properly baked interior. Coated in environmentally-friendly Americoat, after the brownies cool, they slip out of the pan like a dream, with clean, sharp edges. You’ll want to hand wash (and dry) this gem after each use; further protect it by using only silicone, nylon, or wooden utensils.
Size: Half Sheet: 17.88" L x 12.88" W x 1.06" H | Material: Aluminum | Nonstick Coating: Yes | Dishwasher Safe: No
- Professional grade quality/USA made
- Excellent heat conductivity
- Hand-wash and dry
- Preferable for thin brownies
Why we chose it: A comfortably priced pan for lovers of low-slung, chewy brownies that are easy to portion.
Nordic Ware delivers a traditional, well-constructed baking sheet for thin brownies. A generous batch bakes evenly, is a cinch to portion, and releases from the pan with ease; bonus points for low maintenance and no fuss clean-up. A go-to in many commercial kitchens, this is a popular choice amongst caterers who divvy up large quantities of bar cookies on repeat. Lining the pan with lightly greased parchment will further protect the pan’s surface. Testers also applaud the variety of sizes available and the fact that this pan is easy to store.
Best Uncoated: Parrish Magic Line Square Pan 8" x 8" x 2"
Size: 8” x 8” x 2” | Material: Heavy Gauge Aluminum | Nonstick Coating: No | Dishwasher Safe: No
- Perfectly straight sides yield clean, sharp edges
- Easy to maneuver due to wide lip
- Even heat distribution
- Best lined with parchment
- Might need a few additional minutes of baking time
- Stubborn crumbs might stick in the corners
Why we chose it: The choice in many commercial kitchens, this sturdy pan with sharp, straight sides yields beautifully baked brownies with plenty of heft and chew.
Parrish Magic Line pans have a dedicated following for several reasons. Sturdy, well-made pans encourage even baking and deliver smooth-topped brownies with clean, sharp edges for a professional look. Don’t be put off by their uncoated finish; simply line the pan with parchment and lightly grease. These are easy to maneuver (you’ll never have to worry about accidentally dragging your thumb through the surface) due to the nice wide lip framing the pan. Clémence de Lutz, co-owner and baking instructor of The Gourmandise School in Santa Monica, Calif. gives these pans a rave review: “I love the Magic Line (made in LA by Parrish) 8-inch x 8-inch square pan because the sides are nice and sharp, it’s light-colored aluminum AND I line it with two crossed quarter sheet pieces of parchment paper… it’s an oh-so-satisfying perfect fit.” Testers who were new to this pan said the results were superior.
Best For Bite-size Brownies: Nordic Ware Pro-Cast Brownie Bites Pan
Best For Bite-size Brownies
Size: 9.7" x 9.7" x 0.9" | Material: Cast Aluminum | Nonstick Coating: Yes | Dishwasher Safe: No
- Well made
- For entertaining/gift-giving, a good addition to traditional pans
- 10-year warranty
- Easy to overfill
- Requires grease/flour to prevent sticking
- Must be turned out of the pan before completely cool to prevent sticking
Why we chose it: A nifty little pan for brownie fans who enjoy a chewy edge and a smooth surface for adding embellishment.
For anyone wishing to personalize their brownie, this pan yields a chocolate-y 2-inch canvas with just enough indentation to spark your brownie imagination. It boasts sixteen 2-inch square wells, offering the best of both brownie worlds: chewy centers with toothsome edges. Testers warn, however, to spritz lightly with baking spray and dust with cocoa before filling, taking care not to overfill the pan wells. Best with batters that do not have mix-ins. Silicone tools will preserve the pan’s finish.
Best For Brownie Sundaes: All-American Brownie Mix and Brownie Bowl Pan Set
Best For Brownie Sundaes
Size: 5¾" x 11" x 1¾" (makes six 3 ½" bowls) | Material: Steel and Aluminum | Nonstick Coating: Yes | Dishwasher Safe: No
- Innovative design/generous portion
- Even baking
- Easy release
- Hand-wash only
- Best to lightly spritz with cooking spray before use
Why we chose it: Turn your brownie upside down for a fun take on the classic square.
King Arthur Baking teamed up with the folks at USA Pans to create a unique brownie pan that transforms rich, chocolate-y brownie batter into generously portioned brownie bowls. Limited strictly by your imagination, these edible vessels are perfectly suited to brownie sundaes: fill them with ice cream, top them with whipped cream and fresh fruit, or drizzle them with sauces. Suitable for any number of classic brownie recipes, we tested this pan with the brownie mix supplied by King Arthur in their Brownie Bowl Pan set. Lightly spritzing the pan with baking spray before filling helped ensure brownies maintained their shape and didn’t stick. The pan yields six 3 ½” bowls which are generously sized; some bakers suggested they were large enough to be shared by two. If you can resist them, they are ideal to wrap and tuck away in the freezer for when the mood strikes. Take note to wash and dry the pan before its initial use and spray lightly with baking spray to ensure easy release. Additionally, be sure to check out the test kitchen and product description tips on the King Arthur website for recommended baking and cooling times.
Best Lidded Pan: Nordic Ware Covered Aluminum Cake Pan
Best Lidded Pan
Size: Exterior 15.63" L x 9.63" W x 3.25" H Interior: L: 13" W: 8.9" H: 2.5" | Material: Aluminum | Nonstick Coating: No | Dishwasher Safe: No
- Nordic Ware quality
- Even heat distribution
- Compatible with standard brownie recipes that fit a 9” x 13” pan
- Hand-wash and dry
- Best lined with parchment
Why we chose it: Bakers love to share their finished products; this pan with its sturdy base and airtight lid deserves a place in your arsenal.
For anyone who has ever wrangled a sheet of plastic wrap in the hopes of wrapping a fresh tray of brownies for transport, this is the pan for you. Brownie pans with sea-worthy lids are rare, typically limited to lackluster plastic tops. Leave it to the folks at Nordic Ware to deliver a pan that handily bakes brownies and provides an airtight lid for both transport and storing leftovers. Nordic Ware quality is evident in the pan and also in the lid, making this a great gift for any baker with a penchant for sharing. Be sure to wash this before its maiden voyage and after each use. Avoid metal utensils and abrasive scouring pads.
How We Chose These Products
Pans were tested with made-from-scratch brownies using Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Fudge Brownies recipe with the exception of the brownie bowl pan, which was tested with King Arthur All American Brownie mix. All brownies were baked in a conventional oven; unlined pans were lined with lightly greased parchment paper while nonstick pans were lightly spritzed with baking spray and dusted with cocoa powder.
Features to Keep in Mind When Shopping for Brownie Pans
Light metal pans are preferable to those with a dark finish because dark pans absorb more heat. Glass pans are slow to heat up, however, once hot they will retain their heat for much longer than metal pans, which is not the best environment for brownies, causing the exterior to bake too quickly. By the time the center of the brownies are sufficiently baked, the exterior is often overbaked; and the longer the brownies sit in a hot glass pan the longer they will hold on to the residual heat and continue to dry out.
Pans made of aluminized steel are durable and excellent conductors of heat. Additionally, their lighter finish prevents overly browned brownies. Most brownie baking pans are suitable for temperatures between 350 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Easy To Clean
Pans with nonstick silicone coatings will clean up easily but should not be washed in the dishwasher. Taking the time to line unlined pans with parchment paper and/or greasing the pans will encourage easy clean-up.
Lighter bakeware prevents over-browning. The best materials for brownie pans are aluminized steel or anodized aluminum, due to their light finish and durability.
A nonstick brownie pan is best washed by hand to protect its finish. It pays to invest in and use non-abrasive utensils with nonstick pans. Despite nonstick finishes, it’s often a good idea to lightly spritz a nonstick pan with baking spray to ensure easy release. As always, check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the best way to maintain the quality of your pan.
Ask the Experts
Q: What type of pan is best for brownies?
Lightweight aluminum pans conduct heat quickly and evenly, making them ideal for brownies. It’s best to avoid glass bakeware and ceramic pans, which despite being durable and designed to go from oven to table, are slow to heat, retain the heat longer, and run the risk of overbaking your brownies.
Q: Are brownies better in a glass or metal pan?
Pros tend to opt for metal over glass, specifically turning to aluminum. Because aluminum bakes evenly and is reflective, the chance of excessive browning is less likely. Additionally, aluminum is less likely to rust, or in the case of glass, break. Because glass is an insulator, rather than a conductor, it takes time to heat. The drawback to this is in the end, the pan will retain its heat for longer; if you don’t adjust your oven accordingly (some pros suggest reducing oven temperature by 25 degrees when baking in glass), brownies may overbake and wind up drying out. Metal pans are also preferred over glass for their clean, crisp corners as opposed to rounded edges.
Q: How big is the perfect brownie pan?
An 8 x 8-inch or 9 x 9-inch square pan will deliver the iconic bar, depending on your preferred brownie height. For bakers preferring a big batch, opt for a 9 x 13-inch pan.
Q: How do you get crispy edges on brownies?
Brownies bake from the outer edge towards the center of the pan meaning the edges cook faster than the center. This results in a border that is both crispy and chewy, while the center retains a softer, fudgier consistency. Allowing the brownies to cool completely before cutting them gives the edges a chance to firm up (caused when the butter solids and chocolate are allowed to stabilize) which will yield firm, slightly crispy edges. The heat of your oven also contributes to some degree of crispiness; a hotter oven temperature tends to result in a slightly crispier edge ,but it's critical not to overbake any brownies which will zap their moisture and result in dry, crumbly bars.
Q: Should brownies cool in a pan?
Yes. When using an aluminum pan, it is best to allow the brownies to rest for a minimum of one hour. Either let the brownies cool completely or cool then refrigerate to ensure the neatest slices. Ceramic and glass pans retain heat; residual heat is a culprit in overbaked brownies and those pans play by a slightly different set of rules (lower oven temperature and shorter cooling time).
Q: What makes brownies more chewy?
Using canola oil in addition to butter, and adding some dark brown sugar to the mix will yield chewier brownies. The acidity in brown sugar will speed gluten formation helping contribute to chewiness. Allowing brownies to cool completely before cutting will also yield a chewy texture. To encourage caramelized edges, bake them in a flat, edged baking sheet For neat slices, cool completely or refrigerate before slicing. Lower slung brownies are often chewier in general to brownies baked in a taller pan because they are closer to the heat source and bake for a shorter period of time.
Depending upon the type of brownie you prefer, do some research before choosing a brownie pan. Traditional brownie pans made from aluminized steel are durable and good conductors of heat. Glass and ceramic pans are insulators, rather than conductors, and take longer to heat and cool down, making them less suitable for baking brownies. Hand-washing a brownie pan will preserve its finish.
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