Cooks Illustrated Kitchen Tools and Equipment List: Bakeware

December 11, 2012 · 7 comments

In addition to Cook’s Illustrated lists of essential knives and pots ‘n pans found in their fabulous tome The Science of Good Cooking, they also include recommendations for the bakeware without which a kitchen mechanic can barely function.

Like, what if you experience a fresh pumpkin spice loaf emergency but don’t own a decent loaf pan or cooling rack?

Do not let this happen to you or your loved ones.

BEST BUY: Baker’s Secret Nonstick Loaf Pan

While the wide-ranging benefits of a large, heavy guage rimmed sheet pan may seem obvious if you’re thinking “cookies,” by simply adding a cooling rack that fits nicely inside the rim and an oven that can maintain a low, steady heat, you have bought yourself a food dehydrator in the bargain. And maybe some tasty kale chips, too.

I’m delighted to have just saved you a couple hundred dollars and a ton of counter space. You’re welcome.

(And pay no attention to the teeny skiff of carmelized goodness around the edge of our own well-loved cookie sheet. I’m confident yours will stay much cleaner.)

CIA 12 x 17 Inch Cooling Rack

Wear-Ever Aluminum Sheet Pan

While a baking mat doesn’t appear on the Cook’s Illustrated list, it is such an essential in our kitchen that I’m sliding it in here anyways. You just slap one into the bottom of the cookie sheet and start dropping your dough with confidence, knowing they absolutely, positively will not stick to the pan. Baking mats save you calories–no additional oil to be absorbed into your baked goods–and they save you the time it takes to grease the pan and then scrub the cold leftover baked-on oil out of the corners. (See above: not a fan of this step.)

Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat

One word: lasagna.

Pyrex Baking Dish

And you can just never go wrong with Pyrex, which hit the market in 1915 and has been a kitchen staple ever since.

Pyrex Pie Plate

As much as I love my beautiful azure blue Emile Henry pie plate for serving at the table, there are practical reasons why the transparent Pyrex version is a better choice. The glass provides an even browning surface, and the transparency makes it easier to keep an eye on the progress of your pastry bottom and sides. Plus, the Pyrex version sells for about a quarter of the price, so there’s that.

Here’s another word I particularly enjoy: butter tart squares. (Okay, that’s three words, but let’s not quibble.)

Baker’s Secret Non-Stick Pan

Square cakes…

Chicago Metallic Non-Stick 8-Inch Cake Pan

Round ones…

BEST BUY: Chicago Metallic Non Stick 9-Inch Round Cake Pan

We’re not fussy. Just let us eat cake!

Wilton Avanti Non-Stick 12 Cup Muffin Pan

And butter tarts. Let us eat butter tarts, too.

The Science of Good Cooking (Cook’s Illustrated Cookbooks)


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Gladys January 22, 2016 at 1:25 pm

Love your gold colored bakeware .how can I purchase them if you sell them ?

kathy January 24, 2016 at 10:28 am

Hi Gladys,

Do you mean the copper-bottomed pans on our overhead rack in the photo?

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