Although you may not regularly produce delicious homemade pies, a pie pan is still a useful addition to your baking pan arsenal, especially if you tend to host dinner parties or holidays like Thanksgiving.
Pies are particularly temperamental, however, and the right pie dish can make all the difference in end result and serving. And while it’s true that you can bake an evenly baked, golden brown pie in just about any type of pie pan – glass, non-stick metal or ceramic – there are many variations in each that can greatly affect the end product.
When testing pie pans at the Good Housekeeping Institute, we made 15 apple pies in as many different containers, evaluating overall performance, color of browning on top and bottom, and evenness of topping cooking. The winning pies were firm and stable with a nice golden hue and a flaky crust. We also took notes on ease of use: Did the pie plate have easy-to-grip handles? How easy were the dishes to clean? Could you put it in the dishwasher?
Our top picks:
Below is the full list of pie pans hand selected by the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab. You can also read more about different pie plate materials, as well as what to look for when shopping. Here are the best pie pans you can buy, based on testing and the brands we trust.
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Best Pie Pan Overall
Goldtouch Pro Non-Stick Pie Dish
|Dimensions||9 x 9 x 1.5 inches|
Best Value Pie Pan
9 inch pie plate
|Dimensions||10 x 10 x 1.5 inches|
Best Metal Pie Pan
9 inch seasoned cast iron pie pan
|Dimensions||12.44 x 10 x 1.69 inches|
best ceramic pie pan
|Dimensions||10 x 10 x 2 inches|
Best pie pan with lid
Naturals High Dome Covered Pie Pan
|Dimensions||10 x 10 x 1.75 inches|
Best Fluted Pie Pan
10.4 inch ruffled pie dish
|Dimensions||10.4 x 10.4 x 2.4 inches|
How We Test Pie Pans
When we tested pie pans in the lab, we put 15 of the most promising ones to the test. We’ve tested pie pans of all different materials, including glass, metal, and ceramic. Others were standard 9 or 9.5 inch pans.
To assess the overall functionality of each pie pan, we baked 15 apple pies in over 10 hours, using 15 packages of Pillsbury pie dough and 30 boxes of Duncan Hines apple pie filling. After each pie had cooled for two hours, our test kitchen professionals examined the top crust, then cut the pie to examine the bottom crust. Normally if the edges of our pie pans started to brown faster than the center was cooking, we would line it loosely with foil to prevent burning, but we didn’t do that for this test so we could better read how the golden pies without intervention.
What to Consider When Buying Pie Pans
✔️ Diameter: Although pie plates come in different sizes, the most common size — and what you’ll find in most recipes — is 9 to 10 inches in diameter. Our testing has confirmed why this is the most desirable size. Nine-inch pie plates performed best using pre-made pie crust. Anything larger was runny in the middle and didn’t cook evenly from the center to the outer edge.
✔️ Depth: This measurement is just as important as the diameter since it greatly affects capacity. For standard pies, look for a depth of about 1.25 to 1.5 inches. If you’re making a deep pie, look for a pie dish closer to 2 inches deep.
✔️ Material: When it comes to pie pans, the most common materials are glass, ceramic, and metal. And while all can produce evenly baked pies with a nice flaky crust, there are undoubtedly pros and cons to each. In testing, some glass pie pans worked well; others produced pale crusts with soggy bottoms. The ceramic pie pans we tested were generally neither here nor there – not exceptional, but not disappointing – but they are very attractive, which is important for the service. Finally, the metal, although heavy, cooks very evenly and nicely browned.
✔️ Border and handles: Some the pie dishes are circled; others are not. Overall, our test kitchen experts liked the maneuverability of the rimmed pie plates, especially those with handles. This extra material helped keep the outside of the crust from burning. They noted, however, that these pie pans did not perform as well overall – many of these baking dishes produced undercooked pies with shrinkage.
Which type of mold is best for pies – glass, metal or ceramic?
Overall, our test kitchen pros don’t prefer one material over another. Glass, metal, and ceramic pie pans can all produce evenly baked pies with a perfectly browned flaky crust. That said, there are pros and cons for each type.
- Glass: While most glass pie pans are sleek and have see-through sides that make it easy to track your pie’s progress from multiple angles, our kitchen experts have found them to be unreliable for all products. Some worked well, but others failed to produce a well browned crust and instead yielded pale crusts with soggy bottoms.
- Metal: Our testers were surprised by the performance of the metal pie pans, especially the cast iron ones, which created pies that baked very evenly and browned on top. That said, these pie pans are much heavier than others, and the nonstick metal options tend to scratch if you cut and serve the pie straight from the pan, as many do.
- Ceramic: Most of the ceramic pie pans we tested fell somewhere in the middle of the pack, scoring slightly lower in performance and ease of use than our top picks. Still, our testers note that ceramic pie pans tend to be attractive enough to serve.
Can a cake pan be used for a pie?
In a pinch, you can certainly use a cake tin instead of a pie dish. Just be sure to note the overall shape and size. Although many cake pans are very similar to pie pans, some are slightly deeper and not all have slanted sides, which can make serving a little more difficult.
Why Trust Good Housekeeping
Lab testing for this roundup was conducted by Eva Bleyer, review analyst for home and kitchen appliances for the Good Housekeeping Institute. In addition to pie pans, Eva regularly tests kitchen and baking appliances, tools and equipment. She graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Science in Food Studies, Nutrition, and Public Health and is a trained chef from the Natural Gourmet Institute. She has also worked as a personal chef and food stylist for Food Network.
Brigitte Earley is a freelance writer and editor with nearly 15 years of experience testing and writing about consumer products, including pie pans and other kitchen accessories and gadgets. She holds a diploma in professional culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute (now the Culinary Education Institute).
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