The best pie pan you’ll ever own: five key reasons you need this pan

I’m in love with my pie pan. There, I said it. Sure, I love my family and my friends and my dogs and any number of favorite recipes (here’s looking at you, Lemon Chess Pie), but when it comes to pie pans my heart is constant: I only have eyes for the best pie pan ever, my USA Pan/King Arthur 9” pie pan.

Can’t you grab any old pan out of your grandma’s kitchen cupboard and bake a great pie? Or make a perfectly acceptable pie in one of those disposable tinfoil pie pans from the supermarket? The best pie pan via @kingarthurflour

Maybe; but you’ll probably have to make adjustments. And if there’s one thing I avoid at all costs, it’s fussing in the kitchen. I don’t want to end up with an extra cup of filling because the pan that bills itself as 9” is actually only 8 1/2”. Or wonder if I can chill my pie in its glass pan before putting it into a 425°F oven: cold pan, hot oven, thermal shock, shattered pan?

See what I mean about fussing? If I have to stop and think, “Is this pan going to do what I need it to?” — I’ve chosen the wrong pie pan. Which is never the case with my USA/KAF pan.

I bought this pie pan because of the rave reviews it has received. It lives up to its reputation. It is by far the best pie pan I have ever used: bakes pies to perfection, easy to clean. — Dee C., Maine

If reviews are a good indication, our customers are in love with this pan. But let me tell you why I think this is the best (and last) pie pan you’ll ever own.

The best pie pan via @kingarthurflour

Mixed Berry Pie, filled and ready to go into the oven.

1. The best pie pan is the right size

By “right,” I mean 9” wide across the top. Yes, some pie recipes call for a 10” pan, others for an 8”, but the vast majority of pie recipes direct you to a 9”-diameter pan. And this pan is a full 9” wide (inside dimensions).

In addition, the pan is the perfect depth. Not 1”, like the aforementioned disposable aluminum pans; not 1 1/4”, like many run-of-the-mill pans, but a generous 1 1/2” deep. It easily holds a full 8 cups of berries (as pictured above, in our Mixed Berry Pie recipe). Or all of your pumpkin pie filling with room to spare: no sloshing, no spilling.

I consider myself to be an above average baker. Over the years, however, I couldn’t seem to master pie making… I think the one glitch in my process over the years has been using hand-me-down pie pans of all sorts: glass, ceramic, aluminum, and whatever else you can think of. This pie pan makes all the difference in the world! The crust, though the same recipe I’ve used for a few years, is crisp and flaky in this pan. For the first time, my pie did not overflow or seep! The high sides and slightly textured bottom of this pan are the secrets to perfect pie!  — vegicuisine

The best pie pan via @kingarthurflour

2. Its ingenious bottom surface creates the perfect crust

Unlike any other pie pan I’ve seen, this pan has a ridged bottom — think corrugated cardboard. Those tiny ridges allow air to circulate underneath your bottom crust, helping the pie bake evenly and its bottom become crispy and brown. If you’ve ever struggled with a pale, soggy bottom crust, this pan is your solution.

The bottom crust really did brown! We aren’t going to put up with wet soggy bottom crusts any more! — Char C., Traverse City, MI

3. The best pie pan is the ideal combination of strength and bakeability

Recycled steel for strength, aluminum for conductivity: that’s what this pan is made of. Unlike stainless steel, a less effective heat conductor, you won’t have to extend your bake time. Nor will you have to lower your oven temperature, as you might with either stoneware or glass. (Remember, I dislike fussing.)

In addition, the pan’s entirely sealed in a special clear, non-stick, non-toxic, environmentally friendly coating. It won’t rust, nor will it react with any leaking filling to create that funky metallic flavor you sometimes get when aluminum and acidic ingredients (think fruit) get together.

The best pie pan via @kingarthurflour

Bonus: The pan rinses clean easily, no scrubbing required.

I have the best results with this pan. The bottom crust was nicely browned, something I can’t consistently achieve with glass or stoneware. Crust doesn’t stick to the surface and the pan cleans easily. Nice weight also. — Virginia L., Montpelier, VT

The best pie pan via @kingarthurflour

It’s true I made a mess of this pie, but I wanted to show you its beautifully browned underside — now that’s a great bottom crust!

4. Medium gray is the best color for a well-balanced bake

Very dark or black pie pans absorb heat readily but can burn your pie’s bottom crust well before the filling is done. Light or shiny pans deflect oven heat, and it takes longer to attain a good dark bottom crust — potentially overbaking the filling.

Our medium gray pan is ideal: it absorbs heat at a moderate, steady rate, allowing the filling to reach its optimum doneness (bubbling for 5 to 10 minutes) at the same time the crust is perfectly browned.

Do you have the best pie pan for all your favorite pies, from fruit to custard? Here's what to look for. Click To Tweet

The best pie pan via @kingarthurflour

5. The price is right

You probably can’t afford the best car on the market. Or a meal at the world’s most famous restaurant.

But the best pie pan ever, one that will bake pie after perfectly browned pie, year after year after year? This is something you can definitely spring for.

Am I trying to sell you this pie pan? You bet. When you discover something you love, you want to share it. And I want every devoted pie baker out there to own this $14.95 pan — because you and your pies are so worth it.

I’ve been baking pies for more than 50 years. I have owned and used countless types of pie pans, glass, high end glazed pottery, aluminum, tin, you name it. I bought this pan just a couple of months ago. WOW! It performs amazingly well, deep enough, conducts heat evenly, bottom crust is perfect, and the slices release easily… Perfect! — Valleri, NC

Do yourself a favor; shelve those problematic pie pans and grab a USA/KAF pie pan today.

One final note: If you have a glass or stoneware pie pan you love, stick with it! I understand the sentimental value of certain pans in your pantheon. But if you’re looking for a browner bottom crust when using a glass or stoneware pan our blog post, How to get pie crust to brown on the bottom, offers some valuable tips.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. DA

    I love USA pans! I recommend them to everyone I know who loves to bake. They are sturdy, easy to clean, and deliver consistent results. I am a bit OCD about my pans, too, and use plastic utensils in order to avoid scratches. My pans look brand new after years of use.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Dorothy, we’re sorry to hear you’re having trouble with ordering! If you give our Customer Support team a call at 800-827-6836, we’d be happy to help you out with this. Kat@KAF

  2. Beverly

    I finally bought several King Arthur pie pans and they are the best pie pans I have ever owned! I LOVE how easily they clean up–no more soaking the pan when the pie is gone, just a good quick wash and dry. And no more “shovel pie”–the first piece you cut that breaks when you try to get it out of the pan, so you just “shovel” it onto a plate and set it aside for yourself. Every time I bake pies now, I congratulate myself for finally being smart enough to buy high quality pans!

    Reply
  3. Carole Giampalmi

    P J Hamel tells us all we need to know about this pie pan and she is right. As a 50+ year baker (yes, I’m ancient-almost) and having baked far too many pies to count, I have never used such a fabulous pie pan. It’s perfect. I do have to be careful when cutting and removing a piece of pie to avoid damaging the surface but that’s a small inconvenience. Planning to send one to each of my children and grandchildren.

    Reply
  4. C

    PJ, I love love love your posts….but this one is just an ad 🙁 I know you guys are a company and trying to sell stuff and I get that you can do whatever you want with your blog buuuuuuuuuut I like the cooking posts a lot better 🙂

    Anyway, thanks for all the really great testing posts, those are my favorite.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Thanks — I’m hoping it’s not “just” an ad, though I can see how it could come across that way. I’m always singing the praises of these USA Pans to anyone who’ll listen; they’re the best pans I’ve ever baked with (aside from my mom’s cheap old 8″ round cake pan, which must be at least 60 years old by now and which I use just for sentiment’s sake; you know how that is, memories). No worries, there’ll be plenty of other technique and tip posts coming down the pike — though warning, I’m going to also extol the virtues of my favorite bread pan in an upcoming post! Thanks for connecting here — 🙂 PJH@KAF

    2. J. Han

      When an equipment can help the results of a pie I don’t think of it as a sales pitch. I’ve trusted KAF to be more thoughtful and honest as a company to put sales before customer/fan advice.

      Just ordered 2 pans. Hope it will solve the soggy bottom and leftover filling issue I’ve had for years.

      Thank you PJ!

  5. VR

    Over the last 2 or 3 years, I’ve been replacing most of my junky baking pans with USA pans. They are the best!

    Reply
    1. laurel nord

      I think I have all the USA pans now.. I bought from their site direct. Gave away all of my other pans. If you find something special it is ok to praise it; thus this blog about the pie pan. Good advice.

  6. Marge

    You are saying the ridge on the bottom helps brown the bottom crust but then you replied to someone to avoid scratching the pan to use parchment paper. would this not defeat the ridges?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Not at all, Marge! It’s the air circulation that matters, and not whether that air is directly touching the batter or separated by a very thin sheet of parchment. Hope that helps to clarify! Kat@KAF

  7. Maureen E. Donovan

    Postage way too expensive. Otherwise, I would buy one but I hate to be taken advantage of. With KA, this surprises me greatly.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Maureen, are you signed up for our emails? If so, you’ll be notified of all our regular specials and offerings that make top-quality equipment like these pans more affordable. You can manage your email settings with us at this link. Happy baking! Kat@KAF

  8. E.C.

    Can you cut and serve slices with metal utensils, or will that damage it?
    I’d rather fuss during baking with a glass pan than try to get everyone on board with not scratching my special metal one.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there, E.C.! The manufacturer, USA Pans, doesn’t recommend using sharp metal utensils with this pan. You could certainly cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom of the pan to protect the pan surface if you’d like. Happy baking! Morgan@KAF

    2. Viv

      If you look at the photo (right before #2 above), you’ll see that the one used here has plenty of scratch marks, but still draws praise from PJ. Being slightly OCD, I won’t let anyone other than myself touch my good pans, but maybe the fellowship of the pie is worth more than the sanctity of the pie pan…. 🙂

    3. PJ Hamel, post author

      Viv, I love that: the fellowship of the pie vs. the sanctity of the pie pan. Perfect. Yes, the pans do scratch with age and much use, but that doesn’t detract from their baking quality. They just get that “well-loved” look. I could have chosen to use a brand new pan without scratches for the photos, but hey — truth in advertising. The pans shown are 7-8 years old, get lots of hard use, and are still going strong. If I grabbed a nylon/plastic knife every time to cut and serve the slices, they’d still be perfect to this day; I’m just not that organized! Thanks for connecting here — PJH@KAF

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *