The Best Bundt Pans, According to Our Editors
Is there such a thing as the best bundt pan? After narrowing the field based on online reviews, articles published by other sites, and the recommendations of our favorite bundt-obsessed pro bakers, we assembled a lineup of five promising pans to test. Following a series of tests and baking a bevy of bundt cakes, we found a clear favorite in a top-performing best-seller. Read on to discover what made one bundt pan better than all the others.
Our Editor-Tested Picks for the Best Bundt Pans:
In reality, it's hard to go wrong with bundt pans. No matter which one you buy, you're likely to produce a cake that your friends and family will be thrilled to tear into. Every model we tested—except one—produced an evenly browned cake with a tender crumb, and released from the pan without incident. But when it came to ease of use, the caliber of construction, and the aesthetics of the final product, one contender still stood out from the pack.
Best Overall: Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Bundt Pan
Nordic Ware is the company responsible for introducing the bundt pan to America and, more than half a century later, their products are still the baker's gold standard. With a sturdy cast aluminum body that was taller and narrower than its competitors, and deeply defined curves and ridges, the Nordic Ware Bundt Pan we tested produced a cake that was elegant and shapely, with clean lines and eye-catching architectural edges. I loved how easy the generous handles made maneuvering the pan into and out of the oven, and was glad to have something to grip when it came time to turn the cake out onto a cooling rack.
With a capacity of 10 to 15 cups—the largest of all the models we tested—it would be large and versatile enough to accommodate an array of recipes. And though, at $32, it is considerably pricier than the other models, it comes with a lifetime guarantee and, given its superior performance, feels worth every penny. What's more, Nordic Ware is still a family-owned company and produces all of its products in the USA. Ultimately we had to agree with culinary experts Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, who are the authors of Baked Explorations and Baked Occasions. "Nordic Ware pans are just special," they shared. "You can still feel the enthusiasm about the product from the company—it's still got a mom and pop feeling, even though it has grown to a global scale."
To buy: Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Bundt Pan, $32 at amazon.com
Best Value Bundt Pan: Wilton Recipe Right Fluted Tube Pan
We were impressed by the even golden color of the bake in the simple, inexpensive Wilton Recipe Right Fluted Tube Pan, and appreciated the durability and reliability of the nonstick surface. Also: aside from the Nordic Ware pan, this was the only other model to produce a cake with decent height and somewhat well-defined fluting. It also cleaned up easily.
To buy: Wilton Recipe Right Fluted Tube Pan, $13 at amazon.com
Best Non-Stick: Anolon Advanced Nonstick Fluted Baking Pan
We enjoyed the feel of the soft, easy grip handles on the sturdy Anolon Advanced Nonstick Fluted Mold Baking Pan, and were pleased by the consistency and depth of color of the cake it produced. The nonstick surface also worked well, and the finished cake slid out readily after just a few minutes of cooling. Our only qualms? The surface of the cake seemed a bit artificially shiny in comparison to the matte texture of the Nordic Ware cake, and the decorative ridges and curves were considerably less pronounced, resulting in a less visually interesting cake.
To buy: Anolon Advanced Nonstick Fluted Baking Pan, $20 (originally $22) at amazon.com
Most Visually-Pleasing: Cuisinart Chef's Classic Fluted Cake Pan
The Cusinart Chef's Classic Fluted Cake Pan was a serviceable contender, producing a uniformly browned cake that was well baked all the way through and slid neatly from the pan with cracking or crumbling. But we were unimpressed by the lackluster looks of the under-defined decorative curves and ridges, especially considering that such features are one of the defining hallmarks of the bundt cake form.
To buy: Cuisinart Chef's Classic Fluted Cake Pan, $34 at walmart.com
Also Tested: Baker's Secret Basics Nonstick Fluted Tube Pan
The only model we tested that did not produce an evenly browned cake, the Baker's Secret Basics Nonstick Fluted Tube Pan was the weakest performer of the lot and its decorative curves were too shallow to produce a dramatic silhouette. Still, to its credit, the nonstick surface worked well, and the cake was tasty if not as pretty as the others. The Baker's Secret pan is currently sold out, but for a similar price, you can get the casaWare Fluted Cake Pan, which features an easy-release ceramic coating and deep molds to create a picture-perfect bundt.
In Search of the Best Bundt Pan
Invented around 1950 by a young husband-and-wife team in Minnesota, and popularized during the 1960s by a Texas bake-off contestant, the bundt cake has since become an all-American classic—and the bundt pan, a modern kitchen essential. Originally conceived as a lightweight, modern alternative to the heavy cast iron cookware traditionally used to make the central European cake called kugelhopf, the pan's basic design was simple: a round tube-shaped loaf with a hollow center and a decorative, fluted pattern around the body.
Related: 11 Tasty Bundt Cake Recipes to Try
Today, variations on the form abound—bundts come in the shape of rosettes and castles and even pine forests—but from the simplest design to the most elaborate, the requirements of a quality bundt pan remain the same: it should be well-constructed to stand up to repeated use without denting or warping (which might mar the decorative shape); it should be generously-sized to accommodate the large batches of dough needed to feed a crowd. In fact, the name "bundt" is actually an adaptation of the German word "bund," which loosely means "an alliance or gathering. You should yield a cake that is evenly browned and shapely, with the well-defined curves that are the hallmark of the form; and it should be non-stick, allowing the cake to release effortlessly from the pan's ridges and crevices without cracking or sticking.
Hoping to single out a pan that best meets those criteria—and earns a place in every baker's arsenal—we spent hours baking our way through a bevy of bundts, comparing their design, functionality and ease of use. What did we learn? While the competition may be stiff, most classics become classics for a reason—and in the case of bundt pans, the original remains the gold standard.
To hone in on the best bundt pan, we scoured the web, taking notes from culinary and consumer sites including King Arthur Flour, Food52, Cooks Illustrated, Fine Cooking, The Sweethome, and Kitchn, as well as user reviews on Amazon and conversations on forums like "Real Baking with Rose Levy Berenbaum." We also went straight to the experts, interviewing Lewis and Poliafito, two self-described "bundt enthusiasts" who put dozens of bundt pans to the test day in and day out at their bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Using the recommendations gleaned from that research, we narrowed the field to five commonly available and classically shaped bundt pans with capacities ranging from 10 to 15 cups and a price of $12 to $34. To keep the variables the same, we baked the same recipe—this moist, orange-scented, olive oil bundt individually in each pan, in the same oven, for the exact same amount of time. Then we compared the results, checking to see how comfortable the pans were to handle, how evenly the cakes baked and browned, how well they kept their shape, how easily the cakes released from the pan, and how cumbersome the pans were to clean.
The Bundt Pans
These are the requirements we took into consideration when compiling our tests for the best bundt pans:
Material: While it's possible to find bundt pans made of glass, stoneware, and silicone, the overwhelming consensus among professional and amateur bakers is that metal—either aluminum or coated steel—is the best material in which to bake a bundt cake, thanks to both its sturdiness and its even and efficient heat conductivity. Silicone bundt pans, in particular, get routinely poor reviews—and just mentioning them can get professional bakers all worked up. "Never, ever, ever use a silicone bundt pan," Lewis and Poliafito warned. The reason? Silicone is squishy and unstable—a bad match for hefty bundt batters, which may spill or sag when not properly contained. Also, due to the material's poor conductivity, batters baked in silicone will never brown deeply—a must for a properly-baked bundt cake. Considering this, in the end, we chose to test only metal pans.
Design: We also found that most cooks agree that when it comes to bundts—with their elaborate whirls, curves, and crevices that seem tailor made for trapping cake—a nonstick surface is indispensable. Indeed, even when using a nonstick surface, most professional bakers and cookbook writers recommend buttering and flouring your pan, or coating it thoroughly with a nonstick cooking spray before filling.
Color: The color of a bundt pan's surface will also play a role in the texture and attractiveness of the final product: In general, light-colored surfaces perform better than darker ones, as the dark surfaces may produce a crust that is dry is overly browned before the cake's interior has had enough time to bake properly.
Size: The market is littered with mini bundt pans of assorted shapes and sizes, but because the most common size for bundt pans is between 10 and 12 cups, We confined our experiments to models that fell in or near that range. Generally speaking, if you want a larger pan, it's smart to seek out one that looks taller, not wider—wider pans produce squatter, less dramatically architectural cakes. Most recipe developers design recipes for 10-cup bundt pans, so home bakers will be best served by a pan that accommodates that amount at a minimum. If you want to adapt a non-bundt-specific recipe, the form is fairly forgiving—in general, a cake recipe that yields enough batter for two 9-inch rounds or one 9-by-13-inch pan will also fit a typical bundt pan.
One rule of thumb that Lewis and Poliafito recommended following: Any sturdy cake batter or quick bread that is typically baked in a loaf pan will also do well in a bundt—but avoid delicate, airy cakes, which will just fall apart. When you are filling your bundt, ideally the batter should come two-thirds up the sides of the pan before baking. Overfill it and you'll have a mess on your hands; underfill it and you'll wind up with a thin, squat cake. If you are unsure of the capacity of your pan, you can measure it by filling it with water one cup at a time.
Extra Features: Finally, when ranking the pans we kept in mind the small design features—like easy-grip handles, a satisfying weight, and attractive proportions—that can add up to a big difference in the experience of baking and the aesthetics of the finished cake. And while today's makers produce bundt pans in a dizzying array of creative designs, we limited my tests to the "classic" shape: a ring-shaped series of peaks and rounded curves that Lewis and Poliafito call Bundt 101, and is beginner-friendly, always beautiful, and easy to glaze. The more elaborate shapes, they warn, can be trickier to turn out of the pan and—while Instagram-friendly—don't take as well to a variety of frostings or glazes.