Your Pyrex Pan Actually Isn't the Best Pan for Baking Brownies (2024)

Have you ever made a batch of brownies and wondered, “should I be using a metal pan or a glass pan for this?” Whether you’re baking a batch from a brownie mix, putting an over-the-top spin on said mix, or making a classic brownie recipe like our Best Brownie or a pan of blondies, we have the answer and the reason why one pan is always the better option (unless your recipe says otherwise) when making brownies.

First, remember that baking is a science.

There are plenty of factors that go into making a perfect batch of brownies. Since baking involves quite a bit of science, you can be confident that measuring your ingredients properly, ensuring your oven is at the proper temperature, and combining ingredients in the correct order, matters. But one of the possible places for error you might not be thinking of is your pan choice.

Is a metal pan or glass dish better for baking?

Is there really a difference in the two materials when it comes to baking? The answer is yes! Thermal conductivity–how quickly a pan heats up and cools down–is the reason metal works better than glass for baking, according to the Nordicware Test Kitchen. Metals, specifically aluminum (which is what many baking pans are made of), heat up quickly, allowing batter to rise, bake, and crisp up at a uniform pace. This, says Martin Philip, author and baker at King Arthur Flour, results in an evenly-baked, perfectly moist batch of brownies. Aluminum is also lightweight, says Philip, making it easy to transfer from countertop to oven–and if you’re clumsy, no worries, metal won’t break easily.

Glass, on the other hand, has a low thermal conductivity,and is an insulator, according to the pros at Nordicware. This means it takes longer than metal to heat up, but it also holds heat longer than a metal pan. Because of this, brownies baked in a glass pan will need more time to bake. That slow heat-up and additional time can result in brownies with hard, overly-baked edges and a questionably “done” center. Glass can also be a bit heavy and cumbersome and unlike metal, can break when dropped.

Does this mean that you should ditch all of your glass pans? No way! For some recipes, a glass pan is a fine choice. That slow heat transfer makes them a great option for casseroles, lasagnas, and other dishes where there isn’t a need for precise, even heating. And because they retain heat longer than metal, they’re also perfect for serving, keeping food warm while it sits on the dinner table.

Does a metal pan bake better brownies than glass? We conducted a test to find out.

To test the theory that metal pans perform better than glass pans for brownies, we baked two batches of Mmm-Mmm Better Brownies. We made one batch in a glass 9-inch square Pyrex pan and another batch using a metal (aluminum) 9-inch square baking dish. We baked each for 30 minutes as directed in the recipe and had a clear winner.

Your Pyrex Pan Actually Isn't the Best Pan for Baking Brownies (1)

After 30 minutes, the brownies baked in the metal pan were perfect. The edges were slightly crisp, and the brownies were baked throughout, but still deliciously moist and tender. The brownies in the glass pan, as predicted, were cooked and mostly firm around the edges, but the middle was completely raw and inedible. The obvious solution was to increase the baking time for the brownies in the glass pan, which we tried on another batch, resulting in an additional 10 minutes of baking. The finished product had the edges that were crisp to the point of burning, leaving only the middle area as a desirable choice to eat.

The Bottom Line

If you make brownies or bake often, consider using or purchasing a metal pan to use in place of your Pyrex dish. Metal pans, specifically aluminum, absorb and transfer heat more consistently than glass, making them perfect for delicious, evenly-cooked, moist brownies every time. Metal pans are also excellent for other baked goods, like quick breads, cakes, cookies, and biscuits. But don’t toss your Pyrex. Save it for casseroles, stratas, lasagna, and other similar dishes.

Your Pyrex Pan Actually Isn't the Best Pan for Baking Brownies (2024)

FAQs

Your Pyrex Pan Actually Isn't the Best Pan for Baking Brownies? ›

This means it takes longer than metal to heat up, but it also holds heat longer than a metal pan. Because of this, brownies baked in a glass pan will need more time to bake. That slow heat-up and additional time can result in brownies with hard, overly-baked edges and a questionably “done” center.

What kind of pan makes the best brownies? ›

The All-Clad Pro-Release Nonstick Bakeware Square Baking Pan is our top pick because it answers most brownie-baking problems before they happen and is great for all levels of bakers. If it's the brownie pan of a lifetime you're looking for, consider the Emile Henry Modern Classics 9-Inch Square Baking Dish.

What's the best thing to cook brownies in? ›

If you just came here looking for a normal brownie pan: Covered Cake Pan. For classic brownies, we like to use a metal baking pan instead of a glass or ceramic one. Metal will cook evenly, prevent over-browning, and yield straight edges. Since you're going to butter your baking dish, nonstick isn't necessary, either.

How do you keep brownies from sticking to the glass pan? ›

Keep Brownies From Sticking To Pan
  1. Line baking pan with parchment paper. ...
  2. Pour brownie batter in parchment lined pan.
  3. Bake according to normal instructions. ...
  4. Turn paper over and dump brownie square onto cutting board. ...
  5. Serve and enjoy.

Is it better to bake in glass or metal? ›

What Should I Bake In a Metal Baking Pan? We hate to say it – we've got nothing against glass, we promise! – but metal does an overall better job than glass of baking almost everything except for acidic desserts. It bakes evenly because it heats up so quickly.

Is it better to bake brownies in glass or metal pan? ›

The Bottom Line

If you make brownies or bake often, consider using or purchasing a metal pan to use in place of your Pyrex dish. Metal pans, specifically aluminum, absorb and transfer heat more consistently than glass, making them perfect for delicious, evenly-cooked, moist brownies every time.

Can I use pyrex for baking brownies? ›

In fact, using glass or even ceramic baking pans for certain recipes, such as brownies or banana bread, may create adverse results! This is because they take LONGER to conduct heat. Often times the edges become overcooked before the heat has transferred enough to cook through the center.

What not to do when making brownies? ›

To make the best brownies, it's essential to avoid making some common mistakes.
  1. Using the wrong recipe for the texture you desire. ...
  2. Omitting complementary ingredients. ...
  3. Not adding enough moisture. ...
  4. Overmixing the batter. ...
  5. Using oil as the primary fat. ...
  6. Using the wrong type of sugar for shiny brownies. ...
  7. Forgetting the shiny top.
Feb 5, 2023

Should I line a brownie pan with parchment paper? ›

(Do this even if the recipe doesn't specify.) After greasing the pan, many bakers like to line it with pieces of parchment paper or aluminum foil that have been cut larger than the size of the pan so that the edges hang over the sides like a sling. Thoroughly grease the lining.

What makes brownies fudgy or cakey? ›

Fudgy brownies have a higher fat-to-flour ratio than cakey ones. So add more fat—in this case, butter and chocolate. A cakey batch has more flour and relies on baking powder for leavening. The amount of sugar and eggs does not change whether you're going fudgy or cakey.

What happens if you don't grease the bottom of a brownie pan? ›

It will stick. If you haven't baked it, and just realized that you hadn't greased and floured the pan. Pour the batter back into the bowl. Use a spatula and scrap.

How do you get brownies out of a glass pan? ›

The best way to do this is to place a lightweight cutting board over the top of the pan. Flip it and set it on the counter. Gently pull the pan from the brownies to release them, then carefully peel off and remove the foil or parchment paper.

Can I use aluminum foil to bake brownies? ›

Lining the pan with two layers of foil prevents any brownie casualties, protects the pan from knife scratches, and makes cleanup a cinch. Once cooled, the brownies or bar cookies can be lifted easily from the pan and transferred to a cutting board.

Can you bake in glass Pyrex? ›

Since it came on the scene in 1915, Pyrex was designed to be oven-safe. These glass vessels, which range from casserole dishes to pie plates to loaf pans are all safe for baking. This being said, you do need to follow one major rule when using Pyrex: Avoid extreme temperature changes.

What are the disadvantages of glass cookware? ›

The main disadvantages of glass cookware are its fairly low fracture toughness and an intolerance to sudden changes in temperature.

How do you know when brownies are done? ›

For cake-like brownies, take them out of the oven when they just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For fudgy brownies, bake within the time range stated in the recipe. For very moist brownies, take them out toward the minimum baking time.

Is a dark pan better than a light pan for brownies? ›

And finally for brownies, the batter touching the edges of the dark pan will cook and set before the middle has time to catch up. This means you end up with brownies that have a super-crisp edge as opposed to the softer edge of brownies made in a lighter pan."

Is it better to bake a cake in ceramic or metal? ›

Cakes should definitely go in metal,” Chang says. As you can see in the photo, the slower transfer of heat to the batter means cakes baked in glass (or ceramic) will take longer to cook than those in metal (5 to 8 minutes longer, according to a test with yellow cake done by Cook's Illustrated).

What is the trick to getting brownies out of pan? ›

The best way to do this is to place a lightweight cutting board over the top of the pan. Flip it and set it on the counter. Gently pull the pan from the brownies to release them, then carefully peel off and remove the foil or parchment paper.

What is the best thing to grease a brownie pan with? ›

Always grease the pan thoroughly with shortening, softened butter, or cooking spray. (Do this even if the recipe doesn't specify.)

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