The best doughnut pan
Doughnuts are not known for their healthful qualities, but if you can’t resist these delicious circles of dough, there is a healthier way to indulge. Baking in a doughnut pan produces fluffy baked doughnuts without the excessive oil from the fryer.
For consistent and delicious doughnuts every time, the Wilton Nonstick Six-Cavity Donut Baking Pans are a great choice. With a nonstick finish and durable construction, this set of two pans produces a dozen perfect baked goods every time.
What to know before you buy a doughnut pan
A doughnut pan serves the same function for doughnuts as a cupcake tin does for that bakery treat: It shapes and evenly bakes your dough. And as with other kinds of baking tins, these are also available in two basic materials.
- Metal: Metal pans are most common. They are durable and available in either nonstick or uncoated versions. They can be heavy and may scratch.
- Silicone: Silicone is flexible and easily releases doughnuts even without greasing the pan. However, they can be tricky to use and sometimes require you to use a baking sheet depending on the thickness of the silicone.
If you routinely feed a crowd that clamors for dozens of doughnuts, look for large-capacity pans that can hold 12 or more. Only baking for one or two people? A six-cavity pan should do the trick.
Miniature vs. full-size
For small hands or little appetites, miniature doughnut pans are a great option. However, most adults prefer full-size baked doughnuts.
Doughnut pan features
Whether you are using silicone or nonstick metal pans, the material should be easy-release. You can certainly help it along with a spray of cooking oil or butter, but many of the best doughnut pans don't require this.
As always, the silicone pan you choose should be marked as food-safe and free from any harmful chemicals. Similarly, nonstick pans should be free of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and other toxic substances that can leach into food.
If you are just starting on your doughnut-making journey, any recipes included with the pan are very helpful. These are tested for that specific pan, which means quantities and measurements are perfect for that piece of equipment.
How to make the best doughnuts at home
- Use a recipe designed for your doughnut pan. These offer you the best chance of success.
- Prepare the pan carefully. Use cooking spray if your pan is not nonstick, even silicone. Silicone can lose its nonstick quality over time. A light spray of cooking oil should be fine.
- To fill the pan easily, place the doughnut batter in a Ziploc bag and seal the top. Cut a small corner off the bottom of the bag and squeeze carefully into each cavity.
- Do not overfill the doughnut pan. Depending on the recipe you use, the cavities typically should not be filled more than two-thirds full.
- Follow baking times carefully. Overcooked baked doughnuts are dry and crumbly.
- If your doughnuts are darker on one side — generally the side that touches the pan — decorate that side with icing or sprinkles.
- Add sugar toppings to doughnuts fresh out of the oven, but wait until doughnuts cool to add icings. This keeps the icing in place instead of running off the top.
Doughnut pan cost
The cost varies depending on the number of pans and the material you choose. For a set of two pans, expect to spend $9-15.
Doughnut pan FAQ
Are yeast and cake doughnuts different?
A. Yes. Yeast doughnuts use yeast to create their light and fluffy texture. Often, yeast doughnuts are fried, but some yeast recipes work well in a doughnut pan for baking. On the other hand, cake doughnuts use other leavening or rising agents such as baking soda or baking powder. They also have a different texture than yeast doughnuts — the crumb is similar to a dense cake or a cupcake.
Can you use your doughnut pan for anything other than doughnuts?
A. Yes. There are many different food and non-food uses, including:
- Bagels (gluten-free bagels especially)
- Crisped rice cereal treats
- Jello molds
- Coddled eggs
- Cheese molds
- Homemade chalk rings
- Fire starters
- Birdseed wreaths
- Homemade crayons
- Paint and bead holders for crafts
Which doughnut pan should I get?
Best of the best doughnut pan
Wilton Nonstick 6-Cavity Donut Baking Pans: available at Amazon
Our take: These pans come from a trusted brand and are completely nonstick.
What we like: All metal pans are coated with a nonstick finish that guarantees an easy release every time. They are dishwasher-safe, and the nonstick coating is free from harmful chemicals.
What we dislike: Recipes are not included, but that’s the only issue. These are reliable and produce consistent results.
Best bang for your buck doughnut pan
Hehali Nonstick Silicone Donut Mold: available at Amazon
Our take: The price is right for these easy-release silicone pans.
What we like: The molds are easy to use and release doughnuts with just a little pressure. They follow German food safety guides, which are strict and guarantee no harmful chemicals in the silicone. These clean easily in the dishwasher.
What we dislike: The silicone is thin, and you’ll need to use cooking spray after multiple uses.
Honorable mention doughnut pan
Abam Premium Silicone Donut Pan: available at Amazon
Our take: This set of three is best for households that go through a lot of baked treats.
What we like: They are safe in the freezer, microwave, oven and dishwasher. The unique design releases doughnuts easily every time. They come with a money-back guarantee.
What we dislike: There is a learning curve when it comes to getting doughnuts out of the pan — it takes some practice to get it right.
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Suzannah Kolbeck a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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