When to Use Dark or Light Baking Pans

Category Baking
According to some cooks the best way to remember the difference is that dark pans result in darker crusts, or cookie bottoms and lighter pans mean higher ones. This is a page about when to use dark or light baking pans.


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When you are baking breads, cakes or cookies, if you prefer a darker bottom or crust, use darker pans to bake them in. The dark pans absorb more heat and will brown your food item to a darker color.

If you prefer a lighter crust or bottom, stick to the shiny-silver or glass pans, as they absorb less or reflect the heat which directs it away from what you're baking. You'll end up with crusts and cookie bottoms that are lighter in color.

By Julia from Boca Raton, FL

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June 19, 20110 found this helpful
Top Comment

This does work too. The way I remember it is dark pans for dark crusts and light pans for light crusts. You'd think the oven temperature would be all we would need to get the same results, but I just learned this about using different pans about a year ago. Really good tip. I'm glad to know that someone else uses it too.

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June 20, 20110 found this helpful

I guess it makes sense because of the way dark and light containers reflect or absorb heat. The same thing applies to the clothing we wear. Interesting tip. Thanks for sharing.



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June 20, 20110 found this helpful

The way around this if you have some dark pans is to just line them with parchment and they won't darken what you bake in there. Cookie sheets should never be bought in dark.

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June 20, 20110 found this helpful

Some of my mom's old pans are heavier than I can find today too. They are not aluminum, but I don't know what they are made of. Maybe they were shiny at one time, but I don't remember them ever being any different than they are now. They do conduct heat much better than the lightweight aluminum I've found. I love cooking with them. Maybe because they do collect and hold the heat better, they also bake a little faster, so I just have to adjust the bake time a little. I use parchment paper and I don't have to let cookies cool on pans. Just slide the parchment paper onto a wire rack and slide on a new sheet of parchment with a new bunch of cookies already in place.


The pan is still warm, and they get a head-start before even getting into the oven.

I have always had to make allowances for these pans, but they've saved me a little bit of money over the years, I guess. They have never warped either unlike the thin aluminum ones I bought just 3 years ago. The one exception to that is my air bake pans which are shiny, and they are wonderful. Expensive when we bought them, but have lasted wonderfully well. Jellyroll cakes come out perfectly.

An interesting tip and one I've never thought too much about, but it sure works.
Thank you Pookarina.


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