Which doughnut pan is best?
There are many ways to make doughnuts. They are most commonly deep-fried, but a (slightly) healthier method is to bake them using a doughnut pan. Doughnut pans come in many sizes, capacities and materials — all of which are perfectly viable, though there are differences. No matter what, you’ll have a delicious and less oily treat to enjoy.
The best doughnut pan is Wilton’s Nonstick Six-Cavity Donut Baking Pan. The alloy steel construction is built to last, and the nonstick coating helps prevent any sticking, so your doughnuts come out perfectly.
What to know before you buy a doughnut pan
Capacity and size
Doughnut pans can be made to have a wide range of doughnut shapes and in many sizes.
- Capacity: The average pan usually holds six doughnuts. Nine- and 12-doughnut pans are also common, as is the occasional four-doughnut pan.
- Size: Most doughnut pans make doughnuts roughly 3-inches wide. Mini-doughnuts, typically 1-2.5 inches wide, are also common. There are also extra-large doughnuts as wide as 6 inches.
The typical doughnut shape is, of course, round with a hole in the center. There are also plenty of fun and funky-shaped doughnut pans available should you desire to buck the standard.
Doughnut pans typically come alone or in pairs. Some include more accessories such as spatulas or decorating gear like piping bags.
What to look for in a quality doughnut pan
Doughnut pans are typically made of aluminum, steel or silicone.
- Aluminum pans are light and inexpensive, but they tend to dent or scratch the easiest. They can sometimes save costs by excluding nonstick coatings, so use caution when shopping.
- Steel, be it some kind of alloy steel or stainless steel, is tougher than aluminum and a little more expensive. They rarely exclude nonstick coatings.
- Silicone pans, usually called molds instead, are durable and flexible. This means you can pop your doughnuts out rather than having to pry them loose — just be careful not to accidentally pop them out before you mean to. They’re just as easily washed as metals.
The best doughnut pans have nonstick coatings that don’t need any help to keep your doughnuts intact when it’s time to take them out of the pan. That said, nonstick coatings aren’t created equally — check the user reviews to see how effective the nonstick coating really is.
How much you can expect to spend on a doughnut pan
Doughnut pans typically cost $5-$20 depending on the material, capacity and any included accessories. Individual pans seldom cost more than $10-$15, while two-pan or accessory-laden bundles rarely cost less than $15.
Doughnut pan FAQ
What are the benefits of baking rather than frying doughnuts?
A. There are many benefits to baking doughnuts rather than frying.
- Ease: Using a doughnut pan means you don’t have to individually shape each doughnut — just add dough to the pre-shaped pan. It’s also much easier to store a pan or two than a deep fryer.
- Less mess: Oil splatters everywhere, and deep fryers can be hard to clean. Meanwhile, most doughnut pans are dishwasher-safe.
- Consistency and volume: You can only deep-fry a handful of doughnuts at a time, even in larger deep fryers, and they won’t consistently have a nice doughnut shape. Pans turn out identically shaped doughnuts and larger volumes if you use more than one pan.
- Cost: The cheapest deep fryer costs at least $50, while a six-capacity doughnut pan can cost less than $10.
- Health: Doughnuts aren’t the healthiest food in the world as it is, but not being soaked in oil makes them not as bad.
What’s the difference between cake and yeast doughnuts?
A. It’s all about consistency. The yeast in yeast doughnuts causes the dough to rise more, leading to an airier doughnut. On the other hand, cake doughnuts use baking powder, leading to a thicker, cake-like dough.
What’s the best doughnut pan to buy?
Top doughnut pan
What you need to know: This durable and affordable set includes two pans that can cook 12 doughnuts at once.
What you’ll love: They’re made of good-quality alloy steel for durability and have an effective nonstick coating. They are dishwasher-safe and easy to stack, so they take little space in storage.
What you should consider: Use caution when filling these pans — filling the cavities more than halfway can cause the doughnuts to expand and merge.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top doughnut pan for the money
What you need to know: Cheap and easy to use, this set includes two six-capacity doughnut molds made of brightly colored silicone.
What you’ll love: The molds have raised centers to ensure the doughnuts have a perfect center hole. They are microwave and freezer-safe, plus heat-resistant to 140 degrees. They are also dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
What you should consider: The silicone isn’t as thick as other molds, so use caution when manipulating them to avoid tears. The nonstick isn’t as effective as it could be.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is an excellent doughnut baking starter set.
What you’ll love: The set includes two silicone doughnut molds, one with nine full-sized cavities and the other with 12 mini cavities. It also includes a silicone spatula for mixing and five piping bags for decorating. The silicone is sturdy, nonstick and dishwasher-safe.
What you should consider: A few purchasers noted that the mini-doughnut pan is on the shallow side, creating a smaller final product than expected.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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