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13 by 9-inch Broiler-Safe Baking Dishes

Published May 2019

How we tested

A 13 by 9-inch baking dish is the tote bag of kitchenware. It’s inexpensive, functional, and great for transporting goods, and most people have at least one (if not a couple). In the test kitchen, we put 13 by 9-inch baking dishes under the broiler when we want to crisp bread crumbs atop dishes such as macaroni and cheese and when making recipes such as Savory Noodle Kugel, Candied Sweet Potatoes, New Orleans Bourbon Bread Pudding, Oven-Barbecued Beef Brisket, and more. But broiling is a direct-heat cooking method that can subject these dishes to temperatures of up to 550 degrees, which is too hot for our favorite glass baking dish as well as our winning 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

    Rather than give up broiling foods, we needed to find an alternative that could withstand the heat as well as look nice when brought to the table for serving. We purchased seven widely available broiler-safe baking dishes that measured roughly 13 inches by 9 inches and were priced from about $37 to about $110. All were made of ceramic or porcelain; these materials can withstand extreme heat because they are hardened by being fired in a kiln at temperatures well over 1,000 degrees. We made three recipes in each one: yellow xake, Classic Macaroni and Cheese, and One-Pan Salmon with Rice, Broccoli, and Shiitake Mushrooms.

    During testing, we learned a lot about the dishes, and we learned something about our coworkers: Sharing seven baking dishes’ worth of macaroni and cheese can do wonders for your popularity. In each case, the dishes’ performance was roundly satisfactory—we were happy with all foods baked in these dishes, and all were fairly easy to clean. (Caked-on cheese and residual cake were a cinch to remove, but we had to scrub a bit more to remove the salmon glaze from each dish.) But two key factors separated the winner from the rest: handle design and capacity.

Looped Handles Were Far Superior to Tabs

The dishes offered two types of handle design: loops or tabs. The looped handles were shaped like a squared-off C with space for your fingers in the middle. The tabs resembled the tabs you’d see on top of a manila folder.

    The advantages and disadvantages of the two handle designs became clear once we were faced with lifting the hot dishes and removing them from the oven. The dishes with tab handles were problematic. We didn’t struggle much when putting these dishes into the oven, but the handles made it challenging to rotate the dishes midbake and to remove them from the oven. We couldn’t easily or securely grab the tabs, especially while wearing thick oven mitts or while trying to grip them with slippery dish towels (we tested with both). One model’s tabs stuck out just ¾ inch from the sides of the dish, which didn’t give us much room to grip. On two other models, the tabs slanted upward at about a 45-degree angle, giving us much less leverage when lifting. One of these dishes was also one of the heaviest in the lineup at 5 pounds 8.4 ounces, creating a double-whammy of difficulty and making us constantly fearful that the hot dish would slip right out of our hands.

    The dishes with looped handles were much easier to maneuver and carry because we could securely grasp the loops with our fingers (even when protected by oven mitts or dish towels). It was also easier to rotate these baking dishes in the oven because we could easily grab the handles, which were longer and stuck out farther from the dishes than the tabs did. Our favorite baking dish had looped handles that offered plenty of room, which is crucial given how heavy these dishes can be when filled with food.

A 14-Cup Capacity Was Optimal

We measured the outer dimensions and the volumes of all the dishes. There wasn’t much variation in the dimensions: Most measured roughly 13 inches by 9 inches, and two were closer to 14 inches by 10 inches. But when we measured volume—by filling the baking dishes to the brim with water and noting how many cups of water fit in each—we saw that the capacities ranged from 12 cups to a hefty 19⅜ cups. We also noted the depth of each dish, with measurements ranging from 2.25 inches to almost 3 inches—a substantial difference that helped explain the dishes’ varying capacities.

    Baking dishes with smaller capacities, ranging from 12 cups to 13 cups, were slightly narrower than other models. This wasn’t a deal breaker, but we occasionally found it harder to arrange food—the broccoli and shiitake mushrooms in the one-pan salmon recipe were crowded and crammed in. Food also sat higher in these dishes, so when we sprinkled bread crumbs on top of mac and cheese, some of the bread crumbs fell on to the counter instead of being neatly contained in the dish.

    Working with the largest dish, which measured 14 inches by 9.75 inches and had a huge 19.38-cup capacity, posed unique challenges. We had to jiggle the dish to spread the cake batter so that it would cover the entire bottom, and one colleague commented that the macaroni and cheese looked “a little sad” because it sat lower in this dish than it did in others. The dish’s larger dimensions also meant that there was less space to maneuver when we rotated the dish in the oven and when we tried to remove it from the oven.

    Our favorite dishes were generously sized but not too big, with capacities ranging from 14.25 cups to 16.25 cups. When we made one-pan salmon in the 16.25-cup dishes, some rice peeked through the vegetables instead of being entirely covered by them as the recipe dictated, but this was a minor issue. We preferred having a little extra room to wishing we had more. Our favorite baking dish had a 14.25-cup capacity, which was the sweet spot: large enough to accommodate all our recipes with no crowding of food yet small enough that every recipe turned out aesthetically pleasing.

The Winner: Mrs. Anderson's Baking Lasagna Pan with Handle

One dish was easier to use than the others owing to its easy-to-grip looped handles and its optimal 14.25-cup capacity. The Mrs. Anderson’s Baking Lasagna Pan with Handle (Rose) delivered exactly what we wanted: well-cooked food and a great design that made it easy to handle. Cleanup was simple, too, whether we washed it by hand or in the dishwasher.


We purchased seven broiler-safe baking dishes, priced from about $37 to about $110. We used each to make a cake (using our winning boxed yellow cake mix), Classic Macaroni and Cheese, and One-Pan Salmon with Rice, Broccoli, and Shiitake Mushrooms. After baking the cakes, we used a paring knife to slice the desserts in the dish, cutting them into 24 squares (4 rows of 6) and checked for scratches. We used a metal spatula to portion and remove the other two foods from the dishes, also checking for scratches. We used oven mitts when placing the dishes in and removing them from the oven while baking cakes, and we used dish towels to place the dishes in and remove them from the oven when making Classic Macaroni and Cheese and One-Pan Salmon with Rice, Broccoli, and Shiitake Mushrooms. We also washed each dish five times according to manufacturer instructions (all were dishwasher-safe). All products were purchased online. Scores were averaged, and the dishes are listed below in order of preference.

The Results


Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little.


Schmidt Brothers Downtown Block

This roomy block completely sheathed our entire winning knife set using just one of its two sides—and quite securely, thanks to long, medium-strength magnet bars. Heavy, with a grippy base, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard made this model extra-safe but also made it a little trickier to insert knives and to clean; the wood block itself showed some minor cosmetic scratching during use.


Schmidt Brothers Midtown Block

This smaller version of the Downtown Block secured all our knives nicely, though the blade of the slicing knife stuck out a bit. With a base lined with grippy material, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard afforded extra protection against contact with blades but made it a little harder to insert knives and to clean; the wood itself got a little scratched during use.

Recommended with Reservations

Swissmar Bamboo Magnetic Knife Block

This small, scratch-resistant model had a stable, rubber-lined base and could hold all our knives, though the blade of the 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a bit. But inch-long gaps between its small magnets made coverage uneven and forced us to find the magnetic hot spots in order to secure the knives. Its acrylic guard made it safer to use but harder to insert knives and to clean.

Not Recommended

Messermeister Walnut Magnet Block

This handsome block was done in by its shape—a tippy, top-heavy quarter-circle that wasn’t tall or broad enough to keep the blades of three knives from poking out. It lacked a nonslip base, and its extra-strong magnets made it unnerving to attach or remove our heavy cleaver. Finally, it got a bit scratched after extensive use.


Epicurean Standing Knife Rack 12"

This magnetic block sheathed all our knives completely, though with a bit of crowding. But it was hard to insert each knife without hitting the block’s decorative slats on way down, and because the block was light and narrow, it wobbled when bumped. Worse, we couldn’t take it apart, so splatters that hit the interior were there to stay. Additionally, the outside stained easily, and when we wiped it down, the unit smelled like wet dog.


Kapoosh Rondelle Knife Block

This model stabilized knives with a mass of stiff, spaghetti-like bristles that shed and nicked easily after extensive use, covering our knives with plastic debris. While all our knives fit securely, several of the blades stuck out, making this unit feel less safe overall. Finally, though the bristles could be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher, their nooks and crannies made this block hard to wash by hand.


Kuhn Rikon Vision Knife Block, Clear

This plastic block required us to aim each knife into the folds of an accordion-pleated insert that was removable for easy cleaning but got nicked easily with repeated use. Because we could only insert the knives vertically, longer knife blades stuck out; a cleaver was too wide to fit. The lightest model in our lineup, this block was dangerously top-heavy when loaded with knives.