Loaf pans – your mind conjures meatloaf and banana bread, right? Mine adds the matchless “Gift of the Magi Bread”, our family’s favorite holiday dessert. But that’s just the beginning. Loaf pans can be used for everything from breads and cakes to complete meals. Click on the underlined headings to link to some of the yummiest:
For anyone looking for a new twist on this old standby, this recipe adds a south-of-the-border kick with ingredients like olives, cumin, chili powder and cilantro. This recipe’s creator was inspired by Mexican meatballs he tried on vacation in Arizona – albondigas.
No, not ground chicken loaf – a three-pound chicken stuffed into a loaf pan! First you apply a rub to the chicken, then cover with liquids including applesauce and Worcestershire sauce, and cook it low for a few hours in an outdoor grill or an oven. This unexpected recipe uses the confines of the loaf pan walls to force all the moisture and flavor into the chicken, with terrific results.
Meatloaf is put to yet another good use in this gyro recipe. Lots of garlic, cumin, rosemary and other spices plus the addition of ground lamb to beef gives it a middle eastern flavor. The recipe includes other ingredients needed for gyros, including the tzatziki sauce.
Substituting ground turkey for beef can make for a tough, underwhelming loaf, but someone with a name like Millie Peartree can be trusted to work some lovely southern flavor into a dish, and this one is packed with it. Fresh herbs and barbeque sauce pump up the taste, and it’s as moist as any traditional recipe.
What could be better than crispy browned potatoes encasing flavored meat and cheese? This simple recipe includes spinach, tomato, parsley and onion too, so it qualifies as a complete meal. Besides taking care to slice the potatoes evenly and thinly, this is an easy recipe, with great spices.
6. Cottage Pie
Consider this the British cousin of the above recipe, another potato-encased meal in one pan. This time, mashed potatoes mixed with egg yolks and cheese line the loaf pan and are spread over the top of a meat mixture that replaces Italian veggies with onions, celery, carrots and peas. The ultimate comfort food!
This take on an egg casserole adds color and nutrition with roasted peppers and spinach. Different colored peppers line the bottom of the pan, which becomes the top of the loaf when it’s turned out after cooking. As with frittatas or quiche, you can throw in whatever leftover veggies, or meat, that you have on hand.
Loaf pans provide the depth to layer your ingredients twice and then some. This streamlined recipe uses no-boil lasagne noodles for a much shorter prep time. Cooking time, however, is an hour and twenty minutes. The addition of pork sausage to beef adds zest. The recipe fills three loaf pans, eight and a half inches by four and a half inches, so it takes care of more than one meal.
Most kids won’t willingly dig into a plate of zucchini, carrots, corn and mixed herbs, but hide them in a mini-loaf of cheesy bread and it’s another story. This recipe gets its charm from the tiny sizes of the loaves – perfect for putting in a child’s lunch box.
When the meat, the vegetables and the sauce all go into the same loaf pan, there’s no fussing over this recipe. Spices including chili powder and paprika give this dish a beautiful color as well as a distinct flavor. It’s also improved, as almost anything is, by a few layers of grated cheese.
One unsung advantage of cooking in a loaf pan is that you can make smaller amounts of your favorite meals. A couple probably doesn’t want ten enchiladas at once, but this tasty recipe makes two good sized chicken enchiladas with plenty of sauce, using eight inch corn tortillas.
This charming Caribbean cook shows you how to make a healthy everyday bread with oats and flaxseed. The recipe does need some kind of grinder or food processor – she uses a spice grinder. The bread is vegan, filling because of the fiber and protein, and neutral enough in its taste for many uses.
This is a great recipe for anyone just starting to make bread. The writer has been at it for years and worked out all the kinks, explaining clearly how to proceed with each step. Details like how to make sure your yeast is good, and how to roll up the dough to get a great size and texture help to ensure your success.
This moist, light, fluffy white bread is also called Japanese Milk Bread. A method called Yudane mixes boiling water with the flour mixture, triggering a process that gelatinizes the starch, resulting in a softer, sweeter, moister bread that also lasts longer. What’s not to like?
15. Wholemeal Bread
Wholemeal bread is a great compromise for those of you who aren’t hardcore enough health-nuts to eat dense, seedy bread but want more nutrition than white bread offers. This recipe combines wholemeal and white flour for a whole grain bread that isn’t too heavy or dry and gives you tips along the way for making it as light and soft as possible.
16. Strawberry Bread
This is a soft, moist bread with a delicate fruit flavor. I never connected strawberries with bread until I tried it at a holiday craft show, and now it’s part of the season, although this recipe author cooks it in the summer when her garden is yielding plenty of strawberries.
This is one of those recipes that makes your mouth water as soon as you look at the picture. Nothing is better than peeling off a strip of buttery, cinnamon-laden sweet bread. An added advantage to this recipe is that it’s not necessary to knead the dough.
18. Monkey Bread
This is the even-easier version of cinnamon pull-apart bread, made with a tube of refrigerated biscuit dough. Kids love this stuff, and the recipe is easy enough for them to enjoy making it too. All you do is cut biscuits into four, toss them in cinnamon and sugar, and pour over a melted butter mixture before cooking.
If you consider banana, carrot, and zucchini the trifecta of sweet breads, we’ve got you covered! This banana bread recipe troubleshoots some of the most common problems and recommends some add-ins. Of course, anything from Martha Stewart’s test kitchen is bound to be good!
20. Carrot Bread
Here’s a simple, affordable recipe using grated carrots. The site is informative, including several tips for preparing, storing, and freezing. One of the advantages of quick breads (made without yeast) is that they freeze well. Vegetable and fruit bread are a quick and easy way to get sweetness and comfort mixed with nutrition!
21. Zucchini Bread
I recall, at the veggie-resistant age of nine, being presented with zucchini bread and being amazed at how good it was! One of the comments in this easy recipe recommends lining the loaf pan with butter and granulated sugar to help the bread come smoothly out of the pan.
This recipe looks as good as it tastes, with its creamy yellow base and splashes of blue, its white glaze ramping up the fresh, bright tastes. You can make it any time, using fresh or frozen blueberries, and it makes a perfect companion to an afternoon tea or coffee.
Sometimes it’s nice to just copy the professionals. That’s what this Starbucksesque pumpkin bread recipe does. I don’t even like pumpkin bread, but I like it when I buy it there, so take a look at this bold imitation and see if you think it measures up!
24. Chocolate Babka
This may take a little longer to pull off than your average sweet bread, but it’s worth the effort. What’s not to like about buttery bread spread with ribbons of intense chocolate, then rolled, twisted, and baked to stripey perfection? We have the Jewish people of Poland and Ukraine to thank for it.
25. Chocolate Loaf
This recipe looks so good you want to lick it off the screen. An easy one-bowl chocolate cake recipe uses oil and yogurt for a rich, moist texture. The last step is to spread the finished loaf with a two-ingredient chilled ganache, which is the earth’s richest chocolate icing. Beyond delicious!
They call it bread, but we know better. This looks like a fruitcake but tastes so much nicer! It begins with a banana bread base, adds in everything from coconut to chocolate to maraschinos and mandarins, and ends up irresistible! Consider it the gold, incense, and myrrh of holiday desserts.
Cardamom makes a humble pound cake unique. This native spice of India is used in many dishes and drinks all over the world and caught on in Nordic countries as a baking flavor. This is a simple, economical cake that will appeal to anyone who likes the flavor of chai tea.
28. Oreo Loaf Cake
This is a one-bowl, sour cream cake with an unexpected ingredient – crushed Oreo cookies! To give it a wonderful topping, leftover crushed cookies and white chocolate chips are scattered on it while it’s still warm. A perfect blend of smooth and crunch, cookie and cream.
Gluten-free baking definitely takes a few extra steps and extra ingredients, but it’s well worth it for anyone with gluten intolerance, or anyone sensitive to it. This recipe includes apple cider vinegar and coconut milk as well as almond flour. The result is a moist, appealing loaf of banana bread.
The easiest way to make gluten-free bread is in a bread machine that has a gluten-free setting, but the cook at this site adapted her recipe for friends who didn’t have a bread machine and needed to use an oven. It looks the same as bread with gluten; you just buy gluten-free flour and add a few extra ingredients.
This savory cheese loaf is a great complement to soup or salad, adding a little substance to a light meal. A unique feature of this recipe, as well as being gluten-free, is that it uses both grated and diced cheese. Shredded sharp cheddar melts into the other ingredients for a full flavor, and diced cheese adds pockets of extra flavor and texture!
This recipe uses fresh cranberries, almond flour, coconut milk, and arrowroot starch as well as more common ingredients, so it might not be the easiest to shop for. However, the fresh cranberries give it a beautiful appearance and divided into three mini loaf pans, these little loaves make a great gift. Perfect for those friends who usually need to pass on all the goodies!
Who knew a loaf pan could take you through the whole day, from a breakfast bake to a complete meal, to a memorable dessert! Time to invest in one or two of them, or move the ones you have to the front of the cabinet. Try a few of these recipes, and you’ll be coming up with ideas of your own in no time!