Baking Pan Substitutions

Copyright © 2000 Sarah Phillips Sarah Phillips, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Baking Pan Substitutions Chart shows the sizes and volume of some of the common bakeware pans. The chart will help to assist you in selecting a successful substitution. See also Baking Time and Batter Amounts - Two Inch Deep Pans and Baking Time and Batter Amounts - Three Inch Deep Pans

When you are preparing to create a recipe that requires the use of bakeware, you should first determine whether you have the proper size pan. There are many different types of bakeware, such as, round pans, square pans, rectangle pans, tube pans, bundt pans, jelly roll pans, loaf pans, springform pans, roasting pans, and casseroles. Your recipe will suggest that you use a certain size and type of pan. If you do not have the pan requested, you can generally substitute a similar size pan without any problem. The  Baking Pan Substitutions Chart will help you make the appropriate substitution.

QUESTION: How full should a pan be filled with batter?
SARAH SAYS: Cakes: At least 1/2 but never more than 2/3, but always depends upon the recipe. Deep pans should be filled only 1/2 full.
Cupcakes: 1/2 to sometimes 3/4 full
Quick-breads and muffins: average 2/3 full.
Casseroles & Soufflés: Fill dish up to 3/4 to 1 inch below the top.
Jelly Roll Pans: Fill 1/2 full up to near the top.
Pies: Fill almost the rim of the pan

Find the baking pan size in the Baking Pan Substitutions Chart, below. If you can't find a pan's volume in this handy chart, you can measure it yourself or make a mathematical calculation.

Be careful substituting a pan when the recipe indicates that a tube pan should be used, such as an angel food cake pan or a bundt pan. Generally the recipe requires this type of pan so the heat is distributed properly. This is necessary for the food to get to its proper doneness.

If a casserole dish has to be substituted for a different size when making a savory dish, use the same guidelines as for baked goods. Use a dish that holds close to the same volume and if you substitute one that will affect the depth of the ingredients, adjust the cooking times to use less time for thinner depths and more time for thicker depths.

Keep in mind that most home ovens will only accommodate up to a 17 x 14 inch (43 x 36 cm) pan.

NOTE: If you choose to scale a cake recipe, in general, I don't recommend adjusting the oven temperature, unless you are prepared to throw out a lot of recipes. Some baker's claim you should reduce the oven temperature when baking the recipe in a larger pan. In general, I won't recommend it because it is a fairly complex decision, based upon a lot of variables, and is not something I recommend as a blanket "yes!" on my website. In general, the larger the surface area that's exposed to the heat, the faster the cake will bake. In discussing this with Shirley Corriher,'s Advisor, she agrees with me. To paraphrase her: It depends on the new surface area and the size and thickness of the new pan, as well as the material. And, the decision to adjust baking temperatures is a complex one. Also, in Rose Levy Beranbaum's book, The Cake Bible, she does NOT recommend adjusting the oven heat as the pan size increases. Her charts show that the baking time will increase, as do I.

In general, if the new cake's surface is exposed to more oven heat than before, watch the cake during baking and if it starts to bake unevenly and brown quickly at the edges, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees F. If the cake is deeper than before, meaning you're using a deeper pan, then you may need to use a heating core to get the middle to bake better, but don't change the oven's temperature.

TO MEASURE A PAN'S VOLUME AND DEPTH YOURSELF or, how much batter a pan will hold!
Measure volume by filling the pan with water to its rim and then pouring the water into a measuring cup to measure how much water is in the pan, or you can also measure the water as you pour it into the pan.

Pan capacity (volume) can be calculated by pouring water to the inside rim using a liquid measure.  A 1/4 sheet cake pan is approximately 13" x 9" x 2" deep, and its volume is 12 cups. That does NOT mean you can pour 12 cups of batter in way! (It's a way of comparing pan sizes, and it's measured by the amount of liquid a pan holds when filled to the rim). A pan is filled with batter to a certain level according to the type of recipe.

1. Fill a large liquid measuring cup with water. If using a two-part pan, fill a dry measuring cup with sugar or rice because if using water, it will leak.

2. Pour water into the pan originally called for in the recipe until it reaches the rim. Make note of how much water or dry ingredients were used. The result is the pan's volume (how much batter it will hold).

To measure the depth, place your ruler straight up from the bottom of the pan (do not slant the ruler).

When measuring a pan, measure from inside edge to inside edge so that you are not including the thickness of the sides in your measurement. Measure the depth by placing the ruler inside the pan and measuring from the bottom up to within ¼ inch of the top edge. If the pan has slanted sides, be sure to keep the ruler straight and do not slant when measuring.

QUESTION: I need to increase a recipe for lemon bars from an 8X8 pan to a commercial full sheet pan. One pastry chef told me to increase x 5, but I need to know if this is correct. thanks!
SARAH SAYS: In order to convert your recipe you need to use the calculation to find the volume of your pans. Your objective is to fill the larger pan to the same depth with your batter as the smaller pan would be filled, so calculating the volume of both pans will give you the number of times you need to increase your recipe.

To better answer your question it is necessary to know what kind of "commercial full sheet pan" you are using.

Commercial full sheet CAKE pans are 24x16x2 and 24x16x3. If your 8x8 pan is at least 2 inches deep either one of these pans will work.

A commercial full sheet BUN pan, also called a sheet pan, is 26x18x1. You cannot use this size pan. It is not deep enough.

Let's assume your recipe calls for an 8x8x2 pan instead of a domestic 8x8x1 1/2.
Calculate the volume of your pan: 8x8x2=128
Calculate the volume of a full sheet cake pan: 24x16x2= 768
Divide the volume of the larger pan by the volume of the smaller pan:
768/128= 6
You need to increase your recipe by 6 times.

If your recipe DOES call for a domestic 8x8x1 1/2:
8x8x1 1/2=96
768/96= 8
You need to increase your recipe 8 times.

QUESTION: I have a question. I bought 4 mini cheesecake pans that are 4.5 inches. One would think that if I cut a 9" recipe in half then it would work in a 4.5 inch pan. Is this correct or?
SARAH SAYS:  kme309 saved the day: To put a recipe for a 9 inch round pan into a 4.5 inch round pan you need to divide it into four. That is because when you divide the diameter of a circle by two you are dividing the surface area by 4. I have found that a little math can go a long way in the kitchen. Any time you want to chance pan size you should find the surface area of the original pan and the surface area of the pan you want to use and then divide the original size by the smaller size and that will tell you how many of the smaller pans you need, or by how much you should divide all of your ingredients. For example Surface area of a circle is 3.14 x 1/2 diameter x 1/2 diameter.

9in = 4.5 x 4.5 x 3.14 = 63.585
4.5in = 2.25 x 2.25 x 3.14 = 15.9
63.6/15.9 = 4

So you either need 4 pans or you need to divide all of your ingredients amounts by 4. I use this method to convert from large to small pans or square to round, and it never fails.

QUESTION: If you bake in 9x3 cake pan, can i just halved it and bake in 6x3 cake pan instead? I need to bake 12 , 6" cakes. I'm not sure how many 6"cake pan can hold the batter baked in 9x3

ANSWER: from auzzi

pi X radius squared X height = volume of cylinder.

pi is roughly translated to be 3.14159.

22/7 is roughly translated to be 3.14286. Near enough is close enough....
Round cake pans

9 x 3 Volume = 22/7 x 4.5 x 4.5 x 3
= 190.93

6 x 3 Volume = 22/7 x 3 x 3 x 3
= 84.86

Required twelve 6" cakes
12 x 84.86 = 1018.32

From 9" cake recipe

1018.32 divided by 190.93 = 5.33 [ 5 1/3]

so for twelve 6" cakes, you will need 5 1/3 x recipe of the 9" cake