Pastry Pan Types for Different Baking Needs (Explained)

Baking is both an art and a science. Using the proper bakeware for your pastries, pies, tarts, and other baked goods can make all the difference between a collapsed crust, uneven baking, and a perfectly golden brown treat with a flaky crust and delicious filling.

With so many options on the market, from materials to shapes and sizes, it can get overwhelming to figure out exactly what pans your recipes call for and what will work best in your oven.

This guide breaks down the common types of pastry pans, what they are best used for, pro tips for success, and how to care for them. Read on for everything you need to demystify bakeware and become a pastry pro!

Springform Pans

Best Uses

Springform pans feature removable sides held together with a latch, allowing you to easily remove delicate or liquid-based pastries after baking. Cheesecakes, tortes, and layered cakes that would be difficult to invert benefit from springform pans. The two-piece construction also makes springform pans convenient for preparing layered dishes ahead of time.

Tips for Success

  • Prevent leaks by lining the entire pan with parchment before adding batter. Foil can also be wrapped around exterior.
  • For cheesecakes, chill the filled pan for up to 24 hours before baking to prevent cracking.
  • Allow bars and cakes to cool completely before unlatching sides.

Popular Sizes

  • 6 inch: Individual cheesecakes or tortes
  • 9 inch: Full-size cheesecakes, tortes
  • 10 inch: Large cheesecakes to serve a crowd

Tart Pans

Best Uses

With fluted sides and removable bottoms, tart pans are designed specifically for baking tarts. The angled sides promote even browning and create an elegant presentation. Tart pans come in a range of sizes and shapes to suit both sweet and savory fillings.

Tips for Success

  • Chill dough before pressing into pans for easiest handling
  • Prick bottom and sides with a fork before baking to prevent puffing
  • For sweet shortcrust, line pan with parchment paper or foil before adding dough

Popular Sizes

  • 4-inch: Individual dessert tarts or savory appetizers
  • 9-inch: Full-size dessert tarts, quiches
  • 12-inch: Large tarts for gatherings or multiple servings

Pie Pans

Best Uses

From classic fruit and custard pies to pot pies and savory galettes, pie pans are designed specifically for baking pies. The angled sides promote even browning, allow air circulation, and give that quintessential round shape. Options include glass, metal, ceramic, and stoneware.

Tips for Success

  • Avoid glass or stoneware for very juicy fillings which may create soggy crusts
  • Use metal or ceramic for blind baking; monitor closely to avoid over-browning
  • Allow at least 1 inch of overhang when lining pie dish with pastry

Popular Sizes

  • 8 inch: Individual hand pies or single-serving fruit pies
  • 9 inch: The most common size for home bakers
  • 10 inch: Generous slices for gatherings and holidays

Loaf Pans

Best Uses

True to their name, loaf pans produce traditional rectangular-shaped loaves of quick breads, yeast breads, and meatloaves that are easily sliced for sandwiches and meals. The straight sides and ends ensure uniform sizing. Loaf pans come in a variety of materials from metal and ceramic to glass and stoneware.

Tips for Success

  • Avoid glass or stoneware for very moist batters which may create soggy crusts
  • Allow batter to rise just over the top; it will sink slightly during baking
  • Brush pans with oil or butter and dust with flour for easy release

Popular Sizes

  • 8 x 4 inches: Standard for quick breads and meatloaves
  • 9 x 5 inches: For larger loaves like homemade sandwich bread
  • Mini sizes: For individual meatloaves and bread gifts

Bundt Pans

Best Uses

The fluted tube shape of Bundt pans produces decorative cakes with a hole in the center for even baking. Popular for pound cakes, coffee cakes, and rich butter-based cakes, Bundt pans must be well-greased and floured to achieve delicate releases. Ceramic and metal are common materials.

Tips for Success

  • Apply nonstick spray or butter generously to all contours
  • Dust well with flour, tapping out excess
  • Allow cakes to cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack

Popular Sizes

  • 10-12 cup: Full-size Bundt cakes serving 10-16 people
  • Mini 4 cup: Individual portion Bundt cakes

Muffin Pans

Best Uses

The small, round indentations of muffin pans produce individual-sized baked goods perfect for grab-and-go breakfasts, snacks, and desserts. From sweet to savory, the possibilities are endless. Standard sizes fit muffin liners while mini pans make bite-sized treats.

Tips for Success

  • Fill cups 2/3 to 3/4 full for perfectly domed muffin tops
  • Allow a little extra space at the top for any rising batters
  • Avoid overmixing batters to prevent tunneling

Popular Sizes

  • Standard 12 cup
  • Mini 24 cup
  • Jumbo 6 cup

Madeleine Pans

Best Uses

Shaped like a seashell, the fluted indentations in madeleine pans produce small, elegant sponge cakes with a distinctive shape. With just a few ingredients, madeleine pans bake buttery, lemon-kissed treats that go perfectly with tea or coffee.

Tips for Success

  • Chill batter for at least 2 hours before baking
  • Generously grease and flour indentations
  • Bake immediately after filling; do not let batter sit

Popular Sizes

  • Standard 12 count
  • Mini 24 count
  • Large 6 count

Common Baking Pan Materials

Understanding the properties of various bakeware materials will help you select the right pans. Here is an overview:


Durable and affordable, metal pans like aluminum and steel conduct heat well for even baking but can darken crusts quickly. Benefits include:

  • Heats evenly and quickly
  • Makes crisp crusts
  • Can go directly from fridge to oven
  • Prone to warping over time

Care Tips

  • Avoid metal utensils to prevent scratching
  • Wash by hand or top shelf of dishwasher
  • Avoid leaving pans wet; dry immediately


Pretty and inexpensive, glass pans allow you to monitor baking progress but can produce crisper, thicker crusts. Benefits include:

  • Lets you view baking items
  • Affordable prices
  • Goes from oven to table for serving

Care Tips

  • Avoid extreme temperature changes
  • Wash by hand to prevent cracking/shattering


Offering even heating with a beautiful look, ceramic bakeware is a popular choice although more fragile than metal. Benefits include:

  • Stylish, artisan look
  • Naturally nonstick surface
  • Retains heat very well

Care Tips

  • Avoid metal utensils
  • Wash gently by hand


Flexible, nonstick silicone pans make baking and removing goods easy. However, heat transmission can vary so care must be taken.

  • Food releases very easily
  • Can be folded for compact storage
  • Limits browning of foods

Care Tips

  • Avoid greasing
  • Check often as browning varies
  • Not ideal for high oven temperatures

Baking Pan Selection Guide by Pastry Type

Not sure exactly what type of pan your recipe is calling for? Here is a handy cheat sheet for common pastries and appropriate pans:


  • Layer cakes: Round or square baking pans, at least 2-inches deep
  • Sheet cakes: Jelly roll pans or rimmed baking sheets
  • Bundt or pound cakes: Fluted tube Bundt pans
  • Cheesecakes or tortes: Springform pans
  • Sponge or angel food cakes: Tube pans with removable inserts/bottoms


  • Drop or refrigerated cookie dough: Baking sheets
  • Rolled or shaped cookies: Baking sheets lined with parchment
  • Bar cookies and brownies: Rectangular baking pans or dishes


  • Quick breads like banana, zucchini, pumpkin, etc: Loaf pans
  • Yeasted bread loaves: Bread pans or loaf pans
  • Sweet rolls: Rounded cups of muffin tins
  • Savory breads like foccacia: Rimmed baking sheets

Pies and Tarts

  • Fruit, custard, cream, or curd pies: Glass, metal, or ceramic pie dishes
  • Tarts: Fluted tart pans with removable bottoms
  • Galettes: Rimmed baking sheets
  • Pot pies: Ramekins, pie dishes, oven-safe bowls


  • Croissants, Danish, strudels: Baking sheets lined with parchment
  • Éclairs and cream puffs: Baking sheets lined with parchment
  • Madeleines: Madeleine molds with shell-shaped cups
  • Puff pastry: Baking sheets lined with parchment

Baking Pan Size Conversions

Wondering about size equivalents if you don’t have the exact pan called for? Here is a handy reference guide:

  • 8-inch round cake pan = One 9-inch pie plate
  • 9 x 13-inch rectangular cake pan = One 10-inch tube or Bundt pan
  • 12 cup muffin tin = Two 6-cup mini muffin tins

Care and Maintenance Tips

Investing in quality bakeware will serve you for years with proper care. Here are tips for cleaning and storing pans:


  • Allow pans to fully cool before washing
  • Wash gently by hand or top rack of dishwasher
  • Avoid abrasive scrubbers which can damage surfaces
  • Dry thoroughly immediately after washing


  • Nest pans carefully to prevent scratching surfaces
  • Place parchment rounds between stacked pans
  • Store with care to avoid warping pans
  • Hang or stack pans to maximize cabinet space


  • Warped or rusted: Recycle and purchase new pan
  • Damaged nonstick surfaces: Replace as coating may chip further
  • Faded colors or markings: Replace if difficult to judge doneness

Common Baking Problems and Solutions

Even with quality bakeware, you may still encounter some problems. Here are troubleshooting tips for common baking mishaps:

Soggy Crusts

Causes: Too much filling, glass or stoneware pans, underbaked goods, high humidity


  • Use metal pans for wet fillings
  • Bake 10-15 minutes longer
  • Cool completely before adding fillings
  • Brush crusts with egg wash for crispness

Uneven Baking

Causes: Warped pans, overcrowded pans, inconsistent oven temperatures


  • Rotate pans midway through baking
  • Stagger pans at least 2 inches apart and 1-2 inches from oven walls
  • Use oven thermometer to set accurate temps
  • Avoid cheaper thin pans which warp easily


Causes: Dark metal pans, glass pans, convection setting, oven hot spots


  • Use medium tins, ceramic, or silicone pans
  • Reduce heat by 25° F
  • Tent foil over crusts to prevent over-browning
  • Rotate and check often to prevent burning

Baking Pan Selection FAQs

Still have questions about choosing bakeware? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

What size cake pan do I need for a 9×13 recipe?

A 9×13 inch sheet cake recipe will fit into two round 8 or 9-inch cake pans. Fill them

2/3 full and adjust baking time, checking a few minutes early.

What is the standard pie pan size?

The standard pie pan size is 9 inches. This allows enough room for fillings to bubble and crusts to crisp properly.

Can I use a metal pan instead of glass or ceramic?

Yes, you can substitute a metal pan for glass or ceramic. Keep in mind metal may produce crisper, browner crusts so you may need to tent foil over the top if it browns too quickly, and reduce heat by 25°F.

What is the difference between a cake pan and a pie pan?

Cake pans have straight sides to produce tall, uniform cakes for layering and frosting. Pie pans have angled sloping sides to encourage rising crusts with enough overhang to crimp decorative edges. The sloped sides also promote even browning.

How do I know if my pans are warped?

To check for warping, place the pan on a flat surface. Spin the pan and see if it wobbles. Warped pans will prevent even baking so it’s best to replace them. Avoid storing pans while they are still warm as this can contribute to warping over time.

What is the best bakeware material: metal, glass, ceramic, silicone?

The best material depends on your baking needs and preferences. Metal conducts heat well for crisp crusts but requires close monitoring to prevent over-browning. Glass and ceramic look pretty but may create moist crusts. Silicone is super flexible but doesn’t promote browning. Try a few options to see what works best for your recipes!

I hope this comprehensive guide gives you clarity and confidence to select the perfect pans for all your baking projects! Let me know if you have any other pastry pan questions.

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