You’d think – given how much baking I do – that I’d have every size and shape pan imaginable.

You’d think.

But when we moved last year I did a major kitchen purge, and only brought with me the pans I really used on a regular basis.

How to Swap Baking Pans l

That said, I found myself one pan short a few weeks ago, when I wanted to make a double batch of this cranberry coffee cake. It calls for a 9″ x 2″ round pan – an unusual size, as most people (including myself) have either shallow 9″ pans for layer cakes, OR 9″ x 3″ springform pans. I’ve always used the latter for this cake, but my layer cake pans were too shallow to use for the second batch.

Which is when I consulted my handy-dandy pan conversion list, which I’m sharing with you all today! Click here to take a look, and print it out for yourself. As you can see, a 9 x 2 round pan has just about the same volume as an 8 x 8 square. And it worked perfectly.

There is NO reason to have an arsenal of baking pans. You’re better off investing in fewer, good quality pans that work with what you most frequently bake, versus random shapes/sizes that you use for only one (rarely made) recipe. And once YOU have my handy-dandy list it’ll be even easier to make do with what you have.

So what’s in my “capsule” baking pan collection? Here’s what I use all the time (aside from my ALWAYS used sheet pans):

* Loaf Pans – I have two 8″ x 4″ pans and four 9″ x 5″. The smaller size is for making The Cake Bible’s Vanilla Pound Cake, Lemon Poppy Pound Cake and Chocolate Bread. I’ve been making these cakes for over 20 years. And the larger size? For everything else. Pumpkin bread, banana bread, icebox cakes and even popsicles. A true workhorse in my kitchen (click to read about how to line a baking pan).

Tropical Icebox Cake l

* Springform Pan (9″ x 3″) – Perfect size for most cheesecakes (though I typically make minis), I also use it for ice cream cakes, my fave (and yours too, based on how often it’s viewed!) honey-lemon cake, and most recently ruffled milk pie (click to read about how to make a parchment paper circle).

Ice Cream Cake l

* Bundt and Tube Pans – Nice to have if you like to bake larger cakes that are not layer cakes. For example, my Easy Chocolate Cake and Honey Cake. But they are also perfect for monkey breads (sweet or savory), and for making lovely ice rings too.

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* Square Pans (8″ x 8″ and 9″ x 9″) – My most used pans, for sure. Particularly the 8 x 8’s – which is why I have 4 of them. I’ve talked about doubling recipes here and as these pans nest nicely it is worth it for me to have several on-hand – for cakes, bars, cornbread and stuffed shells.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

*Set of 4 Mini Loaf Pans – These are a specialty item for sure, but I wouldn’t be without them. As I often give the above-mentioned loaves as gifts, these pans allow me to divide the batter and make smaller loaves. Perfect for gifting and you get more bang for the buck. As a guideline, a cake or bread that is baked in a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan will yield 3 mini loaves, and one baked in an 8″ x 4″ pan will yield 2 mini loaves.

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Click the links to read about my other essential baking tools, utensils and equipment!

What are your must-haves in the kitchen? And do you have any baking questions/challenges that I can help with? Drop me a line at if you do! And check out all of my baking tutorials and recipes on Pinterest!

How to Swap Baking Pans l

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