with Greg Patent, Award Winning Cookbook Author

Making Sense of Pie Pan Sizes

Can you identify the most common pie pan called for in recipes in the above picture?

I had a chat recently with Kate McDermott, author of the highly celebrated and best-selling cookbook, “Art of the Pie,” about the bewildering variation in pie pans or pie plates. Kate said “Why don’t you write a blog about it?” So I did. And here it is.

What you see in the photo is all the 9 pie plates I own, accumulated over decades of baking. They range in size from 8 inches to 10 inches in diameter–that’s the measurement across the opening at the top of the pie plate. By far, the most commonly called for pie plate is the 9-inch size, preferably made of ovenproof glass (Pyrex© brand usually). Can you spot it? It’s in the upper right corner, perched atop two other glass plates. It has a nice broad rim to support the edge of a fluted pie crust. The opening of this pan, however, is only 8 3/4 inches across its open top diameter and the height of the pan is 1 1/2 inches. The only pan in my collection with a true 9-inch opening is the one in the lower right of the photo, an aluminum pan made by Mirro©. It’s also 1 1/2 inches high.

In the bottom left sits a 9 1/2 inch deep-dish rimless pie plate and to its right is an actual 10-inch pie plate with a 10-inch opening. Resting on top of the rimless deep-dish pie plate is its sister, a 9 1/2 inch rimmed deep-dish plate. So which would you use if a recipe called for a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan? It’s a roll of the dice, and it shouldn’t be. You’ll have to base your choice on the quantity of the pie filling and if the recipe said to make a fluted edge. No rim to the pan, then no fluted edge. A high fluted edge can often compensate for an undersized pie plate.

My advice? For “regular” pies, use the 9-inch Pyrex© pan. I much prefer glass to metal because I can see the color of the crust while the pie bakes and adjust my baking time accordingly. Deep-dish pie plates are needed less often, but if a 9-inch one is specified, the pan size is 9 1/2 inches. Rimmed or rimless will depend on the recipe.

Why do  I have a glass 10-inch pie plate? I bought it many years ago to bake a crème brûlée recipe that said to use an 11-inch pie plate! Go figure.

Happy Baking!



3 thoughts on “Making Sense of Pie Pan Sizes”

  • I have a hand-written recipe card that belonged to my husband’s grandmother. It makes 3 of the BEST pumpkin pies I’ve ever eaten. It calls for a large, 29-oz. can of pumpkin, 2 large cans of evaporated milk, plus 2 cups of whole milk, and calls for 2 9-in. regular pie plates, and one 10-in. regular pie plate. It’s the only recipe I use it for.

      • What SIZE PAN do I use, to make HALF of a regular pie recipe? My Dad and my Mother-in-law, both love my coconut cream pie, but giving each senior citizen an ENTIRE 9” Pie is crazy. I’d like to make one FULL recipe, divide in HALF (in two appropriate sized tins or pans) and give each parental unit: HALF of pie. Thanks so very much!

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