Making Sense Of Pie Pan Sizes
Can you identify the most common pie pan called for in recipes in the 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 dont 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 diameterthats 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 .
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? Its a roll of the dice, and it shouldnt be. Youll 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.
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.
The Best Budget Pie Plate: Pyrex 9
The Pyrex 9-inch Pie Dish has been around for a long time for good reason. It’s just the right size for most recipes, its sturdy, inexpensive, and it bakes quite evenly. Being able to see through the bottom to check the browning on the crust is also a huge bonus for novice and experienced bakers alike. The dish was slightly harder to clean than my number one pick and had some stickage issues with the graham cracker crust, but it was nothing a little scrub couldn’t take care of.
There have been incidents of Pyrex bakeware shattering in recent years which is why this dish ended up in second place. I didnt have any issues while I was baking and anecdotally havent heard of this happening to any of the bakers I know, but make sure to follow manufacturers instructions when using these dishes to reduce the small chance of your dish shattering.
Why You Should Trust Us
Through high school, college, and culinary school, Daniela Galarza worked in bakeries and restaurant pastry kitchens, where she baked thousands of pies. She has made every type of pie dough and filling, and has used pie dishes of all sizes, shapes, and styles. Marguerite Preston, who worked on a previous version of this guide, is a former professional baker with almost two decades of pie making under her belt. Shes now a senior editor overseeing Wirecutters kitchen and appliance coverage. This guide also builds on work by Wirecutter deputy editor Christine Cyr Clisset.
To ensure we werent limited to our own experiences, for our 2019 update we reached out to some of the best in the pie-making business, including third-generation pie baker Petra Paredez of Petees Pie Company in New York City Melissa Clark, longtime food columnist for The New York Times, who has written a guide to pie crust pastry chef and recipe developer Erin McDowell, author of The Fearless Baker and The Book of Pie: Everything You Need to Know to Bake the Perfect Pies Jerrelle Guy, photographer, recipe developer, and author of Black Girl Baking and Nicole Rucker, a pastry chef and pie baker in Los Angeles whose new book, Dappled, includes a section on pie. In the past weve also spoken to a number of other cookbook authors and pie experts.
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Buying Guide For Best Pie Pans
There’s nothing quite like cutting through a golden, flaky pastry crust to reveal a delicious filling inside, whether you’re baking a classic fruit pie or something more unusual, like a curried chickpea pie. Of course, to bake the perfect pie, you need the perfect pie pan.
Before choosing a pie pan, you should carefully consider which one is right for you. Material is more important than many people realize, with different materials giving a range of results. You also need to choose a pie dish of the correct size and shape to meet your needs, as well as consider other features, such as fluted edges and whether your pie pan is dishwasher safe.
Our Pick: Oxo Good Grips Glass 9 Pie Plate With Lid
*At the time of publishing, the price was $13.
The OXO Good Grips Glass 9 Pie Plate With Lid conducts heat very well, and in our tests it baked some of the most evenly browned crusts. At 2 inches deep, its one of the few glass dishes we found that qualify as deep-dish plates. It fits thick fruit pies better than shallower glass plates but isnt so deep that custard pies look skimpy. The rim is wider than most, which makes shaping a pretty crust easy, while the clear glass lets you see when your pie is done. And unlike with some other glass plates, you can transfer this one directly from freezer to oven since its made of borosilicate glass.
Among the 19 pie plates weve tested over the years, the OXO dish produced some of the most evenly browned crusts. In every test crusts baked up golden from edge to edge, with no pale spots as we saw on the bottoms and sides of pies baked in other plates. The pumpkin pie we baked in the OXO plate set into a smooth custard with a few small crinkles around the edges, while the peach pie emerged jammy and juicy with a neatly crimped edge and a crisp, golden-brown crust on top and bottom. Both pies cut neatly and didnt stick to the pan.
This pie plate comes with OXOs Better Guarantee, meaning OXO will replace it if it breaks under normal use due to any defects, and weve always found OXOs customer service to be very good. Well also continue to long-term test this plate to see how it performs over time.
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Other Pie Plates I Tested
The USA Pan Aluminized Steel Pie Pan was also a favorite. Pies baked beautifully in this metal plate. It has a ridged bottom meant to facilitate air circulation and add warp resistance and it did a wonderful job browning the bottom crust of the berry pie. The BPA-free silicone coating helped slices slide right out, but scratched after using metal utensils. USA recommends hand washing the pan which could be a turn off for folks whod prefer to use a dishwasher.
OXO makes a solid borosilicate glass pie dish which is thermal shock resistant, meaning that it can go from the freezer to the oven safely, but its 2-inch depth made the crust of the berry pie shrink down into to the pan and I imagine most recipes not specifically written for a deep-dish pie pan would suffer the same fate. The rim was also a bit trickier to hold onto than the Pyrex, which is why this was my second favorite glass dish. However, if you like to take your pies to go, this dish comes with a very handy cover.
The Anchor Hocking 9.5 Deep Dish Pie Plate also proved to be a bit too large to handle the recipes I tested it with, and the crust on the blueberry pie slumped down into the dish which made the slices tricky to remove. However, the two little handles on this glass dish made it easy to move in and out of the oven without disturbing the crust and made me wish the Pyrex had that little feature as well.
Why We Chose This One
- Super affordable: even when these arent on special, theyre extremely affordable. You get two pie plates for a really low cost.
- Easy to hold: the rim of these pie plates extends out horizontally, creating a ledge for you to grip easily when transporting from A to B. This means you have far more control over the dish and will be less likely to spill or drop the flan.
- Great shape: these pie plates have a classic pie shape, complete with the crimped sides. Theyre great for a classic round, slightly shallower flan and work just as well with pastry-based flan too.
- Comes with 2: its handy to have two of these stashed away, as sometimes an event calls for two flans which means you can have them both going at the same time. No need to make one, then wait for it to cool, then make the other. Et voila, two matching flans.
- Everything-safe: these pans are oven safe, dishwasher safe, microwave safe and freezer safe. You can store your flans in the freezer, reheat pies in the microwavewhatever you need to do.
- Easy to clean: because glass doesnt mark, rust, or scratch, these pans can be soaked in warm water to soften any tough stains, then scrubbed hard to get sparkling clean. And of course, you can throw them in the dishwasher too.
- Stays fresh and clear: the glass used for these pans is non-porous. This means that there are no miniscule holes for smells and stains to seep into. The pans stay odor-free, clean and fresh forever.
Read Also: Campbells Soup Chicken Pot Pie
Pyrex Easy Grab Glass Pie Plate 95
As you can see, we went for a glass pan for the first winner of our flan pan competition. During our research of many different flan recipes, we found the majority of them called for a glass baking dish.
Pyrex is a well-known, trusted brand with absolutely stellar glass bakeware. Their mixing bowls are second to none, and it seems this 2-pack of pie plates boasts the same great quality.
What To Look For In A Flan Pan
- Oven-safe: clearly, it has to be completely oven safe. While some flans are boiled in a water bath, most are cooked in the oven.
- A good shape: while this sounds very vague, the shape is important, but it does depend on what kind of flan youre making. You might be in need of a round pie-style dish, or a deep cake-style dish or a ring bundt-style dish.
- Easy to grab and hold steadily: raw flan mixture is rather thin and easy to spill, so you need a pan with some decent tabs on the sides. This also really helps when lifting hot pans out of the oven as you can get a good grip on the edges without getting thumbs in the food!
- Spill-proof: this feeds into the easy to hold point above, but it also applies to the construction of the pan. If using a springform pan, ensure it has been designed to be watertight and completely leak proof.
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A Note About Types Of Pie Dishes
There are three main categories of pie dishes on the market today: glass, ceramic, and metal. In this test, I set out to find the best all-purpose dish for all of your pie needs. All three materials have benefits, but versatility was the name of the game here.
Glasss main draw is that you can easily monitor the bottom and sides of the pie as it is baking. Metal pans conduct heat exceptionally well and are generally thinner than glass and ceramic making them champs in the browning department. Metal pans can also be safely be transferred from the fridge or freezer to the oven with no risk of shattering like some glass and ceramic models, although thin metal dishes can warp. Ceramic dishes are beautiful and well insulated, making them a top choice for custard pies with delicate fillings, and they excel in the presentation department. They also tend to be a bit deeper than standard glass and metal dishes which can be helpful for some recipes, but not so much with others.
To find the best, I gathered eight, 9-inch pie dishes: two metal, three glass, and three ceramic and put them through their paces by baking a blueberry pie and a Key lime pie. Rest assured, there will be no soggy bottoms on my watch.
Who Should Get This
If you like to bake pies even just once or twice a year, having a pie plate in your kitchen is worth it. Sure, you have ways to get around using onemaking a slab pie or galette on a baking sheet, for instance, or just using a disposable aluminum tin. But you cant make things like deep-dish fruit pies or towering lemon meringue pies on a baking sheet. And although a disposable tin can bake evenly, its flimsy and small, and it doesnt look so nice on the table. Plus, a good pie plate can come in handy for more than just sweets: If the dish is deep enough, you can use it to make things like frittatas and pot pies. You can also use it for recipes associated with specialty tart or springform pans, such as quiche and cheesecake.
If you have a pie plate you like, one that is durable and has served you well, keep it. But if you cant seem to achieve golden crusts or evenly cooked filling, you may want to upgrade to a better plate. A high-quality pie plate can survive many years of use, so whether youre an experienced baker or an occasional one, a good plate is worth the investment .
Recommended Reading: Original Key Lime Pie Company
Also Great: Emile Henry 9
Though its pricier than other models, the Emile Henry 9-Inch Pie Dish is a worthwhile investment for anyone who wants a deep, attractive dish for serving pies. It has ranked among our top picks since we first wrote this guide in 2013, and in all our tests it has consistently browned crusts and cooked fillings more evenly than other ceramic plates. The Emile Henry is safe to transfer from freezer to oven, and its also the only one of our picks thats broiler safe, which is an advantage when you want to brown the top of a meringue pie. Plus, its prettier than a glass plate and available in several colors.
All the pies we baked in the Emile Henry dish came out beautifully. Its blind-baked crusts were well browned on the bottom, whereas other, thicker, heavier ceramic plates turned out paler crusts. Our pumpkin pie set perfectly, and our peach pie emerged golden and crisp from top to bottom. Although pies took a few minutes longer to bake in the Emile Henry dish than in the OXO and Pyrex plates, they were still done within the guidelines of the recipe. Thicker ceramic plates, such as the USA Pan Pie Stone, took as much as 20 minutes longer to bake and still left our pies with a soggy bottom.