How to Make a Big Pan Smaller for Baking

Some recipes require a small pan or small portions. If you have the appropriate pan for that, then you can follow your baking recipe as is.

However, if you don’t have a small enough baking pan, you should not use a large as it is. If you’re baking a cake, the large pan will cause the batter to be too shallow.

As a result, the batter will cook faster, risking overcooking or burning. That said, you can make a simple modification to rectify that.

Here’s a guide on how to make a big pan smaller for baking.

Steps on How to Make a Big Pan Smaller for Baking

Baking requires a lot of accuracy with the ingredients’ amount, equipment, and method.

So, you should not try to bake cakes and other foods with batter in an incorrectly sized pan.

You can try this hack so that you don’t have a buy another pan. It can also come in handy when you need to bake something at short notice.

All you have to do is make foil dams, but you should try to get the dimensions as accurate as possible.

Step 1. Gather the Necessary Materials

You won’t require anything more than a few household items for this process.

Gather the following necessary materials and keep them ready.

  • Foil paper
  • Any pencil or pen
  • A measuring ruler or tape
  • A piece of paper large enough to cover the pan (you’ll place this paper underneath the pan)

Step 2. Measure the Dimensions of the Pan

You may not already know the dimensions of the pan.

If you don’t, use your measuring ruler or measuring tape to check the length, breadth, and height.

You can now have a better idea of how much you’ll have to resize the pan.

Also read: How to Measure a Frying Pan (So That it is Ideal for Your Requirements)?

Step 3. Place Your Large Pan Over the Piece of Paper

Place the piece of paper on a flat surface such as the kitchen countertop. You can place paperweights to keep the paper from moving around.

Next, place your large baking pan over the piece of paper. Make sure that the entire base of the pan is over the piece of paper.

Once you’ve placed it in the appropriate position, don’t move the pan.

Step 4. Trace an Outline of the Baking Pan on the Paper

Place your pencil or pen perpendicular to the countertop. Next, attach the side of the pencil to the baking pan without moving the pan.

Make sure that the pen does not tilt in any direction.

Place one hand on the surface of the pan to keep it in place.

With your other hand, run the pen along the edges of the pan while keeping it straight throughout.

After that, you’ll have a complete outline of your baking pan. This process makes it easier to measure the pan and accommodate the resizing.

Make sure not to remove the pan even after making the outline.

Step 5. Mark the New Dimensions on the Piece of Paper

Check the recipe for the dimensions of the pan that you need.

You most likely will have to make a change to both the length and width of your existing baking pan.

However, in some cases, you may just have to resize either the length or width.

That will be easier because you will have to make just one foil dam. In the other case, you’ll have to make two foil dams.

Start from Just One Corner of the Baking Pan

Pick one corner of the baking pan and make all changes from that point.

From that corner, use your measuring tape to determine where the pan’s width should end.

Mark that measurement on the paper beneath the pan using your pencil.

Make sure that the width is the correct measurement that you need—not the difference between the width of your pan and the required width.

Starting from the same corner, measure the length and mark it on the paper. As a result, you will know where you should place the foil dams.

This process simply makes it easy to visualize what the resized pan will look like. At the same time, you will also ensure better accuracy with the measurements.

A more accurately measured pan will ensure that your food turns out the way you want it to.

Step 6. Create the Foil Dams to Place into the Baking Pan

You will have to construct dams made from foil that will act as the wall of the pan.

The sizes of the two foil dams will be the length and width of the required pan.

If you need to make just one, the size of the foil dam will be either the length or width of the required pan.

Cut Out the Correct Size of the Foil

Once the size is sorted, you will need to cut out a piece of foil.

Make sure that it’s long enough to cover the entire surface area of the resized pan.

At the same time, it should be long enough for you to fold it multiple times.

The foil dam’s height should be equal to or taller than the original walls of the pan.

Use One Piece of Foil

It’s important that you use only one piece of foil for each dam.

This will ensure that it won’t tip over because the foil covering the surface of the pan will hold it up.

Fold the Foil At Least Three Times for Better Reinforcement

You should also fold the foil when creating the wall. Fold it at least three times so that it is more reinforced.

As a result, the liquid batter or the cake expansion won’t comprise the structure’s integrity.

Make sure that you do the same with the second foil dam.

Place the foil that will cover the surface over the foil from the other dam.

Step 7. Seal the Corner of the Foil Dams

Make sure that the corner where the two foil dams meet is sealed.

This way, none of the batter or other liquid food will leak and ruin the cooking process.

Take an additional piece of foil to seal the corner of the foil dams. Fold the piece of foil twice so that it’s solid.

Make sure the piece of foil is twice the height of the foil dam after folding it.

Next, bend the piece of foil in the middle to make it into an ‘L’ shape with equal length on both ends.

Place the foil over the corner and press it along the foil dams so that it sticks to it well.

The resized pan should be ready after that.

Step 8. Clean the Baking Pan Before Using It

Remove the piece of foil from the baking pan, and keep it aside.

You should now wash the pan thoroughly to ensure that it’s clean and ready to cook with.

Allow the pan to air dry, or wipe it with a soft cloth. After that, you can begin baking with it.

You could avoid this step by washing the pan before starting the process.

Also, if the pan is clean, you don’t have to clean it again because food won’t come in direct contact with it.

What You Should Keep in Mind When Resizing Your Baking Pan

Here are a few things you should keep in mind when you want to resize your baking pan.

Resize Pans that Have the Same Height/Depth as the Required Pan

You should note that if you want to reduce the size of the pan, make sure that your pan’s height matches what’s needed for the recipe.

You cannot change the depth of the pan.

If you require a deep pan, then you will have to purchase one. It’s in your best interest to invest in a range of different pans for the future.

This is especially helpful if you bake a lot and wish to try a variety of recipes and methods.  

Resizing Pans Works Best with Square or Rectangular Pans

It’s important to note that this resizing hack is best for rectangular and square pans. You can try it with other pans of other shapes.

However, it may be challenging to keep the foil wall upright in a circular shape.

Consider Scaling Your Recipe Up Instead of Resizing

If you don’t want to try this pan resizing hack, you can alter the recipe. You can scale the recipe to fit the size of your existing, larger pan.

Scaling the recipe up can change the cooking time in your recipe. Therefore, you will have to monitor the food in the oven to ensure that you don’t overcook or burn it.

You will be making more food with this option.

Therefore, you should consider it if you’re cooking for quite a few people. If not, you can store the leftovers and eat them later.

Last Few Words

While resizing a pan is a good solution when you’re pressed for time, it’s always best to get the right tools to bake food in the best possible way.

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