The Truth Behind the Numbers on Your 13×9 Pan

Guess what: Not all 13x9 pans are created equal.

It’s a rainy Saturday, aka the perfect time to bake up a big batch of gooey chocolate brownies. You pull out all your ingredients (including Dutch cocoa powder—what is that, anyway?—for extra richness) and, of course, your trusty 13×9 pan. But before you start mixing, before you even preheat the oven, you might want to double check that pan. Because it turns out those numbers on the bottom might not even be accurate.

What’s the Deal?

Because there are no defined standards for bakeware, not all 13×9 pans are actually, well, 13 inches by 9 inches. Sometimes it might be due to a thicker edge, sometimes it might just be due to the pan’s design. Regardless, it’s important that you use a pan that is the right size. Otherwise, you could end up ruining your recipe. That’s bad news for these yummy 13×9 desserts!

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How to Measure a Baking Pan

Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to ensure your pan is 13×9. To start, take it into your own hands and measure it yourself. Always measure from inside edge to inside edge. Going from the outside edges includes the pan’s border which throws off your measurement and will most likely make it inaccurate. Another rule of thumb is to use your ruler to measure across the top, not the bottom.

You can also measure the pan’s volume, aka how much batter it holds. Do this by filling the pan with water all the way to the top—a true 13×9 pan should hold about 14 cups or 3.3 liters of liquid.

Test Kitchen tip: This is much easier to do if you measure the cups as you fill (instead of filling it up, then having to pour the water into a measuring cup).

Don’t forget to consider your pan’s depth, too. The average 13×9 pan is two inches deep. You can measure for depth by holding a ruler straight up (no slanting!) in the bottom of the dish. A shallower pan may not hold all of your batter whereas a deeper pan may not cook evenly through the center.

Remember, just because a piece of bakeware looks like a 13×9 pan doesn’t mean it really is. Always measure first to make sure you’re using the right size—and avoid burning those scrumptious blondies you’ve been craving so much.

Good news! Your pan is bound to fit in one of these genius casserole carriers!

Try these no-leftovers 13x9 potluck recipes.
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Amanda Tarlton
As both a freelance lifestyle writer and editor for a national teen magazine, Amanda spends most of her time creating #content. In those (rare) moments when she's not at her desk typing furiously, she's likely teaching a hot yoga class, reading the latest chick-lit or baking a batch of her famous scones.