Here’s Why Different Loaf Pan Sizes Can Make Your Bread Fall Flat

Are your breads falling flat? You may have the wrong pan! Here's the skinny on loaf pan sizes.

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If your quick breads are short and squat instead of rising high, your pan may be to blame. While loaf pan sizes may seem insignificant, the pan volume can make all the difference.

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Common Loaf Pan Sizes

Loaf pans can come in all sorts of sizes, from large pain de mie pans to mini sizes that make perfect food gifts. Here are a few of the most common sizes:

Bread pan size chartClaire Krieger/Taste of Home

If you need to modify your recipe to fit in a pan you have at home, use our handy chart to help cut down your recipe.

Use the Right Size for Best Results

The two most popular bread pan sizes are 9×5 and 8½x4½ inches. Both sizes are typically 2½ inches tall. While the difference in sizes seems small, it actually equals a 15% difference in capacity. That can really affect the outcome of your bake—especially in quick breads and those that use less than three cups of flour.

If your recipe calls for a 8½x4½-inch pan and you use a 9×5, your bread could fall flat instead of properly rising. On the other hand, if your recipe calls for a 9×5 and you use a 8½x4½, your batter may overflow and burn in the oven!

If you don’t have the right size pan for your recipe, here’s how to adapt baking recipes so you can use the pans you already have in your kitchen.

What If Your Recipe Doesn’t Specify?

You should always follow the directions on which size pan to use, but what should you do if it doesn’t say? Because the limit of any loaf pan is about two-thirds full, we recommend you choose the 8½x4½. Fill the pan until it’s two-thirds full, and if there is any remaining batter, fill up a muffin tin. This ensures you get a beautifully risen loaf instead of a potentially flat loaf in a 9×5.

Now that you know the importance of pan sizes, it’s time to make a loaf of the Best-Ever Banana Bread!

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Alexa Hackfort
Alexa is a writer who believes there’s always room for ice cream. Based in Milwaukee, she enjoys exploring the city, tackling new recipes and planning her next trip.