You don’t need to fly to Manhattan to get your hands on a delicious, homemade cheesecake. In fact, it’s relatively easy to create this iconic dessert at-home—provided you have the proper equipment. Speaking of equipment, you can’t talk about baking cheesecakes without bringing up springform pans. Although most chefs swear by springform, does that mean you can’t bake a cheesecake without this pan? Before adding a springform pan to your kitchen, be sure to read the research we’ve done on this topic.
It’s not necessary to use a springform pan for baking a cheesecake. The only reason most people use a springform pan is that it’s convenient to open the sides for a picture-perfect cake. However, just keep in mind that springform pans are taller than most cake pans. So, if you’re using a standard cake pan, you may need to reduce the recipe’s measurements.
Now that you know springform pans aren’t a necessity, you may be wondering what you could use as an alternative. Please keep reading to find out how to bake a tasty cheesecake without investing in a springform pan.
What Can You Use Instead Of A Springform Pan For Cheesecake?
Aluminum Cake Pan
The best alternative to a springform pan is a standard aluminum cake pan. The reason bakers favor aluminum pans is that they have excellent heat conductivity. You could also look for pans with both aluminum and steel for extra durability.
Disposable Foil Pan
Besides aluminum cake pans, some at-home chefs recommend using disposable foil pans in their cheesecake recipes. When you use these cheap pans, you could easily cut the edges with a knife before presenting your cheesecake. Plus, since these pans are disposable, you’ll avoid that perennial potluck faux pas—leaving your cake pan over another person’s house!
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A Glass Pan
You can bake a cheesecake in an oven-safe glass pan such as Pyrex. However, if you’re going to use this pan, you should turn down your recipe’s recommended temp by 25° F.
While glass pans tend to heat more evenly than metal ones, they also act as insulators. Because glass pans retain so much heat, there’s always a higher chance your baked goods will burn on the sides. Lowering the temperature by 25°F helps reduce the chance of burning your beautiful cheesecake.
If you’d like to learn more about baking with glass pans, please read our exhaustive post entitled, “Is It Better To Bake A Cake In A Glass Or Metal Pan?”
Could You Use Silicone Pans To Make Cheesecake?
While silicone molds might work on other treats, it’s not a great choice for cheesecakes. Even if you have exceptional dexterity, it’s nearly impossible to get your cheesecake out of these molds without damaging it. Most pro chefs say they have better luck using parchment paper in a well-greased cake pan.
However, there are a few silicone springform pans that are designed for cheesecakes. Just be sure these silicone pans open them from the sides.
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What Is The Difference Between A Cheesecake Pan And A Springform Pan?
For some odd reason, more people use springform pans to make cheesecakes than “cheesecake pans.” Indeed, so many cheesecake recipes call for springform pans that few people nowadays know “cheesecake pans” exist. The key difference between these two-piece pans is that traditional cheesecake models don’t release from the side. Instead, you have to push up on a cheesecake pan’s bottom once your cake has cooled.
Although cheesecake pans aren’t as convenient as springform models, some at-home chefs claim they’re less prone to leakage.
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What’s The Best Springform Pan Size For A Cheesecake?
The majority of springform pans measure either 9’’ x 9’’ or 10’’ x 10’’. Both of these sizes work great for traditional cheesecakes, but be sure to check your recipe for more specific instructions.
However, it’s worth noting that there are smaller springform pans if you’d like to make “mini cakes.” These cute models might be a fantastic choice if you want to practice “portion control!”
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How Do You Keep A Cheesecake From Sticking To A Springform Pan?
Grease the Pan
To avoid dealing with the dreaded “stuck crust,” always load your springform pan with a ton of melted butter. It doesn’t matter if your manufacturer says your pan is “non-stick;” extra melted butter will help keep your cake from sticking, and it tastes pretty good, too!
On top of a healthy layer of fat, you should line your springform pan with parchment paper. Be sure to read this previous post on "Lining A Springform Pan" to learn more about this strategy.
Line The Pan With Parchment Paper
You’ll have an easier time removing your cake with a layer of parchment paper. Indeed, some chefs crisscross two layers of parchment paper and let the edges hang over their cake pan’s edges. When your cheesecake has cooled, grab the sides of your parchment paper and gently pull up to release the cake.
Alternatively, you could place a circle of parchment paper on your cake pan’s bottom and wrap another layer along the sides. To see how to use this tip like a pro, be sure to watch celebrity chef Alton Brown’s cheesecake tutorial.
Allow Cake to Cool Completely
Lastly, it would help if you let your cheesecake cool thoroughly before you attempt to take it out of your springform pan. At a minimum, you should keep your cheesecake in the fridge for one hour. However, it’s always best to chill your cheesecake overnight.
After you’ve unlocked your pan, run a large, sharp knife under the bottom to gently loosen the cake. Next, place at least two firm pancake spatulas on both sides of the cheesecake and carefully transfer it to your serving plate.
How Do I Stop Springform Pans From Leaking In A Water Bath?
People have a major issue with springform pans leaking—especially if you cook your cheesecake in a water bath. The easiest way to deal with this problem is to wrap your springform pan with a few layers of aluminum foil. For extra protection, you could place this foil-wrapped pan in another larger metal pot.
Watch this short video by America’s Test Home Kitchen to see how to create a leak-proof springform pan:
What Else Could You Use A Springform Pan For?
Many people shy away from buying a springform pan because they fear it will just collect dust. Sure, you could use this pan to make an easy cheesecake, but is it really worth your money and kitchen space?
Although springform pans are closely associated with cheesecakes, that doesn’t mean you can’t use these pans for other dishes. For instance, here are a few other recipe ideas that go great in a springform pan:
- Soda Bread
- Deep-Dish Pizza
- Sponge Cake
- Crumb Cake
- Garlic Bread
- Deep-Dish Chicken Pot Pie
- Frozen Desserts
- Upside-Down Cakes
Please consider all of these alternative uses for a springform pan when deciding whether it’s worth your while.
Using A Springform Pan Is Up To You!
Just because you don’t have a springform pan isn’t an excuse to reserve a table at the Cheesecake Factory! You can make a delicious homemade cheesecake with a standard aluminum cake pan or a disposable foil pan. Springform pans may have the “convenience factor,” but they aren’t necessary for making every New Yorker's favorite pastry.