Springform Pan Won’t Open? Here’s What To Do

A springform pan is a two-piece pan that can be incredibly useful for making delicately layered desserts and savory deep-dish entrees. If you are a frequent baker, you likely have a springform pan in your kitchen. A latch enables you to loosen and remove the pan's sides from 'round your cake, keeping the cake intact for presentation. But what happens when the springform pan won't open, and the side rim is affixed to the bottom? We've researched how to get your springform pan open and keep it working smoothly.

There are several methods to fix a springform pan that won't open, depending on the issue. Take a close look at your pan's clasp and bottom lip to assess the problem, and then try any of these techniques to fix an empty, stuck pan: 

  • straighten a bent clasp using needle-nose pliers
  • tighten a loose clasp using needle-nose pliers
  • open the clasp and drop (an empty pan) on a carpeted floor
  • open the clasp and firmly tap the bottom and sides of the pan (while empty)
  • flex or pry the sides to loosen from the pan's bottom
  • clean the pan
  • replace the pan (bent rim, misshapen bottom, or broken clasp)

Hopefully, you've discovered the pan won't open before baking your dessert or entree! Please keep reading as we delve into troubleshooting and fixing a springform pan that does not open. We'll also discuss how to assemble a springform pan, clean it, and how to get your delicate cheesecake off the bottom in one piece.

A woman opening a pink springform pan with freshly baked bread, Springform Pan Won't Open? Here's What To Do

How to Fix a Broken Springform Pan

A springform pan placed on a white background

A springform pan has a base with a lip and a detachable rim (or the pan's circular sides). A spring-loaded clasp loosens and tightens the rim to be secured onto the base or detached from the base. Whether you have a freshly baked dessert trapped inside the pan awaiting a taste or you need to use a springform pan to mold your next recipe, we've got the details on how to keep your pan functioning and your cakes pouring in and popping out with ease!

Fixing the Clasp

If your springform pan won't open, the first place to look for an issue is on the rim's clasp. Inspect the clasp to ensure that it is not bent. If the clasp is not aligned properly, it will not open or close with ease. You can use a pair of needle-nose pliers to carefully straighten a bent clasp.

The spring-loaded feature of the clasp is attached with two small screws. Sometimes, these screws loosen so that the clasp does not load enough force onto the spring to create a tight seal. If the screws are misaligned or loose, here again, you can use a pair of needle-nose pliers to adjust or tighten.

Apply Force

This technique seems somewhat destructive, but sometimes a stuck pan requires a little bit of force to pull apart. Try this technique with an empty pan; otherwise, your dessert or entree will be served from the floor! Always open the clasp first to loosen the rim. Then you can tap, bang, or drop the pan onto a carpeted surface to pop the bottom free. A small rubber mallet might actually be the right tool for this job!

It might take some elbow grease to flex or pry the rim just a bit to loosen it from the bottom. You might also use a tool here like a flathead screwdriver to squeeze between the rim and bottom and pry -use caution if you bring tools onto the scene because the metal on metal in tight spaces can easily slip and cause injury!

Clean the pan

Keeping the pan squeaky clean can prevent it from getting stuck. Crumbs often gather between the bottom's lip and the rim and also between the clasp. If the pan is assembled with lingering crumbs, it can jam the rim into the lip and be difficult to disassemble. You'll want to handwash the disassembled springform pan using warm, soapy water. A mild dish detergent should do the trick to break-up any built-up grease. Thoroughly rinse and towel or air dry.

Unsalvagable Springform Pan

If you've checked all the trouble-spots and not been successful at opening your pan -it's time for a replacement! A bent rim may never realign properly with the base. A broken clasp might be irreparable. But what can you use in the meantime? As alternatives to a springform pan, you can also use a greased or lined:

  • Cake pan (metal or glass)
  • Pie dish (metal or glass)
  • Disposable aluminum pan
  • Silicone cake pan

If you've discovered your springform pan is stuck while dessert or dinner is waiting to be released, don't worry! Although you won't have a flawless presentation --some crumbles, cracks, or spills are likely to occur --you can gently remove the food by loosening it from the sides using a non-stick spatula or utensil. Then, place a cookie tray, serving tray, or cutting board on top of the springform pan. Turn the pan upside down and tap along the sides and bottom to release the food onto the tray. Upside down cake, anyone!

Does the Lip on the Bottom of a Springform Pan Go Up or Down?

The small ridge, or lip, should be facing up when you assemble the rim on the bottom of your springform pan. Don't panic if you've done it upside down by accident -yes, it will still attach. It just means that you'll have a less secure seal and likely an unsightly little indent in the bottom of your baked cake.

How Do You Get Cheesecake Off the Bottom of a Springform Pan?

Raspberry cheesecake on a glass serving plate

The best way to get cheesecake off the bottom of a springform pan is to prepare the pan for a smooth retrieval before adding the batter. Refer to your cheesecake recipe for a recommendation on whether to grease or line the pan. Then, using your preferred grease (butter, shortening, cooking spray, etc.), lightly coat the bottom and sides of the pan. To line the pan, you'll want to use parchment paper and check out our detailed instructions here: "Should You Grease or Line a Springform Pan."

If you are concerned about a leaking springform pan, read  "Are Springform Pans Supposed to Leak?" for the best methods to minimize leaks. Preparing your pan will help prevent the rim from getting stuck on burnt-on batter drips.

Pouring water bath for cheesecake inside the oven

Do not attempt to remove the cheesecake from the springform pan until it has completely cooled. Once the cake is cool, unlatch the pan's clasp. If you've lined the pan with parchment paper, you can gently lift the loosed rim from around the cheesecake. If you have greased the pan, you may need to run a non-stick spatula between the cake and sides of the pan to loosen it before lifting the rim.

If you've lined the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, you can press a spatula between the paper and the pan's base to gently lift the cheesecake (with paper) and place it onto a serving tray. Be careful when cutting the cheesecake not to serve a piece of paper -peel it away! If the base is not lined, use the same technique of gently prying the cake up using a spatula.

Final Thoughts

Using a springform pan can give you a lovely presentation for a stacked, delicate dessert or filled to the brim, savory entree. But when the pan doesn't work, don't fret! You can fix a springform pan that won't open before adding your ingredients. And, if you prepare the pan properly by greasing or lining, you'll still be able to retrieve (although maybe not flawlessly) your recipe from a stuck pan.

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