What Is a Springform Pan and How Do You Use It?

It's a cheesecake's best friend. Find out why, plus what else you can make with it besides cheesecake.

sideview of a springform pan
Photo: Dotdash Meredith

What Is a Springform Pan?

A springform pan is a two-part baking pan designed to open up and pull away from the sides of a recipe prepared in the pan, resulting a clean-sided, photo-perfect finish. It achieves this by unclipping a band, allowing the sides to expand and releasing the bottom of the pan. If you've made a cheesecake recipe, chances are the directions told you to bake it in a springform pan.

The springform pan mechanism might look a bit complicated at first glance, but it's pretty simple to use. Keep reading to find out what is a springform pan, how to use a springform pan, and what to make in a springform pan besides cheesecakes.

The Anatomy of a Springform Pan

There are two parts to a springform pan: a round base and a high-sided band with a clamp. The band expands and contracts by opening and closing the clamp.

two-piece springform pan
Dotdash Meredith

How to Use a Springform Pan

You use a springform pan just like a regular cake pan. The advantage is that you can lift the pan away from the cake instead of turning the cake pan over onto a plate. This comes in especially handy if you're making a top-rated cheesecake (like Chantal's New York Cheesecake), or a moist cake (like Orange Cake with Semolina and Almonds), or a cake with toppings (like this Peach Kuchen).

1. Always test the band to make sure it latches securely and the base doesn't fall out. To assemble the pan, simply place the base in the bottom of the band and close the clamp. If your base has a lip or raised diamond pattern on one side, insert it with the lip or pattern facing upward.

2. Some recipes instruct you to grease and flour your springform pan. For extra non-stick insurance, you can also line the bottom with a round of parchment paper (not waxed paper). The parchment will also help you release the cake from the base if you don't want to risk scratching the non-stick surface when cutting a slice.

3. Some cheesecake recipes recommend you bake them in a water bath to prevent the top of the cheesecake from cracking. Because a springform pan has a two-piece construction, it's a good idea to place your springform pan in a large dish of water to see if there are any leaks. Found a tiny leak? Not a problem! Just wrap the outside of your springform pan securely in aluminum foil before filling and baking.

Wrapping the outside of a springform pan with aluminum foil to prevent leaks.
Dotdash Meredith

4. After you have baked your perfect cheesecake (or another sweet treat), simply release the clamp and remove the band. You can either place the pan on a countertop and lift up the band, or place the pan on a wide jar and drop down the band. Voilà! You have a beautifully round, tall, and clean-sided cake. You can serve it directly on the base or transfer it to your favorite platter.

Removing a springform pan from around a homemade cheesecake
Dotdash Meredith

Springform Pan Sizes and Finishes

Springform pans come in a wide range of sizes and finishes. For best results, choose a light-colored, non-stick finish. A light-colored pan promotes even browning, while a dark pan can overcook your crust if you don't reduce the baking time by a few minutes.

Three springform pans in different sizes and finishes
Dotdash Meredith

What Can You Make in a Springform Pan Besides Cheesecake?

Springform pans are perfect for making cheesecake, but that's not all you can use them for. Here are some of our favorite recipes that will put your springform pan to good use:

MySweetCreations Peanut Butter Cookie Pie

This show-stopping ice cream pie is molded right in the pan and can be kept in the freezer until you're ready to serve it to awe-struck guests.

side view of Peanut Butter Cookie Pie recipe decorated with whipped cream and candy chunks drizzled with caramel sauce

Strawberry Torte

Ladyfingers stand up straight and tall when you make this gorgeous torte in a springform pan.

Side view of homemade Strawberry Torte recipe with ladyfinger sponge and strawberry filling

Judy's Strawberry Pretzel Salad

You could layer this in a glass bowl, but use a springform pan to show off all the luscious layers.

side view of Judy's Strawberry Pretzel Salad on a white cake stand

Spaghetti Pie I

Cooked spaghetti is mixed with eggs and Parmesan cheese to form the crust for a thick and meaty filling of ground beef, onion, green peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste, and seasonings. A final layer of mozzarella cheese is baked on for a tasty top crust.

wedge of Spaghetti Pie I

For more inspiration, check out this collection of sensational recipes for your springform pan. You might also like...

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