Springform Pans

Published July 1, 2011. From Cook's Illustrated.

Our favorite springform pan from features handles that make it easy to remove from a water bath and a tempered glass bottom that lets us track browning. Could we find one that was even better?

Overview:

Update, October 2012

We recently learned that our winning springform pan by Frieling is being substantially redesigned. We are in the process of updating our review of springform pans. In the meantime, we are promoting the former second-place pan to be our winner.

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Our favorite springform pan from Frieling ($49.99) features handles that make it easy to remove from a water bath and a tempered glass bottom that lets us track browning. But like every other model we’ve ever tested, it lacks one essential feature: a leakproof seal to prevent batter from trickling out and (when baking in a water bath) moisture from seeping in. That drawback has kept us on the lookout for the perfect pan, and this time we returned from our shopping trip with four competitor models ($13.95 to $48), baking cheesecake and Summer Peach Cake in each to see if anything could outclass our old standby.

Unfortunately, not one model we tested avoided this flaw. We always bake cheesecake in a water bath,… read more

Update, October 2012

We recently learned that our winning springform pan by Frieling is being substantially redesigned. We are in the process of updating our review of springform pans. In the meantime, we are promoting the former second-place pan to be our winner.

___________________________________________________________

Our favorite springform pan from Frieling ($49.99) features handles that make it easy to remove from a water bath and a tempered glass bottom that lets us track browning. But like every other model we’ve ever tested, it lacks one essential feature: a leakproof seal to prevent batter from trickling out and (when baking in a water bath) moisture from seeping in. That drawback has kept us on the lookout for the perfect pan, and this time we returned from our shopping trip with four competitor models ($13.95 to $48), baking cheesecake and Summer Peach Cake in each to see if anything could outclass our old standby.

Unfortunately, not one model we tested avoided this flaw. We always bake cheesecake in a water bath, and even after taking our usual precaution of wrapping the pans with aluminum foil before baking, we found dark, damp patches on each cheesecake’s graham cracker crust where moisture had snuck in. Moisture leaking out was also a problem. When we filled each pan with water, they all dripped.

Our evaluations came down to cake release, evenness of browning, and design. Nonstick coatings were a universal feature that helped the sides of the pans to pull away with minimal scraping. But the pans with the lightest and darkest finishes produced under and overbrowned cakes, respectively. We also preferred models that didn’t leave an unsightly seam in the cheesecake where the buckle fastened (as the Kaiser did); sported flat (not rimmed) base surfaces, which allows the bottom to double as a serving plate if the cake is too fragile to transfer to another platter; and cleaned up in the dishwasher. When we still had to chisel peach cake crumbs from the tight seams in two of the models we tested after five dishwasher rounds, we knew that those pans were better left on the shelf.

Until manufacturers come out with a truly leakproof model, we’ll stick with our old favorite and continue to wrap it in aluminum foil when baking cheesecake in a water bath.

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  • Product Tested

    Results Key:

    Good ★ ★ ★ Fair ★ ★ Poor
  • Prices are subject to change.
  • Recommended

    Frieling Handle-It 9-Inch Glass Bottom Springform Pan

    This pricey pan may not be perfect—like the other models, its seal isn’t leakproof—but it boasts plenty of features that make it our two-time favorite: evenly browned results; near flawless release; a glass bottom that helps us monitor browning; helper handles; and sturdy, dishwasher-safe parts.

    • Design ★★★
    • Release ★★★
    • Browning ★★★
    • Cleaning ★★★
    • Durability ★★★

    DISCONTINUED

  • Recommended - WINNER

    Nordic Ware Pro Form 9-inch Leak-Proof Springform Pan

    Despite its promise of being leakproof, this pan allowed water to seep in, just like all the others. While it performed admirably, evenly browning the peach cake, its nonstick-coated base wasn’t as scratch-resistant as the glass-bottomed Frieling, and it didn’t release quite as easily as our winner, resulting in a cheesecake with less than perfectly smooth sides.

    • Design ★★★
    • Release ★★
    • Browning ★★★
    • Cleaning ★★
    • Durability ★★

    $17.00

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended

    Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Springform Pan

    Though both peach cake and cheesecake emerged from this model almost perfectly and beautifully browned, cleanup wasn’t so effortless. The narrow crevice along the bottom of the removable sides trapped crumbs, even after several rounds in the dishwasher. The upturned rim on the base made cutting slices awkward.

    • Design ★½
    • Release ★★★
    • Browning ★★★
    • Cleaning
    • Durability ★★

    $13.95

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended with Reservations

    Wilton Avanti Everglide Nonstick Glass Bottom Springform Pan

    The other glass-bottomed model in the lineup, this pan might be considered a replica of our winner, with one crucial difference: a nonstick coating so pale that the peach cake emerged blond in spots. Release, however, was flawless, though the slim crease ringing the bottom of the removable sides stubbornly held on to crumbs.

    • Design ★★
    • Release ★★★
    • Browning
    • Cleaning
    • Durability ★★★

    $21.45

  • Not Recommended

    Kaiser Bakeware La Forme Plus Springform Pan, 9-Inch

    For the price, we expected picture-perfect results. Instead, we got a cheesecake with an unsightly seam where the buckle fastened and, thanks to its exceptionally dark coating, a peach cake that overbrowned on the exterior before the middle had a chance to cook.

    • Design
    • Release
    • Browning
    • Cleaning ★★★
    • Durability ★★

    $48

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