After lots of trial and error in my own home bakery, today I'm sharing the best sheet cake pans and giving you an explanation of sheet cake sizes and how many servings they have. Over the years I've owned a dozen different brands of sheet cake pans in every size and brand you can imagine.
Originally posted February 2018, updated February 2022
After many years in the cake decorating business, I've come to know which ones I love and consider the best sheet cake pans. With all the pans I've bought, they've varied from super cheap pans from the dollar store to really expensive, heavy-duty pans.
I own at least one of every popular brand of pans on the market - and I have an opinion on them. I won't go into all of that today, but I'm hoping my trial and error with pans will help you buy the best ones the first time around.
The ones I love are not the most expensive (by a long shot), but they're the best quality I've found and they're a great value.
Now I know when people talk sheet cake pans, they may not all be talking about the same thing so I'm going to cover a couple of different kinds. Let's get started...
The Best Sheet Cake Pans
For an actual sheet cake that's typically decorated and sold in grocery stores and by cake shops alike, you're talking about a 9x13x2 inch pan (or larger). The pans are usually 2 inches deep (also sold in 3-inch depth).
For my business, I don't use the terms half sheet, quarter sheet, full-sheet, etc. because I've found that these sizes aren't always uniform in the baking community. But I'm going to do my best to explain what I've found in research.
First, the height of your cake matters as far as servings. When most people talk about sheet cakes, they're thinking of a single layer of cake, approximately 2-inches tall.
If you make a two-layer cake instead, you double the number of servings. I actually prefer this if I'm doing sheet cakes because I think it looks nicer, but that's a personal preference.
I'm sure there's a correct size for a "quarter sheet cake" but there's some conflicting information out there, so I just say the actual pan sizes: 9x13 or 10x15 or whatever. Then I give my clients the number of servings for whichever size I'm talking about and go from there.
Traditional Sheet Cake Pans
Anyway, for traditional "sheet cakes", I love Parrish Magic Line Pans. Actually, this is my favorite brand for all traditional cake pans (round, square, and sheet pans)! They're quality pans that bake evenly and beautifully.
Magic Line pans also hold up for the long haul and do not warp even after thousands of runs through my oven.
Best of all, Magic Line pans also have super sharp corners for sheet and square cakes and I love that feature! Elegant designs can look cheep if they don't have sharp professional corners.
With our recent move, I've had to split cake work between the new house and the old one. I didn't have all of my sheet pans in one place to take pics for this post, so I only have the one size pictured.
But I actually have these three sizes:
A couple of times I've needed an odd size in between those and I'll just slide two together... and have a 13x18 or 20x15. That's what I did for this huge bank order a few years ago (see below).
What is a typical sheet cake size?
This is a controversial question if there ever one was. I'm not sure what's meant by "typical" so I'll go over the most common rectangular size options and you can decide which size you need!
The three sizes I hear most often mentioned are quarter sheet cakes, half sheet cakes, and full sheet cakes. I'll share the pan length and pan width for each of the sizes I talk about. For all of my examples, I'm referring to a 2-inch deep pan.
How big is a serving of cake?
I'm also going to talk about portions or serving sizes for the different pans. My servings are based on 2x2x2 inch slices of single layer cake. This is the typical size served at birthday parties.
The width of the cake slice changes if you do two layers of cake. For my calculations, if the cake is 4-5 inches tall, I use a 1x2x4 inch slice of cake as my serving or portion size.
What size is a quarter sheet cake?
In my experience, 9-inch by 13-inch pans are almost always called quarter sheet cake pans. Once I saw someone refer to a 7x11 inch pan as a quarter sheet or quarter pan, but that was literally one time.
Because I have a $100 minimum order requirement, I no longer offer sheet cakes, but when I did, this was the most common size for birthdays and baby showers.
How many servings in a quarter sheet cake?
If you go with the most common, a 9x13 inch sheet cake has 24-26 servings. If you choose to go with the smaller 7x11 inch sheet cake pan, it would have 15-16 servings.
- 9x13 inch sheet cake: 24-26 servings
- 7x11 inch sheet cake: 15-16 servings
What half sheet cake size?
The size of a half-size pan varies depending on who you talk to or where you buy the cake from. A half sheet cake is usually a 10-inch by 15-inch sheet or an 11-inch by 15-inch sheet. I'm not sure why there are varying widths with those two sizes but I think it depends on the brand you buy.
Sometimes 9-inch by 13-inch pans are called half-sheet pans, but more commonly this size is called a quarter sheet, as previously discussed.
How many servings in a half sheet cake?
- 10x15 inch sheet cake: 34-36 servings
- 11x15 inch sheet cake: 36-38 servings
- 9x13 inch sheet cake: 24-26 servings
What size is a full sheet cake?
Typically a full sheet cake is an 18-inch by 24-inch cake. This size is common for corporate events or large graduations. Not many home bakers have the oven space to bake a full sheet cake (including me). So when I was asked to do a sheet cake with around 200 servings, here's what I made...
As with most home ovens, mine was not large enough to bake that size sheet cake, so I baked 4 (yes, four) 12x18 sheet cakes, then I stacked them for a double layer of cake and pushed them together for a huge 24x18 cake, It was also a tall cake - almost 5-inches in height. That cake was a beast.
I didn't even have enough space in my refrigerator or freezer to store it, so I had to finish it the morning it was due instead of ahead of time (which I prefer).
Usually, when I have an order for a cake this big, there is leftover cake, but I know for a fact not one crumb was left of this cake, which made me super happy!
How many servings in a full sheet cake?
A single layer 18x24 inch cake will have 96 servings. Again, the bank cake above was almost 200 servings because I made it a double layer cake.
Nordic Ware Commercial Sheet Pans
Okay... aside from traditional cake pans, these Nordic pans are also called sheet pans. These are not usually used for tiered or layer cakes - but rather for things like jelly roll cakes or petit fours.
I also use these pans to bake cookies, bars, bread, biscuits, roasting veggies, broiling bacon, and a million other things. They are seriously good for so many things!! I have 20+ of them and I still can't ever have enough! I had to have a whole "pan area" in my kitchen just to store them!
Oooh, you can also get lids for them which is amazing. I love to store unfrosted cupcakes on them with a lid to keep them fresh until I'm ready to decorate.
They are the perfect airtight container for baked goods and they save me a lot of plastic wrap!
The Nordic Ware sheet pans are different from the Magic Line pans in that they don't have straight up and down sides or sharp corners and they're only about 1 inch deep vs. 2-3 inches. Nordic Ware Sheet pans also come in quarter sheet, half sheet, and full sheet sizes, but I'm going to give you the dimensions in inches.
Because I'm a rebel like that 😉
But first, if you have this type of pan and don't want to invest in the typical cake pans, you can buy a sheet pan extender to convert your pans into cake pans. I've never personally used one of those, but I think it's a brilliant idea!
Below are the four sizes of Nordic Ware Sheet Pans I have:
- 13x18 pans (this is the size I have the most of - they're SO awesome!) or with lids here
- 10x13 pans (also called quarter sheet pans) or 10x13 pans with lids
- 21x15 pans - this is a huge pan and I have 3 of them, but I don't use them as often as the others
- 10x6 mini sheet pans
Although I don't use them for anything related to cake decorating, I had to share the fourth size and tell you a little story behind them.
Months and months ago Richy took me out to eat on a date. We tried a new restaurant and they served our appetizer (loaded fries) on these itty-bitty sheet pans.
Who knew there were sheet pans that tiny and why had I never seen them? I'm a sucker for all things tiny and was completely obsessed with these pans. I might have even asked the server if I could slip one in my purse 😉 For the record, she laughed and said no, so I fought my urge to steal one... haha.
But my super thoughtful husband caught on to how much I loved the pans so he came home and ordered me some for my upcoming birthday. Ya'll... this man knows me oh-so-well. Those little pans were maybe one of my favorite gifts ever.
Anyway, if you like itty-bitty things, you must get you some of those pans. I can't tell you what to use them for, but they're just so stinkin' cute.
Since I bought them, we've mostly used them to heat things in the oven. For instance, I hate microwaving leftover pizza. I much prefer to warm it in the oven and get the crust all crispy again. So that sheet is the perfect size for a big slice of pizza.
Anywho... I got off track there. Sorry.
Alphabet Cake Pan
The only other sheet cake pan I want to mention is this Alphabet Pan. It's really not a "sheet pan" in the traditional sense, but it's worth a mention. I love this pan!
The Alphabet Pan an incredibly versatile pan that you can use for letters and numbers. But additionally, you can use it to make odd-sized rectangles, like for this tractor cake. I have a full tutorial with pics here.
And that's that - the best sheet cake pans in all forms (that I use). I'd recommend having at least a couple of these sizes and varieties on hand for your orders. Unless of course, you choose to not do sheet cakes... then ignore this whole post. Haha!
Related Recipes & Posts
Did I forget anything? I'd love to hear it if you have thoughts on other varieties of sheet cake pans. And if you have different "favorites", leave me a comment and tell me which ones you prefer!