How Full Do You Fill a Cake Pan

So you’re baking a cake. That’s great! You’re in for a super fun time. But oh, no! You don’t know how high to fill your cake pan with batter. While most recipes will tell you how high to fill the cake pan, a general rule of thumb is ⅔ of the way full. For shallower pans, ½ way full is fine.

Hey, there! My name is Michelle, and I love to make cakes! Whether it’s for a birthday, a wedding, or just something sweet for my family and me to nibble on after dinner on a Friday night, you will rarely hear me say “no” to baking a cake.

If you’re wondering how full to fill your cake pan, you’ve come to the right place. This article shares the right way to fill your cake pan with batter. I will also be sharing why it is so important not to put too much or too little batter.

Who’s ready to whip up some tasty cakes?

How Much to Fill a Cake Pan?

The first thing you should do is check your cake recipe. Almost any cake recipe you work with will tell you how full to fill your cake pan. It will also supply you with the necessary information, such as what kind of cake pan to use and how deep it should be.

What happens if the recipe neglects to share this info, though? Don’t worry. You should always fill your cake pan around ⅔ of the way full as a general rule of thumb. This is pretty standard amongst cake bakers.

If you’re working with a shallow pan (one that is only one or two inches deep), then I would recommend only going ½ way full. This isn’t the “norm” amount, though, so I wouldn’t worry too much about ever needing to stick with just ½ a cake pan of batter.

Why is it So Important?

There’s a reason why recipes and cake bakers are so picky about how you full you fill your cake pan. No, we’re not being prudes or asking for too much. There are two huge reasons why filling the cake pan with the right amount is imperative:

  • If you fill your cake pan with too much batter, then it will overflow and leak into your oven. Not only does this ruin your cake, but your oven will end up an almighty mess, too. Yuck!
  • On the other hand, filling your cake pan with not enough batter will cause the cake to turn out flat. Have you ever had a flat cake? Sure, it might still be delicious. But it isn’t anything you want to take a photo to upload to the ‘gram.


It’s pretty simple: follow the ⅔ rule, and you will be good to go (unless the recipe states otherwise). Do you still have some prying questions about how full to fill your cake pan? I don’t blame you, baker! Let’s check out some frequently asked questions you might want to know.

How much batter do you put in a cake pan?

It depends on how deep the cake pan is, but almost every cake pan will need cake batter to fill ⅔ of the pan. Shallower pans that are only an inch or two deep can only handle being filled about halfway.

How full to fill a 9-inch round cake pan?

Almost all 9-inch round cake pans are going to be two or three inches deep. Therefore, you will follow the rule of filling the pan around ⅔ of the way. The exception to this rule is if the round cake pan is shallow or the recipe tells you to fill a different amount.

How full is too full for a cake pan?

If you’ve filled the cake pan to the top with batter, it’s too much! The batter will likely spill over the sides and cause your cake to be a major #fail. You can avoid this situation by always ensuring your cake batter meets but does not exceed the ⅔ full amount.

Do you fill cake pans halfway?

Not really. Like I said before, a shallow cake (one or two inches in depth) might only be able to handle batter filled to the halfway mark. Generally, though, cake pans will need to be filled up to the ⅔ mark.

How do you put cake batter in a pan?

When you’re placing the cake batter into the pan, go slowly. Move the bowl of batter around the cake pan as it drips out. The goal is to have an equal amount of batter throughout the cake pan (as long as it does not go over ⅔ of the way full!).

Final Words

Cake pans should almost always be filled around ⅔ of the way full. The only exception to this rule is when you’re dealing with a shallow pan (one or two inches deep), or the recipe explicitly tells you to use less or more batter in your cake pan.

How much cake batter do you usually put in your cake pan?

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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  • Sabine

    Hi Michelle
    I would like to bake a heart cake for Mother’s Day and the tin holds 1250ml of water when filled 2/3. My recipe is for 4 eggs, 250g sugar, 200g butter, 200ml cream, 140g flour and baking powder. Would that be enough to fill my heart tin 2/3 or do I have to increase the ingredients? I can’t really make sense of any conversions, not a math genius. Can you PLEASE help. Thank you, Sabine

    • Michelle

      Hi Sabine,
      That sounds like it should work fine for your heart-shaped cake. Hope it turns out great!

  • babaraheeb

    For a round 9×1.5″ pan, how much batter?
    I tried using cup measurement to fill the pan with water, and at 4-5 cups it was about 1/2 full. Should that do it? Or, do I need to add more knowing that most places advise 9″ round, 2/3 full.

    • Michelle

      Hi Babaraheeb,
      Because you’re using a shallower nine-inch pan, you’ll want to keep it at 1/2 full.

  • Lola

    Hi! I was wondering if the different types of cake batter affects how you should fill it. Ex. If the cake batter is thick should it still be 2/3 of the way? What about a thin cake batter?

    • Michelle

      Hi Lola,
      Consistency doesn’t make a difference, unless your recipe states otherwise.


    George, hi, Michelle I know what I’m about to tell you will make you laugh every one in my family cooks since we were kids and bakes too. The reason why I’m searching for the information on filling cake pan with batter is that I thought I had enough cake batter in two 9 inch round pans but it turned out it seems one of the cake layers was a half inch thin so I thought vision wise I had both pans with equal amazing of cake batter so I didn’t want to make a cake where one layer was off by a inch and a half less when you stack up together

    • Michelle

      Hi, George!
      Funny! Thanks for sharing!

  • Pam

    Every time I make a boxed cake mix in a 9×13″ pan, it comes out about 1to 1-1/2″ deep in the middle and even less on the sides. I had a friend that made cakes this size and they were always the depth of the pan. How did she do it?

    • Michelle

      Hi Pam,
      Perhaps she is using more than one boxed cake mix? As long as you’re filling 2/3rds of the way full, it should come out correctly. Hope this helps.
      Happy baking,

  • Krista

    Hi…MY question is; in filling my 8×3” round pan 2/3 full, will that bake me end up with at least a 2” layer?
    As well, same question for an 12×3 round pan (and what do you suggest for timing and temp)

    Thank you.

    • Michelle

      Hi Krista,
      That should render you a two-inch layer. The bake time and temp will depend largely on what kind of cake you’re baking.
      Happy baking,