I noticed what appears to be a discrepancy, and I would like to confirm.

When skillet manufacturers assign labels to their wares (cast iron, triply, etc), then a "12″ skillet" has a bottom diameter actually of just 10″. If/when covered, then the cover diameter is 12″, and that is why it is termed a "12″ pan".

Baking pan manufacturers measure instead the bottom of the pan. Hence an "8″ square pan" has 8″ bottom dimension. On the odd chance it conveniently comes with a cover, then the cover will have a side dimension of 9 1/2″ (or thereabout).

Did I get that right? This is not terribly important for stovetop pans, but it does matter for baking since the dough ends up with a different thickness when poured (which would require adjusting the baking time).

  • hey Sam, could you clarify what you're asking here? Are you wanting to confirm that baking pan manufacturers determine pan size by measuring the bottom of the pan (not the top), or are you asking for more insight on the discrepancy between stovetop and baking pan measurements (or something else)? I recommend updating this in your question title for clarity. Nov 3, 2022 at 15:17
  • A 12" skillet match perfectly with a 12" top lid. And skillets' walls are sloped by necessity; bottom size is not relevant.
    – Candid Moe
    Nov 3, 2022 at 15:30
  • @youreawizardcarrie It's a simple question, really, at least if you concur. If you found that that is not the case, then there will be a one or a few things to say. Either way, if you answer, then your additional thoughts on the matter are warmly solicited.
    – Sam7919
    Nov 3, 2022 at 15:36
  • @CandidMoe I'm not sure what your point is. They both need to be sloped.
    – Sam7919
    Nov 3, 2022 at 15:38
  • @Sam. I search for second hand iron cast skillets and restore them as gifts to my loved ones. The number at the bottom is the size of the lid I need to buy to complete the pair. Bottom size is off no consequence.
    – Candid Moe
    Nov 3, 2022 at 15:46

1 Answer 1


You are correct.

Pans for the stovetop tell you about the opening at the top, which means that depending if the pan is straight sided or sloped, it can be a dramatically different size when you consider how much area it has at the bottom for browning food.

Pans for cakes typically tell you what size cake they’ll end up making, although something like a “9x12” inch glass pan may be a rough approximation, cake pans are typically more accurate as it’s a rather important factor when considering what pan you’re buying.

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