Substituting mini-loaf pans for standard-size pans

I know some of the experienced bakers will be able to help with this!

My 98 year old Mom likes a bit of baking with her afternoon tea. She's weary of muffins and cupcakes, especially the ones from the grocery stores which are too big, too sweet, and have weird textures. It takes forever for her to nibble through a loafcake baked in a standard-sized pan, and the tend to dry out sitting in the fridge. (Where "standard-sized loaf pans" = 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 inches or 9 x 5 x 3 inches.)

So I'd like to bake the batters intended for those standard-sized pan in mini-loaf pans. I know it's a matter of figuring out how much batter to put in the pan, and I see that there are mini pans of different dimension available. So before I go shopping for pans...

Is there one size of mini-loaf pan that is more convenient to use, and which might be best for this? (I'm thinking, if the recipe is originally intended for a 9x5x3 pan, then it will make 2 (or 3?) mini loaves baked in pans of such and such dimensions.)

I sometimes see silicone pans available, and I wonder if they are easier/better to use than metal pans?

I know you have to allow for the batter to rise in the pan while baking, and I often see instruction that pans should not be more than 2/3 full to allow for this. Does this "2/3 full" advice still apply to the mini-pans?

Thank you very much for your advice!!

  • Posted by: Ted
  • November 1, 2017


AntoniaJames November 1, 2017
Ted, first let me say that you are such a nice son to be doing this for your mother.

With only one person in our household eating quick breads these days, I've faced the same issue. I found an easy solution in these mini loaf pans

My standard quick bread, a template if you will, is: 1/2 cup, 98 grams each of oil and brown sugar, 2 eggs, flavoring such as vanilla or almond extract or brandy, 2 cups of bananas / applesauce with chopped apple mixed in / pumpkin, usually with some applesauce included (and I typically measure all of the foregoing a little short and top it off with about 1/4 cup buttermilk for better rise); with the dry ingredients at 1 cup / 125 grams each of WW and AP flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, plus spices, whatever strikes my fancy, and a pinch of salt; stir in a couple handfuls of toasted chopped nuts and a handful of raisins, dried cranberries or cherries.

This formula makes 3 good mini-loaves in the pans referred to above + 3 muffins, or 4 loaves. I don't adjust the temperature (375, to get better lift, and nicely domed muffins) but check using the index finger spring-back method at about 20 minutes. The muffins usually take about 23 or 24 minutes, and the loaves, 25 - 28.

It varies depending on whether the oven has been at a higher temperature before I set it to 375 - I often do a lot of baking / roasting at once, so it's not uncommon for my oven to have been at 425 or higher before I bake the quick bread. On those evenings, the shorter times are common.

I hope this helps. ;o)
AntoniaJames November 1, 2017
P.S. I freeze the 2 or 3 that are not eaten within the next few days. I usually have two or three kinds on hand in the freezer. In the summertime, I add fresh blueberries to the apple and banana loaves. A quick bread made with oil and fruit or pumpkin will stay nice and moist, even after freezing.
Ted November 2, 2017
AJ, thanks very much for this. A wonderful starting point, and I really appreciate your template!

Voted the Best Reply!

AntoniaJames November 2, 2017
Ted, you're welcome. One other point occurred to me last night as I was chopping dates and prunes to soak in dark rum for 4 weeks for the Jamaican Black Cake (Mimi Sheraton recipe from long ago:, which I'll bake right after Thanksgiving, in mini-loaves, for various recipients: Chop dried fruits, and nuts, too, a bit smaller than you might when making a larger loaf, as smaller pieces are better suited to the smaller slices you get with the mini loaves.

And another thought: You can put that standard recipe into 3 mini tins instead of 4 to make taller loaves; we find however that the smaller loaves work are ideal for one person. The breads keep about as long as it takes a single eater to work through a loaf, without tiring of it. ;o)
Eileen June 5, 2019
That was very helpful as I was planning to make Mini loaf Banana Rum Fruit Cake. Do you have any advise as to where I can soak my dried fruits? I have read that it’s better to soak in a ceramic container than plastic container. Do you think storing the dried fruits soaked in Rum in a ziplock can affect the taste? Thank you! Hope to hear from you soon!
Jana G. June 14, 2019
Personally I soak fruit & nuts in a glass bowl. Texans love bourbon soaked pecans in our cakes & breads.
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