Open Saturdays AND Sundays
Food Pan Sizes - Ultimate Guide

Food Pan Sizes Chart | Steam Pan Sizing Guide

October 5, 2022

Caterers and other people that run commercial kitchens know that to prepare and stylishly present their food, they need a food pan. These food pans are sometimes called hotel pans, steam table pans, counter pans, or service pans.

The variations in the names of these pans occur because of their different styles and use in commercial kitchens, from organizing sandwich cutouts on prep tables to holding hot or cold foods in buffet lines.

This guide discusses all there is to know about food pans to help you decide which is best for your needs.

What are the standard Hotel (steam) Food Pan Sizes

Hotel pan dimensions cover different standard sizes. You will find that some steam table pan sizes are more common in a commercial kitchen than others.

Different styles of food pans have precise dimensions that differ. However, they all get their names according to their sizes relative to full-size food pans. Here are some food pans you can use on your steam tables to serve food.

Full Pan

A full-size food pan is a piece of vital restaurant equipment used in the food service industry for cooking large batches of food. A full-size hotel pan is also used to serve popular items. It measures approximately 12 inches by 20 inches and is ideal for serving entrees. These types of hotel pans are one of the must-have restaurant supplies for any commercial kitchen.

Foods Served:

  • Salad greens

  • Burgers

  • Fried chicken

2/3 Pan

A 2/3 pan measures approximately 12 inches x 13 1/3 inches, 2/3 the size of a full-sized pan, and so occupies only 2/3 of the space of a full pan. So it will leave adjacent space for a 1/3 size pan. Alternatively, the remaining 1/3 space might be filled using variations of even smaller pans.

Food Served:

  • Entrees

  • Salad

 1/2 Pan

A 1/2 pan is half the size of a full-size steam table pan. Two half-hotel pans occupy the same space as one full steam table pan. A 1/2 pan measures 12 inches by 10 inches and is used in the food service industry for side dishes.

Food Served:

  • Smaller entrees

  • Salad toppings

  • Side dishes

1/3 Pan

A combination of three of these third-size pans will take up as much space on your steam table as one full-size pan. A 1/3 pan measures about 12 inches by 6 2/3 inches and is a popular choice for restaurants that serve sides on hot food bars.

Food Served:

  • Side dishes

1/4 Pan

A quarter steam table pan measures roughly 6 inches by 10 inches. So two of these fill up the same space as a half-size pan, and four would take up the same space as a standard full-size pan.

Food Served:

  • Salad toppings

  • Side dishes

1/6 Pan

A 1/6 pan measures 6 inches by 6 2/3 inches. So three 1/6 steam table pans take up the same space as a half steam table pan. And you need 6 of these counter pans to fill up the space meant for a full-size steam table pan. A 1/6 pan size is used in restaurants for sandwich and salad prep tables.

Food Served:

  • Toppings for salads

  • Dressings

  • Soups

1/8 Pan

A 1/8 pan serves as a bridge between the sixth and ninth pans. If you want to save space and provide your kitchen with much-required flexibility, then a 1/8 pan can do just that. It measures 5 3/16 inches by 6 5/16 inches.

Food Served:

  • Lettuce

  • Bulk sides

  • Fresh fruits

1/9 Pan

Ninth pans are the smallest service pans you will come across. But don't underestimate their size. They are still essential for many catering businesses. These hotel pans measure 4 inches by 6 2/3 inches. They are the best option for holding an array of small food items.

Foods Served:

  • Condiments

  • Toppings

  • Garnishes

  • Spices

  • Seasonings

What are the Gastronorm pan sizing standards?

You might come across products with a GN number. GN stands for Gastronorm, and the GN number is used to measure trays, containers, and pans manufactured to an industry standard.

These sizing standards were created by the European Standards Committee to standardize the pan size in the food service industry. Pans come in different materials, and gastronorm pans can be used for much more than just heating.

There are 9 different gastronorm sizes based on the container's outer dimensions. These pans are modular by design, giving them an advantage over others.

The gastronorm hotel pans size chart includes 9 different sizes:

  • GN 1/1

  • GN 1/2

  • GN 1/4

  • GN 2/1

  • GN 1/3

  • GN 2/3

  • GN 2/4

  • GN 1/6

  • GN 1/9

Stainless-Steel-Gastronorm-Food-Pan.jpg

All Depth Standards

The depth of a hotel pan is another standard that can be used when determining the pan size. Some steam table pans are classified as "100" or "200". This indicates the pan depth.

These are the different pan depths:

  • 100 = 1-inch deep

  • 200 = 2 1/2 inches deep

  • 400 = 4 inches deep

  • 600 = 6 inches deep

  • 800 = 8 inches deep

Not all steam table pans have the same depth. Some may be deeper or shallower, depending on their purpose. However, knowing the pan depth and other dimensions can help plan your pan configuration when you want to bolster your restaurant supplies.

Different Pan Materials

Food pans come in different materials for particular reasons. For instance, a stainless steel pan may be most suitable for business owners of busy food service outlets. Alternatively, plastic pans can serve other purposes. Ensure you figure out what each food pan is meant for and make your selection based on convenience and your specific needs.

Metal

The two main materials under this category are cast aluminum and stainless steel pans. They are ideal for keeping food warm on a hot food table.

Stainless steel

A stainless-steel pan is ideal for numerous purposes. It can be placed in a refrigerator, oven, or even steamer. When working on a multi-purpose dish for events, a stainless-steel pan should be your go-to choice for the job.

The heft of a stainless steel pan is identified by its gauge. 22-gauge stainless steel is the standard weight for hotel pans. However, some lighter pans are also available if this is not ideal for your food service needs.

Thicker stainless steel has a lower gauge. Commercial kitchens with low volume will likely go for high-gauge pans, but busier kitchens will be better off with lower-gauge pans.

Pros

  • Stainless steel pans barely ever get permanent scratches and allow spoons to easily glide across the surface when serving contents.

  • Stainless steel pans are sturdy and durable.

Cons

  • It can take quite some time to heat up because of the thickness of the metal.

Cast Aluminum

Cast aluminum pans usually feature a nonstick coating for easy cleaning and serving. It is very similar to a stainless steel pan.

Pros

  • Practically indestructible

  • Resistant to dents

Cons

  • It could corrode

Plastic

You should go for plastic food pans if you want something efficient and economical for your steam tables.

High heat plastic

This is a plastic material with high durability and can withstand high temperatures. Do you want something you can place in your microwave? Then this type of pan should be on your list.

Pros

  • High melting point

  • Durable and economical

Cons

  • Might scratch

polycarbonate plastic

This translucent thermoplastic polymer is rigid, which means it can handle commercial usage. The translucent color makes it great for food storage and display.

Pros

  • Great for cold foods

  • Can handle temperatures ranging from -40 to 210 F

Cons

  • Not resistant to scratches

Polyethylene plastic

This is a thermoplastic homo-polymer with impact strength and excellent flexibility. It is crush-and-crack resistant, which means it is safe to use in a busy kitchen.

Pros

  • Safe for use in freezers

  • BPA free

Cons

  • Low melting point

Polypropylene plastic

This type of plastic is strong but also lightweight, making it perfect for commercial use. It is excellent for those who need durability and want to avoid food staining.

Pros

  • High chemical resistance

  • Good for cold foods

Cons

  • Susceptible to cracks

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)

This is a thermoplastic polymer. These types of pans are great for refrigeration as some of them are FDA-compliant.

Pros

  • Great for buffet service

  • Can hold condiments

Cons

  • Poor UV resistance

Melamine

These food pans are great for family-style dining and for display in buffets. They are the perfect pick for displayware since they resist chipping and staining.

Pros

  • Resistant to cracks and stains

  • Dishwasher safe

Cons

  • Not suitable for hot tables

Food Pan Size Chart (Capacity)

These are the capacities in cups of different steam table pans.

Full-Size Pan

  • 2 1/2 inches - 33

  • 4-inches - 53

  • 6-inches - 79

  • 8-inches - 106

Two-Thirds Size Pan

  • 2 1/2 inches - 22

  • 4-inches -35

  • 6-inches - 53

  • 8-inches - 70

Half Size Pan

  • 2 1/2 inches - 17

  • 4-inches - 26

  • 6-inches - 40

  • 8-inches - 53

Third Size Pan

  • 2 1/2 inches - 11

  • 4-inches- 18

  • 6-inches - 26

  • 8-inches - 35

Quarter Size Pan

  • 2 1/2 inches - 8

  • 4-inches - 13

  • 6-inches - 20

  • 8-inches - 26

Sixth Size Pan

  • 2 1/2 inches - 6

  • 4-inches - 9

  • 6-inches - 13

  • 8-inches - 18

Ninth Size Pan

  • 2 1/2 inches- 4

  • 4-inches - 6

  • 6-inches - NA

  • 8-inches - NA

Other Features & Configurations

Some stainless steel steam table pans come with additional features to make life in the kitchen easier. For example, false bottoms and inset lids are a few configurations to make food service easier.

Manufacturers also supply other features you need to look out for when choosing steam table pans because they can help push your business to the next level.

Anti-Jamming

Steam table pans that feature anti-jam sides make storing your pans less stressful, as they can easily be stacked. Most times, stored food pans need to be stacked to save space.

Typically, stainless steel hotel pans will stick together when stacked. The anti-jam property ensures that the sides and corners of the pans are not damaged.

Rolled/Flat Edges

When using steam tables, you can utilize food pans with a flat or rolled edge/lip. This feature in a steam table pan helps to lock the heat in. It is vital because it helps to maintain temperature, thereby increasing the quality of your food. Also, it is one of the most useful accessories if you want to save energy.

Perforated

If you are heating your food on steam tables, you need to be able to keep your food dry and away from all the moisture. This is a helpful feature for heating and holding pasta. It can also be great for steaming vegetables.

Easy Pour Corners

Steam table pans that feature easy-pour corners make it easier for you to scoop out the hotel pan or pour out its content. It also offers extra reinforcement against dents and dings in the hotel pan. Your service pans will have extended lifespans if they come with easy-pour or coved corners.

Decorative

Decorative food pans are visually appealing and also very functional. These fancy steam table pans are perfect for use on upscale occasions. When used in events like corporate fundraisers or weddings, they can complement the stylish décor of the venue.

When using decorative steam table pans, guests will be astonished by the accented handles, shiny finishes, and intricate detailing when they walk past the buffet.

Different types of Food Pan Covers

Food pan covers come in different sizes and designs. Each of these structures has specific functions particular to their respective food pans. The different types include:

  • Flip Top Lid: Provides easy access to the food in the steam table pan as it flips upward.

  • Seal Cover Lid: A versatile lid with premium flexibility that allows for secure and safe transporting of food.

  • Slotted Lid: This lid comes with notches that allow the spoon to stay inside all the time.

  • Solid Lid: Either featuring handles or not, the solid lid covers the steam table pan.

  • Hinged Lid: This type of lid is designed to offer easy access to food without fully removing the cover. It is hinged in the middle.

  • Cook-Chill Lid: This lid sports a snug fit that makes for re-thermalization, uniform, and rapid chilling.

  • Dome Lid: This type of lid has a dome. So, you can stack more food within the pan easily.

  • Roll Top Lid: Ever need easy access to food during events? Then go for the roll-top lid. It allows you to access the food without the need to remove the cover.

  • Transportation Lid: Depending on whether or not you are going to move around a lot, this lid is the ideal choice. It helps prevent spillage of food when you are in motion. It is indispensable if your restaurant supplies food for external events on different occasions.

  • Steam Table Pan Band: This band keeps things like aluminum foil and lids securely in place.

Conclusion

Whatever the stage of food preparation or food presentation, food pans are definitely a must-have kitchen item. They can transform your food handling and presentation from bottom to top-notch.

However, from storing to packaging, food pans vary in their uses and designs as they are not all created equally. You must become familiar with these various types of pans to ensure you get the best pan you need for the job. Ensure you refer to this guide before you add some food pans to your restaurant supply list.

FAQs

How do I know my pan size?

Generally, kitchen/restaurant pan sizes are determined by the dimensions of the pans. You should measure the wall top to the wall bottom depth rather than from one base edge to the other to get an accurate full-size pan.

What are standard pan sizes?

Standard pan sizes are the different dimensions given to the available steam table pans. These hotel pans come in varying capacities and sizes and are all based on the full-size pan. You can select from glass, ceramic, or even metal materials. Selecting pan sizes is based purely on your needs and preference.