How to remove a tart from a tart pan

baking tips: how to unmold a tart | kitchen heals soul

I hemmed and hawed about whether or not you would want to read this, but getting a tart out of a tart pan is really a crucial/stressful step in baking and also a source of stress for many of us. So I thought a post about how to remove a tart from a tart pan would help.

I learned this technique in pastry school. Our practical sessions were usually about 2.5 hours (not including cleanup time), which meant that in 2.5 hours, when a tart was on the menu for the day, we’d have to make it all, from start to finish, all while seeming “in control” and working “cleanly and neatly”. Hah.

Obviously, in 2.5 hours, we tended towards insanity, especially at the very beginning of the session when we were mostly lost and confused. It also meant that at the end of class, we were all rushing to un-mold our semi-cooled (read practically-straight-from-the-oven) tarts to get them on boards and serve them to the instructor for a grading. The final minutes were madness. We sweated and we fretted, and we ran around like headless chickens. There was the need to get the tart on the plate as fast as possible and the fear of destroying the not-completely-cooled tart which was in a most fragile state of oven-hot.

baking tips: how to unmold a tart | kitchen heals soul


What is a tart pan?

Most tart pans have a crinkled or fluted edge, but some may have a straight edge. Some tart pans come as one piece, and others have a removable bottom. Which tart pan you use is entirely dependent on what you are baking. If you are going to be pouring a fluid batter into your tart pan, this is when you would want to reach for a one piece tart pan. On the other hand, if you are baking a tart with a crust that you would like to remove from the pan, this is when you need a tart pan with removable bottom.

What is a tart pan with removable bottom?

A tart pan with a removable bottom is a two-piece tart pan where the ring and base are separate. This means that you can slide the tart ring off of your baked tart to unmold the tart, and then you can slide the tart off the flat metal disk base onto a serving plate.

Do you have to grease a tart pan?

Usually, you don’t have to grease tart pans. Though many tart pans come with a non-stick finish which ensures easy unmolding of tarts. That being said, if you have a feeling that your tart may stick to the pan or you are concerned, greasing and flouring the tart pan will help ensure that your tart will come out of the pan after baking. It’s really up to you. Personally, with most of my tart crust recipes (like this sablé tart dough and this matcha tart dough), I don’t grease the pans.

Can you make a tart without a tart pan?

  1. Tart ring: the tart ring is what pastry professionals will use. It’s a simple ring with no bottom. Pastry chefs will set the ring on a parchment lined baking sheet, then roll out the dough and fit it to the ring set on the baking sheet. The tart is baked as is and then cooled in the pan. Once cooled, the ring can be lifted off easily and you know the tart crust will not be stuck to the baking sheet because it’s set on a layer of parchment. Very smart!
  2. Pie plate: You can absolutely make a tart without a tart pan, for example, in a pie pan or whatever pan you have with 1 inch sides (or higher), but you won’t be able to unmold it to serve it on a plate. You will probably have to serve the tart in the pan it was baked in. Nothing wrong with that. Note that pans with vertical, straight edges may be difficult to serve from because of the angle of the sides.

How to remove tart from pan?

The number one trick to remove a tart from a tart pan or tart ring:

Find a sturdy, free-standing object that is slightly smaller than the hole at the bottom of the pan (good to plan ahead and find the right size beforehand!). This could be a small inverted metal mixing bowl for full-sized tarts, or for mini tarts, a small drinking glass or even a large shot glass. Place the tart on the object, and carefully slide the ring off the tart and down the stand. Then all you have to do is take down the tart and slide the tart off the bottom round and onto a plate (or serve it on the metal round if you are nervous).

baking tips: how to unmold a tart | kitchen heals soul

This works for full sized tarts, like this raspberry chocolate tart, this Earl Grey chocolate tart, rhubarb chocolate tart, or this plum tart. This technique to remove tarts from tart pans is especially useful for mini tarts, like these Earl Grey panna cotta tarts, matcha tarts, and even pumpkin tarts, and those with more delicate crusts, like this gluten-free kale and squash tart. Just take the time to choose the bowl or cup that you will be standing your tart on.

A few extra suggestions for getting a tart out of a pan:

  1. Use a tart pan with a removable bottom! The best tart pan I’ve worked with is from Wilton, which you can buy on Amazon! The Wilton pans are sturdy and come as a set of 3 tart pans with removable bottoms at 3 different standard sizes (8″, 9″, and 10″), which means you are covered for most tart recipes. They are heavy duty and have a non-stick finish, which is a little extra insurance if you are worried about the tart sticking to the pan. They are worth every extra penny.  Trust me. Invest in them.
  2. Butter and flour the pan depending on the dough you are working. If you aren’t sure, just do this in case.
  3. Let the tart cool as long and as much as you can. Let it cool completely if you can. If your tart shell is warm, it is more fragile, which means there’s more risk that it break when you unmold it.

And, if all else fails, even a broken tart tastes delicious. I’ve baked a lot of tarts, and I’ve broken and cracked a lot of tart edges. You will survive. Just eat the tart and hide the evidence.

Please note this post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you buy a product I recommend, I will get a small commission, and the price you have to pay will not change in any way.

tips and tricks

12 Responses to How to remove a tart from a tart pan

  1. Mallory Frayn November 22, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    I’m always ok getting the edge piece off. My biggest problem is when the bottom sticks to the tart. Most of the time I am able to slide a paring knife under it to release it so no big failures….yet!

    • Janice Lawandi November 22, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

      Thanks, Mallory! A pairing knife definitely: great suggestion! I also like to loosen the bottom with an offset spatula. I find it’s really a matter of finding what tool works best for you.

  2. musingmar November 22, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

    I’m having one of those hand-up-the-side-of-the-head,-why-didn’t-I-think-of-this moments! Brilliant!

    • Janice Lawandi November 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

      lol, I’m pretty sure the look on my face when I learned this trick was priceless too 😉

  3. Angie Schneider November 24, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    A nice trick! Thanks for sharing, Janice.

  4. Joanne September 18, 2017 at 11:16 am #

    Just took my very first tart shell out of the oven, and I wish I had thought to search for removing a tart shell from a pan before I put the tart shell in the oven. I’m using an America’s Test Kitchen recipe, and it said nothing about greasing and flouring the pan. Here’s hoping it all works. And maybe I’ll remove it from the pan before filling it. :::FingersCrossed:::

  5. Deborah January 10, 2019 at 8:42 pm #

    Genius. Thank you for sharing this trick to removing the outer pan from the base. I would have never thought of this method. Can’t wait to try it. I’ll be making tarts for Valentine’s Day this year. Thank you. Greetings from Little Rock, Arkansas –

  6. Randy May 23, 2019 at 7:01 pm #

    I am very thankful that you posted this. Success!


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    […] Transfer to a wire rack to cool (you can unmold them after 10 minutes using my easy technique!) […]

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    […] Let cool completely, then pop out of tart rings. […]

  3. Raspberry chocolate tart | Kitchen Heals Soul - July 25, 2018

    […] remove the sheet pan from the oven. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before unmolding. Check out my trick for unmolding a tart for this step. Allow to cool completely. Place the unmolded baked tart shell on a serving […]

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