Best Baking Sheets of 2018
With a baking sheet, you can whip up cookies or an entire dinner for the family. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best baking sheet.
Shopping Guide for the Best Baking Sheets
Whether you call it a baking sheet or a sheet pan, you need at least one in your kitchen. You'll reach for this kitchen workhorse over and over again. You can use a baking sheet to bake cookies, crisp pizza, roast an entire meal of chicken and veggies, toast nuts or seeds, or even as a drip-catcher beneath a baking pie.
Not every baking sheet available is worth your money, however. But how do you make sense of all the options to find the best baking sheet for your kitchen?
That's where we step in. At BestReviews, we consolidate in-depth research, including testing products and consulting with our team of experts, into handy, unbiased, and accurate shopping guides. If you want to learn more about buying a baking sheet, including how to choose and use one, read on.
Baking Sheet Features
Wondering what the difference is between a baking sheet and a cookie sheet? It's the rim. A baking sheet has a rolled rim around all four sides. A cookie sheet might have a shallow raised edge on one side, but it is completely flat on the other three sides. The rim makes a baking sheet adequate for all types of baking and easy to lift out of the oven when the timer goes off.
A standard baking sheet is 13"x18" and is often referred to as a half sheet because it's half the size of standard sheet pans used in commercial kitchens. You'll also find many smaller baking sheets, which are handy for baking a small batch of cookies or a sheet pan meal for two. There are also mini sheet pans for use in toaster ovens.
There are two basic materials used to make baking sheets: aluminum and stainless steel.
- Aluminum: Aluminum is widely considered the superior choice for baking sheets. Aluminum conducts heat well, heats up quickly, and cools down just as fast. This means your food cooks evenly, with just the right amount of browning on the underside. The ideal aluminum sheet pan has a 12- to 18-gauge thickness, which is heavy enough to not buckle or warp in the oven, yet thin enough to cook quickly and evenly.
- Stainless Steel: Stainless-steel baking sheets are sturdy and durable, but they don't conduct heat as evenly as aluminum does, which can lead to uneven results. You'll sometimes find baking sheets with an aluminum core surrounded by layers of steel, which greatly increases the conduction ability, but you'll pay more for these baking sheets.
Baking Sheet Options
Nonstick coatings make cleanup a breeze, but most bakers and chefs prefer baking sheets without nonstick coatings. There are two main reasons why:
- Nonstick coatings are dark, and dark baking sheets are more likely to burn your cookies on the bottom.
- Nonstick finishes tend to scratch easily, wear away over time, and aren't suitable for very high temperatures, such as what you'd use to prepare a meal on your baking sheet.
If you're concerned that a baking sheet without a nonstick coating will be a pain to clean, try a silicone baking liner. These handy products are usually the same size as a standard baking sheet, are safe in high temperatures, and rinse clean easily—even with tough or sticky ingredients.
You'll find baking sheets that have an inner layer of air "insulation" between two thin layers of metal. Because these cook food more slowly, your cookies are less likely to burn, but you'll also wait longer for them to finish baking. In general, insulated baking sheets are not necessary, but they are useful if you cook a lot of delicate baked goods, like your cookies soft, or tend to burn your cookies.
A somewhat uncommon option, you'll occasionally find ridged baking sheets. The ridges promote even air circulation for better browning without burning, but they also make the baking sheet a little harder to clean.
You'll find some baking sheets with handles or grips on the sides, often made of silicone. This makes it easy to grab the sheet without burning yourself or dipping your oven mitt into your food, but handles aren't a must-have. It's up to you whether they are worth the extra money or not.
Q. My aluminum baking sheets get cooked-on oil and black spots. How do I remove them?
A. Avoid these messes altogether by using parchment or silicone liners. But if your baking sheet has black spots or baked-on oil, remove it by carefully scrubbing with a not-too-abrasive scrub pad and a bit of powder cleaner.
Q. Can I wash my baking sheet in the dishwasher?
A. While many are labeled as dishwasher-safe, it's still best to wash your baking sheets by hand. This keeps them in good condition, prevents discoloration from hot water, and leaves your pans without soap or water spots.
Q. Why do my baking sheets buckle or twist in the oven?
A. Inexpensive, too-thin baking sheets tend to twist or buckle when heated. You'll sometimes even hear them warping in the oven. Choosing good-quality, heavy-gauge aluminum pans is the best way to avoid the problem.