Project Description

A Buyers Guide To Baking Sheets

Head into any kitchen, and chances are you’ll find a hodgepodge of mismatched baking sheets, warped and burnt and stuffed in a wayward drawer. Baking sheets are often collected over time, and rarely replaced. But it’s pretty important to have a consistent and workable sheet. Also known as a cookie sheet, these kitchen products are pretty indispensable. While they’re not beautiful by any means, and don’t add to the decor of a kitchen space, they are vital when baking or heating food in the oven.

A reliable baking sheet needs to cook (or reheat) food evenly, and has to be durable enough to take the repeated beatings that come with being used in the oven, and stored haphazardly.

While anyone who cooks needs at least 1 baking sheet, we recommend having a couple in stock. Burned and warped baking sheets can ruin the integrity of the food you’re trying to cook, and also add unwanted flavors to your food. If you use the oven a lot, you might find yourself replacing baking sheets somewhat often. But don’t fret – they are pretty cheap. In fact, the friendly price point should encourage you to retire any older baking sheets that are lying around. If you’re looking for the best gets for a new set, here’s a list of our favorites.

Checkered Chef Stainless Steel Baking Sheet Set
  • 16.5 x 11.5 inches
  • Aluminum construction
  • Sturdy, rimmed edges protect against warping
  • Rust Free
  • Affordable – under $23 for the set

No frills at good value, this Checkered Chef set of 2 baking sheets gets the job done. The rimmed design of these baking sheets provide durable and sturdy handling, and the medium size is a perfect fit for any oven. This baking pan heats up quickly and evenly, and we found it to be perfect for a batch of cookies.

This rust proof set is super easy to clean – just don’t go throwing it in the dishwasher. These baking sheets will be sure to last a long while if properly maintained!

Available on Amazon
  • 21 x 15 inches
  • Large size
  • Aluminum
  • Retails around $20
  • Rust free for easy cleaning

Also available in packs of 2 if you’re looking to stock up, the Nordic Ware baker’s big sheet is a solid option that can hold a lot of food. Slightly bigger than standard half sheet models, it’s a perfect get for larger families, or cooking for large groups. Despite the superior size, it still fits snuggly in any oven.

The natural aluminum is also a great conductor of heat. This pan gets hot, fast, and distributes an even cooking experience no matter how much food is piled on. Sturdy, warp resistant, and easy to clean, it’s easy to see why it’s so highly rated.

Available on Amazon
USA Brand Baking Pan
  • 13 x 9 inches
  • Standard size
  • Nonstick with silicon coating
  • Corrugated surface ideal for baking
  • $25

An ideal pick for folks who love to bake, this standard size baking sheet from USA Pan is a mid to higher priced pick ($25 for 1) that has some pretty unique features. The ridged surface allows airflow to pass through evenly while baking, all but cutting out hot spots that can accumulate in normal baking sheets. This is pretty nice when baking up cookies, and also helps heat heavier food well. It’s also super easy to peel food off the baking sheet.

Like all nonstick baking sheets, long term durability can be called into question once the silicon inevitably begins to wear off. But it’s a breeze to clean, and like all baking sheets should be hand washed.

Available on Amazon
Ultra Professional Quarter Baking Sheet
  • 13.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Professional grade
  • Aluminum reinforced with steel on rims
  • Durable, anti-rust
  • $21 for 2 with a lifetime warranty

These two professional quality baking pans from Ultra Cuisine are great value ($21). Standard size and capable of reliably baking, reheating, and cooking pan dinners, these baking sheets preform consistently well, for a long time. The product is durable, and reinforced to prevent warping.

It can withstand heat up to 570 degrees, and is a workhorse that withstands the grueling oven conditions exceptionally well. For the reasonable price and the lifetime guarantee, it’s hard to do better than these baking sheets.

Available on Amazon

How to Select the Right Sized Baking Sheet

small and large baking sheets

  • Full Size Pan (26 x 18 inches): The largest pan available, it’s too large for most normal kitchen ovens. Can handle heavy volume, but the size is best suitable for industrial kitchens and restaurants.
  • Two Thirds Size Pan (21 x 15 inches): A large pan for the home kitchen. Fits in most ovens, and is big enough to cook full dinners, handle lots of guests, and ideal for baking in high volume. Great to have in tandem with other sized baking sheets to fully stock the kitchen.
  • Half Pan (18 x 13 inches): The most common, and widely used size. Fits in every oven, and handles decent volume. Great for families. Each kitchen should have at least one half sized pan.
  • Quarter Pan (13 x 9.5 inches): This smaller pan is good for single servings, or smaller kitchens and families. It’s great for reheating, or making single sized cakes.

Basic Aluminum Vs Nonstick

Baking sheets are pretty simple products. They almost universally use aluminum to makeup the bulk of the pan, since it heats evenly, and can cool quickly, while also  handling the extreme conditions of ovens well. But aluminum can burn, and sometimes be a pain to clean.

Nonstick baking sheets have gained in popularity, and despite a few performance concerns, continue to be popular options. We get it, they’re extremely easy to clean. For our money, we prefer a good old fashioned aluminum pan, but here’s the deal with each.

Aluminum Pans: Performs well, and has superior heat distribution than nonstick options. Can be prone to warping, so it’s important to get thick and reinforced products to hedge against this over time. Can be used with parchment paper when baking/cooking to reduce potential burning or sticking.

Nonstick Pans: The ease of cleaning a nonstick pan is the biggest appeal, and it’s attractive enough to make these pans pretty practical. But nonstick pans aren’t very durable, and can find themselves unusable pretty quickly. These pans rely on sealant that can eventually wear off. It’s also important to ensure that the nonstick coating is non-toxic.

Care and Maintenance

Dinner cooked on baking sheet

Although durable, baking sheets need to be maintained to make sure that they don’t warp and develop spots that unevenly distribute heat. But with the proper care, they can last a really long time. Aluminum especially can last for years, while nonstick will end up being replaced pretty frequently if used a ton. Here’s our tips to keeping your baking sheets in tiptop shape.

  • Never wash in the dishwasher! This can scratch and dent the pan, and also mess up the coloration.
  • The dishwasher can also strip nonstick baking sheets of their coating.
  • Always hand wash with warm water and dishsoap. We recommend to do this before and after each use. If food sears and burns, it can be challenging to scrape off.
  • To reduce sticking, try use parchment paper and baking mats when possible.
  • When roasting food, or making meals in the pan, butter and cooking oil should be used to coat the baking sheet.