Baking pans and cookie sheets are often considered the same, but there are distinct differences between the two that can make a significant difference depending on your baking needs. Both are made for specific purposes, but it can be helpful to know the differences in case you are looking to bake a particular recipe.
Baking sheets, cookie sheets, sheet pans—whatever you want to call them—are some of the most overworked and underappreciated items in any kitchen. They can bake your favorite cookies, roast your vegetables, cook your entire dinner, and much more.
To help you find the right one for your kitchen, we asked Allrecipes product tester, Sarah Zorn, to put the top options on the market to the ultimate test. She considered each baking sheet’s sturdiness, versatility, ease of use, reliability, conductivity, and overall value. With these features in mind, she chose the Made In Sheet Pan as the clear winner. Read on to discover the best baking sheets, according to our testing.
Let’s be honest, baking is a pretty great hobby. Not only is it a fun stress reliever, but it also has some delicious results. That’s why when it comes to your baking sheets, you want the best of the best.
We’re not talking about the most expensive baking sheet; truthfully, a higher price doesn’t always mean it’s the best. No, we’re talking about the color and style of the baking sheet.
There are hundreds of baking sheets on the scene, but there are four main styles: dark, light, colored, and textured. We’ll let you in on a little secret: the color and style of a baking sheet can and will affect how your bakes will turn out.
What do we mean exactly? Each baking sheet will produce a different result. That’s why a lot of people opt for different baking sheets when they’re making different types of food — one baking sheet for cookies, one for pizzas, one for sheet pan meals, etc.
To test out how each type of baking sheet performs, we used them to make the most popular sheet pan recipe: cookies. The four pans were put to the test using our Best Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe to determine once and for all which style of sheet is the best for baking cookies. Here’s what we discovered.
Straight to the Point
You can read our full review on half sheet pans here (as well as more about our top picks from Nordic Ware and Chicago Metallic).
Growing up, my mother never used rimmed baking sheets. Instead, she had thin, edgeless pans, which she employed exclusively to bake cookies. For roasting meat or vegetables, she’d use either a frying pan or glass casserole dish. I didn’t even know there was a difference between cookie sheets and rimmed sheet pans until I, as a teenager, attempted to roast asparagus for the first time. I coated the spears with olive oil and seasoning, layered them on a cookie sheet, and popped them into the oven. A few minutes later, the smell of burning oil let me know I made a mistake. Without sturdy sides to contain it, all of the fat pooled in one warped edge, then rolled off the pan and onto the bottom of the oven, where it sizzled, then smoked.
It was then I realized how useful rimmed sheet pans are. If you grew up with them (lucky!) or use them regularly, you already know this. Not only are they great at roasting vegetables, they can bake a sheet cake and accommodate an entire dinner’s worth of food. Fit one with a cooling rack to aid in air flow, and they become superior resting trays for cooked meat and fried items.
Most rimmed sheet pans are made of metal like steel or aluminum. And we prefer bare sheet pans over ones coated with a nonstick layer for most cooking tasks, as they can handle extremely high temperatures, making them good vessels for browning and broiling. Rimmed sheet pans can also moonlight as informal serving platters, and keep condiments, kitchen tools, or mise en place tidy while you’re cooking.
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Have you ever wondered if there’s a difference between baking sheets and cookie sheets? Most people assume they’re the same thing, so you might be surprised to find out that that’s not entirely true.
Although they’re similar in many ways, there is a subtle difference that sets them apart.
By the end of this article, the baking sheet vs. cookie sheet debate will be settled, and you will have some baking knowledge to impress your friends and family. After we look at the differences and similarities between the two, we’ll give you our recommendation for each.
Not much, to be honest. The difference between a baking sheet and a cookie sheet is all in the edges of the sheets.
Most baking sheets, or baking pans, have four, distinctly raised edges, while a cookie sheet typically has zero, one, or two slightly raised edges.
Why the raised edges?
So, what’s so important about the raised edges of a baking sheet? In other words, what benefit do they provide? Well, it actually makes a lot of sense if you give it some thought.
The raised edges are there to keep liquid in!
A common uses of a baking pan is for roasting vegetables. When roasting, you have liquids that you want to keep on the pan. If you try roasting with a cookie sheet, your liquids will go right over the edges.
To summarize, the raised edges on baking sheets provide flexibility. By flexibility, we mean that you’re not quite as limited on the potential uses as you would be with a cookie sheet.
A side benefit of having raised edges is that your sheet is more durable. The raised edges help the sheet to resist warping by providing a rigid structure.
Why don’t cookie sheets have raised edges?
We now know why baking sheets have raised edges, but why don’t cookie sheets have them? In other words, what are we losing by baking cookies on a baking sheet with four raised edges? It’s pretty simple really:
Although it might not seem like much, those raised edges on a baking sheet take up valuable real estate, which means you don’t have as much room as you should for your cookies.
Another benefit of not having raised edges is that you’re able to easily slide your cookies off the sheet when they’re done baking. If you had raised edges, they would simply be in the way?
One last benefit of not having raised edges is better air circulation. The improved air circulation results in more evenly baked cookies, when compared to baking cookies on a baking sheet.
Why do cookie sheets have raised edges at all?
Cookie sheets typically have one raised edge, because it makes it easier to grip the sheet. It’s really that simple.
Last Modified Date: March 18, 2023
Last Modified Date: March 18, 2023
A baking sheet is a flat metal pan characteristically used in either the oven or the broiler. It is only a single layer unless it is an insulated pan, which is made of two sheets of aluminum with a layer or air sealed between them. While an insulated baking sheet is a good choice for softer baked goods, a dark single sheet will help to crisp items. Single sheets can be stacked double to imitate the effect of an insulated pan, if desired. Typically, they are greased or lined with parchment prior to use, although some items may be placed directly on the metal surface.
Another popular use of a baking sheet is to toast or roast items that do not contain a lot of liquid that could run over the edge. Items that may be toasted include nuts, pumpkin seeds, and bread cubes oiled and seasoned to make croutons. Garlic bread can also be toasted this way. Roasting on a baking sheet works for squash, onions, peppers, and eggplant in the skin, and when carefully done, leaves the vegetables browned on the outside and tender inside.
Some quick breads are baked on a baking sheet. Scones — which may be shaped as triangles, rounds, squares, or diamonds — are prepared in this way. So are biscuits, including baking powder biscuits. Popovers and muffins, on the other hand, are baked in specially prepared tins.
Turnovers from a variety of cultures may be baked on a baking sheet. This includes empanadas, which are Mexican or Spanish pastries; calzones, which are Italian turnovers; the turnovers from Crete called Skaltsounia; and Indian samosas. Dessert turnovers are baked this way as well. Other items that may cooked on this pan include pretzels, crackers, crabcakes, and pizza.
Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for
correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to DelightedCooking about art, literature, and
music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing
program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on
language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.
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A flawless batch of cookies depends on the quality of your recipe and sheet pan. With the wrong baking sheet, your results can be undercooked or overcooked and hard to remove. It could also make cleanup a real chore, as you’re forced to put in some elbow grease to scrape off any bits clinging to the surface. A great cookie sheet, on the other hand, is one you can rely on for consistent results — goods that effortlessly slide off the pan and are cooked evenly.
To find the best of the best, we tested 19 different cookie sheets, evaluating each one’s durability, performance, cleanability, and overall value. Read on to learn what models made our list of best cookie sheets.
Pros: This baking sheet delivers on performance, feels good to handle, and proves a cinch to clean by hand.
Cons: The pan is not dishwasher-safe.
This impressive baking sheet received the highest scores possible across every category, with one tester saying it “performed perfectly throughout all of the tests.” Praising the baking sheet for being very lightweight and easy to use, a tester said, “the rolled edges and wall height make it easy to hold and get in and out of the oven.” The pan required minimal scrubbing, and we found that it retains a nice shine even after several uses.
The manufacturer doesn’t state if it’s broiler-safe, but during our tests, the pan didn’t change shape when placed in the oven at 475 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Plus, one of our testers has owned it for years and said it hasn’t warped whatsoever. Overall, we believe this is the best baking sheet for every home cook and gets the job done right, whether you’re roasting vegetables, baking cookies, or cooling cooked grains.
Price at time of publish: $43
- Material: Aluminum
- Coating: Uncoated
- Dimensions: 18 x 13 x 1 inches
- Dishwasher-Safe: No
Pros: It has convenient side handles, withstands heat up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit, and features a nonstick surface for easy removal.
Cons: The stainless steel handles get very hot.
Earning perfect scores in our assessment, this baking sheet may be more expensive than other models, but our testers found it well worth the money. “It cooks food evenly, cleans beautifully, and has helpful handles for transporting to and from the oven,” one tester said. “It also withstands high heat, so it’s sure to last for a long time, which is always a reason to splurge, in my opinion. I would trust this pan with any recipe.”
Thanks to its nonstick coating, the pan made it easy to remove both the cookies and the roasted potatoes from the surface and was a breeze to clean, as there were barely any crumbs left behind. The only con about this model is that the stainless steel handles get extremely hot after being in the oven, so it’s crucial to have quality oven mitts for protection.
Price at time of publish: $55
- Material: Aluminized steel and stainless steel
- Coating: Nonstick ceramic
- Dimensions: 18 x 13 x 1 inches
- Dishwasher-Safe: No
Pros: With these cookie sheets, you’ll enjoy even cooking and easy cleaning — all at a particularly attractive price since it’s a two-pack.
Cons: The pans’ thickness means things may take longer to cook.
This baking sheet set fulfills its promise of being nonstick even with those distinct grooves on its surfaces. During the cookies test, the bottoms were perfectly golden brown, each cookie was the same color, and they slid right off the pan after cooling down. It was the same story with the potato wedges. “The wedges came off very easily; I could have just dumped them straight off with no problem,” one tester said.
The pan has tall sides that prevent food from spilling out or falling off, and testers noted that they felt “very durable” and had “a nice grip.” Because these pans are on the thicker side, you might find that food takes longer to cook on them, so just keep that in mind when checking your baking times — you may have to add a couple of minutes. Even so, a tester said, “that’s worth it for perfect evenly cooked food.”
Price at time of publish: $28
- Material: Alloy steel
- Coating: Nonstick
- Dimensions: 15 x 10 x 1.25 inches
- Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Pros: Coming in a variety of vibrant colors, this baking sheet is a winner in terms of looks and in performance.
Cons: Its larger size means it may not be suitable for smaller kitchens.
Who says your cookie sheet has to look boring? Veering from standard silver and black, these baking pans come in bright colors, including pinkish-red, cobalt blue, and mustard yellow. The positives go beyond aesthetics, though. We were very impressed with how the cookies and potatoes turned out, with one tester saying, “the potatoes especially got a beautiful perfect crisp to them without being overcooked.” It was for baked cookies and potato wedges to glide right off — no extra effort required, and the pan “felt really durable and long-lasting.”
One thing to note is that the pan is on the larger side, so we recommend keeping that in mind if you’re working with a smaller kitchen or sink. That being said, it’s the perfect size for large batches of food.
Price at time of publish: $40
- Material: Aluminized steel
- Coating: Nonstick
- Dimensions: 18.5 x 13.5 x 1 inches
- Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Pros: This pan is ideal for sheet cakes and gives vegetables a golden crisp.
Cons: It’s a great sheet pan but only worth the investment if you cook a lot.
With its angled, raised edges and weighty, oversized handles, this versatile baking sheet properly contains batters and liquids for rolled cakes, bars, and more. It’s suitable for baked goods, roasted vegetables, roasted chicken, pan pizzas, and sheet cakes, but whatever you decide to make it in, you can expect uniform results and easy cleaning afterward. One tester said that it “performed exceptionally well” and had “zero issues during each test.”
The baking sheet is on the pricier side, but we still stand behind its value, especially if you cook a lot. “It’s a superior sheet pan that helped me achieve very crispy foods and is built to last.”
Price at time of publish: $38
- Material: Heavy-gauge aluminized steel
- Coating: Nonstick
- Dimensions: 15 x 10 inches
- Dishwasher-Safe: No
Pros: It’s ideal for anyone cooking for many people, and you can count on foods cooking evenly without sticking to the pan.
Cons: Because of the baking sheet’s bigger size, a wire rack could slide around.
At 21 x 15 inches, this pan is an excellent choice for anyone who makes a lot of sheet pan dinners or meal preps for the week. Despite its larger size, a tester said it’s “not unwieldy,” but if you want to use a standard wire rack on top of the sheet, it might slide around.
In terms of performance, there was no adhesion with cookies or potato wedges, with one tester noting the “extremely easy” release of food. Along with its flawless removal, a tester praised its yield of even browning. Another plus is how easy it is to hold onto with its rolled edges and gently angled walls.
Price at time of publish: $28
- Material: Aluminum
- Coating: Uncoated
- Dimensions: 21 x 15 x 1.25 inches
- Dishwasher-Safe: No
USA Pan Bakeware Half Sheet Pan
This pan also had a nice heft, made (in the USA, of course) from 2.45 pounds of aluminized steel. It’s textured and dishwasher safe, with a BPA-free silicone coating to promote easy release. Overall though, it proved a middle-of-the-road performer — our cookies definitely got overbrowned, despite the corrugated surface meant to increase airflow. It had a sticker underneath that was an issue to remove (despite intense scrubbings we still felt residue), and it got the most stained and scorched of all the pans we tested by far.
Buy It: $22; amazon.com or williams-sonoma.com
What’s the best way to clean a baking sheet?
Most often, you can clean a baking sheet with hot, soapy water and a nonabrasive sponge. Be sure to get into the corners and the underside of the pan, where grease can collect or hide. (Residual fat that gets heated past its smoke point results in a sticky, thick resin over cookware.)
For stubborn stains, like burnt sugar or caked-on grease, you can soak the pan before washing it. Better yet: Apply a paste made from baking soda and water, let it sit, then go to town with a sponge. Let the pan cool completely before washing it; blasting a hot pan with water can contribute to warping.
Finally, embrace the patina. A pristine baking sheet is simply one that doesn’t get used.
What size baking sheets should you buy?
For most home cooks, half sheet pans and quarter sheet pans are the most useful. Although you can find half sheet pans at many large grocery stores, quarter sheet pans are more widely available online (it’s worth shopping on the web for all rimmed sheet pans anyway, so you have your pick of brands). Eighth sheet pans are also immensely useful, so if you’ve got the space (and they are pretty tiny), keep a few on hand. The key thing here is having a few of whatever size you like. Multiple pans is more efficient—as anyone who’s had to wash a baking sheet in the middle of dinner prep could tell you.
Made In Sheet Pan
We love this Made In Sheet Pan because it’s durable, easy to use, and versatile. Molded from commercial grade 3004 aluminum into an 18-gauge thickness, it’s lightweight enough to maneuver with one hand, even when piled with food. Yet it feels sturdy enough to support that food, and high walls help contain drippings and grease. It also has a smooth, untextured surface, which speaks to its versatility.
An aluminum rod placed under the rolled rim increases durability, keeps the pan from warping or buckling, and prevents food from sticking underneath. Since aluminum is a superior conductor (and heat safe up to 450 degrees F), we found our vegetables roasted quickly and evenly. And while that concentration of white-hot heat isn’t always ideal when it comes to baking, our cookies were perfectly golden throughout; no burned bottoms.
Made in America and designed in concert with pitmaster Matt Horn for use at his restaurant, this pan clearly has what it takes to hold heaping amounts of barbecue. It comes in half-sheet and quarter-sheet sizes, and you can choose between having a non-stick coating or not. And the best part is, it’s a breeze to clean, which means it can be swiftly scrubbed free of caked-on meat detritus and sauce.
Buy It: $25; madeincookware.com
Dark Baking Sheets
Dark baking sheets are usually made out of the same material as light baking sheets — typically a type of steel or aluminum. However, the difference is they have a dark non-stick coating. This means, much like dark clothing, dark baking sheets absorb heat in the oven. The absorption means your bakes will brown quickly and all around.
For this test, we used Made In’s Non-Stick Half Sheet.
The cookies required six extra minutes of baking time before they were fully baked. However, when they came out of the oven they looked like a quintessential chocolate chip cookie. They had a beautiful crinkly top and were evenly golden brown on the bottom. The cookies were perfectly crispy on the outside and provided a nice crunch when you bit into them. However, they weren’t as chewy on the inside, but rather pretty crispy throughout the whole cookie.
We wouldn’t say they were burnt, but they were quite a crispy cookie — almost like eating a Chips Ahoy.
What Are Baking Pans?
Baking pans, also known as sheet pans and jelly roll pans, have a flat surface with a one-inch high edge around the sides of the entire pan. With these raised edges, baking a loose batter (like Texas Sheet Cake) or softer dough makes this a clean and practical choice for baking. The edge also helps keep any toppings or crumbs from falling off the edge into your oven.
These pans can be used for nearly all baked goods, including cookies; they can also be used in the kitchen for savory cooking, such as roasting vegetables.
Baking pans come in several different sizes:
- Full Sheet (26″x18″) – This size is usually too large for home cooking and is more commonly found in commercial kitchens and bakeries.
- Half Sheet (18″x13″) – Often considered a standard size for home bakers and is the perfect size for home kitchens and most standard ovens.
- Quarter Sheet (13″ x 9″) – A smaller version that is perfect for convection ovens and toaster ovens. This size is ideal for doing personal baking or smaller batches of a recipe.
- Jelly Roll Pan (15″x10″) – Named after the dessert of the same name, this pan is made specifically for creating jelly roll cakes. (A jelly roll cake is a thin cake baked, then layered with jelly, and rolled into a charming round loaf cake.)
It is worth noting that with the higher edges around the pan, the airflow and heat circulating the baked item are not as efficient compared to a cookie sheet. To work around this issue, keep an eye on your baked goods and consider adjusting the time slightly by increasing the bake time a minute or two.
What is a rimmed baking sheet?
A rimmed baking sheet is a flat pan with 1-inch edges on all sides. The sides are typically rolled—if they aren’t, we recommend continuing your search for a pan that does have rolled sides; they make for a comfier grip. This pan differs from cookie sheets in its higher profile—cookie sheets tend to have one very short, angled edge, and are open on the three other sides. Rimmed baking sheets also have fairly standardized sizing measurements (a half-sheet size is roughly 18 inches long and 13 inches wide).
They’re also more versatile than cookie sheets, due to their design and construction. Rimmed baking sheets are also colloquially known as sheet pans, baking sheets, or rimmed pans. They’re sometimes also called by their size; most commonly a “half sheet” or “quarter sheet.”
Does the material of a baking sheet matter?
The material matters when it comes to choosing high quality baking sheets. In our review of half sheet pans, we found ones made of heavy gauge metal, like aluminized steel and uncoated aluminum, performed better, with more consistent and even temperatures across the surface. They also resisted warping in extreme heats.
The thickness of your sheet pan doesn’t matter as much. Indeed, in our test we discovered that the heaviest was too unwieldy to be useful, no matter how evenly it conducted heat.
The finish of a standard, uncoated sheet pan—matte or shiny—matters only in terms of aesthetics. A matte finish will hide scratches and scrapes, although even these will start to show signs of wear and discoloration with regular use.
Also of note is whether the baking sheet is coated with nonstick material, like ceramic. This extra layer can make cleanup easier, and release food with less sticking. On the other hand, nonstick pans can’t handle as high temperatures as uncoated pans—and their lifespan is shorter as with anything nonstick. This is why we recommend standard, uncoated sheet pans for most cooking tasks.
Chicago Metallic Commercial 11 Jelly-Roll Pan
Made from heavy weight aluminized steel, with wire rod reinforced rims to prevent warping, we liked how sturdy this pan felt. And it’s super inexpensive to boot, at just over $16 for two. The pan didn’t help foods cook especially evenly though, as the highly reflective surface caused our cookies to quickly over brown. And while it claims to be dishwasher safe (which we’d rarely risk doing), the pan is clearly prone to scratching, and there was definite spotting after we gave it a good scrub.
Buy It: $16 for 2; amazon.com
OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Pro Half Sheet Pan
There’s a lot we loved about the OXO sheet pan, including its substantial weight (over two pounds of heavy gauge aluminized steel), high sides (one-inch), textured surface, dishwasher-safe claims, and great looks — like the Williams Sonoma pan, it boasts a golden, nonstick ceramic coating. But what kept it from making it into our list of top picks is the fact it warped under surprisingly low temperatures (375 degrees F), burned the bottoms of our chocolate chip cookies, and proved a bit more difficult to clean, leaving remnants of food stuck between the grooved lines.
Buy It: $25; amazon.com, oxo.com, or target.com
What Didn’t Make the List
Results Still Simmering
Artisan Half Size Aluminum Baking Sheet
There’s no reason this pan should cost as much as it does. Despite being crafted from 18-gauge aluminum with a reinforced rim, it still felt thin and flimsy, and exhibited definite warping at moderate temperatures. It didn’t seem substantial enough to support sheet pan suppers, and our cookies quickly over browned on the bottoms. They also stuck a bit, and left grease rings afterwards, and the pan got scratched from scrubbing.
Buy It: $23; amazon.com
How We Tested Each Baking Sheet
- Sturdiness: What’s the gauge of the metal? At high temperatures, does the pan buckle or warp? If so, does it return to its original shape at room temperature?
- Versatility: Does it excel at both baking and roasting?
- Ease of Use: Is it comfortable to hold? Does food release easily? Does it clean easily, or does it stain?
- Reliability and Conductivity: Does it distribute heat evenly and brown/cook foods evenly?
- Value: Is the pan affordable? Is it well priced for how well it performed?
Best for Sheet Pan Suppers
This boutique brand clearly prizes style, with a line of thoughtfully crafted cookware boasting vibrant colors. Take their blueberry- and broccoli-shaded baking pans, which ensures you won’t need to bother with platters for serving sheet pan suppers. And it’s very much built to carry that weight, made from aluminum-sandwiched steel with reinforced rolled rims and one-inch high sides. Even empty, the pan itself is hefty at a sizable two pounds, which can also be a detriment, because it’s harder to hoist one-handed.
The nonstick ceramic coating absorbs less heat than bare aluminum. So while everything cooks/bakes a bit more slowly, it also does so more evenly and deliberately. Meaning, it would take a lot of doing to burn the bottoms of a batch of cookies.
That said, our overall endorsement comes with a big caveat. We were left with multiple small scorches and spots of discoloration — definitely an issue for a pan praised for both durability and looks. This is a seemingly rare occurrence judging from customer reviews, so we’re inclined to give Great Jones the benefit of the doubt. Although we’d also elect to line our pans with parchment or foil going forward.
Buy It: $35; greatjonesgoods.com
Farberware Ceramic Nonstick Cookie Sheet
Texture is very much a thing when it comes to sheet pans. In addition to improving durability and making pans more resistant to warping, the protrusions and channels allow for better airflow, which lends itself to even baking.
Farberware’s model definitely benefits from a textured design, transitioning admirably between baking and cooking. Oven safe to 500 degrees F, with rolled rims that increase stability, the ceramic coating was effectively nonstick and surprisingly simple to clean, despite the bumps and grooves. Available in Aqua Blue or Lavender, these also have a flashier aesthetic than your basic metal pans, meaning they have what it takes to transition from oven to table.
Something to note is, that due to their especially wide handles, these are larger than your average sheet pans. Which means, they may prove too big to fit in certain ovens. Nonstick ceramic coating can also wear down over time, and there are customer reviews that call into question these pan’s long-term durability. That said, at less than $15, it’s hard to quibble over the price.
Buy It: $15; amazon.com or walmart.com
What Are Cookie Sheets?
Cookie sheets feature a large sheet, commonly with one edge on the side for use as a handle for gripping and picking up the pan. They are designed with minimal edges to easily slide cookies off the baking pan without breaking the cookie.
Compared to baking pans, these pans have more limitations because the surface is entirely flat. Any baked good that starts baking with a softer batter, like brownies or cakes, would create a giant mess without the support of edges around the entire pan.
While they aren’t the most versatile option for the kitchen, when baking cookies, cookie sheets are hard to beat. Without the edges on the pan, the air can flow better, which creates more consistency and can help prevent crisp edges or excessive browning.
If you are planning on making more delicate cookies (such as meringues or shortbread), you may want to consider an insulated cookie sheet. These are made with two layers of metal with an open layer between which insulates the air. This can help with more even baking and to help avoid hot spots. This design encourages a slower cook time and a consistent bake for the cookies.
What’s a jelly roll pan?
A jelly roll pan is a slightly smaller version (usually 9 or 10 by 14 or 15 inches) of a standard half sheet pan. They’re ideal for cooking sponge cakes, as they’re proportioned to hold a standard amount of cake batter. Jelly roll pans sometimes have a layer of nonstick coating, to help the delicate cake they’re named after release from the surface. Like rimmed baking sheets, jelly roll pans have 1-inch edges. If you’re serious about your annual Bûche de Noël, you could invest in a jelly roll pan, though our recipe just calls for a half-sheet pan (as does this jelly roll).
Cindy Brzostowski is a freelance writer and avid home cook with previous experience in cookbook publishing. Her writing has been featured in Allrecipes, Blue Apron, The Kitchn, and EatingWell among other publications. To determine the best baking sheets, she used data and insights from Food & Wine editors who tested 19 of the most popular models on the market.
Expert food product reviewer Laura Denby also contributed to this article. Laura is a food writer and former professional chef with a degree in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education. Her work can be found in Real Simple, FoodNetwork.com, Taste of Home, and more.
Winware Commercial Half Size Sheet Pan
While you’ll get a duo of pans for a low price, there are still superior models to spend money on. Again, the pan sounds reasonably good on paper (being made from 20-gauge aluminum), but felt tin can-thin, and warped when exposed to high heat. The Winware also has an impossible to remove sticker affixed to the bottom, and scorched the bottoms of our cookies in minutes. Food released easily, but the pan was still stained and scratched after moderate use and cleaning.
Buy It: $22 for 2; amazon.com
- Best Overall: Made In Sheet Pan
- Best Value: Nordic Ware Naturals Baker’s Half Sheet
- Best for Baking: Williams Sonoma Goldtouch Pro Cookie Sheet
- Best for Sheet Pan Suppers: Great Jones Holy Sheet
- Best Textured: Farberware Ceramic Nonstick Cookie Sheet
Are there any similarities?
Baking sheets and cookie sheets are very similar. In fact, if you take away the edges, you really can’t tell them apart. They’re made of the same materials and provide the same basic benefits to the foods being baked.
Colorful Baking Sheets
The most notable brand that produces colorful baking sheets is Great Jones — there aren’t too many other colorful sheet pans on the market. However, the color isn’t the important part. The unique thing about these sheet pans is the ceramic coating. The pan itself is aluminized steel, but it has a ceramic non-stick coating; it acts almost like a cross between a dark and light baking sheet.
For this test, we used Great Jones’ Holy Sheet.
The cookies required three extra minutes of baking time and when they came out of the oven, a lot of them were flat and deflated. With that being said, the cookies were nicely browned on the bottom — though the very bottom was crispier than the edges. Biting into the cookie it had a nice crunch, it was crispy on the outside, and the inside was chewy (just like it’s supposed to be).
Overall, the cookies were baked nicely, we just wish they had a little more height.
Which is better?
Whether a baking sheet or cookie sheet is better really depends on your needs. If you’re baking cookies, go for a cookie sheet, as they provide a little extra space, better air circulation, and make it easier to remove your baked goodies.
If you’re baking something that’s a bit more liquidy, go for a baking sheet, as they provide a nice rigid structure that’s made to keep your juices from flowing over the edges.
Either type of sheet will work for most applications, so don’t stress about it too much. If you can only afford to buy one, go with a baking sheet, as it provides more flexibility.
Other Baking Sheets We Tried
We tested five other baking sheets in addition to our favorites above. Here are our thoughts:
Nordic Ware Naturals Baker’s Half Sheet
Nordic Ware’s sheet pan rivals Made In’s in practically every area. Crafted from rust-free aluminum with reinforced and encapsulated rims, it’s highly durable and resistant to warping, as well as substantial in feel, without being obtrusively heavy.
Whether roasting veggies and proteins or baking sweets, food reliably cooks through evenly without scorching. And cleaning is blessedly easy; we were able to wipe away all manner of messes without the pan scratching, spotting, or remaining greasy.
Nordic Ware even does Made In one better when it comes to value. Each pan retails for about $10, so you can buy multiple and dedicate one to savory, high-heat applications, and another to making cookies.
Buy It: $10; walmart.com, target.com, or amazon.com
Williams Sonoma Goldtouch Pro Cookie Sheet
There’s no denying that this is one pretty pan. Finished with a lustrous, golden, nonstick coating, it provides a striking backdrop for all manner of baked goods. But its beauty isn’t only skin deep. Crafted from aluminized steel, with a diamond-textured surface, it’s especially strong and sturdy (no warping), and promotes better airflow for even baking.
We successfully used it for savory applications as well, and it did a perfectly good job, but baking is clearly this pan’s forte. Especially when you consider the design, which has three flat sides for allowing cookies and pastries to slide off easily (not ideal for containing oil and sauce), and a raised, angled front for secure gripping.
Astoundingly, the pan is even dishwasher safe. Although since it comes clean easily with a simple hand scrub, we’d suggest you go that route, to best preserve the integrity of the snazzy golden surface.
Buy It: $33; williams-sonoma.com
The Best Baking Sheet for Cookies
You could say this was a toss-up between the light baking sheet and the textured baking sheet since they both made great cookies. While there isn’t a clear winner, we think the textured baking sheet did a better job overall.
You do have to wait a little bit longer for the cookies to bake — though that might have something to do with the oven we used since every test required more time than the recipe called for — but it’s definitely worth it. In the end, the textured baking sheet provides a slightly more even brown than the light sheet.
Textured baking sheets do tend to cost more than the average light baking sheet — or maybe you already have a light sheet and don’t want to buy another. In any case, the light baking sheet is a solid second option that we’d also happily reach for when baking cookies.
While the dark sheet and colorful sheet still produced great cookies, we’d probably stick to using those for sheet pan meals and cooking veggies rather than baking.
Our testers assessed 19 different baking sheets by baking cookies from prepared cookie dough and baking homemade potato wedges. With the former, they examined how much the cookies spread, how dark or crisp the bottoms were, and how simple it was to remove the cookies from the sheet. During the latter, the testers noted how easy or not it was to flip the wedges during cooking and then release them from the pan once finished. In a third test, they inspected whether or not the baking sheet warped in an oven heated to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Throughout these processes, the testers observed how easy it was to handle the baking sheet and then clean it by hand. Based on durability, performance, ease of cleaning, and value, we rated each pan from one to five, with five being the highest score.
Based on our tests, we chose the Nordic Ware Naturals Baker’s Half Sheet as our overall favorite because it offered perfect performance and easy handling. It’s an excellent combination of quality baking results, a reasonable price, and maneuverability.
How to Choose Which One Is Right for You
Choosing which piece of equipment is right for you depends on what you feel you would need most in your kitchen. If you are looking for a versatile option, a baking pan can cover most baking projects and can be a great piece of equipment for your cooking projects in the kitchen. When in doubt, it is helpful to use the type of equipment specified in your favorite recipe for the best results.
Textured Baking Sheets
Textured baking sheets are almost always made from some type of steel — either aluminum or carbon — and have a layer of non-stick coating. The major difference between these sheets and others is that they have a textured surface that promotes airflow when baking, which purportedly allows for a more even bake.
For this test, we used OXO’s Non-Stick Pro Sheet Pan.
The cookies needed five extra minutes of baking time, but they were basically perfect when they came out of the oven. They were a good height, didn’t deflate, and had a nice even brown on the bottom. Biting into them, the cookies were crispy on the outside and light and gooey in the middle.
What Do Baking Pans and Cookie Sheets Have in Common?
Baking pans and cookie sheets have notable similarities, one being the materials in which they are commonly found. The most popular pans and sheets are made with aluminum, which is a great conductor of heat, meaning they are fast to heat up in the oven and quick to cool down in case you need to use the same pan for multiple batches of baking.
Aluminum pans are often less expensive, too, which can be great when purchasing essentials for the kitchen without breaking the bank. Other materials that baking pans and cookie sheets can be made with are stainless steel, ceramic, cast iron, and metals with a nonstick coating.
Nearly all these pans have a threshold for heat up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit; temperatures higher than this could cause the pans to warp or be ruined completely. Many pans, especially ones with a nonstick coating, are best hand-washed and should not be put in the dishwasher.
Using parchment paper or a silicone mat when baking can also help extend the life of your pan and help make cleanup easier.
How big is a half sheet pan? How big is a quarter sheet pan?
A half sheet pan measures 18 by 13 inches and has 1-inch walls, approximately. This size pan is so-called because restaurants and professional kitchens use full sheet pans—those are 18 by 26 inches. Although you can buy full sheet pans at specialty restaurant supply stores, they’re not a helpful purchase for home cooks: they’re too big for most residential ovens.
A quarter sheet pan is 13 by 9 inches. This less-popular size is actually a smart buy because it’s ideal for cooking smaller portions of food; a helpful thing when you’re only roasting a handful of potatoes or a couple of chicken breasts. (Quarter sheet pans are also fantastic for toaster oven use or baking, say, two portions of cookie dough.) Beyond that, eighth sheet pans—9 by six-and-a-half inches—are less common in the home goods retail sector, but nice to have a few of, as we explain here.
If you have off-brand, very old, or mysteriously sourced baking pans, you may notice that their sizes are slightly off. In fact, I have two half sheet pans from a popular direct-to-consumer cookware company that differ by a half-inch in length. This is likely due to a change in manufacturers, but because they both fit in my oven and can handle high heat without warping, I don’t worry too much about it. (It could mean, however, cooling racks fit differently.)
Are sheet pans dishwasher-safe?
Most sheet pans are dishwasher-safe. But just because you technically can do something doesn’t mean you should. Dishwashers can decrease the longevity of a sheet pan because of the high temperatures, agitating wash cycles, and strong detergents—not to mention the discoloration, dulling, and speckling effect on the finish. To protect your pans for years of use, it’s best to wash them by hand using a non-abrasive sponge.
Light Baking Sheets
Most light baking sheets are made out of some kind of steel — typically carbon or stainless — or aluminum. Much like a light t-shirt, light baking sheets reflect heat, meaning they won’t absorb as much heat and your cookies won’t be overly browned.
For this test, we used Calphalon’s Non-Stick Baking Sheet.
The light baking sheet required two extra minutes of bake time before the cookies were done. The cookies were textured and crispy on the very bottom, but the edges weren’t that brown. However, when we bit into the cookie, the whole outside was nice and crispy while the middle was fairly chewy. They were just what you’d expect from a traditional chocolate chip cookie.
Overall, the pan did exactly what you’d want it to when making a classic cookie.
Factors to Consider
Rimmed or Unrimmed
Generally, baking sheets fall into two categories — rimmed and unrimmed — with further variations in material and design features. While some professional bakers swear by unrimmed sheets for their superior air circulation and simple design, most home bakers will find rimmed baking sheets more practical. Thanks to their spillproof edges, rimmed baking sheets are serious multitaskers: Just as handy for roasting root veggies, toasting nuts, baking chicken, and supporting a deep dish pizza as they are for turning out perfect sheet cakes and chocolate chip cookies. Place a wire cooling rack inside one, and you have an easy-to-clean setup for draining fried foods and broiling cuts of meat, as well as cooling and frosting cupcakes and cookies.
Whether you choose a rimmed model or an unrimmed one, a nonstick surface or a natural one, a good baking sheet should heat up efficiently and quickly without twisting or warping, yield baked goods that are even and tender, and clean up easily without sticking or scratching.
While the terms “baking sheet” and “cookie sheet” are often used interchangeably, there are considerable differences between the two. Baking sheets have rimmed edges and are usually about 13 by 18 inches — a dimension known as a half-sheet pan and fit perfectly on most oven racks with just enough room around the edges for even air circulation. The workhorses of a commercial kitchen, rimmed half sheets are suitable for baking cookies, pastries, shortbreads, sheet cakes, roasted vegetables, meat, and toasted nuts.
Cookie sheets feature flat edges with small lips on one or two sides that act as handles and assist with maneuvering and gripping. Their large, flat surface area accommodates big batches of cookies and allows for graceful pan rotation in the oven. But versatility is not their strong suit: Without four rimmed edges to contain spills and crumbs, many other tasks — from roasting olive oil-tossed veggies to toasting nuts or breadcrumbs — are out of their reach.
What is the best type of cookie sheet? Uncoated aluminum is typically the top choice for professionals due to its durability, high-heat conductivity, and efficiency. Fast to heat up, aluminum is also quick to cool down, which helps prevent burns and reduces the wait time between getting batches in the oven if you are reusing the same pan. While it is primarily a cosmetic concern, aluminum’s light color can be prone to staining; however, slipping a sheet of parchment or a silicone baking mat onto the pan before baking is a quick and easy way to expedite cleanup and prolong its life.
Thickness and Finish
Whichever type of pan you choose, other vital factors to consider are thickness and finish (natural or nonstick). A baking sheet’s relative heft is something you can test fairly accurately by touch, but if you want to double-check the thickness, the specification to look for is “gauge.” For instance, most of our favorite picks fell in the 10-18 gauge range. (Note that gauge is a retrogressive scale, meaning the higher numbers indicate lower thickness.) Gauge is important and not just because a sturdy pan feels good in the hand. Thinner pans are more likely to warp in high heat (which can lead to unevenly cooked or slumped results) and burn the underside of cookies before the tops can thoroughly brown.
Nonstick baking sheets can be convenient when it comes to cleanup, but they come with a few performance caveats. In general, because of their slickness, these sheets yield cookies that are flatter and more spread out, with smoother, less textured bottoms. Also, because nonstick pans usually have darker gray finishes, they’re apt to bake batches more quickly than their lighter, natural aluminum counterparts. In other words, keep a close eye on the time when you’re using them.
Conversely, insulated cookie sheets, which work with a layer of air sandwiched between two sheets of metal, present some of the opposite issues. Because insulated sheets are slow to warm up, they can result in bake times that run considerably longer than recipes indicate. Their gentle heat conduction tends to produce cookies with edges and bottoms that are evenly browned but not particularly crunchy or crispy. Those properties may be just the ticket if you’re working with delicate cookies, like meringues, which are at their best when slowly baked and pale.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a baking sheet?
A baking sheet is a flat, rectangular pan used for cooking in the oven. While “baking sheet” and “cookie sheet” are often interchanged, they have different meanings based on their standard definitions. Baking sheets have raised edges on all four sides, while traditional cookie sheets have a small lip on one or two sides to help with handling. Baking sheets can be used for cookies, but a typical cookie sheet won’t work for liquid-based foods like cakes, as the batter will most likely spill over the sides.
How do you clean baking sheets?
In general, you should be able to wash your baking sheet using hot water, a standard sponge, and some dish soap. To deal with more stubborn messes, let your baking sheet soak for 30 minutes to an hour in a mixture of baking soda and vinegar before scrubbing. If you have a baking sheet with a nonstick coating, don’t use anything abrasive, like steel wool, for scrubbing since that can destroy the coating. Even if your cookie sheet says it’s dishwasher safe, we recommend handwashing to best preserve their condition.
How do you grease a baking sheet?
You have a few different options for greasing a baking sheet. One way is to put some butter or shortening on a paper towel and rub a light layer on the surface. If your butter or shortening is soft, you can also use a pastry brush to spread it across the baking sheet. Alternatively, you can grease your baking sheet with a nonstick spray. There’s no need to grease your pan when using parchment paper since it already has a nonstick surface.
Why do baking sheets warp?
A baking sheet can warp as the metal on different parts of it expands at different rates when it is heated up. This can lead to that distinct “pop” sound when a corner slants upward. Heavier baking sheets are less likely to twist than thin, lightweight baking sheets, and rolled edges help prevent a pan from warping.
Should you grease a cookie sheet or use parchment paper?
Unless your recipe call for greasing the pan, we recommend using parchment paper or nothing if your pan has a nonstick coating. Additional butter or oil can cause your cookies to spread and the bottoms to burn, leaving you with thin, unevenly cooked results. For an eco-friendly alternative to parchment paper, consider this reusable silicone baking mat. Another plus of parchment paper and silicone mats is that cleanup is much easier.
What To Consider When Buying a Baking Sheet
- Aluminum: Bare aluminum is industry standard when it comes to baking sheets. It’s an excellent conductor, meaning it heats up and cools down quickly. Plus, its light color helps to prevent the over browning that you often get from darker pans. On the downside, bare aluminum is prone to corrosion, so we definitely recommend hand washing, or better yet, line it with parchment paper before each use.
- Aluminized Steel: You’ll see “aluminized steel” pop up often when looking for sheet pans. This popular material refers to steel that is coated in an aluminum-silicon alloy. These tend to be more durable, and the silicone helps to prevent corrosion. However, aluminized steel is more prone to uneven heating than bare aluminum.
- Stainless Steel: Although it’s far more resistant to corrosion and rust than aluminum, stainless steel is a poor conductor, which is why we don’t recommend it for baking sheets.
As backward as it might sound, a lower gauge indicates a thicker pan. A pan that’s too heavy will be too difficult to wield, but a pan that’s too thin may be prone to warping and scorching. We found the 18-gauge thickness to be just right.
Coated vs. Uncoated
Traditionally, baking sheets are sold without any coating. If you’re trying to avoid sticking, we’d recommend lining your sheet with parchment paper; not only does this prevent sticking, it also provides further insulation to avoid burnt bottoms.
But if the idea of cooking on bare metal is uncomfortable, there are plenty of nonstick options out there. These finishes aren’t the most durable, as they’re prone to scratch and degrade with time, especially when used at high temperatures. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. It’s hard to beat the convenience of nonstick, but bare metal is going to be far longer lasting.
Rimmed vs. Rimless
Rimmed baking sheets are the most versatile because they can be used for baking cookies as well as roasting vegetables or meats; their spill-proof sides keep everything inside the pan. But rimless baking sheets have their merits, too. They’re made for easily sliding cookies onto a cooling rack. Serious bakers may want to invest in a rimless sheet for convenience sake, but for most, a rimmed baking sheet is a more well-rounded choice. Look for rimmed baking sheets with reinforced rolled edges as opposed to flat-rimmed baking sheets. This helps to prevent the warping and buckling that can occur with drastic temperature changes.
Textured vs. Untextured
Your standard sheet pan is going to have a smooth surface that lends itself to a variety of kitchen tasks. But a textured surface can help promote airflow, a definite plus if you’re going to be baking delicate baked goods like pastries or cookies.
For the sake of our testing, we decided to focus on half sheets (about 13 x 18 inches), which is the standard size for most home ovens. Full-size sheet pans are typically only used in commercial settings. If you’re going to buy just one sheet pan, we’d recommend a half sheet. But having a few quarter sheets on hand is never a bad idea for reheating leftovers, toasting nuts, or roasting a potato or two for lunch.
What do you recommend?
As promised, here are our recommendations for each type of sheet. You might recognize these from the pictures shown up above.
Best cookie sheet
If you’re in the market for a high quality cookie sheet that will last for years, we highly recommend going with this non stick cookie sheet from USA Pan.
USA Pan is a brand that we regularly recommend for many reasons. First, they are known in the baking community for making high quality, commercial grade pans. They also pride themselves on manufacturing their pans in the USA.
This cookie sheet is made of heavy-gauge, aluminized steel. The surface of the pan is unique in that it’s fluted. The fluted surface not only provided better air circulation, but also contributes to the strength and durability of the pan, which is resistant to warping.
The pan is coated with the patented Americoat nonstick coating. This non stick finish is PTFE, PFOA, and BPA free, so you can rest assured that your food is safe. The non stick coating provides an excellent food release for your cookies and makes cleanup extremely easy.
The baking surface of this pan measures 17 inches by 12.25 inches. The pan comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Best baking sheet
If a baking pan is what makes the most sense for your needs, we recommend this non stick baking pan from Circulon.
This two-piece baking pan set is constructed with heavy-duty carbon steel. All four sides of the pan are raised and rolled, as mentioned throughout this article, which aid in the strength and durability of the pan. The material and raised edges help make this baking sheet resistant to warping as well.
These baking sheets from Circulon feature the TOTAL Food Release System, which is a combination of a surface with raised circles and a non stick coating, which is PFOA free.
The raised circles and nonstick surface allow your food to easily slide off and make cleaning the baking sheet a breeze.
These baking pans measure 15 inches by 10 inches and also come with a limited lifetime warranty.
We hope you now know more than you ever hoped to know about the differences between baking sheets and cookie sheets. If nothing else, at least take your new found knowledge and show it off the next time you catch yourself standing around in your kitchen with a few of your friends or family members.
It might not be the most interesting thing you learned today, but at least you can cross it off your bucket list of baking 101!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.