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A kitchen without baking sheets is a kitchen without one of the most basic, useful, and necessary pieces of kitchenware. We call them baking sheets, sure, but they’re much more: broiling sheets, carrying pans, rolled-cake pans, mess catchers, you name it.
Baking sheets are great for drop-and-cut and bar cookies, fruit leather (without a dehydrator!), specialty pastries, and focaccia. You can’t make a sheet pan chicken dinner without them, and they’re perfect for slow-broiling bacon with no stovetop mess.
A baking sheet can also support multiple smaller or wobbly silicone pans, helping to manage oven ins and outs. If you’ve ever had to clean up after a lasagna spillover, you probably learned that a baking sheet on the oven rack beneath can catch the mess and save the oven. And if frozen solid in advance, a baking sheet even becomes a low-tech ice cream maker.
Here are my picks for some of the best baking sheets out there.
Best Overall: Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker's Half Sheet, 2-pack
What We Love: Affordable, made of hefty but lightweight aluminum, durable
What We Don't Love: Scratches easily
These are the pans you see in every commercial kitchen and every busy home kitchen: There’s almost nothing they can’t do. The heavy-gauge aluminum distributes heat evenly, with no hot spots or oven-warp, and they last forever.
Catherine Reinhart, with her sister Cheryl, has baked her way through every pastry imaginable at their bakery, Sweet Life Patisserie, in Eugene, Oregon. She uses baking sheets almost exclusively, from a mix of manufacturers (including Nordic Ware). Why the mix? Because they’ve added equipment over time, and with care, sheets like these never wear out. “To be honest,“ Reinhart says, “we've never worked with other things.”
Reviewers echo these sentiments, with many highlighting that these are sturdy but lightweight, with thick rims, don't warp easily, heat evenly, and are hefty enough to cook other foods such as chicken and sausage. Some users do warn that these scratch easily (though they're easy to clean)—just make sure to use parchment or silicone lining to make cleanup that much easier and help these sheets last.
"Professional aluminum baking sheet pans will last you a lifetime and don't cost an arm and a leg. They heat evenly and won't warp in the oven, even at high temperatures. Get two, so you can rotate baking sheets! I like these from Nordic Ware." — Emma Christensen, Editor in Chief
Material: Aluminum | Weight: 1.6 pounds | Dimensions (LxWxH): 16.3 x 11.3 x 1 inches | Maximum Temperature: 450 degrees F
Best Budget: TeamFar Pure Stainless Steel Cookie Sheet Set
What We Love: Easy to clean, deep sides, don't discolor easily
What We Don't Love: Tend to warp heavily if not preheated
These two baking sheets by TeamFar are great for newbies, both because of their versatility and the price. The latter is in line with similar sets, and this one, in particular, is great if you want to start with fewer pans in the cupboards.
There is a large sheet and a medium-sized sheet, and both have a beautiful mirror finish that is easy to clean (some users say that if food is caked on, simply soak in water and handwash with a soft cloth or pop it in the dishwasher). Reviewers like that these pans are not only gorgeous but mostly nonstick, as long as they spray a light coating of oil before using.
These sheets don't warp easily if you make sure to preheat them in the oven, and while they do distribute heat relatively evenly, they don't conduct heat as well as aluminum pans, other users say.
"I love the versatility of these baking sheets. The two sizes cover all of my baking needs, and the deep sides allow me to use them for roasting vegetables and more sheet pan dinners with no runoff. I’ve had them for six months now, and they’re still in great condition—no discoloration or warping like I’ve had with other baking sheets." — Taysha Murtaugh, Editorial Director, Commerce
Material: 100% stainless steel | Overall Weight: 2.9 pounds | Size (LxWxH): 15.8 x 12 x 0.95 inches (large sheet); 12.4 x 9.6 x 0.95 inches (medium sheet) | Maximum Temperature: Approx. 450 degrees F
Best Nonstick: Nutrichef Nonstick Kitchen Baking Pans With Silicone Handles, 3-Piece Set
What We Love: Nonstick silicone handles, stacks neatly
What We Don't Love: Prone to scratching and warping
Mention nonstick pans to any serious cook or baker, and you’ll often get a sigh before any words are spoken. Scarola acknowledges that a commercial kitchen can be extremely unkind to equipment, but busy home kitchens aren’t far off. She sums up nonstick pans pretty well: “I think [that], especially when they get scratched, they end up having stuff stick to them.”
That said, if you want to use nonstick baking sheets, it's best to get inexpensive ones and consider them disposable, because, as Scarola points out, “The surface is going to end up getting scratched and then flake off a bit." On that note, if something caramelizes on the surface, she advises using steel wool to get it off.
Fans of this set say they like that it is lightweight and they appreciate the silicone grips, but others say that they are lighter and thinner than they expected (causing them to warp at very high temperatures). The sheets are easy to clean if you don't use them frequently, however, and they are a bargain.
Material: Carbon steel with nonstick coating | Overall Weight: 3.05 pounds | Dimensions (LxWxH): 13.4 × 8.7 × 0.6 inches (small sheet); 15.1 × 10.1 × 0.6 inches (medium sheet); 17.1 x 11.8 x 0.7 inches (large sheet) | Maximum Temperature: 446 degrees F
Best Set: Nordic Ware Naturals 3-Piece Baker's Delight Set
What We Love: Well-priced, made of high-quality aluminum, made to last forever, choice of the pros
What We Don't Love: May get scratched or dented during shipping or storing
This set covers all the bases at a really good price. With three sizes at hand, you’ll quickly find uses for each one—I certainly have since nabbing a set before cookie season last year. Reinhart knows how useful multiple sizes can be, too: “We use them for everything from baking cinnamon rolls to doing bars to baking cookies to sheet cakes. Oh, yeah, and under pies [while baking]. We actually make ours three pies to a sheet pan so that [for] when they bubble over.”
This set is made of 20-gauge aluminum, so it won't bend or warp at high temperatures, according to several happy users. Plus, they're rust-resistant. Having three sizes also makes this set multipurpose, with others saying they're useful for food prep, sheet pan dinners, pan pizzas, and more. I’ve found them both reliable and durable in the short time I’ve owned them, with no negatives to speak of. The smallest pan is great, too, for the low-fuss cook who wants to broil a single meal and just pop the pan in the dishwasher.
There's also no doubt that this is a great starter set at a great price. You can buy cheaper pans individually, but you won’t get the same quality or durability. Get the set.
Material: Natural aluminum | Overall Weight: 3.9 pounds | Dimensions (LxWxH): 12.25 x 8.9 x 0.9 inches (quarter sheet); 15.1 x 10.75 x 0.9 inches (jelly roll pan); 7.25 x 12.25 x 0.9 inches (half sheet) | Maximum Temperature: Approx. 400 degrees F
Related: The Best Baking Pans
Best One-Sheet Bargain: Winco 10-Inch x 13-Inch Aluminum Sheet Pan
What We Love: Made of heavy-duty aluminum, restaurant-grade manufacture, lightweight
What We Don't Love: Easy to scratch, will retain discoloration if accidentally cleaned in dishwasher
If you’re new to baking sheets, start here. The Winco brand is an old reliable at commercial cookware suppliers, and for good reason: The stuff holds up. It's made of heavy-duty 18-gauge aluminum, which, combined with its wire-reinforced rolled rim, means it's less likely to warp in high heat than thinner sheet pans. Despite its hefty construction, it's lightweight enough for a bustling home kitchen.
Even though this sheet is restaurant-grade quality, it's inexpensive enough that you don't need to worry about using it too much or too heavily in case you do need to replace it—but you probably won’t have to if you practice good cleaning techniques.
Material: Natural aluminum | Weight: 0.9 pounds | Dimensions (LxWxH): 13 x 10 x 1 inches | Maximum Temperature: Approx. 450 degrees F
Best for Volume Baking: Last Confection Set of 12 Cookie Baking Sheets Aluminum Jelly Roll Trays
What We Love: Great bundle, heavy 18-gauge aluminum, versatile
What We Don't Love: Less well-known manufacturer
Not every home kitchen needs a dozen baking sheets, but chances are, if you have them, you’ll use them, and this is a great deal.
Jessie Scarola puts her heart and soul into her business, Elegant Elephant Fine Foods Inc., in Eugene, Oregon, where everything they make is 100 percent gluten-free, and often allergy-conscious as well. All of their pastries and smaller baked goods are made on baking sheets like these. “We own probably 300 sheet pans,” she says. So with wisdom gained over decades of use, Jessie’s making an argument for using good, sturdy, heavy-gauge aluminum baking sheets—like these.
Home bakers who've bought both sizes of this baking sheet set agree. Thanks to the thick, wire-reinforced rims and the high-quality aluminum construction, not only do these sheets stand up to regular use, but reviewers have also used them as drip trays, for stacking cans on shelves, and even for carrying wet artwork!
Material: Natural aluminum | Overall Weight: 21 pounds | Dimensions (LxWxH): 18 x 13 x 1 inches (half sheet); 13 x 9 by 1 inches (quarter sheet) | Maximum Temperature: 500 degrees F
Related: The Best Pie Pans
There's a reason why Nordic Ware is one of the top choices of pro and home bakers alike. The brand's Naturals Baker's Half Sheet is our best overall because of its high-quality, heavy-duty aluminum construction, which lets it distribute heat evenly and resist warping at high temperatures (view at Amazon). It's made to last forever. On a budget but want to use your sheets for a wide range of dishes? Snag the TeamFar Pure Cookie Sheet Set of Two (view at Amazon). They're made of stainless steel instead of aluminum, and they're a breeze to clean.
What to Look for When Buying Baking Sheets
Size and Utility
Baking sheets come in multiple sizes. Depending on the manufacturer, the exact measurements may vary, but these are industry standard:
Full-size: 18 x 26 inches. This is sized for commercial kitchens.
2/3-Size: 16 x 22 inches. This is the largest size that will be useful in a home kitchen. It will hold a full dozen large cookies, two pie plates, and even a large baking pan of lasagna.
Half-size: 13 x 18 inches. This will fit a dozen smaller cookies, and it handles a bit more easily than the larger pans.
Quarter-size: 9.5 x 13 inches. Great for making small batches of brownies or brownie crisps, or roasting veggies for a single meal.
1/8-Size: 6.5 x 9 or 12 inches. This fits in most toaster ovens, and multiples are handy if you’re baking things together but don’t want to mingle them on a single sheet.
Full-size pans are probably too big for most home ovens, but anything smaller will fit, and the smallest (1/8-size sheet) will fit in most toaster ovens as well. The utility of these pans is endless, and they can be used to bake, broil, and freeze, and even to dry herbs.
The heavier the gauge, the better. These pans will be in the oven and broiler at high temperatures, and heavier-gauge metals just hold up better. Look for a wire in the rolled edge, too.
Durability and Ease of Cleaning
Any baking pan is only as durable as it is cleanable because no one wants a sticky, stained pan hanging around. Reinhart has a pet peeve about that: “We have a big thing about making sure the bottoms aren't greasy.” Parchment is a lifesaver, Reinhart believes.
Scarola, too, is a special fan of parchment, especially because cross-contamination takes on new meaning when baking gluten-free. “There’s hardly ever a time that a pan has product directly on it because we deal with so much allergy-sensitive stuff.” And her baking sheets are cleaner for it, too.
Keep-clean tricks: Avoid nonstick cooking sprays because they are notorious for leaving tenacious gunk behind. And get pans into warm soapy water as soon as they're cool enough to handle. Gunk gone.
What is the difference between a baking sheet and a cookie sheet?
A cookie sheet will typically have a lip only along one edge, just for handling, or almost no lip at all. Baking sheets, on the other hand, have raised sides all around and are about ¾- to 1-inch tall, with a rolled edge; the better ones will have a wire core in that rolled edge, which adds stability and reduces warping (along with the dreaded "oven pop") at high temperatures and over time. Some bakers feel that cookies can slide or be lifted off more easily with no edge in the way. Nothing says you can’t use a baking sheet as a cookie sheet, but swapping the other way around doesn’t work because bar cookies, broiling, and more, will need that standing edge to keep things contained.
What are the types of baking sheets?
It’s mostly about flat dimensions. Always go for the heaviest-gauge metal possible because anything lighter-weight will fail over time. Smaller baking sheets are great because they fit in smaller ovens and can be used for portioning. The bigger sheets give you lots of room to work for laying out baked goods or for giving space for cookies to spread.
How do I clean baking sheets?
Best single tip: Line everything with parchment. Period.
As with most bakeware and cookware, baking sheets should be hand-washed. There are exceptions, of course, but dishwashers are strictly a no-no for all aluminum and can even be tough on coatings. You might get away with it occasionally, but eventually, the aluminum will acquire a whitish coating. So hand-wash. A good soak in soapy water and a hand scrubbing will let you reach anything that sticks in corners, avoiding build-up. If you choose not to use parchment and something is really sticky-stuck, try sluicing the pan with boiling water. If that fails, baking soda and white vinegar will do the trick. Always let the sheets air-dry completely before storing.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Catherine Russell is a writer and editor specializing in food, culture, and home and garden. Grandma’s kitchen was a favorite place for her growing up, and that’s where she first learned to bake, roast, broil, and cook almost anything from scratch. And that’s also where she learned that the right utensil can make all the difference. Her work has appeared in national publications such as Bon Appetit and in film and video. She’s also featured in smaller regional publications that maintain a commitment to local print journalism alongside their digital presences.
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Food and Drug Administration. Gluten-free labeling of foods.