What Is A Baking Sheet?

Baking sheets are commonly used in cooking and baking. But unless you are a master baker, it can be easy to get confused between baking sheets, baking pans, jelly roll pans, and a cookie sheet.

Luckily, this guide will tell you everything that you need to know about baking sheets, including the differences between them and these other baking utensils.

What Is A Baking Sheet?

A baking sheet is a thin piece of metal that is not just used in baking but can also commonly be used in cooking. It can also be referred to as a baking tray.

Often, baking sheets are made from aluminum, though other metals can also be used. This allows them to withstand the high temperatures of the oven.

These sheets have thin rims that prevent food from rolling off the side. They are also usually rectangular, though you can find baking sheets of different shapes.

Baking sheets come in a wide variety of sizes, allowing you to find the perfect one for your kitchen. The main sizes of these sheets are full, medium, and large.

Often, these cooking sheets are given a nonstick coating, which will prevent food from adhering to the baking surface.

If not, you can always use parchment paper, which acts as a buffer between the pan and the food. Both a nonstick coating and parchment paper can prevent cookies from developing burnt bottoms.

What Are Baking Sheets Used For?

As the name suggests, these sheets are primarily used for baking food in the oven. You can make a wide variety of sweet treats with these sheets, including deliciously delicate cookies or sheet cakes.

Yet, you can also cook an array of savory dishes on baking sheets, such as roasted vegetables or chicken. A baking sheet is an incredibly versatile piece of cooking equipment.

What Is A Baking Sheet?

Alternatives To A Baking Sheet

There are lots of different cooking sheet pans that are incredibly similar to baking sheets. Here are some of the main varieties:

Sheet Pans

A sheet pan is very similar to a baking sheet. The main difference is that these sheet pans have a taller rim, which is typically just an inch high.

You can get them in different sizes, namely half sheet pans and quarter sheet pans. A half sheet pan is exactly half the size of a standard sheet pan, measuring 18-by-13 inches.

Meanwhile, a quarter sheet pan is even smaller, being just 13-by-9 inches.

Cookie Sheets

As you may have guessed, cookie sheets typically are used for making cookies. Yet, you don’t just have to use them to bake cookies.

In fact, you can use these flat metal sheets to cook a variety of other foods, such as sheet cakes.

What separates cookie sheets from other cooking utensils is that they have rolled edges, thus stopping juices or liquids from escaping the sheet.

If you enjoy making soft cookies and other brilliant baked goods, you may want to invest in a high-quality insulated cookie sheet.

Nonstick cookie sheets are recommended for people who regularly bake cookies.

Jelly Roll Pans

A jelly roll pan is another form of a sheet pan. As indicated by the name, these pans are typically used to cook jelly rolls or Swiss rolls. Jelly roll pans tend to be smaller than full sheet pans. Plus, they have slightly raised edges.

Even though they are mainly used for desserts, jelly roll pans are quite multifaceted utensils that have a plethora of uses.

Tips For Choosing A Baking Sheet

When shopping for a baking sheet, it’s important to find one that’s right for you.

The good news is that there are tons of different baking sheets out there for you to consider. Even a basic search online will provide tons of options.

When searching for a baking sheet, you will want one that is both lightweight and durable. As a result, aluminum or stainless steel are outstanding options.

Glass options are also available, though they tend to be a little more fragile than metal sheets.

You must also think about the size of your baking sheet. You can either opt for a full sheet or a half sheet pan. Larger sizes are better suited to people who cook large batches of food.

Which is best for you will also depend on the size of your kitchen and oven.

There are also some less important considerations that you may want to heed. This includes the aesthetic of the baking sheet.

Namely, you may want it to be a certain color to match the aesthetic of your kitchen. Darker colored baking sheets are quite popular.

It is also recommended that you invest in a sheet with a nonstick coating.

This can not only improve the quality of your cooking but will also prevent you from having to scrub a sheet pan that has become covered with grease.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Cooling Rack?

Cooling racks are widely used in baking to cool baked goods down. They are designed to promote better air circulation, allowing foods to cool while preventing them from becoming soggy.

Cooling racks are commonly used for baking cookies.

Can You Use Aluminum Foil On A Baking Sheet?

Yes, aluminum foil is ideal for lining a sheet pan. If you are roasting vegetables or meat, the foil will protect the baking pan. Just make sure that you use a type of foil that is oven safe.

What Is A Sheet Pan Dinner?

A sheet pan dinner is a meal that can be entirely made on just one sheet pan. This is an incredibly convenient dinner that reduces the amount of cooking that you have to do and means that you have fewer dishes to clean.

Final Thoughts

Even if you are not much of a chef or baker, it’s a good idea to buy a good baking sheet. This is because these items can be used to make a broad selection of dishes.

Yet, if you are passionate about baking, it’s important to know exactly what a baking sheet is as well as the alternatives.

Picture of Kathryn Sewell

Kathryn Sewell

Hi! I'm Kate and I have been baking and cooking for as long as I can remember. I like to share the most interesting tips and recipes I try here on What Kate Baked for you to enjoy. If you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share send it over on social.

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