A good rimmed baking sheet is something every cook should have in their kitchen. They’re one of those essential items, like rolling pins or knife sharpeners. Baking sheets are a very versatile piece of cookware—these are not just for making cookies.
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Why do I need a baking sheet?
Do you need to crisp up some french fries? Want to broil meat, poultry, or veggies? Roast a turkey? Does the idea of toasting your own healthy kale chips, seasonal pumpkin seeds, or snack-sized cinnamon-sugar tortilla crisps appeal to you? If you said yes to any of the above, a rimmed baking sheet will most certainly come in handy. It truly is the workhorse of the kitchen. And, if you do plan on baking cookies, you’ll be glad it’s there.
Want to try to make your own tortillas? I found the best rolling pins for the job.
Where do I buy a baking sheet?
Surprisingly, a good rimmed baking sheet is a little harder to find than you might expect. A lot of cookware stores will forget about staple items, focusing instead on more expensive products like chef’s knives or the latest gadgets (important, but kitchens need more than knives and espresso machines). When you do see a good baking sheet, you know you are in a place that really understands the day-to-day necessities.
Of course, if you can’t find one in person, many online vendors offer a wide selection of models to choose from.
What features does the best rimmed baking sheet have?
Whatever the Founding Fathers might think, not all baking sheets are created equal. If you get a few of them together and do a side-by-side comparison, this becomes very clear, very quickly.
The “real deal” should be made from heavy-gauge metal and measure around 18 x 13 inches, with a 1 inch rim on all sides. A 15 x 10 inch “jelly roll” pan just won’t cut the proverbial mustard in the long run. It may perform adequately for small tasks, but it’s too flimsy for the bigger jobs.
The quality of construction is just as important as, if not more than, the materials used to manufacture the sheet. Warping, however, is something that’s pretty much unavoidable no matter how well the sheet is made.
What can I do about warping?
If you put a cold sheet into a very hot oven with unevenly distributed meats or doughs, the resulting hot and cold spots will inevitably lead to a certain level of non-uniformity in the shape of the sheet over time. This is not a disaster by any means—it may not look as pretty as the day it was bought, but the baking sheet will still do the job it was designed to do.
To avoid major warping, spread the food as uniformly as possible across the entire surface of the tray. Try to avoid subjecting it to sudden temperature changes. Metal is a lively material, so it’s best to treat it with a little care and attention. A cooling rack placed inside the sheet can help with this issue, and there are some very good, affordable racks on the market.
What are some popular models?
Below are some of the most highly rated and top performing baking sheets available today. Read about them here and check Amazon for pricing and buying options!
NordicWare Natural Commercial Bakeware Baker’s Half Sheet
NordicWare is always there when it comes to kitchen equipment. Their Natural Commercial Bakeware Baker’s Half Sheet is a pretty good option. It may be a little too soft (the surface scratches too easily for my liking), but it does provide for a very even cooking temperature across the surface of the pan. The cookies in the center will be only slightly less done than the ones in the corners.
It’s also made of pure aluminum for good heat conduction and durability. You don’t have to worry about warping because of the reinforced rim, and it’s also fairly large at 17 x 12 x 1 inch. It is hand wash only though, which is slightly inconvenient.
Calphalon Nonstick Bakeware Baking Sheet
Calphalon makes an awesome rimmed baking sheet. It’s made of a heavy gauge steel core that won’t warp and evenly spreads heat throughout the pan. It also has an awesome nonstick layer for easy release and cleaning!
This set includes 2 12×17 inch baking sheets, so it’s a great deal too. It’s dishwasher safe (major plus for busy kitchens!) and is protected by a lifetime warranty.
Vollrath 5314 Wear-Ever Half-Size Sheet Pan
Vollrath is a major contender here too for the top spot. Its commercial quality, professional gauge, durable aluminum build is unmatched. All dishes baked in this pan will come out perfectly evenly browned.
The rim is also top performance, but the tapered design of them is optimized for storage. They’ll slip easily into any organizing rack, saving space and headaches. However, they are hand wash only.
Farberware Nonstick Bakeware 11-Inch x 17-Inch Cookie Pan
Another awesome nonstick option comes from Farberware. It’s oven safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and comes in at 11 by 17 to fit most baking projects. It doesn’t conduct heat quite as well as others on this list, and some reviewers have reported “hot spots” in the pan, meaning it doesn’t conduct heat evenly either. But if nonstick is an important quality to you, the performance of this pan’s nonstick coating is unbeatable.
Rachael Ray Oven Lovin’ Nonstick Bakeware 3-Piece Baking and Cookie Pan Set
Rachel Ray’s rimmed pans are one of the top choices here. Highly rated and recommended by users, these versatile pans are a great buy. They aren’t made from aluminum like most baking sheets. They’re actually made of carbon steel, which is a great material for efficient and even heat conduction. It’s also very dense, so they’re unlikely to warp.
These are oven safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and also have extra wide grip handles for safe transportation out of the oven – a unique feature out of the pans on this list! You should still wear oven mitts, though. The handles are not “stay cool.”
They’re also nonstick, making serving and cleanup a breeze! This is an awesome option all around.
The best rimmed baking sheet is…
There isn’t much of a competition when it comes to the best rimmed baking sheet. The Wear-Ever Half Size Heavy Duty Sheet Pan By Vollrath is the clear choice. Formerly made by Lincoln Foodservice, this 13 gauge pan is solid as a rock. Oven fries come out uniformly cooked and crisp, cookies slide off the surface, jellyrolls brown evenly, and it can support the weight of nearly any bird, pork, or beef joint. Better yet, it’s ideal for making your own gravy afterwards (especially when used in conjunction with a roasting rack).
The Wear-Ever is only marginally more expensive than the other models, compared to the price tag on the NordicWare. In regards to cost, it’s in the same ballpark as its competitors, so why not just get the best?
For other bakeware discussions and reviews, check out our posts on the best rolling pin for cookie dough and the best springform pan for cheesecakes. Remember the best bakers weigh their ingredients, here’s my favorite kitchen scale.
If you use a KitchenAid stand mixer, you’ll want to check out this post where I go over the best attachments for making cookies. And this review goes over the best saucepans for making your own candy at home.