Best Baking Sheets of 2021
A small business in Australia has created the Checkered Chef Aluminum Sheet and Rack, a set that impressed our testers with its aluminum sheet pan that baked and roasted consistently during our tests. We baked numerous batches of cookies, and no matter where they were placed on the sheet, they came out practically perfect from the oven. The pan also consistently and evenly roasted proteins and vegetables without charring or burning food on the edges of the sheet.
Baked goods and marinades don't cling to the sheet's aluminum surface, allowing for easy clean-up after cooking or baking. At 18" x 13", it's a versatile size for roasting or baking, and it's not so big that you'll have trouble washing it in a regular-sized kitchen sink. The 1" depth of the pan is just right for sheet cakes, which also released easily without sticking to the base of the pan in our testing. The biggest setback we found with this pan is its tendency to warp at higher temperatures, though after it cooled, it returned to normal. We also appreciate the included cooling rack. If you want an awesome baking sheet that can also roast perfectly, be sure to check out the Checkered Chef.
The French Pantry Baking Gift Set is a great choice for the serious baker who wants to ensure they have a specific sheet dedicated to their baked goods. It is constructed with aluminum, and the uncoated surface allows baked goods to release with ease while evenly and consistently baking. This pan repeatedly had our biscuits and cookies coming out of the oven in perfect form, keeping with recommended baking times. This set also comes with some excellent additions — a cooling rack and a silicone baking mat.
The pan also roasts vegetables evenly at temps up to 425 degrees. Our glazes and marinades quickly burned to the pan's surface, but the aluminum is easy to clean, and even the burned-on glazes washed off with a blue Scotch Brite sponge and some soap. However, just toss the silicone mat on there, and you won't have to worry about using too much elbow grease to clean the pan itself. The mat may stain, but sticky marinades and sauces will easily rinse off off the silicone material. As stated by the manufacturer (and as with most aluminum pans), metal utensils will scratch the surface. Overall, this conveniently sized pan is a solid choice for bakers.
Making a great cake means you need it to bake evenly from the sides to the middle. The cakes we made in the Wilton Recipe Right Non-Stick 9 x 13-Inch turned out perfectly every time, with no unevenness or hard edges. The sides of each cake pulled slightly away from the sides of the pan, and its nonstick surface easily released the cake from the pan, leaving barely any residue behind.
We cut some of our cakes in the pan, and a metal turner or knife will score the nonstick surface, so caution should be used to not ruin the coating. This model comes with a plastic lid that fits tightly, keeping cakes moist for days on end. The pan performed very well at roasting vegetables in a 400-degree convection oven. Our squash was evenly roasted with a nice golden color and had minimal sticking to the pan, which a sponge, soap, and water easily cleaned up. The Wilton Recipe Right is a great choice for someone looking for a versatile 9" x 13" cake pan.
If you're looking for a sturdy, nonstick pan, look no further than the USA Pan Quarter Sheet pan. This pan has a nice weight and does not flex in hand or warp in the oven, even at high temperatures, including a 450-degree convection roast. Our tester's cookies, biscuits, and chicken nuggets (kid-friendly food) all came out of the oven evenly baked and golden brown, with no burning.
Our testers noted some baked goods required a few more minutes of bake time than suggested by the recipe. For example, our chocolate cookie recipe stated 12-15 minutes at 325 convection bake and took 18 minutes. We experienced the opposite during roasting, with many foods cooking faster than suggested times in recipes, by as much as one-third of the suggested time, something to definitely take note of. However, the food was fairly evenly roasted with minimal charring at the edges of the pan.
If you're looking for a basic set of sheet pans in a variety of sizes, the Goodcook Nonstick Bakeware Set of 3 is worth a look. This set of nonstick steel pans has three sizes ranging from 13" x 9" to 17" x 11", meaning you can pick the right size pan for the job. Most nonstick surface pans that are darker grey in color tend to brown foods more quickly. However, of the three dark grey nonstick pans we tested, the Goodcook baked the most evenly and did not brown the bottoms of our baked goods as quickly as the other pans tested.
Roasted vegetables do not stick to the pan, but foods roasted at temperatures above 425 degrees convection did cook faster than recommended times. The nonstick surface is easy to clean up and washes easily with just soap and water for most foods. One of the biggest pitfalls of this pan are the shallow sides, making it hard to pick up and set down with oven mitts on.
We had mixed results with the highly-rated Nordic Ware Naturals Big in our testing. We began with roasting proteins and vegetables and were surprised to hear popping from the 425-degree convection oven as soon as we closed the door. The pan is 20 gauge uncoated natural aluminum and came out of the oven bent, but went back into place as it cooled. We had the same experience each time we roasted at temperatures above 400 degrees. After six uses, we could easily pop the surface of the pan with our hands.
In baking, the bottoms of our cookies and biscuits browned very quickly, and our chocolate chip cookies took three minutes longer than the suggested time. During roasting, our cooking times were on par with recipes; however, glazes and marinades easily burnt onto the pan. Luckily, most easily scrubbed off with a non-abrasive sponge. Our Nordic Ware pan is the largest we tested and is quite large for home use. We think it's a more appropriate size for a commercial kitchen.
Integrated handles make rotating and removing the Circulon Total Bakeware Set from the oven easily, and food slides off the pans nonstick surface, even sticky honey glazed nuts. During our baking tests, our baked goods were all done at the recommended times, but the bottoms of our cookies and biscuits were a bit darker than on other pans.
We found foods roasted at temperatures below 350 degrees to cook evenly without charring. However, when our oven temperature was at 375 degrees or higher, foods at the edges of the pan charred while the food in the middle of the pan did not. Overall, our testers like the weight of the pan and how easily it cleans up and feel it is best used at temperatures below 350 degrees.
The Wildone Sheet and Rack Set did not perform exceptionally well, nor exceptionally poorly in our testing. Our cookies and biscuits baked fairly evenly during our baking tests, with some unevenness between foods at the sides of the pan and those in the middle. Our biscuits spread out more than they did on other pans and our chocolate chip cookies took 20 minutes to bake, which is five minutes longer than our recipe's suggested baking time of 15 minutes.
When we roasted fish and vegetables at 325 degrees, we had nice even roasting, but when we used the pan at temps over 425 degrees, our marinades burned onto the pan and were very difficult to scrub off. In fact, we never got all the residue off. A batch of cookies stuck to the pan in two separate tests, one with the pan's surface prepared and one with an unprepared surface. Ultimately, we would choose one of the other similar pans on the market over this set because of how foods stick to the pan.
Of the nonstick pans, the Rachael Ray Nonstick Bakeware Set browned baked goods the quickest and baked the most unevenly. In our testing, cookies and biscuits baked unevenly time and time again, with the bottoms browning and burning before the tops were set. We roasted a variety of vegetables at temperatures ranging from 350 degrees to 425 degrees and found the food at the edges of the pan to always be burnt or charred and the food in the middle of the pan to be evenly cooked.
Food slides off the pan's nonstick surface, and it is easy to clean. The silicone handles make turning the pan in the oven easy, as well as handling the pan. However, given how uneven the baking and roasting are with this set, we recommend passing on them.
Most of our pans popped or warped in the oven at temperatures above 400 degrees and then went back to their flat shape as they cooled. However, out of all the pans tested, the New Star Food Service Aluminum Half Size pan was the only one that stayed bent once it cooled and no longer laid flat. The pan bent in the oven during each use and at temperatures as low as 325 degrees.
Our cooking times with the pan were within those suggested by our recipes, but we had mixed results when it came to the evenness of our baking. Some items had browned bottoms, while others were perfect. With roasting, we found the food at the edges of the pan to char and cook more quickly than the food in the middle of the pan. When some cheese burnt onto the pan, it was difficult to scrub off. This pan ranked lowest in our testing due to how easily it bent in the oven, and we recommend purchasing another aluminum pan over this one.
Why You Should Trust Us
Cooking has become a major aspect in the life of Tara Reddinger-Adams over the past twenty years, as she has continually worked on refining her cooking skills and frequently cooks up meals that get serious praise from clients on her all-inclusive mountain bike vacations. No stranger to product reviews, you'll find Tara's reviews of mountain bike shoes on our sister site OutdoorGearLab. Tara enjoys extensively reading about and researching products before making a purchase and brings a critical yet practical perspective to her reviews.
We read the reviews of 25 of the top-rated baking sheets and narrowed down our selection to 10 different brands to put through our extensive testing. With 17 sheet pans to test, we enlisted the help of some seasoned bakers to help us with our testing. Our testing was focused on four metrics: roasting, baking, durability/ease of use, and value. We used each pan to bake three different types of cookies, two different types of biscuits, roasted vegetables and proteins, and some kid-friendly foods such as chicken nuggets and used multiple pans per recipe to get side-by-side comparisons of the baking and roasting differences. Our goal is to help you find a great baking sheet for your home kitchen.
Analysis and Test Results
A baking sheet seems like a simple item — a metal tray designed to be placed in the oven on which you bake or roast food. In reality, these simple trays can greatly affect the outcome of your cooking and can leave you with blog-worthy cookies or something that looks and tastes burnt.
To begin our testing, we focused on sheet pan dinners and roasting vegetables at high temperatures. High-temperature roasting can be hard on pans, especially when the oven temperature rises above 425 degrees, causing pans to pop and warp in the oven. Most pans will survive the high temps and go back to their original shape as they cool. However, we found some were permanently warped even after cooling.
Next, we turned our attention to baking at lower temperatures in three different types of ovens: conventional electric, convection gas, and convection electric. We baked various cookies, biscuits, and a variety of kid-friendly meals such as chicken nuggets on the pans to see how evenly the pan baked and if its baking time matched that of our recipes.
As we handled the pans, we evaluated our third metric, durability and ease of use. As mentioned, high temperatures can cause pans to warp. We also noted if our foods stuck to the pan's surface, how easily the surface scratched, its overall design for taking in and out of the oven, and how easy it was to clean.
Lastly, we considered each pan's value in comparison to the other pans. Some of the pans we tested are sold individually, while others are sold as sets or come with racks or mats. Having two great pans can be nice, but buying a set of subpar pans can feel like a waste of money.
Not everyone roasts with a sheet pan, but we have found the sheet pan dinner to be a great time saver. Roasting places more stress on a pan than baking, as it typically requires higher oven temperatures and longer times. Using convection ovens, we roasted a variety of proteins and vegetables at 350-degree temperatures and higher.
Our testers found many pans burned or roasted very unevenly, especially at temperatures above 400 degrees. However, the Checkered Chef Aluminum Sheet and Rack handled various roasting temperatures and times with ease, consistently resulting in a sheet filled with perfectly roasted proteins and vegetables. Our proteins and vegetables were nicely browned, with no charring, regardless of their placement on the pan.
The French Pantry Baking Gift Set roasted chicken and vegetables evenly at temps of 415 degrees and 425 degrees convection, but the marinades quickly burned onto the pan. Luckily, the pan's aluminum surface is easy to clean and did not require much scrubbing.
We struggled with obtaining an even roast with the Rachael Ray Nonstick Bakeware Set pans. Even at 350 degrees convection, vegetables on the perimeter of the pan burned while those in the middle were perfectly roasted. Once we increased the temperature to over 400 degrees, everything at the edges of the pan quickly burned, making the pan a poor choice for roasting.
The raised arc grooves on the Circulon Total Bakeware Set are designed to prevent sticking, and we found the pan to roast very evenly at lower temperatures such as 325 degrees. However, when we increased the roasting temperature to 375 degrees, the vegetables on the outer edges of the pan browned despite rotating the pan in the oven. Once we were at 425 degrees, everything on the edges of the pan began to burn.
We baked buttermilk biscuits, chocolate chip cookies, almond shortbread, and butterball cookies on the pans to determine how evenly each pan baked, paying special attention to the bottoms, tops, and sides of our baked goods. We looked to see if cookies placed on the perimeter of the pan baked the same as those in the middle and paid attention to baking times and if something took longer or shorter to bake than the recommended time.
The French Pantry Baking Gift Set is the most consistent of all the pans we tested for baking. Our cookies came out with perfect bottoms and were evenly baked regardless of their position on the pan, and we never experienced any issues with burning or unevenness in our bake. Bake times using the French Pantry pan are consistently within those recommended by our recipes, making this pan our top choice for baking. The pan also comes with a silicone baking mat and stainless steel cooling rack, an added bonus.
The Checkered Chef Aluminum Sheet and Rack also bakes consistently, showing no unevenness across the pan. However, we did need to add a minute to the suggested baking time for our almond shortbread cookies.
Our testers struggled with achieving an even bake with the Rachael Ray Nonstick Bakeware Set pans. In five out of six bakes, we experienced uneven baking in conventional gas and convection gas and electric ovens. Cookies and biscuits on the perimeter of the pan consistently baked faster than those in the middle and browned quicker, resulting in half of our cookies being overbaked by the time those in the middle were done.
The Wilton Recipe Right Non-Stick 9 x 13-Inch consistently baked perfectly moist cakes, regardless of the oven temperature or baking time. The edges of the cake were just slightly pulled away from the pan, and the bake was even and consistent from middle to sides. A bonus to this pan is a lid, which is great for storing or traveling with the cake.
Durability and Ease of Use
For this metric, we looked at characteristics that affect the user's experience with the pan, including how easy it is to take in and out of the oven, how easy it is to clean, if food sticks to the pan, and lastly, if the pan warps or bends in the oven. The pans tested were made of the following materials: uncoated aluminum, nonstick aluminum, stainless steel, and nonstick steel, each of which has pros and cons, especially when it comes to cleaning.
Scrubbing burned food off a pan can be a tiresome task at best, and our tests showed how the surface of a pan can affect how easily food sticks to the pan and how easy it is to clean. Throughout our testing, nonstick pans were generally the easiest to clean with glazes, oils, and food residue just sliding off the surface. The USA Pan Quarter Sheet pan resists sticking and is easiest to clean. Measuring 13" x 9.5", this pan easily fits into a standard-sized kitchen sink. The aluminum surface is covered with a nonstick Americoat coating that prohibits food and oils from sticking, making clean up quick and easy. The Circulon Total Bakeware Set also stood out for its anti-stick properties and ease of cleaning. Syrups and oils bead up on the pan's surface, making cleaning quick, and at 15" x 10", the pan easily fit into our standard size double kitchen sinks.
Of the non-coated pans we tested, the Checkered Chef Aluminum Sheet and Rack and the French Pantry Baking Gift Set are the most stick-resistant and easiest to clean. Both pans measure 18" x 13", meaning they take up more space in the kitchen sink, making them a bit more cumbersome to clean. Both are made of aluminum and do a great job at preventing foods from sticking, meaning most clean up is free from scrubbing. We were impressed with how easily a burnt-on marinade of extra virgin olive oil and spices washed off The French Pantry pan with just a non-abrasive sponge.
Our testers found the surface of the Wildone Sheet and Rack Set to be lackluster. Everything from cookies to roasted vegetables stuck to the pan, regardless of if the stainless steel surface was treated or not. In turn, this caused frustration when it was time to wash the pan, which required scrubbing with industrial-grade sponges.
We found the uncoated aluminum and stainless steel pans to scratch, as stated by the manufacturers, but some scratch more easily than others. The New Star Food Service Aluminum Half Size pan scratches the easiest from normal use with metal spatulas, while the Nordic Ware Naturals Big pan shows the least amount of scratches. While scratching on an uncoated aluminum or stainless steel pan does not affect its performance, it does affect its aesthetics, which some buyers may take into consideration.
Pans with coated surfaces are typically prone to scratches that can lead to the flaking of nonstick coatings. Our testers used metal turners and knives throughout our testing to determine which pans have the most durable nonstick surface. The Circulon Total Bakeware Set has the most scratch-resistant coating. The pan's raised ridges help prevent a knife from gouging the surface. The nonstick surface of the Rachael Ray Nonstick Bakeware Set holds up well to metal turners, but not to knife blades, which easily cut through the pan's nonstick surface.
Next, we looked at how well each pan performed at various oven temperatures ranging from 300 to 500 degrees. Higher temperatures are known to make pans pop and twist in the oven. The USA Pan Quarter Sheet pan is the heaviest pan we tested and is the only pan tested that did not pop or warp at temperatures above 425 degrees in a convection oven. The New Star Food Service Aluminum Half Size pan performed the poorest in this area. The pan first bent in a 375-degree oven and did not regain its flat shape during cooling like most pans do. It bent during each use, at a temperature as low as 325 degrees in a convection oven.
The last consideration for this metric is the pan's design and how easy it is to handle. The shape of a pan and its depth can make putting it on a hot pad easier or harder, as well as taking it in and out of the oven. The Circulon Total Bakeware Set pans integrated handles make taking them out of the oven and turning them in the oven easy, something our testers appreciated. But, we found the Goodcook Nonstick Bakeware Set of 3 and Wildone Sheet and Rack Set hard to remove from the oven and place on a hot pad due to their very shallow sides and lack of handles.
Some of the baking sheets we tested were sold individually, while others were sold in sets of two or three, and some even included cooling racks and silicone baking mats. In determining the value of a baking sheet, we considered how well it baked and roasted, if foods were evenly cooked, if there was charring on vegetables or proteins, or dark bottoms on cookies and biscuits. Next, we considered how well it cleaned and how easy it was to handle. We looked at each pan's performance compared to the other pans in our review, all of which fell within a relatively small price range.
The Wilton Recipe Right Non-Stick 9 x 13-Inch pan is a great value. It bakes cakes to perfection and is easy to clean up, and can serve double duty to roast vegetables. It also includes a plastic lid to keep your cake moist days after it was made.
The French Pantry Baking Gift Set performed best in our baking tests and roasts fairly well. If you're looking for a dedicated baking pan that bakes consistently and evenly, this pan is a great value. It includes a cooking rack and a silicone baking mat, which are very useful and of nice quality.
If you're looking for a set of nonstick sheet pans, the Goodcook Nonstick Bakeware Set of 3 is a good value. These pans clean up easily, and our baked goods all were done in the recipes' suggested times. Care should be used with the nonstick surface, however, as it does score easily.
There are several different kinds of baking sheets available, and the right pan can serve you well for a long time. Stainless steel and aluminum pans generally last longer than nonstick pans, whose coating tends to flake off over time. Choosing and investing in a quality pan increases your chances of having a pan that will last you for years to come. We encourage you to think about how you will use your pan and your oven's size when making your decision. Keep in mind that many of the pans we tested are available in other sizes, some of which may work better for your needs. Happy baking and roasting!
— Tara Reddinger-Adams