Cook Better: Baking Sheets for Perfect Cookies, Biscuits, Roasted Veggies and More

Trust us, you need a good baking sheet.

Fish and asparagus on baking sheet.
Meat, fish, veggies or baked goods—a baking sheet can do it all.Unsplash

There are few kitchen tools more versatile and essential than a baking sheet. Whether you’re roasting vegetables, baking cookies, or creating traybakes, you need one—or preferably several—of these simple lengths of metal. Here’s what to look for.

Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker's Half Sheet (2 Pack), Silver
These rust-proof metal sheets have oversized edges to make them easy to grab out of the oven.Nordic Ware

Baking sheets come in various shapes and sizes. At 26 inches by 18 inches, a “full size” sheet is enormous—and generally too big for non-industrial ovens. If you’re not sure of what you need, opt for what’s called a “half sheet,” which is about 18 inches by 13 inches.

USA Pan Half Sheet Baking Pan and Bakeable Nonstick Cooling Rack, Metal
This set of two is perfect for cooking items that may drip grease or for cooling baked goods like muffins after taking them out of the oven.USA Pan

Aluminum is the perfect material for a baking sheet. It’s inexpensive, sturdy and light; it heats up very quickly and it’ll hold up to bashing. There are other options, though. You might see corrugated patterns cut in the sheet, or nonstick coatings made from ceramic or other materials. For more delicate baking, these may be enticing—or you can opt for a silicone baking mat. But if you’re looking to do a lot of roasting, stick to the basic, untextured aluminum—you want to maximize the surface area of the hot pan touching your food.

Cuisinart AMB-17CS 17-Inch Chef's Classic Nonstick Bakeware Cookie Sheet, Silver
This pan has no rim, allowing sweets or pastries to easily slide off.Cuisinart

You may also notice rimmed and rimless pans. Rimmed pans are standard; there isn’t anything they can’t do, and they’re great for roasting materials that let loose with liquid, like mushrooms and tomatoes. But they can sometimes be sort of a pain for scraping up fragile foods—so if you bake a ton of cookies or pastries, look into a rimless pan.