In most kitchens, half sheet pans are a common sight. However, Food and Meal choosing the best half sheet pans is crucial because they serve a variety of purposes, from baking cookies and focaccia to handling drips during cooking or setting up a breading station.
Although sheet pans come in various sizes, the half sheet pan is ideal for home cooks. Despite the name, it’s the size we’re familiar with, as opposed to the larger pans used in restaurants. Typically measuring around 18 x 13 inches, every cook should have at least one half sheet pan, but the options on this list might make you consider having even more.
Factors we evaluated
Given the versatile nature of a baking sheet, it’s imperative for it to possess qualities of durability, dependability, and ease of cleaning. It must withstand a certain degree of use and wear, as it’s not an item of kitchen equipment that should be treated delicately. Its performance should align with our desired outcomes, whether that entails achieving a crisply browned underside for a traditional grandma-style pizza, imparting a golden hue to delicate sugar cookies, or achieving well-charred florets on broccoli cooked at high temperatures.
Our evaluation of baking sheets took into account the following factors:
In terms of heat conduction, an uncoated aluminum sheet pan is optimal. It rapidly heats up and cools down, ensuring that cooking starts upon entering the preheated oven and halts upon removal. Its light color provides control over the browning process of cookies, cakes, and pizzas. Aluminized steel, a combination of steel and aluminum, tends to distribute heat unevenly. While stainless steel is favored for various cookware, it falls short in the realm of baking sheets. Nonstick baking sheets were examined for the functionality and durability of their nonstick coating.
The baking sheets referred to as half-sheet pans are technically 18×13″ in size. However, rimmed half sheets can deviate from these measurements. Our tests covered a range of sizes, including 16×12″, 17×11¼”, and the standard 18×13″. Some even featured pronounced handles extending beyond the cooking area. While this might not influence the char on your vegetables, it could impact the sheet’s fit in a smaller home oven. If your culinary activities mostly involve a toaster oven, we suggest opting for a quarter-sheet pan.
Nonstick Coating Analysis
Nonstick coatings can sometimes pose more challenges than benefits. Many coatings are not as effective as desired, and even when they perform well, they tend to degrade over time. Additionally, nonstick baking sheets often have a darker hue compared to plain aluminum models. Darker sheets absorb and emit more heat, resulting in darker outcomes (such as cookies that are overly browned).
Rolled edges that reinforce the steel rim offer an advantage over flat rims by minimizing the risk of warping during rapid temperature changes. However, if not thoroughly dried after washing, these edges can sometimes gather rust on the underside of the pan.
In summary, the evaluation of baking sheets encompassed material properties, size considerations, nonstick coatings, and structural features like rolled edges. These factors collectively contributed to our assessment of each baking sheet’s suitability for various culinary tasks.
Best Half Sheet Pans
Ask a professional chef about their preferred sheet pans, and they’re likely to recommend the Nordic Ware sheet pan two-pack. Tiffany Swan, chef and food scientist of Salt + Sage, is among those who favor them. Swan owns Nordic Ware half sheets, quarters, and eighths for their even heat conductivity and sturdy construction with steel-rimmed edges, preventing warping during high-heat roasting.
These pans earn our top spot for being the best overall due to their durability, affordable price, and even heating. Crafted from 18-gauge aluminum, they are lightweight yet resilient against bending. Priced at just $13 per pan, they’re a valuable investment despite being prone to scratching, making them a smart choice for your kitchen.
Caraway has solidified its reputation as one of the premier nonstick cookware brands, and its sheet pan lives up to this reputation. Boasting an exceptionally robust ceramic coating, this sheet pan is capable of withstanding higher oven temperatures of up to 550 degrees, while effortlessly facilitating the release of food – even challenging items like sugar or cheese. Staying true to Caraway’s signature style, these baking sheets are also available in their distinctive and contemporary cookware color palette.
With slightly sloped sides, this pan streamlines cleanup and accommodates drippy cooking techniques. While the handles are a practical addition, they can pose a challenge due to their heat-protective layers hindering a secure grip. Notably, these sheets aren’t suitable for dishwasher use, which might deter those seeking quick and effortless cleanup. However, for those willing to invest a few additional minutes post-meal, these thoughtfully crafted, visually appealing sheets are well worth the extra effort.
Offering remarkable value at a mere $20, the uncoated, aluminized steel sheet pan from Chicago Metallic is a robust choice for those seeking a straightforward, versatile single-sheet pan. This pan’s superior quality guarantees uniform heating and outstanding heat conduction.
Although the sturdy construction contributes to its weightiness – which can pose challenges when maneuvering a full pan – it’s this very construction, combined with the wire rim, that renders the pan almost indestructible. In the event that a replacement becomes necessary, Chicago Metallic stands by its product with a lifetime warranty, enhancing the appeal of this outstanding investment given its budget-friendly price.
Mention “cookie sheet,” and the image of this rimless sheet pan likely springs to mind. Hailing from Vollrath, this entirely aluminum sheet boasts a lightweight composition and rapid, even heating capabilities. A standout feature is the raised lip on both ends, facilitating effortless gripping and parchment paper sliding – a maneuver that rivals a professional’s touch. Crafted from a resilient aluminum variant, this pan surpasses counterparts of similar thickness, ensuring exceptional durability and achieving an impeccably even browning.
However, there is a caveat to consider: this sheet pan’s specialization. While it excels in baking, it falls short when it comes to versatility, proving unsuitable for sheet pan dinners or other dishes that require stability. Another aspect to note is that this sheet pan is not dishwasher-safe, necessitating manual scrubbing during cleanup.
This enameled sheet pan effortlessly transitions from oven to table, doubling as stylish serveware – a versatile addition to your kitchen arsenal. The distinctive porcelain enamel is meticulously fused onto a steel base, undergoing multiple hand-dips to establish a robust porcelain top coat. This intricate crafting process renders these pans exceptionally durable and compatible with a diverse range of heat sources, spanning stovetops, ovens, grills, and open-flamed campfires.
With a selection of nine captivating colors and patterns, these pans offer personalization. A standout is the signature splatter pattern, meticulously hand-painted to ensure each pan is a unique masterpiece. The steel and porcelain fusion grants these trays remarkable sturdiness, albeit with a weight of nearly three pounds. This durability guarantees its longevity, becoming a cherished heirloom. Additionally, these pans are dishwasher-safe, although caution is advised against employing abrasive cleaners on their surfaces.
FAQs about Half Sheet Pans
Q: What is a half sheet pan, and how is it different from other baking sheets?
A: A half sheet pan is a rectangular baking sheet that measures approximately 13 x 18 inches, which is half the size of a full sheet pan. It’s a versatile kitchen tool used for baking, roasting, and cooking various dishes. The size makes it suitable for both residential and commercial kitchens.
Q: What materials are commonly used for the best half sheet pans?
A: Half sheet pans are typically made from materials like aluminum, stainless steel, or a combination of both. Aluminum pans are known for their excellent heat conductivity, while stainless steel pans offer durability and resistance to rust.
Q: Are half sheet pans safe to use in the oven?
A: Yes, half sheet pans are designed for oven use. Both aluminum and stainless steel pans are oven-safe, but it’s crucial to check the specific product details for the maximum recommended temperature.
Q: Can I use a half sheet pan for baking cookies?
A: Yes, half sheet pans are commonly used for baking cookies. The size allows for even baking, and the rimmed edges prevent cookies from sliding off. Ensure the pan has a non-stick surface or use parchment paper for easy cookie removal.
Q: What are the advantages of using a half sheet pan?
A: Half sheet pans are versatile and can be used for a variety of cooking tasks, including baking cookies, roasting vegetables, and broiling. They offer ample space for cooking larger quantities and have raised edges to contain liquids and prevent spills.
Q: Can I use a half sheet pan on a convection oven?
A: Yes, half sheet pans are suitable for use in convection ovens. Their flat and wide surface promotes even air circulation, making them well-suited for convection cooking.
Q: Are there non-stick options for half sheet pans?
A: Yes, many half sheet pans come with a non-stick coating to facilitate easy food release and cleaning. Non-stick options are convenient for baking cookies and other items that may stick to the pan.
Q: How do I clean a half sheet pan?
A: Cleaning methods depend on the material and whether the pan has a non-stick coating. For non-stick pans, hand wash with mild soap and a soft sponge. Aluminum and stainless steel pans can be cleaned with a mixture of baking soda and water or in a dishwasher if specified as dishwasher-safe.
Q: Can I use a half sheet pan for roasting vegetables or meats?
A: Absolutely, half sheet pans are excellent for roasting vegetables, meats, or other dishes. Their size allows for even placement of ingredients, and the raised edges prevent juices from spilling onto the oven.
Q: Are there specific brands known for producing the best half sheet pans?
A: Several reputable brands offer high-quality half sheet pans, including Nordic Ware, USA Pan, Wilton, and Vollrath. Consider factors like material, durability, and customer reviews when choosing a brand.
Q: Can half sheet pans warp during baking?
A: In some cases, extreme temperature changes or poor-quality pans can cause warping. Choose a high-quality pan and avoid sudden temperature changes, such as placing a hot pan in cold water. Follow the manufacturer’s care instructions.
Q: Can I use a half sheet pan for making sheet cakes?
A: Yes, half sheet pans are suitable for making sheet cakes. Their size provides ample space for baking a variety of desserts. Ensure the pan is appropriately greased or lined with parchment paper for easy cake removal.
25 December ·
Golden Browns & Perfect Crusts: The Half Sheet Pan Magic
By Food And Meal
Welcome to another episode of Kitchen Chronicles, the podcast where we uncover the secrets to creating culinary masterpieces. I'm your host, Jenny, and today we're delving into the world of baking sheets, particularly focusing on the "Best Half Sheet Pans". These unassuming tools play a pivotal role in achieving baking perfection, and we're here to help you navigate the factors to consider when choosing the right one. So, let's get started!