|

This Kitchen Tool Makes You A Better Cook

When it comes to enhancing your culinary skills and elevating your cooking and baking experiences, choosing the perfect half-sheet pan is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. High-quality half-sheet pans can be a game-changer in your kitchen, whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook. 

What is a half-sheet pan, and why do you need one (or two or three)? And what are they good for? Read on.

What Is a Half-Sheet Pan?

Sheet pans with baked goods in commercial bakery.
Image credit SvetlanaSF via Shutterstock.

Half-sheet pans are workhorses in commercial kitchens, and they should be in your kitchen, too. Half-sheet pans generally have standard dimensions of 18 x 13 inches, along with a lip all the way around.

What Do You Use Half-Sheet Pans For?

Half sheet pan holding ingredients. Mis en place.
Image credit Rosamar via Shutterstock.

So much! Cookies, jelly-roll cakes, roasting vegetables, sheet-pan dinners, roasting chicken, oven-roasted ribs, large batch brownies, granola…the list is endless.

These pans are not only great for cooking in the oven but also for various prep tasks. Line up your measured out ingredients before you start cooking. This is called mis en place, as shown above.

Material Matters

Sheet pan of bruschetta.
Image credit Candice Bell via Shutterstock.

One of the first and most crucial considerations when purchasing a half-sheet pan is the material it’s made of. There are three common materials to choose from.

Aluminum

Texas sheet cake in pan.
Image credit Trending Now via Shutterstock.

Aluminum half-sheet pans are a top choice among bakers and chefs alike. They heat up quickly and distribute heat evenly, ensuring that your dishes cook uniformly. These pans are widely used in commercial kitchens for their outstanding performance. It is our choice, too. Check out our recipe for gluten-free Texas Sheet Cake.

Stainless Steel

potatoes and green beans on sheet pan.
Image credit Elena Veselova via Shutterstock.

Stainless steel half-sheet pans are known for their durability, resistance to rust, and ease of cleaning. If you prefer a pan that can withstand the test of time and is low-maintenance, stainless steel is an excellent option.

Aluminized Steel

Pizza on sheet pan.
Image credit Vladislav Noseek via Shutterstock.

Aluminized steel pans combine the best of both worlds, offering even heat distribution and impressive durability. They are a versatile choice suitable for various cooking styles.

Choose a material that aligns with your cooking preferences and maintenance routine to ensure you get the most out of your half-sheet pan.

Thickness & Durability

Vegetable baked salad on sheet pan.
Image credit Nina Firsova via Shutterstock.

The thickness of your half-sheet pan is a critical factor in its overall durability and performance. Thicker pans are less likely to warp over time and provide better heat retention, ensuring consistent cooking results. Look for pans with a gauge measurement, with lower gauge numbers indicating a thicker material. Generally, a pan with a gauge of 18 or lower is considered sturdy and warp-resistant, promising longevity in your kitchen.

Coating Considerations

Nachos on sheet pan.
Image credit Brent Hofacker via Shutterstock.

Many half-sheet pans come with various coatings designed to enhance their non-stick properties and ease of cleaning. Common coatings include:

Non-Stick, Silicone & Natural Finishes

Sheet pan chicken dinner. I
Image credit Brent Hofacker via Shutterstock.

While these coatings can be beneficial, it’s worth noting that commercial-grade aluminum half-sheet pans are favored by many for their reliability and versatility. Some cooks even prefer to cook and bake directly on the pan, while others use parchment paper. Always follow recipe directions for the best results – and manufacturer’s care instructions for pans with coatings. 

Size & Dimensions

Half sheet pan dinner.
Image credit Jacek Chabraszewski via Shutterstock.

While half-sheet pans generally have standard dimensions of 18 x 13 inches, it’s essential to check for any variations in size. Some pans may have slightly different measurements, which can affect your cooking and baking results. 

Ensure that the pan comfortably fits in your oven and accommodates the recipes you frequently prepare. Additionally, look for pans with rolled edges, as they provide stability and prevent warping during use. 

Brand Reputation & Reviews

Person arranging potatoes on sheet pan.
Image credit Arina P Habich via Shutterstock.

Before making your purchase, it’s wise to research the reputation of the brand and read customer reviews. A well-established brand with positive feedback is more likely to produce a high-quality half-sheet pan. Pay particular attention to comments regarding durability, heat distribution, and ease of cleaning. Online reviews can offer valuable insights from real users who have tested the product in their own kitchens. Brands like Nordic Ware have received excellent feedback from satisfied customers.

The Takeaway

chocolate chip cookie dough on sheet pan.
Image credit Arina P Habich via Shutterstock.

Investing in a high-quality half-sheet pan is an investment in your culinary journey. By carefully considering factors such as material, thickness, coating, size, and brand reputation, you can confidently select a pan that meets your cooking needs and withstands the test of time. Armed with the right half-sheet pan, you’ll be well-equipped to create culinary masterpieces that delight family and friends alike.

Now, you have the knowledge and guidance to choose the perfect half-sheet pan for your kitchen. Happy baking and cooking!

Looking For More Kitchen and Cooking Guidance?

older man and woman cooking together.
Image credit Cherries via Shutterstock.

Author

  • Dede Wilson

    Dédé Wilson is a journalist with over 17 cookbooks to her name and is the co-founder and managing partner of the digital media partnership Shift Works Partners LLC, currently publishing through two online media brands, FODMAP Everyday® and The Queen Zone.

Similar Posts