And this one from Nordic Ware is her personal favorite because it’s made from “a heavy-duty aluminum with solid rims that prevent warping.” Elena Lesser, chef and TV host, likes it “because of its even heating, allowing food to be properly roasted and baked with nice contact crisping and browning.” She even thinks these are the “closest brand to the industrial baking sheets” she used as a chef at Missy Robbins’ Lilia. And Brittany Bennett, owner of Ta artwork, agrees that if you’re really into baking or cooking, you’ll probably already “use parchment paper, a silicone baking sheet, or toss vegetables in silky ribbons of olive oil to prevent your food from sticking” on one of these aluminum pans, which she considers “reliable” and “satisfying” to cook with.
It’s also nonstick, like the Gold Touch and the Holy Sheet, but as with those two pans, for even faster cleanup, Tomlin still recommends lining the tray with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. The metal is thick enough that it won’t warp, and she thinks these are “relatively easy to clean, unless things really get burnt onto the pan, which can necessitate more intense scrubbing, even enlisting steel wool.” But to prevent that, she recommends cooking with parchment paper or some sort of layer, especially since these aren’t nonstick.
This isn’t a traditional sheet pan, because the sides are much higher than most and it’s coated in enamel, but Shelly Westerhausen, cookbook author and owner of Vegetarian ‘Ventures, swears by it. Read on to find why this pan is our ride-or-die, plus all the details of how we tested, pros and cons of the other models, and what to look for in any sheet pan.
Like other bare aluminum sheet trays, it conducts heat efficiently, which means food cooks evenly and the pan itself warms up and cools down quickly. Its light color makes it less likely to produce too-dark cookies or cakes, yet its thickness and sturdiness can turn out crispy, well-risen crusts.
While aluminum is prone to staining and scratching (and acidic ingredients like vinegar and tomato can cause discoloration, pitting, and corrosion), the Nordic Ware pan is easy to clean. Whereas rimless cookie sheets are good for maximizing space if you’re baking an army of gingerbread men, trays with rims are all in all more versatile: They prevent spillage and drip page on everything from roasted fish to granola.
Half- sheet pans are exactly half the size and what we use in the Test Kitchen (and what most home cooks use). We baked the dough on oiled sheets, pulling the focaccia out when it was deeply golden brown on top.
We checked how easily the focaccia slid out of the pan (i.e., stick age factor) and flipped the cooled bread to look for evenly colored bottoms. We compared how fast the food cooked on the various trays: whether the trays warped at high temperatures and which remained hot after coming out of the oven (not optimal when you’re looking to reduce the carryover cooking that can lead to too-crisp cookies or tough fish fillets).
We also looked at how many sticky brown bits remained on the tray after transferring the food to serving dishes. We then handwashed all the baking trays with warm soapy water and a nonabrasive sponge, paying attention to how easy cleanup was (or wasn’t) and whether the basic tasks had left stains and scratches.
Stainless steel is widely known to be a poor performer in this category, which explains why the stainless-steel baking sheet we tested was so unreliable. This may not affect whether your veggies get a nice char, but if you’re cooking in a small oven, it could determine whether the sheet fits inside.
The Tolerate pan is much thicker than the Nordic Ware (13 gauge) and pricier too ($23 per unit compared to $12), but produced middle-of-the-road results. The heaviest and sturdiest of the whole crop were the USA Pan Bakeware Half Sheet Pan and the Great Jones Holy Sheet, both made from aluminized steel with nonstick coatings, and the Chicago Metallic Elite Nonstick Carbon Steel Baking Sheet.
The USA Pan and Chicago Metallic both produced nicely browned vegetables and focaccia but cookies that erred on the too-crisp side; the Holy Sheet made some the best focaccia of the bunch, with no stick age whatsoever, but was less successful in the other tests, under-browning vegetables and over-browning cookies. Neither the Holy Sheet nor the Chicago Metallic are intended to be used above 450°, per the manufacturers’ instructions, which could become a problem if you really need to bring the heat; also, as with all nonstick pans, there is the risk that the coating will deteriorate with use.
That said, if focaccia is a staple in your repertoire, the Holy Sheet might be a worthwhile investment (it’s $25 for one unit) for that baking project alone. Skip the nonstick surface and instead simply line the pan with parchment paper, or a silicone baking mat if you’re cooking something delicate.
At an affordable price, there’s really no reason not to buy the Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum tray. It’s solidly constructed, made in the United States, and bound to be your best friend all year long.
The fact that the sides are only an inch high means that more direct heat can circulate around what you’re roasting, yielding crispier surfaces all around. Line a sheet tray with a clean dish towel and spread freshly washed herbs, greens, veggies, or berries out to dry.
And whenever you’re deep-frying, that sheet tray fitted with a wire rack is your best friend: have it ready right next to the stove to let freshly fried chicken drip and cool without getting soggy. If you want to cook a big batch of whole grains that will keep in the fridge for cold salads or other meals throughout the week, we recommend lining a sheet tray with parchment paper and spreading the hot grains out over the tray to cool faster, so they don’t overcook.
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. Just like your stainless steel cookware, these sheets won’t rust, stain, oxidize, or pit, even if you use them for roasting tomatoes or using lemon juice as a marinade on your chicken wings.
They’re dishwasher safe, and won’t be ruined if you get aggressive with scrubbing off burned bits. Reviewers love the mirror-like finish and how easy these pans are to clean, though some report slight warping at temperatures higher than 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Reviewers praise how pretty the pan is and its resistance to warping; however, some note to make sure to thoroughly dry it after washing as they observed slight rusting when they skipped this step. For even better performance, they have rolled, encapsulated steel rims, so they won’t bend or warp in normal use, and they’ll never rust or corrode.
Since aluminum is a responsive metal, these will cool quicker when they’re out of the oven, so they’ll be ready to use faster than steel pans. Made from aluminized steel with a light-colored nonstick coating, your cookies won’t stick or over-brown on this pan.
It resists staining and keeps the steel from corroding, while the micro-textured pattern minimizes surface contact while maximizing airflow for even baking and easy cookie release. After you fall in love with this pan, you can buy more pieces of bakeware with the same features for a complete set.
Every piece has dimension markings, so you’ll know that you’ve got the right size pan for your recipe. Just note that, as some reviewers point out, the measurements are of the outside of the pans (including their sizable rims).
Larger than a typical half- sheet pan, but still able to fit in home ovens, this 15 x 21-inch baking sheet gives you more room for cookies, biscuits, and pastries. It’s also perfect for making extra-long loaves of bread that wouldn’t fit on a standard sheet.
It’s made from steel with a dark finish so it retains heat well, which keeps cookies from spreading too quickly. People love that they can cook twice as many cookies on the pan and how easy it is to clean; a few reviewers, however, report some warping at temperatures of 300 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
All parts are oven-safe to 450 degrees, so they can be mixed and matched for baking, roasting, crisping, drying, and cooling. The metal sheet and silicone pans are oven-safe to 450 degrees, so the set is great for all kinds of baking and roasting.
Final Verdict Donna Carrie is a writer and product tester for The Spruce Eats. In addition to the top baking sheets, Donna's written lists on the best cookie tools and best bread machines of the year.
This piece was edited by Bernadette Ma chard de Gramont, an LA-based writer who specializes in global food and wine content. She researches and tests a variety of cookware, bakeware, and wine tools, and interviews field experts for their insight.
Pro bakers prefer bare aluminum sheets because they are more durable, distribute heat more evenly, and cool more quickly once out of the oven, than steel ones. Heavy-gauge aluminum pans tend to heat more evenly and are sturdier and more warp-resistant than their thinner counterparts, but are also more expensive.
Nonstick pans are easier to slide food off of and clean, and because the coating is generally dark, they tend to cook more quickly, too. However, this coating tends to scratch and wear off over time, especially over consistent use at high heat, so they don't last as long as bare aluminum pans.