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The Best Rimmed Baking Sheets of 2021
A rimmed baking sheet is essential for sheet cakes and handy for cookies. But if yours is flimsy or you use it only for baking, you’re not getting your money’s worth.
What We Learned
Rimmed baking sheets, also called half-sheet pans, are true workhorses in the test kitchen. We have stacks of them that we use every day for obvious tasks like baking cookies or roasting oven fries or root vegetables. But we also use them for baking chicken or fish, toasting nuts and seeds, roasting vegetables such as green beans and asparagus, and baking jelly roll cakes. More unusually, we use baking sheets for sorting dried beans or spreading out cooked rice or pasta to cool before making salads. In a pinch, an inverted baking sheet can even stand in for a pizza peel or baking stone. And that’s just the start. Slipping a wire cooling rack inside (to elevate food for increased air circulation and also to contain mess) makes these pans even more versatile—it’s our go-to setup for roasting and broiling meats, holding breaded foods before and after frying, and drizzling chocolate over desserts.
To find the best rimmed baking sheet on the market, we selected eight standard-size models, all priced around $25.00 or less, to put through their paces in the test kitchen. We baked our way through jelly roll cakes and dozens of sugar cookies and then roasted 30 pounds of chicken thighs and more parsnips than anyone should ever have to look at. For each recipe, we examined how evenly foods browned across the surface of the pan, as well as how cleanly they released. Throughout testing, we kept a close eye on warping and evaluated how comfortable each pan felt when loaded with heavy foods.
Sizing up the Competition
First, some good news: It’s possible to bake, roast, and broil using all of the pans we tested. Most cookies and cakes baked to an appropriate pale golden brown. Meanwhile, chicken thighs and parsnips browned and cooked evenly in most of the pans and didn’t stick to any of the pans. But some pans made it harder to achieve good results.
We selected pans that either listed their dimensions as approximately 18 by 13 inches or that called themselves “standard” size; the dimensions refer to the lip-to-lip measurements, and the actual usable cooking surface on most of these pans was about 16½ inches by 11½ inches. There was one noticeable outlier. Its cooking surface was 18 inches by 12 inches, so a jelly roll cake made in this pan was too thin, which threw off the ratios of the filled and rolled cakes. Even more damning was that this irregularly sized pan wasn’t compatible with our favorite wire cooling rack. The rack slid around precariously and left swirls of scratches. Racks sat snugly and securely in most other models.
The style of the pans’ edges also mattered. One had low, sloped sides; when we walked around the kitchen with ...