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What Is the Best Baking Sheet? Rimmed Pans vs. Cookie Sheets

What is a rimmed baking sheet? I’ll show you how the baking sheet you use affects your cookies, cakes, and bars as we compare rimmed pans vs. cookie sheets. 

what is a rimmed baking sheet

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Be sure and check out these popular cookie recipes:

The Basics: Baking Sheets vs. Cookie Sheets

Whether you’re a home cook or a professional chef, having the right tools can make all the difference in your baking experience.

Let’s start with the basics. When it comes to baking sheets, you’ll often hear about two main types: rimmed pans and cookie sheets. But what’s the difference?

Rimmed Pans: The Heavy-Duty Workhorses

First up, we have rimmed pans, which are also known as half-sheet pans. These pans are typically made of heavy-gauge metal, often stainless steel or aluminized steel, which means they can handle high temperatures with ease. They’re your go-to choice for sheet cakes, jelly rolls, and even roasting in the oven.

The 1-inch rim around these pans is a game-changer. It prevents spills and keeps your baked goods secure, making it perfect for items that rise during baking, like sponge cakes or Swiss rolls. Plus, the rim provides a secure grip when you’re taking your hot cookies out of the oven. 

Half sheet pans and quarter sheet pans are two sizes of rimmed baking sheets used in the kitchen, and they differ primarily in size. Let’s break down the main differences between them:

Half Sheet Pans:

  1. Size: A half-sheet pan is approximately 18 inches by 13 inches in size. It’s one of the most versatile and widely used baking pans in both home and professional kitchens.
  2. Capacity: Due to its larger size, a half-sheet pan can hold more baked goods or other items than a quarter-sheet pan. It’s great for baking larger batches of cookies, sheet cakes, and roasting vegetables.
  3. Common Uses: Half-sheet pans are ideal for making larger sheet cakes, baking multiple batches of cookies at once, or roasting a significant quantity of vegetables. They are a go-to choice for recipes that require a bit more space.

Quarter Sheet Pans:

  1. Size: A quarter sheet pan is approximately half the size of a half sheet pan, measuring around 9 inches by 13 inches. It’s a smaller and more compact baking pan.
  2. Capacity: Due to its smaller size, a quarter sheet pan can hold less than a half sheet pan. It’s perfect for smaller portions and recipes designed for fewer servings.
  3. Common Uses: Quarter sheet pans are often used for baking smaller batches of cookies, brownies, or sheet cakes. They are great for recipes that don’t require a large quantity and for kitchens with limited space.

Basically, the primary difference between half-sheet pans and quarter-sheet pans is their size and capacity. Half sheet pans are larger and suitable for bigger batches, while quarter sheet pans are smaller and perfect for more modest portions. The choice between them depends on your specific baking needs and the recipes you’re working with.

Cookie Sheets:  Flat and Versatile

On the other hand, we have cookie sheets, also known as rimless or flat baking pans. These come in various dimensions and are often made of aluminum or steel. They’re your go-to if you bake lots of cookies.

Cookie sheets are fantastic for even heat distribution, ensuring your cookies bake to perfection. However, they don’t have the raised edges of rimmed pans, which can be a drawback if you’re baking items with high moisture content or juicy fruits that might cause a mess in your oven.

What is a Jelly Roll Pan?

A jelly roll pan is a type of baking pan that’s really useful for making all sorts of delicious treats. It’s a rectangular pan that’s typically about 10 by 15 inches in size and has raised edges that are about 1 inch tall.

Wondering why it’s called a “jelly roll” pan? This pan got its name because it’s often used for making a yummy dessert called a “jelly roll.” A jelly roll is a type of cake that’s spread with jelly or jam and then rolled up into a neat spiral shape. It’s like a sweet, swirly log of goodness!

But here’s the thing: even if you’re not making jelly rolls, a jelly roll pan is still super handy for baking other stuff. You can use it for baking sheet cakes, brownies, cookies, and more. The raised edges are fantastic because they help keep everything on the pan and prevent any drips or spills in your oven.

Air Bake Pans: The Choice of Discerning Cookie Bakers

Airbake pans are a fantastic innovation in the world of baking, and they’re especially great for home bakers. These pans are designed to help you achieve perfectly baked goods by regulating the temperature and preventing burning or uneven cooking. 

Here’s what you need to know about air bake pans:

How They Work:

Airbake pans have a unique construction that sets them apart from traditional baking pans. They consist of two layers of metal with an insulating layer of air in between. This air insulation acts as a buffer, reducing the intensity of the oven’s heat that reaches your food. Essentially, it helps distribute the heat more evenly across the surface of the pan.

The primary advantage of air bake pans is their ability to provide even heat distribution. This means that your cookies, cakes, or other baked goods are less likely to have hot spots or burn on the bottom.

Tips for Using Airbake Pans:

 Preheat your oven as usual when using an air bake pan.

 You may need to adjust your baking time slightly since these pans can influence how your food cooks. Keep an eye on your baked goods as they cook to ensure they’re done to your liking.

Choosing the Right Pan for You: Rimmed Pans vs. Cookie Sheets

So, which one should you choose? Well, it depends on your baking needs and the type of food items you love to create.

If you’re all about cookies, a good-rimmed baking sheet is your best bet. Look for one with a non-toxic non-stick coating for easy release.

For sheet cakes, jelly rolls, or anything with a batter that might spill over, go for a rimmed baking pan. If you’re into traditional cookies or want a versatile pan for various purposes, a flat baking sheet is your friend.

The Best Brands and Where to Find Them

When shopping for the best baking sheets, keep an eye out for premium quality brands like Nordic Ware or those found in restaurant supply stores. These are the real deal and will last you a long time.

You can also consider options with an aluminum core for excellent heat distribution. And if you’re dealing with high heat, be it in your home oven or a restaurant kitchen, make sure to invest in sheets that can handle it without warping.

What is a Rimmed Baking Sheet? 

In the end, the best baking sheet for you is the one that suits your baking style and needs. Remember to pair it with a sheet of parchment paper for easy cleanup.

So, whether you’re a pro or just starting your baking journey, having the right baking sheets in your arsenal is essential. 

Be sure and check out these popular cookie recipes: