Differences Between Baking Pans and Baking Sheets

Christmas cookies in baking pan
Cookies on a baking pan. (Image: MalyDesigner/iStock/Getty Images)

Baking pans and sheets come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. Most recipes call for a specific type of pan, but understanding the difference between a cookie sheet, a jelly roll pan and a cookie pan can be confusing, especially since you may bake the same treats in all of them. Get the terminology down to stock your cupboards and improve your baking success.

Sheet Pans

Sheet pans are 18-by-26-inch pans designed for commercial use. These pans will not fit into the typical home oven, but are common in commercial kitchens. Half-sheet pans are a much more practical size for your baking needs, measuring 13 by 18 inches. Quarter-sheet pans are less common, but work well if you have a small oven. A quarter-sheet pan is 9 by 13 inches. Sheet pans are 1 inch deep and work well for a wide variety of baking needs, from rolled cakes and cookies to roasting vegetables. You'll find sheet pans of all sizes at kitchen and restaurant supply stores.

Cookie Sheets

A cookie sheet is a flat pan without sides. One or two edges may be bent upward to allow you to remove it from the oven with ease. The flat pan allows air to circulate in the oven for even baking. Cookie sheets are available in standard aluminum or stainless steel, as well as insulated versions.

Jellyroll Pans

Jellyroll pans measure 15 1/2 by 10 1/2 inches. If you make a jellyroll cakes often, this 1-inch-high pan is a useful addition to your baking cupboard. Jellyroll pans may also be used for small batches of cookies or can be used in place of a 2-inch-deep 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Like the quarter-sheet pan, the jellyroll pan is a smart option for a smaller than usual oven.

Choosing the Right Pan

Look for heavy, thick pans for your baking needs, whether you opt for half-sheet pans, a jellyroll pan or cookie sheets. Weight and thickness is more important than material or brand when shopping for baking pans and sheets. Half-sheet pans are the most versatile option in your kitchen, filling in for roasting pans, cookie sheets and jellyroll pans.

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