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Cookie Sheet vs. Jelly Roll Pan

My old cookie sheets are pretty beat up and it's time to get new ones. I'm thinking about buying jelly roll or half sheet pans instead, since they are more versatile. I've seen a couple of comments on other sites that air circulates better when baking cookies on a cookie sheet (because of the lack of sides) and thus cookies brown more evenly. I don't know if this is a real concern or not.

Also, I'd prefer metal sheets/pans without a non-stick surface. Is there any practical difference between all-aluminum bakeware (e.g., NordicWare, Vollrath) and aluminized steel bakeware (e.g., Chicago Metallic)?

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  1. It does make a difference fro cookie to have the totally flat cookie sheet. I was opposed to nonstick until i tried the Williams Sonoma Gold line and I really like them even though i still usually use parchment for cookies. You could try them and if you really didn't like it they will take them back. Thy are a lighter color so they don't have the issues that dark nonstick pans have. If you can handle the room to have a few of each though, cookie sheets and pans that would be great. If you only bake a few dozen cookies a year as well then the pans might be best for you.

    One extra thing that i love about cookie sheets is roasting veggies. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my half sheet size pan, but I love being able to just slide off all the roasted veggies into a container after roasting instead of having to scoop them up and out. Depending on what you might use sheets/pans for most it's soemthing to consider. Have at least one pan though regardless I would say.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Astur

      I use jelly roll pans for cookies. I think half sheet pans are too deep, but again, you can use the bottom of the pan for cookies. It works well with my jelly roll pans. No reason why it wouldn't work with half sheet pans. Happy baking!

      EDIT Ooooops! Thought I had scrolled all the way back up to the top before I hit Reply. Well, that was my intent anyway. Sorry Astur.

      1. re: Caroline1

        Is the difference between a jelly roll pan and a half sheet the height of the sides? I've seen several 18" x 13" jelly roll pans advertised. That is exactly the same size as a half sheet pan, which usually has 1" sides. I thought that the two were essentialy the same.

    2. I use shiny, airbake pans with no sides, just one slightly tilted edge for ease of handling. I never wash them, only wipe them down with a damp cloth, then polish with a dry towel.

      They are, of course, strictly for cookies.....although I try to avoid unitasking items, these are the exception.

      1. My opinion is for Jelly Roll Pan

        1. Go for jelly roll/half sheetpan as you say: it is more versatile. I don't think there is any difference in cookies baked in a cookie sheet vs jelly roll pan. Some say that it is easier to remove cookies with a spatula from a cookie sheet without the sides but to me that is so minor. I've baked cookies in a restaurant on sheet pans without any timing problems. For home, I have the cheap Wearever aluminum half sheet pans. I don't see spending for Chicago Meltallic, etc but I am frugal, not anti-aluminum, practical and how cookware look is not that important.

          1 Reply
          1. re: PBSF

            Don't forget that, for the rare thing that requires a side less tray, it's possible to use the bottom of a sheet pan.

          2. I'd buy the aluminum half-sheet pans at Sam's Club at two for $10.99.

            1. If you do convection, I have heard that having a high rim only on one side really helps with cookie baking... curious what other folks who have experience with convection have to say about that, as I'm about to start using a convection oven for the first time.

              5 Replies
              1. re: will47

                I don't have convection, but this is my primary concern about pans with sides vs. cookie sheets--irregular browning across the pan, because the sides somewhat block air circulation to the cookies nearest to them. I wonder if this would be less of a problem in a regular oven than in a convection oven.

                1. re: cheesemaestro

                  I bake cookies on a jelly roll pan in my convection oven all the time, and don't notice any difference whatsoever

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    That's my experience with my convection too. And I don't turn over the jelly roll pans If I'm using convection. Only if I'm going to do regular baking.

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      I rotate my pans (180 degrees and top-for-bottom) halfway through the baking time -- but it's more because I always have than because I really think there's a need.

                      My US baking sheets are also THIS CLOSE to being too big for my little oven, so rotating them changes the air convection in the oven, too.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        I have a pizza stone in the oven 24/7. The stone seems to regulate the oven temp. I've found if I'm using a heavy duty cookie sheet, I don't have to rotate. If I use a typical lightweight cookie tin, I don't HAVE to rotate, eg it won't burn or undercook on opposite sides though there is a noticeable difference in color. So I rotate if I remember but don't worry if I forget.

              2. Another vote for jelly roll or sheet pan. I've never had a problem baking cookies with those and they are much more versatile. Never owned a cookie sheet other than a couple of air bake which I hated and gave away.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Island

                  Vollrath #5314 (13 guage alum) 1/2 size sheet pans. Are one of my favorites.

                2. I have one of the old All clad gold bonded cookie sheets which I love. to bad they stopped making them.

                  1. A consideration for a cookie sheet with no raised sides is the ease of removing the cookies. It's a big deal for me, because I primarily bake shortbread cookies which are thin and fragile. I can cool them slightly on the pan, and then slide them off onto the cooling area.

                    I make several thousand cookies, though, in a two month period, so I need to be efficient.

                    1. What is/are the rationale behind steel baking pans? I understand aluminum baking pan due to the higher heat conductivity, so the temperature of the pan is more uniform. Why steel baking pan?

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Ease of maintenance. You must handwash aluminum pans, and although I have many, I make sure that my family uses the steel quarter sheet pans when I am out of town because they will invariably end up in the dishwasher. The DW ruins the finish on aluminum pans.

                        Chem, not everything is about performance during cooking. Some of it is about care. Many people are lazy and really shouldn't keep things that require fussing or higher maintenance. If they are not lazy, they may just not know how to take care of things. That is pretty common too.

                        1. re: RGC1982

                          I see, but cheesemaestro mentioned something interesting: aluminized steel bakeware which sounds like aluminum exterior and steel interior. If so, I am guessing the advantageous of an aluminized steel baking pan over pure aluminum baking pan is the construction (maybe stronger or tougher), maybe? I have no idea. I am just guessing.

                            1. re: Caroline1

                              I am thinking about that too, and according to a few sale sites, it seems that is the case. Thanks. What are your bakewares made of? I am not sure about mine. I think they are aluminum.

                              Edit: I take that back. Just tested them with a magnet. I think they are aluminumized steel as well.

                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              In Wikipedia's short article on aluminized steel, the primary advantage cited is resistance to corrosion, not that this is a common problem with bakeware.

                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminiz...

                              It's interesting that aluminized steel is basically the reverse of tri-ply for cookware. Instead of being an aluminum core sandwiched between layers of stainless steel, it's a steel core with an aluminum exterior.

                              1. re: cheesemaestro

                                :) Yeah, I read that wikipedia part, it is written from the assumption of using steel as the given, as the default. When steel is the starting material, then aluminumizing the steel prevents the steel from rusting and of course improves thermal conductivity on the surface. In short, it was written for "pure carbon steel" vs "aluminumized steel", and it wasn't really written for cookware per sa.

                                However, if we are concerning about bakeware. Then a more interesting to treat aluminum pans as the default. The question then becomes very different. It becomes "pure aluminum" vs "aluminumized steel". My guess is that aluminumized steel offers additional structural strength or toughness.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  Aluminized steel (for older things and still a few applications, tin-plated steel) is the gold standard for commercial bakeware. Steel is preferred for its mechanical properties, it's durable and will last decades even in a factory setting. aluminizing or tin plating gives substantial corrosion resistance, which is the only real problem with steel bakeware. If you've ever eaten a baked product that came out of an industrial bakery, it was cooked on such a thing.

                                  1. re: dscheidt

                                    Thanks. That is what I read too. Aluminized steel bakewares are often used in commercial settings.

                        2. Thanks to everyone who gave their input. After weighing the pros and cons, I'm going to go with all-aluminum half sheet/jelly roll pans, either the Vollrath pans mentioned by one poster or the Nordic Ware pans that have garnered excellent reviews on Amazon and other sites. I like the added versatility of the pans. I don't think that the ease of sliding cookies off a cookie sheet onto a cooling rack is enough of an advantage for me to choose cookie sheets over pans. I considered aluminized steel construction, but most of these pans have a silicon coating that can wear off over time and also limits the maximum oven temperature to somewhere between 400 and 450 degrees F.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: cheesemaestro

                            My BIL is a professional baker and uses full sheets. They let the cookies cool a few minutes and then bang the sheet to "pop" the cookies off the sheet. I think they cool them a little more and then remove them from the sheet. I use the half sheets w/parchment. I have jelly roll pans that are a little smaller.

                            1. re: wekick

                              Since I use (and re-use) parchment paper for baking, I lift the paper with all the cookies on it and put it on the cooling rack. After cooling like that for about 5 mins I take the cookies off the paper and onto the cooling rack alone. The paper goes back on the half sheet pan for the next batch of cookies.

                              1. re: pdxgastro

                                He reuses and reuses. I do what you do.

                            2. re: cheesemaestro

                              Update: I wound up buying two cookie sheets and two half sheet pans. I had already ordered the Nordic Ware half sheets from Amazon when Cutlery and More ran a CyberMonday special on a pair of the DoughMaker cookie sheets (the ones with the pebbly surface), which have been highly praised. We'll see if one does a better job than the other when I start baking the holiday cookies.

                              1. re: cheesemaestro

                                We are definitely at the time of year when all our cooking and baking gear will be getting a hard-core trial!