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Testing Nonstick Rimmed Baking Sheets

By Carolyn Grillo Published

These pans are easy to cook and bake with and even easier to clean. We tested six to find the best one.

Rimmed baking sheets are some of the most used pans in our kitchens. Nonstick rimmed baking sheets offer many of the same benefits as their traditional counterparts, but they hold special appeal for people who prefer the ease of cooking with and cleaning nonstick equipment. Foods release easily from these pans without the use of parchment paper, silicone mats, or nonstick baking spray. But there’s a trade-off for that convenience: Nonstick cookware shouldn’t go in ovens hotter than 450 degrees or be used under the broiler. You also have to take care when using metal utensils or placing a wire rack inside the pans, as the nonstick coatings can become scratched. While we didn’t think these pans would replace our traditional rimmed baking sheets, we wanted to know if they could still be a useful addition to any kitchen.

We gathered a total of six models, priced from about $16 to about $35. We included pans with smooth cooking surfaces as well as several with textured surfaces. The pans we tested also ranged in color from pale gold to dark silver, and we even included one that was bright blue. We used each pan to bake cookies, roast Parmesan cauliflower, and contain caramel popcorn as it cooled. We examined how evenly the cookies and cauliflower browned and how easily all the foods released from the pans.

We made a batch of Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower on each baking sheet and evaluated how evenly the cauliflower browned without sticking to the sheet. (Note that one of the models in this photo was cut from our lineup because it was discontinued; another is our winning traditional rimmed baking sheet, which we used for comparison throughout testing.)

Testing Each Pan’s Nonstick Properties

It was difficult to tease out the differences in the pans’ nonstick coatings because all the companies use different terms to describe them. It was simplest to sort them into two categories: coatings that contain polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and those that don’t. PTFE is a chemical component used to make strong, slick, and flexible nonstick coatings, but it can release harmful fumes when exposed to high temperatures. We don’t recommend using cookware with coatings containing PTFE at temperatures above 450 degrees, and some cooks prefer to avoid PTFE altogether. We confirmed with the manufacturers that the coatings of five of the six pans in our lineup contained PTFE—including two that are ceramic nonstick, a type of cookware that typically doesn't contain PTFE. The manufacturers of the other pan confirmed that their coating do not contain PTFE.

Every pan we tested had a slick nonstick coating. Even sticky caramel popcorn easily released from the pans with a gentle nudge once it had hardened.

Regardless of the type of coating, every pan we tested delivered on its promise to be nonstick. Cookies slid off the pans effortlessly, crispy Parmesan cauliflower was easy to remove, and the sticky caramel popcorn—the most challenging test—released with just a gentle nudge once it had hardened. We didn't have to chisel off food with a spatula or sacrifice some baked-on bits of cheese or cauliflower, as is sometimes the case when we use traditional rimmed baking sheets. Plus, with no stuck-on food to scrub off, cleaning these pans was fast and easy.

Although we didn’t see any substantial performance differences between the coatings, we noticed that some models produced especially even and beautiful browning on cookies and cauliflower. Wondering why, we decided to take a close look at the pans’ other design differences.

We Like Standard-Size Baking Sheets Best

First, we looked at the size of the pans, which turned out to be an important variable. The flat cooking surface of a standard rimmed baking sheet measures 16½ inches by 11½ inches. Four of the pans in our lineup matched those measurements. However, two pans had slightly smaller cooking surfaces, up to ¼ inch shorter and 1 inch narrower.

Cookies ran together on baking sheets with smaller cooking surfaces (left). We preferred baking sheets that provided enough room for the cookies to spread out without running into one another (right).

Those differences were minor, but they mattered. When we baked cookies in the smaller rimmed baking sheets, the cookies ran together. While we could fit all the cauliflower florets in the pans, the pieces were crowded. The florets didn’t brown properly or get crisp. Instead, they steamed and turned out soft, pale, and bland. The four standard-size pans performed better, as they provided enough space for the cookies to spread without running into one another and for the cauliflower to brown rather than steam. Given that recipes from most sources are developed with standard-size baking sheets, using a smaller pan will affect your results.

We noticed that cookies baked more evenly on baking sheets with textured cooking surfaces. Due to the raised patterns, the cookies had less direct contact with the pan, allowing for slower, more even cooking.

What Made Some Baking Sheets Perform Better Than Others?

Cookies baked on three of the rimmed baking sheets were especially beautiful and evenly browned, and these pans had something in common: Their cooking surfaces had raised, textured patterns. The cookies likely baked more evenly on these pans because there is less direct contact between the food and pan, thus allowing for slower, more even cooking. We also liked the foods produced by the standard-size pan with a more traditional flat surface, though the cookies weren’t quite as evenly baked as those baked on pans with a textured surface.

Three Pans Came Out on Top

Three of the pans we tested exceeded our expectations with virtually identical top-notch performances. One of them—the USA Pan Half Sheet Baking Pan—had PTFE-free nonstick coating. The other two—the OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Pro Half Sheet Pan and the Williams Sonoma Goldtouch Corrugated Nonstick Half Sheet Pan—are coated with a more traditional nonstick material that contains PTFE. The surfaces of all three pans were impressively slick and ensured that food practically jumped off them. At the time of testing, the prices of our three favorite nonstick baking sheets ranged from about $19 to about $30. We’ve listed them below in order of price, giving the edge to the least expensive model. Be aware that they might need to be replaced more frequently than traditional rimmed baking sheets since all nonstick coatings will eventually wear away. To get the most use out of them, we recommend taking some care with these pans: Hand-wash them, avoid using metal utensils and wire racks inside the pans, and don’t expose them to oven temperatures higher than 450 degrees (this includes broiling, too). These rimmed baking sheets are perfect for baking cookies and jelly roll cakes or when cooking anything particularly delicate or sticky. Nonstick rimmed baking sheets won’t replace traditional rimmed baking sheets in our kitchen, but if you value ease of use and cleanup, these might be a useful addition to your cookware collection.

Equipment Review Nonstick Rimmed Baking Sheets

These pans are easy to cook and bake with and even easier to clean. We tested six to find the best one.

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16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.