Cookie Sheets – What You Need to Know
Cookie Sheets 101
The first thing I’m going to say may shock and surprise some of us but it’s true. Did you know there are people in the world who only make cookies at Christmas? Can you imagine? They don’t bake cookies everyday like we do! No royal icing, no room temperature butter, no cookie cutters, and no watching the oven to see the dough turn into a beautifully baked cookie! I can’t imagine!
Since everyone isn’t as addicted to baking cookies as we are, I think we should help them out by sharing as much information as we can to help make their Christmas cookies as beautiful as their Christmas Tree.
Where do we start? I’m glad you asked.
Let’s talk cookie sheets, shall we?
I already have a lot of “Bearfoot Basics” but I think its time we talk about cookie sheets.
I know you’ve seen different kinds of cookies and baking sheets in the store but do you have different kinds in your cabinets? There are dark ones, light ones, flat ones and thin and shiny ones. But are they all good for baking cookies? Let’s take a closer look.
Cookie sheets are flat on three sides but have a lip on the top for easy gripping. The lip makes it easier to remove the sheet from the oven. They’re designed this way so you can pick up the cookie sheet and slide the cookies off without “messing up” their shapes.
Thin and Shiny Cookie Sheets:
I know you’ve seen them. The cookie sheets that are so shiny you need sunglasses to look at them. They’re so thin you don’t even know it’s in your hand because they’re so light they’re almost weightless. The question is, “Are they good for baking cookies?” I don’t think so because they reflect heat which will cause your cookies to bake unevenly and when the pans get hot, they warp. Nothing more frightening that a warping sound coming from your oven when your home alone.
Don’t throw them away just yet! They are great to use as decorating trays. You just place your undecorated cookies on them so you can move them around your kitchen. Its better than carrying one cookie at a time, and you’ll have less chance of messing up your wet royal icing. If you have some of these shiny guys, don’t throw them out. Just move them to the decorating supplies instead of baking supplies.
Dark Baking Sheets
Darker pans absorb extra heat which will cause things to brown faster. The bottom of your cookies will get dark before the cookie is actually done. If you have darker baking sheets, you may need to slightly lower your oven temperature so your cookies will bake evenly.
Insulated Cookie Sheets:
Insulated cookie sheets are designed to bake cookies evenly, but that causes a few problems for sugar cookies. The insulated sheets bake things a bit more slowly. Since they bake slower, your cookies can spread and lose their shapes. If you place a snowman cookie on an insulated cookie sheet, he may look as if you’ve melted him by the fire when you remove him from the oven.
I personally don’t use this type of cookie sheet, but if you have one, you need to lower the oven temperature and make a few test batches to see what will give you a nice baked cookie that holds its shape.
Heavy-Gauge, Dull Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Sheet
We have a winner boys and girls! If you’re looking for baking sheet that holds it’s shape when it gets hot (no warping here), bakes cookies evenly, prevents over browning, and is like a little cookie helper in your oven, you need these. Be sure to buy the half-sheets because the full-sheets won’t fit in a home oven.
They cost a little more than other baking sheets but it’s worth it. I found the Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Hals Sheets on Amazon for a little over $10 each. It’s so worth the extra few dollars for peace of mind knowing your cookies are going to bake evenly with no extra spreading or dark and crispy edges.
I hope that helps simplify the cookie sheet questions. Just remember don’t grease the baking sheet unless your recipe calls for it. A piece of parchment paper or a Silpat are great liners and will help prevent your cookies from sticking.
Enough chitchat. Go bake some cookies!
Did you notice it is more expensive to buy a 2 pack than to buy 2. You described my cookie sheets. I’ve been thinking they are getting old and should replace them. Thanks for the talking about cookie sheets and the link.
I only use 1/2 sheet pans and LOVE them, don’t forget you can also get lids for the 1/2 sheet pans. These. are WONDERFUL when you need to transport lots of cookies!
Wholesale clubs often have the half sheet pans as well. I love those things and have far too many. I never realized until I was an adult that some people make cookies once a year or never. It’s unfathomable. I grew up with a cookie baking mom and became one myself but I do have a friend who renovated her kitchen and said she didn’t want too many cabinets because she just stored her cookie sheet (yes, singular) in the basement. It’s like bizarro world!
Oh my! I can’t imagine. My baking supplies are in the kitchen, the garage and the attic. Some of the supplies get used frequently, some no so much. It would be AWESOME to have one place to keep it all.
We need to turn a closet into a baking storage for you. I can’t imagine having to run to the garage or attic to find my baking supplies. I wish we were neighbors, I’d come help create some storage with you! 😉
I have been struggling with the right cookie sheet!!! I cannot believe you wrote and posted this today! THANK YOU!
A couple months ago I did buy a set of the insulated sheets- they take SO MUCH LONGER to bake AND one of the 2 has already warped! :o(
But, I do have to admit- like you mentioned, the three flat sides is a must when sliding the cookies and parchment paper off the cookie sheet. That is what I do- I slide them right off as they come out of the oven. The cookie pans you posted the link to have 4 sides, do you leave the cookies on there until they are completely cooled? I am wondering if this causes them to continue to bake while on the hot pan and might make them be less soft than taking them off the sheet right after they come out of the oven.
I am still pretty new to all of this so I definitely appreciate ALL the knowledge you share with us!
I agree with you about removing the cookies from the hot cookie sheet as soon as possible. I do leave my cookies on the sheet for a few minutes because moving them too soon will cause breakage. Do you remember the mats I use for rolling out my cookies? They are flexible cutting mats used for chopping veggies but I use them to roll out my cookie dough. Get them at Wal-Mart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Color-Flexible-Cutting-Mat/20531370
Anyway, I slide them under the Silpat or the parchment paper when the cookies are cool enough to be moved. I’ve got my system down pat and once you decide how you want to do it, you will be able to repeat the process in your sleep! If you use pans other than the cookie sheets, just play around with the time you leave the hot cookies on the sheet. Try using a mat and see if that helps you remove them without breaking them. The mats are flexible so be careful so you don’t mess up the cookies.
Thanks for writing such a fun and informative blog. I’ve been reading and drooling over your cookies for over a year now. Keep up your good work..:-)
For years I have used Pampered Chef stoneware cookie sheets to bake cookies, cream puffs, gingerbread houses etc. I love them! But since getting more serious about decorating sugar cookies with royal icing and baking the “perfect” cookie I found them to be impractical for that arena. I still use them, just not for my sugar cookies.
For sugar cookies I use Commercial II “Jelly Roll” pans by Chicago Metallic. I use the small size, which measures 14.75 x 9.75 x 1. I love them because I can cut out my cookies and fill up the pans and then stack the pans one right over the other and chill them. They don’t take up a lot of space in my fridge. When the cookies are sufficiently chilled I bake 2 pans at a time, side by side in my oven. I found that I can bake more cookies than when I used one larger pan. I picked up all my pans one or two at a time at Home Goods for between $4.99 and $6.99 each. They would be about $14.99 at my local baking store.
Here’s a link so you can read about these sheets.
I like the look of those pans! I would love to fit two pans in at the same time. I have double ovens and I honestly don’t know what I’d do without them.
Thanks for sharing this info. I’ll have to give one of these a try!
Thanks for the rundown! I just received some heavy-gauged aluminum pans as a wedding gift, but they are the “goldtouch” ones from William Sonoma – would you consider those “dark”?
I’ve never seen the “goldtouch” pans before. I looked on the William Sonoma site and they look like great pans. When it comes to baking, I like to experiment and see how things work. If I were you I’d bake a few batches to test them out. See if they bake evenly or see if the bottom or the edges get brown quickly. If I had to guess, I’d say these are really great pans that will bake evenly, but since I’ve never used them, you might have to play around with them to see how they work for you.
Will you let me know what you find out?
I love how you explained this in an understandable and simple way! I have all types of cookie sheets here at home and now I have a good reason to go shopping ?❤️
I’ve come to not like the cookie sheets I have. They do warp and scare the begeezus out of me and the bottoms are always brown when I do sugar cookies. When I got married I made 260 snowflake cookies on sticks to put in a mug with marshmallows and a hot chocolate paket as farvours. Super cute by the way. I even stenciled a snowflake on all the clear glass mugs…cause I didn’t have enough to do apparently. All to say I needed a better way especially since the backs of the cookies would be seen. I found for sugar cookies my pizza stones (yes stones I have 2) worked best. I love them for sugar cookies except they’re round and a bit awkward for getting a bunch of cookies on. So now I have a new cookie sheet (or maybe 5..?) for my Santa wish list! Thank you so much!
A pizza stone? I never in a million years would have tried to bake cookies on a pizza stone. I just bought one the other day and I’m going to try it!
This is why I love the cookie world. Everyone has amazing tips and tricks to add! 😉
Thanks for sharing,
I LOVE my commercial grade cookie sheets with plastic covers, AND my commercial grade tray rack with zippered cover! BEST investments I’ve ever made. (thanks to you and your wonderful tips, of course!) Also, I use only silicone baking mats. You just wash and reuse them over and over. Can you imagine the combined amount of parchment paper cookie bakers use in a year!!? Think of how many trees could be saved if only silicone baking mats were used! Plus, the inexpensive mats found at Walmart, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, etc. work just as well as the Silpat brand! I have them all. 🙂
Until I discovered the joys of these decorated cookies, I was a Christmas-only baker–shameful, I know. And I had one (ONE!) very old, very dark cookie sheet. I bought 6 of the half sheet pans at Costco and I love them–they may not be the best but they are good and they don’t warp. What a difference the right tools make!
I bought 2 of the pans yesterday. That will make 10 pans, because never seems to be enough. I also realized some of my sheets are close to 30 years old and they still my favorites.
That is amazing Kate! I wish I was like your baking sheets, still good 30 years later!
Seriously, your comment inspires me because if we invest a little more right now, the benefits will last us for YEARS! Thank you for sharing that! 😉
These are the only cookie sheets I use! Love the ones i have with colored lids and I enjoyed reading your post! 🙂
Hey Lisa, ever try a cookie sheet pan called dough makers..I’ve tried all kinds these are the best!
I haven’t tried them, but the next time I purchase one I will check them out! Thanks for the tip!
About a year ago I bought quarter and half-sheet commercial baking trays from an online restaurant supply for just a few dollars each. I love them! They are great for roasting veggies, making granola bars, pan pizza, etc. It beats having a stack of pans around with different purposes. They stack neatly into the oven drawer, too. Glad to see they got such high marks!