Are you confused about the difference between a Cookie Sheet vs Baking Sheet? Don’t worry, I’m here to help explain it to you!
Baking yummy treats like cookies, cakes, and breads at home can be so much fun! But to bake like a pro, you need to use the right pans and sheets.
Read on to learn all about cookie sheets and baking sheets – and when to use each one.
- Cookie sheets have flat surfaces and no sides. They are best for baking cookies and flat breads.
- Baking sheets have a small lip or edge on one or more sides. They can be used to bake cakes, cookies, pies, and more.
- Cookie sheets allow air to flow around the food, helping it bake evenly. Baking sheets keep juices and batter contained.
- Insulated cookie sheets help keep cookies soft and chewy. Rimmed baking sheets are great for liquidy batters.
- Pick the right sheet for what you want to bake! Cookie sheets for cookies, baking sheets for cakes and pies.
Let’s start by looking at what exactly cookie sheets and baking sheets are.
What Are Cookie Sheets and Baking Sheets?
A cookie sheet is a flat, open pan used to bake cookies. It does not have any edges or sides.
Cookie sheets are made of metal like aluminum or steel. The flat surface lets air move around the cookies so they bake evenly. This gives cookies a nice crispy texture on the bottom.
A baking sheet is a pan with one or more raised edges called a rim. The rim helps contain batter, juices, and crumbs.
Baking sheets can be made from metal like steel or aluminium. Some have a nonstick coating for easy cleanup. The rimmed edges make them perfect for baking cakes, pies, and other gooey treats!
Both cookie sheets and baking sheets come in different sizes. Half sheet pans are very common. They fit nicely in the oven and can hold around 2-3 dozen cookies.
Now that we know what they are, let’s look at when to use cookie sheets vs. baking sheets.
When to Use a Cookie Sheet
A cookie sheet’s flat and open design makes it perfect for baking cookie favorites like:
- Chocolate chip cookies
- Peanut butter cookies
- Oatmeal raisin cookies
- Shortbread cookies
The lack of edges allows air to flow all around the cookies. This helps them bake evenly from top to bottom.
Key Takeaway: Cookie sheets are ideal for baking cookies due to their flat, open design.
Baking Crackers and Flatbreads
You can also use a cookie sheet to bake yummy crackers and unleavened breads. The flat surface provides an even baking platform for:
- Graham crackers
- Saltine crackers
- Oyster crackers
- Lavash flatbread
- Pita bread
Tip: Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper for easy removal of baked crackers and flatbreads.
Roasting Vegetables and Meats
Cookie sheets work great for roasting vegetables and meats in the oven too! Spread out cut veggies or meat pieces on the pan:
- Roasted potatoes
- Roasted brussels sprouts
- Roasted chicken pieces
The open design allows the hot air to circulate all around. This helps the food roast evenly and develop a nice crispy exterior.
When to Use a Baking Sheet
While cookie sheets are best for cookies and flatbreads, baking sheets have some advantages of their own:
Baking Cakes and Quick Breads
Baking sheets with edges are useful for containing wet, sticky batters from foods like:
- Bread loaves
The rims keep the batter from spilling or spreading out too much. This helps cakes and quick breads bake up with a nice shape.
Tip: Grease your baking sheet first so the goodies don’t stick.
Baking Pies and Pastries
The raised edges on a baking sheet also help when making pies and pastries. Pies with juicy fruit fillings can bubble over if baked on an open cookie sheet. But a rimmed baking sheet contains the yummy filling for pies like:
- Apple pie
- Cherry pie
- Pecan pie
- Pot pies
Flaky layered pastries also hold their shape better on a baking sheet with edges. This prevents spreading for items like:
- Phyllo dough treats
Key Takeaway: Baking sheets are great for pies, pastries, and other goodies with juices or fillings that need containing.
Roasting Meats and Vegetables
Similar to cookie sheets, baking sheets work excellently for roasting vegetables and meats. The lip around the edges helps:
- Hold in juices as meats roast
- Keep small chopped veggies like Brussels sprouts from rolling off
You can roast anything from root veggies to chicken pieces on a rimmed baking sheet with delicious results!
Cookie Sheet vs Baking Sheet Comparison
Now that we know when to use cookie sheets and baking sheets, let’s compare some key differences:
Cookie sheets are usually larger overall than baking sheets. Their surface area ranges from about 17 inches x 14 inches up to 18 inches x 26 inches for a full sheet pan.
Baking sheets come in smaller sizes that fit nicely in the oven, typically ranging from 9 inches x 13 inches to 15 inches x 21 inches.
Key Takeaway: Cookie sheets offer more surface space while baking sheets take up less room in the oven.
Cookie sheets are flat, with no rim or very minimal edges. This allows for even airflow during baking.
Baking sheets may have a 1-2 inch rim on one or more sides. The deeper sides provide containment.
Tip: If baking liquidy batters like cake, opt for a deeper-rimmed baking sheet over a flat cookie sheet.
Some cookie sheets have small holes punched all over the surface. These perforations promote air circulation for even baking.
Baking sheets do not have holes, as these would allow juices and fillings to leak through.
Key Takeaway: Perforations work great for airflow on cookie sheets but not for containing runny batter on baking sheets.
You can find both cookie sheets and baking sheets made from materials like:
- Aluminum: Affordable but may warp with high heat
- Stainless steel: More durable and won’t warp
- Ceramic-coated: Nonstick surface for easy cleanup
Tip: Avoid baking sheets with a dark nonstick coating, as they can overbrown baked goods.
Caring for Cookie Sheets and Baking Sheets
Like all pans, cookie sheets and baking sheets work best when cared for properly. Here are some tips:
- Allow to cool fully before washing – no cold water on hot pans!
- Handwash gently with warm soapy water.
- Dry thoroughly since moisture can damage their surface.
- Avoid abrasive scouring pads which can scratch.
- Store flat or rolled, not nested together.
- Apply a thin coat of vegetable oil occasionally to keep sheets looking their shiny best!
Following these care tips will keep your cookie sheets and baking sheets looking and performing like new for years to come. Now you’re all set to bake up amazing goodies!
Frequently Asked Baking Sheet Questions
Here are answers to some common cookie sheet and baking sheet questions:
Can you use a baking sheet instead of a cookie sheet?
Yes, a baking sheet can work for baking cookies. Just be aware that batter may spread out more without cookie sheet edges to contain it.
Should you use parchment paper on a cookie sheet?
Lining a cookie sheet with parchment paper makes removal of baked cookies super easy. It also prevents sticking and burning on the pan’s surface.
What happens if you bake cookies on an insulated sheet?
Insulated cookie sheets help keep cookies soft and chewy. Heat has trouble moving through the air pockets, preventing over-baking.
Can I use aluminum foil instead of a baking sheet?
It’s not recommended. Foil is difficult to clean, can react with acidic ingredients, and insulates more leading to uneven baking.
Let’s Get Baking!
Wow, we covered a lot today! Now you know all about the difference between cookie sheets and baking sheets.
The main thing to remember is:
- Cookie sheets for cookies
- Baking sheets for cakes and pies
Pick the right sheet for what you want to bake. Ask an adult for help taking pans in and out of the hot oven. Then get creative in the kitchen whipping up yummy treats. Happy baking!