Jelly Roll Pan vs Cookie Sheet: Which Baking Pan Should You Choose?

Discover the key differences between a Jelly Roll Pan vs Cookie Sheet. Learn how the raised edges of jelly roll pans make them perfect for baking, while cookie sheets lack this feature. Explore the ideal sizes, rim details, and more!

Have you ever wondered if there’s a real difference between a Jelly Roll Pan vs Cookie Sheet? As a home baker, I used to think they were basically interchangeable.

But, was I wrong!

The type of baking pan you use can make or break your baked goods. After ruining one too many cakes and cookies, I finally learned that jelly roll pans and cookie sheets are suited for different purposes.

Although they look similar, understanding the differences is crucial for baking success.

So what exactly sets jelly roll pans and cookie sheets apart? Let’s dive in and find out which pan is ideal for your next sweet treat!

Key Facts:

  • Jelly roll pans have 1-inch sides, cookie sheets are flat (Source: Team Research)
  • Jelly roll pans are typically 12 x 18 inches, cookie sheets vary in size (Source: Team Research)
  • Jelly roll pans contain batter, cookie sheets allow airflow (Source: Team Research)
  • Jelly rolls best for thin cakes, cookie sheets best for cookies (Source: Team Research)
  • Both pans can be used for roasting veggies, meats (Source: Team Research)

At first glance, jelly roll pans and cookie sheets seem nearly identical. They are both flat, rectangular baking pans found in most kitchens.

However, minor distinctions in their design make each better for certain baking tasks. Use the wrong pan, and you may end up with a burnt crisp or a soggy mess!

To bake like a pro, you need to know:

Keep these differences in mind, and you’ll easily choose the right pan for flawless baked goods every time.

Next, let’s explore jelly roll pans and cookie sheets in more detail.

Jelly Roll Pan Vs Cookie Sheet: Differences Between Jelly Roll Pans And Cookie Baking Sheets
jelly roll pan vs cookie sheet

To understand why jelly roll pans and cookie sheets excel at different baking tasks, we first need to look at their distinct designs.

What is Jelly Roll Pan?

A jelly roll pan is a baking pan with short, raised sides on all four edges. The sides are typically about one inch high.

Jelly roll pans have a flat bottom and rectangular shape. They are often coated with a nonstick material for easy release of baked goods.

The most common size for a jelly roll pan is around 12 x 18 inches, although smaller or larger sizes are available too.

Given their design with four raised edges, jelly roll pans are ideal for baking:

  • Jelly rolls and thin sheet cakes
  • Brownies and bar cookies
  • Roasted vegetables, fish, and other meats

The edges prevent batter or juices from spilling over during baking.

A cookie sheet has a completely flat, rimless surface. It may have one slightly raised edge on one side for easy handling.

Cookie sheets come in a variety of sizes, ranging from small quarter-sheet pans to large half-sheet pans. Standard sizes include:

  • Quarter sheet: 9 x 13 inches
  • Half sheet: 18 x 13 inches

Cookie sheets can be made from different materials like aluminum, stainless steel, or nonstick coatings.

The flat, open design allows for air circulation all around. This promotes even browning and crispy edges on baked goods.

For this reason, cookie sheets excel at baking:

  • Cookies, biscuits, and crackers
  • Pizza, breads, and tarts
  • Meats and roasted veggies

Now that we understand their distinct designs, let’s compare the key differences between these two versatile baking pans.

While their purposes overlap slightly, jelly roll pans and cookie sheets have several differences that impact how they perform baking tasks.


The biggest difference is that jelly roll pans have raised sides on all four edges, usually about one inch high.

Cookie sheets only have one slightly raised edge along one side, if any at all. Otherwise, they have an entirely flat surface.


Jelly roll pans have a rectangular shape optimized for baking thin, flat items like cake rolls and bar cookies.

Cookie sheets come in square and rectangular shapes. Rectangular sheets are commonly used.


Jelly roll pans are typically a bit smaller than cookie sheets. Standard jelly roll pans measure around 10-12 inches by 15-18 inches.

Cookie sheets range from 9 x 13 inches for quarter sheets, up to 18 x 26 inches for full industrial sheets. Half sheets (18 x 13 inches) are most common in home kitchens.


The different edge designs make jelly roll pans and cookie sheets suited for different baking purposes.

Jelly roll pans are ideal for containing wet, loose batters thanks to their raised edges on all sides. This allows baking thin cakes and pastries.

Cookie sheets promote maximum airflow circulation, perfect for achieving crispy cookies and crunchy crusts on items like biscuits and pizza.

Choosing the Right Baking Pan Material

In addition to their design, the material a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet is made from impacts performance. Here are some common options:

Aluminum – Affordable, lightweight, and conducts heat evenly. May warp over time with heavy use.

Stainless Steel – More durable and resistant to warping. Heavier than aluminum and doesn’t conduct heat as quickly.

Nonstick – Interior nonstick coating prevents baked goods from sticking. The coating may scratch off with abrasive scrubbing.

Glass – Gives even browning and excellent results, but is slower to preheat and cool down. Heavier than metal pans.

Consider your budget, your baking needs, and how often you’ll use the pans when choosing materials. High-quality materials like stainless steel may be worth the investment for frequent baking.

Now that we know their key differences, let’s explore the best uses for jelly roll pans and cookie sheets and when to use each.

When to Use a Jelly Roll Pan

The raised edges on all sides make jelly roll pans perfect for:

Baking Thin Sheet Cakes and Jelly Rolls

The edges prevent delicate, thin sponge cakes from spreading too much. Jelly roll pans allow even baking for flawless cake rolls.

Making Brownies and Bar Cookies

The pan contains the batter so brownies and bars bake up with crisp edges and moist, fudgy centers.

Roasting Vegetables

The edges keep chopped veggies neatly together on the pan and hold in all the delicious juices.

Key Takeaway: Use a jelly roll pan anytime your recipe needs containment of liquid batters or released juices.

With their flat, open design cookie sheets excel at:

Baking Cookies, Biscuits, and Crackers

Air circulates all around for crisp edges and evenly baked bottoms. The flat surface gives cookies room to spread.

Roasting Meats and Vegetables

Just like with veggies, meats brown beautifully from the airflow. Cookie sheets are easy to clean after roasting too.

General Baking When Batter Control Isn’t Needed

Pies, tarts, breads, and other baked goods come out perfectly on cookie sheets.

Tip: A cookie sheet’s flat surface allows for even airflow and browning.

Here is a handy chart summarizing the ideal roasting temperature and times when using a jelly roll pan:

Vegetables400°F15-20 minBraise first for a tender roast
Chicken375°F45-60 minSeason as desired
Pork350°F60-90 minBraise first for tender roast

As you can see, while the pans overlap for some general roasting uses, jelly roll pans and cookie sheets each shine for certain baking purposes.

Purchasing the Right Bakeware For Your Needs

Now that you understand the difference between these two popular bakeware items, here are some tips for purchasing jelly roll pans and cookie sheets:

  • Choose the material that suits your baking needs – stainless steel and aluminum work well for most uses
  • Pick sizes to fit the quantities you typically bake – quarter and half sheets are common sizes
  • Buy bakeware sets to get both pans cost-effectively in one purchase
  • Invest in heavy-gauge, high-quality pans for longevity – thinner pans warp more easier
  • Look for pans with rolled edges for durability and easy cleaning
  • Nonstick coatings provide quick release but require gentler care
  • Add a baking sheet cooling rack for space-saving storage
  • Supplement with glass and ceramic pans for specialty baking needs

Properly caring for your bakeware also keeps jelly roll pans and cookie sheets performing at their best for years. Avoid abrasive scouring and metal utensils, and don’t soak pans for long periods to prevent warping.

What are the best substitutes for a jelly roll pan?

In a pinch, a rimmed baking sheet, 9 x 13-inch metal cake pan, or large casserole dish can be used instead of a jelly roll pan, although they may not provide the ideal results.

Should I grease a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet before baking?

It depends on the recipe, but most quick breads, cookies, and pastry doughs bake up well without greasing. Cakes and dishes with cheese or other sticky ingredients likely need greased or lined pans.

How do you clean a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet?

A good scrub with hot water, mild soap, and a non-abrasive sponge or brush should clean pans nicely. For stuck-on food, let the pan soak in hot water to loosen residue before scrubbing. Avoid steel wool or harsh scouring that can damage the pan surface.


Whether you’re baking sweet treats or roasting vegetables for dinner, having the right pan makes all the difference.

Jelly roll pans and cookie sheets are both handy baking pans to have on hand. Their distinct designs make each better suited for certain tasks.

The raised edges on jelly roll pans help contain batters and liquids – perfect for baking rolls cakes and roasting veggies. Cookie sheets promote airflow for crisp, evenly baked cookies and other goodies.

Knowing when to use jelly roll pans vs cookie sheets allows bakers to get picture-perfect results every time. Equip your kitchen with these fundamental pans, and you’ll be on your way to baking success!

Share your love

Richard Charpentier is the CEO of Baking Innovation, a leading provider of baking solutions. He has over 20 years of experience in the baking industry and has been a driving force behind the company's success.