In our, ahem, extended hours in the kitchen here at Plated, we’ve realized that quite a few different cooking tools can really do it all. From the masterful microplane to the steamer pot, we’re consistently impressed by the many ways we can use various items in the kitchen. But, we’d be remiss if we didn’t give center billing to one of our absolute favorites: the baking sheet. It begs the question, “is there anything that can’t be cooked on a baking sheet?” This humble metal item is the basis for many of our best, minimal-mess, versatile recipes, from dinner to dessert and everything in between. It’s also a go-to kitchen tool for a number of tasks—follow along while we pay homage to this total all-star.
Sheet pan dinners
When we were workshopping the sheet pan dinner as a Plated recipe, we were totally floored. Everything—veggies, protein, side dishes, etc.— cooked on one surface? Sign us up. Because of their large size, baking sheets (also known as sheet pans) can be used for many things at once. In this hearty chicken recipe, Brussels sprouts and butternut squash are tossed with herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper (yet another thing we love about the baking sheet; you can toss veggies in oil and seasonings straight on the sheet), then roasted until crispy. Chicken breasts are layered on top of the vegetables, then the sheet goes back into the oven, making for uber-flavorful meat and side dish with very little cleanup. We use the same techniques for everything from flounder to pork chops, starting with vegetables and laying the proteins on top. The sheet pan is also a great place to cook ingredients en papillote (wrapped in parchment), which lends new flavors and fewer spills.
There’s a reason baking sheets are also referred to as “cookie sheets”—their flat surface, large amount of space, and minimal depth makes them perfect for baking our favorite crispy-crunchy-chewy sweet treats. We recommend lining a baking sheet with parchment paper for even less mess, whether you’re going for a seasonal spice cookie, a seriously chocolatey version, or one that can be shared (if you so desire). We also use baking sheets to prevent sticky situations and overflow for craveable sweets like pecan pie. Because they are large and flat, we also use baking sheets for preparing tasty treats like chocolate bark, which requires the chocolate being thinly spread out.
We know pizza is most often thought of as a round dish cut into triangle wedges, but we’ll be honest—making it on a rectangular baking sheet is our go-to. It’s super easy to spread to the corners of the baking sheet, and makes for an even surface for sprinkling and adding toppings. Whether you’re feeling truffle-tastic, sweet-and-savory, or bagel-forward, we’ve got a (baking sheet) pizza recipe for you.
Baking sheets are also a helpful thing around the kitchen even when you’re not using them to cook. It’s very useful for weighing down tofu to remove excess moisture, for brick chicken style recipes, or as an additional prep surface while cooking. If you’re preparing something ahead, it can be placed on a baking sheet and refrigerated until the time comes. (Hello, the make-ahead frittata.)
All hail, the baking sheet!
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