Guide to Sheet Pans

Guide to Sheet Pans

The best thing that I have in my kitchen are commercial-quality grade sheet pans, I have at least 150 of them in the commercial kitchen if not more and 8 at home, and I use them for everything, and I mean anything and everything.

To level out a pan in the freezer, cut meat on, place prepared food items on, transport cakes, drain meat, bake bread, cookies, cakes, roast vegetables, just about everything I do; has a sheet pan involved.

Forty cookies on a full size sheet pan, ready for the oven.

But not all sheet pans are the same.

I like to use commercial-grade equipment and that includes in my home because when I pull things out of the oven or carry a heavy food item on it, I need that pan to be as sturdy and reliable as possible.

So, let’s talk sheet pans.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.

What is a Sheet Pan?

It’s not a cookie sheet, it’s not a baking pan and it’s not a jelly roll pan.

A sheet pan can be known as a baking sheet, baking tray, bun pan and an aluminum baking pan, which is different from a regular baking pan.

But in the restaurant industry, it’s just a sheet pan called by size.

It’s rectangular and has a short raised rim about an inch high and it can be as high as two inches.

What is a Commercial Grade Sheet Pan?

It’s a pan made from heavy-duty aluminized steel and wire-reinforced or beaded rims that keep it from warping.

It may have a natural finish or it can be coated or glazed.

And these pans come in gauges, meaning how thick the metal is.

The smaller the gauge, the thicker and more heavy-duty it is.

The higher the gauge, the thinner the pan and the lighter it is.

And gauges range from 10 to 22.

Even though I mentioned the gauges on sheet pans, there is a different quality on commercial grades because they are meant to be durable and I use gauges 16 and up in my commercial kitchen.

How to Clean a Commercial-Grade Aluminum Sheet Pan

These pans are perfectly fine to run through an industrial commercial dishwasher.

But for a commercial-grade sheet pan, it should not be washed in your home dishwasher.

You can wash it, but it will discolor your pan and start to turn it black because of the water and the dish soap.

And the coating will wear off and that will keep it from easily guiding on and off of your oven racks and then it’s more like a scratchy ride into your oven.

It’s still fine to use but it will just be an ugly pan now.

Below is a new sheet pan that has been washed by hand a few times and a sheet pan that has been through a residential dishwasher 3 times.

Side by side comparison of two sheetpans; one new and one that has been through a residential dishwasher.

Wash the sheet pan with soap and water.

It’s fine to use a scouring pad but it will leave scratch light marks on it.

And if you have food stuck to it, you can place the pan on a flat surface and fill it with water about halfway up the rim to soak it.

Sheet Pan Sizes

Sheet pans come in different sizes and these sizes are most likely not available to the public in regular retail stores, but thanks to the internet you can purchase them, you just need to know what you’re looking for and the size you want.

I’ll list sizes here but some companies label their measurements differently, and sizes can vary a tad bigger or smaller than other companies.

The measurements differ only by a few inches but the pans are all referred to as the same size.

A sheet pan is measured from rim edge to rim edge.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.

Sheet pans:

Full size – a 26 x 18 full-size sheet pan will not fit in a standard oven, this size is too big. But it’s perfect for commercial equipment.

2/3 size – this size is fine for a standard size 30” home oven.

This is the size I use in my home, 21.4” x 15.11”, and is considered by the commercial brand I buy from the restaurant supply store, a 2/3 size sheet pan.

But you will also see 2/3 size pans measured at 22 x 16.

1/2 size sheet – 13 x 18 perfect for a home oven. This is called a half-sheet pan.

Two-third and half sze sheet pans on a standard size oven. rack
two-third and half-size sheet pans in a standard 30″ oven.

1/4 size sheet – the same size as a standard 9 x 13 glass baking dish.

1/8 size sheet – 6 1/2 x 8 1/2, you may have had an entree or appetizer served on one of these or seen them used for other purposes in a restaurant. These 1/8 size sheets pans are great just to have around to use in place of plates or serving dishes, depending on what you’re serving.

One-eighth sheet pan used to catch tea from a tea urn.

Buying Sheet Pans from a Retail Store

Buying a sheet pan from a retail store is fine and it’s convenient.

But like I mentioned before, the sizes the food industry use, are most likely not available in a regular retail store and the quality of the metal is not very good.

But if you purchase one from a retail store, that will last longer and is strong and sturdy, it’s best to purchase one that says heavy duty.

If you hold a pan in both hands on each side and place your fingers behind it and push in a few times and can bend it or hear it pop, it’s cheap, and will most likely warp under high heat warp when you’re cooking something on it.

And when I say warp, I mean one side stays down and one side flips up making the pan noticeably uneven and unsafe when you’re trying to pull it out of the oven with hot food on top of it.

Buying Commercial Grade Sheet Pans

As I mentioned before, I need my sheet pans to be sturdy and durable for whatever I am using them for, because they’re are a ton of uses for sheet pans.

To check out the sheet pans I recommend and use, head back up to the sheet pan sizes section for the links.

If you buy your sheet pans online from other retailers, be sure to check the gauge, size and note, that it is durable, does not warp under high heat and that’s its commercial grade.

Recap on Sheet Pans

  • Select a heavy-duty pan and it will last longer.
  • An oven rack in a 30” kitchen range is just under 2 feet long.
  • Some companies measure differently.
  • If you know a professional home cook, there’s nothing like a gift of quality kitchenware you actually need and will use.

Have any questions or comments about sheet pans, let me know.

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