They come in sizes big and small, rimmed or without sides. We use them to bake just about anything, but mostly cookies. And they can get super grungy with layers of baked- and burnt-on grease resulting in ugly stains and residue build-up.
Does anything here look familiar to you? If so, I have good news. Your cookie sheets can be cleaned and restored, even back to the way they looked when new.
What follows is a relatively quick and easy way to get rid of baked-on grease, stubborn food residue, and even rust on any type of cookie and baking sheets—aluminized steel, aluminum, and non-stick—and then to clean and maintain to keep them sparkling clean.
How to deep-clean cookie sheets
- Sprinkle equal amounts of washing soda (not baking soda) and cream of tartar onto the cookie sheet.
- Pour a small amount of very hot water on top of the sheet.
- Mix the ingredients into a thick paste.
- Spread the paste evenly across the pan, making sure to cover all of the gunk and grime.
- Let sit for 20 minutes.
- Scrub stains with a non-abrasive scrubbing pad, like Scotchbrite heavy-duty for aluminized steel or non-scratch for aluminum and stainless steel.
- Wash paste and dirt off the pan with hot water and blue Dawn.
- Rinse well, then dry thoroughly before storing.
How to maintain cookie sheets
To prevent a build-up of food residue, grease, or rust going forward, follow these tips for cleaning and maintaining baking and cookie sheets.
- Avoid big messes to begin with by lining your pan with aluminum foil, parchment paper, or silicone baking mats.
- Coat pans with a very light layer of oil to prevent rusting.
- After washing, immediately dry cookie sheets to avoid a build-up of bacteria and rust.
- When possible, hand-wash cookie sheets immediately after use
Best Inexpensive cookie sheets
Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Half Sheet. These are my absolute favorite cookie sheets. First because they are inexpensive, but also because they are relatively heavy but not too heavy to be easily managed in and out of the oven. They clean up well and have a nice rim size.
While I also own this cookie sheet in full-sheet size, I use it rarely because it’s super large. The half-sheet size might be the only sheet pan you’ll ever need—and so nice you might want to own two.
Don’t put aluminum pots, pans, baking sheets, or utensils in the dishwasher. The harsh detergent can cause pitting and corrosion. You may also see white spots on the surface from the alkalinity of the dishwasher detergent. Even if the pan is labeled as “dishwasher safe,” it’s better to hand wash.
USA Pan Warp Resistant Non-Stick Aluminized Steel Bakeware Cookie Sheet. While a bit more pricey than aluminum, aluminized steel is much heavier which makes it more warp-resistant; it conducts heat super well and is resistant to scratching. Quite easy to clean and maintain, too.
Wilton Perfect Results Premium Non-Stick 21 x 15-Inch Mega Baking Pan. This is a very nice cookie sheet and the price is right. However, in that it has a non-stick coating, it is delicate, requiring gentle handling and care.
A good cookie sheet is one you’ll be making delicious memories with for years to come. And when you know exactly how to clean your baking sheets and keep them free of baked-on grease, grime, and gunk it will give you that spark of joy that makes baking so much fun.
Start with a good one like the Nordic Ware that I recommended above, and you’ll never have to worry about hopelessly stained cookie sheets or heat warping again.
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