Jennifer Causey

Think all sheet pans are the same? Think again.

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BANG! The sound came from inside my oven. The first time I heard it, I nearly dropped the glass I was holding. The noise sounded like a small explosion, like the chicken I was roasting had somehow hatched an escape plan. BANG!

I checked the oven and the chicken was still inside, roasting away—at a slight angle.

Upon closer inspection, I saw that the sheet pan had buckled. My once-straight pan now looked more like a seesaw. My pan was fine for lower temperature cooking, but the metal it was made of was too thin to withstand higher temperatures. I finished cooking the chicken and made a mental note to invest in a more heavy-duty pan.

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A sheet pan doesn’t seem like a complicated purchase, but there are a lot of them out there. And they all look alike. And I didn’t want to buy another one that would warp on me. So after doing my homework (reading lots and lots of product descriptions and reviews), I settled on Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker's Jelly Roll Baking Sheet. Made of pure aluminum, it has a reinforced steel rim, which prevents warping. And that rim is also easier to grab when you’re sliding the pan in the oven, or pulling it out.

At around $14, I don’t consider this pan either expensive or a bargain, but it’s worth every penny. I use it constantly, for baking cookies, roasting vegetables and meat, and for all sorts of sheet pan suppers. Other than my chef’s knife and trusty cast-iron pan, it’s the most dependable tool in my kitchen. And it’s blissfully silent.