Have you ever wondered if there’s a difference between baking sheets and cookie sheets? Most people assume they’re the same thing, so you might be surprised to find out that that’s not entirely true.
Although they’re similar in many ways, there is a subtle difference that sets them apart.
By the end of this article, the baking sheet vs. cookie sheet debate will be settled, and you will have some baking knowledge to impress your friends and family. After we look at the differences and similarities between the two, we’ll give you our recommendation for each.
So what’s the difference?
Not much, to be honest. The difference between a baking sheet and a cookie sheet is all in the edges of the sheets.
Most baking sheets, or baking pans, have four, distinctly raised edges, while a cookie sheet typically has zero, one, or two slightly raised edges.
Why the raised edges?
So, what’s so important about the raised edges of a baking sheet? In other words, what benefit do they provide? Well, it actually makes a lot of sense if you give it some thought.
The raised edges are there to keep liquid in!
While baking sheets can be used to bake things like cookies, which have a somewhat thick and solid dough, they can be used for plenty of other foods as well, which might not share the same properties.
A common uses of a baking pan is for roasting vegetables. When roasting, you have liquids that you want to keep on the pan. If you try roasting with a cookie sheet, your liquids will go right over the edges.
To summarize, the raised edges on baking sheets provide flexibility. By flexibility, we mean that you’re not quite as limited on the potential uses as you would be with a cookie sheet.
A side benefit of having raised edges is that your sheet is more durable. The raised edges help the sheet to resist warping by providing a rigid structure.
Why don’t cookie sheets have raised edges?
We now know why baking sheets have raised edges, but why don’t cookie sheets have them? In other words, what are we losing by baking cookies on a baking sheet with four raised edges? It’s pretty simple really:
Although it might not seem like much, those raised edges on a baking sheet take up valuable real estate, which means you don’t have as much room as you should for your cookies.
Another benefit of not having raised edges is that you’re able to easily slide your cookies off the sheet when they’re done baking. If you had raised edges, they would simply be in the way?
One last benefit of not having raised edges is better air circulation. The improved air circulation results in more evenly baked cookies, when compared to baking cookies on a baking sheet.
Why do cookie sheets have raised edges at all?
Cookie sheets typically have one raised edge, because it makes it easier to grip the sheet. It’s really that simple.
The idea is to hold the sheet by the raised edge, tip it at a slight angle, then slide your cookies onto a plate (assuming they aren’t stuck to the pan…).
Are there any similarities?
Baking sheets and cookie sheets are very similar. In fact, if you take away the edges, you really can’t tell them apart. They’re made of the same materials and provide the same basic benefits to the foods being baked.
Which is better?
Whether a baking sheet or cookie sheet is better really depends on your needs. If you’re baking cookies, go for a cookie sheet, as they provide a little extra space, better air circulation, and make it easier to remove your baked goodies.
If you’re baking something that’s a bit more liquidy, go for a baking sheet, as they provide a nice rigid structure that’s made to keep your juices from flowing over the edges.
Either type of sheet will work for most applications, so don’t stress about it too much. If you can only afford to buy one, go with a baking sheet, as it provides more flexibility.
What do you recommend?
As promised, here are our recommendations for each type of sheet. You might recognize these from the pictures shown up above.
Best cookie sheet
If you’re in the market for a high quality cookie sheet that will last for years, we highly recommend going with this non stick cookie sheet from USA Pan.
USA Pan is a brand that we regularly recommend for many reasons. First, they are known in the baking community for making high quality, commercial grade pans. They also pride themselves on manufacturing their pans in the USA.
This cookie sheet is made of heavy-gauge, aluminized steel. The surface of the pan is unique in that it’s fluted. The fluted surface not only provided better air circulation, but also contributes to the strength and durability of the pan, which is resistant to warping.
The pan is coated with the patented Americoat nonstick coating. This non stick finish is PTFE, PFOA, and BPA free, so you can rest assured that your food is safe. The non stick coating provides an excellent food release for your cookies and makes cleanup extremely easy.
The baking surface of this pan measures 17 inches by 12.25 inches. The pan comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Best baking sheet
If a baking pan is what makes the most sense for your needs, we recommend this non stick baking pan from Circulon.
This two-piece baking pan set is constructed with heavy-duty carbon steel. All four sides of the pan are raised and rolled, as mentioned throughout this article, which aid in the strength and durability of the pan. The material and raised edges help make this baking sheet resistant to warping as well.
These baking sheets from Circulon feature the TOTAL Food Release System, which is a combination of a surface with raised circles and a non stick coating, which is PFOA free.
The raised circles and nonstick surface allow your food to easily slide off and make cleaning the baking sheet a breeze.
These baking pans measure 15 inches by 10 inches and also come with a limited lifetime warranty.
We hope you now know more than you ever hoped to know about the differences between baking sheets and cookie sheets. If nothing else, at least take your new found knowledge and show it off the next time you catch yourself standing around in your kitchen with a few of your friends or family members.
It might not be the most interesting thing you learned today, but at least you can cross it off your bucket list of baking 101!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.