The Difference Between Baking Sheets, Cookie Sheets and Jellyroll Pans

Think sheet pans, baking sheets and cookie sheets are all the same? Let’s cover some of the basics and show you what the difference are.

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I get it: Space in your kitchen is valuable and you don’t want to have to buy every baking pan known to man. But if you think baking pans, sheet pans and cookie sheets are all the same and can get away with just one of them, you may be doing yourself a disservice.

I’m not someone who rushes out to go get the latest kitchen gadgets, even if some of them are really interesting. I stocked my kitchen with one thought in mind: Use the right tool for the job. My dad taught me that when he was teaching me about woodworking and the same philosophy is true in the kitchen. There are some pans that can be used for multiple things. Then there are some recipes and jobs that need a special pan. Let’s break down the differences so you can see what you need and why.

Baking Sheets or Sheet Pans

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Baking sheets are probably one of the most well-used pans in any kitchen. This pan started out in restaurants and quickly made the jump into home kitchens. They are available in a number of sizes. No matter what the size though, you can easily tell them apart by the inch-high rim around the entire edge of the pan. This rim is not only great for keeping juices and liquids in the pan, but it helps trap smaller vegetables and cubes of meat.

  • Full sheet: This is the one item you probably won’t find in many home kitchens, simply because it’s too big to fit in your oven. Full sheet pans measure in at 26×18-inches, which means it’s about two inches too wide for most standard ovens. Though if you do have a bigger oven and want to snag one of these, restaurant supply stores are a good place to find them.
  • Half sheet: As the name suggests, this workhorse is half the size of the full sheet pan, coming in a 18×13-inches. These are the pans you typically use when making sheet pan suppers. They’re perfect for the home kitchen as they easily fit in your oven, have lots of surface area so food can be evenly spaced out in a single layer and can be used for many different things. I like to roast chickens and pork loins on them. This size is becoming so popular, we added it to the Taste of Home Cookware line.
  • Quarter sheet: No surprise here: The quarter sheet pan is half the size of the half sheet. This one is going to be 13×9-inches, making it perfect for smaller batch cooking. It also will fit into many of the new countertop ovens and large toaster ovens, so if you’re cooking for two, this may be a great option for you.

Jellyroll Pans

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This is the pan your grandma probably had in her kitchen. She most likely referred to it as a jelly roll pan, back when people made many jelly roll cakes. You know those beautiful cakes with that iconic swirl of cake and filling. Today, you’re more likely to hear them called a 15x10x1-inch baking pan or a rimmed baking sheet. This staple of the kitchen is still widely used. Just be sure to look for heavy, thick pans, so they don’t warp in the oven.

Cookie Sheets

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The biggest difference between a cookie sheet and a baking sheet is the former doesn’t have a rim around the edge. Some will have a bent lip on one side, making it easy to grab with potholders. Without the rim, it makes removing hot cookies much easier since you don’t have to maneuver the spatula around any edges.

Also, hot oven air is better able to circulate around the cookies, cooking them more evenly and quickly. You can, of course, bake cookies on a rimmed baking sheet, you may just need 30 seconds to a minute longer in the oven. You’ll also find many of them are insulated, meaning there are two layers of metal with a gap in-between. This protects the bottom of the cookie from getting dark before the top is fully cooked.

James Schend
Formerly Taste of Home’s Deputy Editor, Culinary, James oversaw the Food Editor team, recipe contests and Bakeable, and managed all food content for Trusted Media Brands. He has also worked in the kitchen of Williams-Sonoma and at Southern Living. An honor graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, James has traveled the world searching for great food in all corners of life.