If you are new to the world of sheet pan cooking, you might be wondering which type of cooking sheet should you use? Well, there is no right or wrong answer here. It all depends on how and where you plan on using your sheet pans.
If you are going to be storing your sheet pans in a kitchen cabinet or storage unit, then a plastic storage container with mesh screening or lid would probably work best for keeping them clean and dust-free.
On the other hand, if you have plans on using your sheet pans for camping or other outdoor activities, then investing in heavier-duty sheets made from materials like metal would probably be a better choice as they will stand up to even the harshest weather conditions and last longer.
Whatever your usage plans are for your plastic and metal sheet pans, it is best to have both types on hand so that you have one readily available when needed. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each type so that you can make an informed decision about which kind of pan to go with.
What is a sheet pan?
A sheet pan is a piece of kitchen equipment used to transfer foods from a stovetop to a baking sheet. It comes in different sizes and shapes, depending on the type of food you plan on cooking and transferring.
They can be made of different materials like aluminum, stainless steel, or even cast iron. If you are looking to reduce your food prep time in the kitchen, then a sheet pan-based meal is one of the best ways to go about it.
Not only is it quicker to prepare with less equipment to clean, but it also allows you to work with a larger quantity of food at once and use less servings per recipe. This can come in handy if you plan on feeding a large crowd or if you simply enjoy cooking a lot. So, what are the different types of sheet pans available on the market?
Teflon sheet vs parchment paper
Teflon sheets are a type of plastic cooking sheet made from polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a delamination-resistant polymer with the chemical formula: PTFE is a synthetic material that is used to make nonstick cookware. It is often used in the manufacture of cookware and food packaging.
It is considered safe to use under normal conditions but may pose certain health risks when used for extended periods of time and at high temperatures. Teflon is essentially a synthetic product and does not last as long as parchment paper. Parchment paper is made from natural materials like wood pulp and animal glue, so it will last much longer than Teflon.
Teflon-coated sheet vs PTFE/PFOA-free sheet
This is one of the most important differences between Teflon sheets and parchment paper, so it’s worth covering in detail.
The main difference between these types of sheet pans is in the coating used on the pan’s surface. Teflon sheet pans are coated with a nonstick layer that makes it easier to cook with less oil or butter.
This coating is porous, which means it breaks down when exposed to high heats, so it is important to not use these pans at high temperatures, especially when baking. PTFE-free sheet pans are made solely of steel, with no PTFE coating on the surface.
While this type of sheet pan is more expensive, it can be used on any stovetop without the worry of it reacting with the surface.
Pros of metal sheet pans
- Longer lasting – Metal is a much heavier material than plastic, so it will last much longer than plastic when exposed to outdoor elements like wind, rain, and snow.
- Easier to clean – Metal conducts heat well, so it will be easier to clean when it gets dirty.
- Dishwasher safe – Dishwasher-safe sheet pans can be cleaned in the dishwasher, making them much easier clean when compared with plastic pans.
- Less breakage – Metal sheet pans are much harder to break than plastic pans, making them a more durable option.
- Better heat distribution – Since metal conducts heat so well, you can spread the heat evenly across a sheet pan, which means less chances of food burning.
Cons of plastic sheet pans
- Not as durable – Plastic pans will start to break down over time and may need to be replaced.
- Shorter lasting – Plastic pans will break down much faster than metal pans.
- Easpiration – Plastic pans can be easily scratched, which may cause bacteria to grow in between the scratches.
- Harder to clean – Plastic pans are harder to clean because they are not as easy to heat.
- Not dishwasher safe – Dishwasher-safe sheet pans can be cleaned in the dishwasher, making them much easier than plastic pans.
- Less heat distribution – Since plastic doesn’t conduct heat well, you may have trouble spreading the heat evenly across a pan, which means more chances of food burning.
What is parchment paper?
Parchment paper is a sheet of paper that is made from natural materials like wood pulp and animal glue. It will last much longer than Teflon or PTFE-free sheet pans, are much easier to clean, and can be used with any stovetop without fear of degrading the surface.
Parchment paper can be used in place of foil when making any type of casserole, biscuits, quiche, or any other type of baked item. It can also be used when making pizza or when making cookies, as it is much easier to remove food from parchment paper than from a silicone spatula.
Parchment paper can also be used when making breads as it will create a nice, even crust on the bottom of the bread, making sure that nothing sticks to the pan. Parchment paper can be easily disposed of after use by simply throwing it away in a compost or recycling bin.
With so many types of sheet pans available on the market, choosing the best one for you might seem like a daunting task. If you are looking to reduce your food prep time in the kitchen, then a sheet pan-based meal is one of the best ways to go about it.
Not only is it quicker to prepare with less equipment to clean, but it also allows you to work with a larger quantity of food at once and use less servings per recipe. This can come in handy if you plan on feeding a large crowd or if you simply enjoy cooking a lot
So, which sheet pan should you buy? While there isn’t one right answer, we recommend investing in a couple of sheet pans, including a plastic and a metal one, so you have one readily available, regardless of which type you prefer to use.