Baking sheets are probably one of the most useful pieces of cookware to own considering the variety of dishes you can make in them. Although essential for a lot of delicious recipes, they can be a nightmare to clean when stained. Here are some key things to know about maintaining and cleaning baking sheets.
This article will cover
- 6 Ways to Clean Baking Sheets
- 3 Tips for Maintaining Your Baking Sheets
- Things to Know About Baking Sheets
6 Ways to Clean Baking Sheets
Baking soda can do wonders for cleaning various dishes, and baking sheets are no exception. Here are a few different, effective methods that involve using baking soda.
1. Baking Soda and Boiling Water
This one is pretty simple and fast. Cover the baking sheet with boiling water and add three tablespoons of baking soda. If your baking sheet is stained on the outside too, you can put it on a larger baking tray or in a sink so the water covers its whole surface. Leave it like that for two hours, then wash it with dish soap, and rinse with hot water. This is a great method for minor stains or burns marks.
2. Baking Soda and Vinegar
If the first method didn’t work, vinegar may do the trick. This method is more abrasive, but also better for really persistent stains. Make a mixture by adding half a cup of vinegar to a cup of baking soda. Apply it to a baking sheet and scrub with an abrasive side of the kitchen sponge. When you see that the stains are off, wash the baking sheet with mild dish soap and rinse with hot water before drying.
3. Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
When your baking sheets are seemingly hopelessly stained, this proved to be one of the best methods out there to make them look brand new again. Take around half a cup of baking soda and sprinkle it over your baking sheet.
Then, spray hydrogen peroxide over that and leave it for around five hours (or overnight if it is easier for you). When it is time, rinse with hot water and wash the sheets with dish soap. You can also make a paste out of these ingredients and apply it to the baking sheets, but you may want to wear gloves for that if your skin is sensitive.
4. Lemon Juice and Aluminum Foil
Here is another method with two of the things you can probably find in your kitchen right now. First, squeeze two lemons. Fill your baking sheets with boiled water and add lemon juice. Let it dissolve for around half an hour. Make a sponge-like ball using aluminum foil and scrub the baking sheets with it. Wash them with dish soap and let them dry. Not only they will be clean, but also shiny and lemon-scented!
5. Tomatoes and Salt
Lemon is not the only acidic fruit that can be used for cleaning. It may come as a surprise, but tomatoes are great for that too! You can use half a cup of crushed tomatoes or ketchup for this method.
Add three tablespoons of salt to make a paste. Scrub the baking sheets with the kitchen sponge and then wash and rinse. Salt is a very good abrasive, and combined with the acidity of tomatoes, it is proven to be very effective for getting the stains out.
6. Scouring Pad and Sparkling Water
Sometimes it is as simple as that. If your baking sheets are not too rusty or stained, you may want to try this simple method because it may be the right solution. Fill your baking sheets with sparkling water and leave them like that until the bubbles disappear.
That alone will probably remove water stains and grease, but if not, scrub with a scouring pad until your baking sheets are clean. Rinse through water and that’s it!
3 Tips for Maintaining Your Baking Sheets
Use Parchment Paper
The safest way to prevent messy and oily baking sheets is to cover them with parchment paper or aluminum foil before baking. You can also use a silicone baking mat. Another benefit of this is that you won’t have to worry about your food sticking.
Avoid Using Oil
Whenever possible, use shortening or butter to grease the baking sheets before putting them in the oven. Oil can easily burn at high temperatures and make stains that are very difficult to remove, thus causing a lot more work than you should have to do.
Wash Them Regularly After Every Use
Make sure to hand wash your baking sheets after every use. Try using mild dish soap and water only. Avoid putting them in the washing machine as the detergent used for washing machines is usually harsher and can cause white spots and corrosion. Also, dry them thoroughly as soon as you wash them to prevent rusting.
Things to Know About Baking Sheets
Baking sheets differ in the material they are made of. The most common ones are aluminum baking sheets, and while they are durable and affordable, there are some things to be aware of when cleaning them.
You should not use methods that involve hydrogen peroxide and aluminum foil. They are a bit gentler so highly abrasive methods can damage them, as well as rough scrubbing. Keep in mind that aluminum can react to acidic foods. Always cover the surface with parchment paper or a similar substitute before baking to prevent your food from sticking to the baking sheet.
Nonstick baking sheets are usually made of steel or aluminized steel but are coated with a nonstick finish. They are darker in color and thus absorb more heat. The baking time is shorter and they are a good option for baking at lower temperatures. Whether to use a stick or nonstick baking sheet is up to you – there are benefits for both.
However, you should be very careful when cleaning them. No scrubbing is recommended because the nonstick coat can be easily damaged. The upside is that they are typically easy to clean using only dish soap and hot water.
One of the best options is aluminized steel baking sheets. They are made of steel and covered with an aluminum coating. Although a bit more expensive, they are extremely durable, highly resistant to corrosion, and can distribute heat evenly, allowing baking for a longer time at low temperatures.
Similar to aluminum baking sheets, aluminized steel can also react to acidic foods, so keep that in mind when using them. You can clean them using all of the methods mentioned because of the tough material.
The Shape of Baking Sheets
Baking sheets can be used for baking burgers, pastries, biscuits, bread, as well as savory meals like pizza and roasted vegetables and meat. They are very useful and can substitute for a few other cookware you may be missing from your kitchen.
However, they are often mistaken for cookie sheets. Keep in mind that cooking sheets are completely flat without any edges. While they are great for baking dry cookies, they can rarely be used for any other food. Baking sheets are rimmed so they contain any juices that may leak from the food you are baking. That makes them very good for roasting meat and vegetables and other moist food.
One more thing that you may have noticed is that baking sheets can actually change their shape. This is due to metal reacting to high temperatures. When exposed to heat, metal expands and can bend or deform in some way. To prevent this, try to buy thicker baking sheets as the thin ones are more prone to this occurrence. They may be more expensive, but they will also last longer, so they are a good investment.
Color of Baking Sheets
As mentioned, there are lighter and darker baking sheets. Darker ones are usually nonstick while aluminum ones are lighter. If you own both types of baking sheets and you are not sure which one to use for specific meals, here is the trick.
Light baking sheets absorb less heat. You may want to use them for cookies or cakes because they will not brown easily. Dark baking sheets absorb more heat and they can cause brown edges on cakes or brown bottoms of cookies. However, they are great for pizzas or a roast.
If you have just one baking sheet, light or brown, don’t worry. If, for example, you want to bake french toast, but only have a dark baking sheet, you should just adjust the temperature. Bake them at a lower temperature for a longer time and they should come out fine.
The same goes for the opposite case – if you want to bake pizza and you have a light baking sheet, turn the temperature up and shorten the baking time. It will turn out crispy and slightly browned on the bottom.
There are many different ways to clean your baking sheets. You should try to maintain them regularly and use parchment paper. If they get stained anyway, be aware of the material of your baking sheets and according to that, choose one of the options to clean them.
Michael Johnson is the founder of The Pan Handler, Inspired by his blacksmith grandfather’s legacy has a deep appreciation for hand-crafted pots and pans, he provides invaluable guides, reviews, and recipes to enhance your culinary journey.