Why A Seasoned Baking Sheet Can Be A Cook's Best Tool

Baking sheets are an important tool in your culinary arsenal. From quick and easy one-pan meals to baking everyone's favorite homemade chocolate chip cookies, these metal sheets with their short little walls are quite useful. In fact, according to Closer News Weekly, Ree Drummond made it clear baking sheets are high on her list of must-have kitchen gear. Drummond revealed, "Baking sheets are probably the one kitchen item I couldn't live without." Drummond went on to explain she uses them for everything. The celebrity cook said, "I cook beef tenderloin on them for parties, use them to roast everything from whole chicken to vegetables, bake perfect trays of delicious cookies, and even chocolate birthday cake."

Because baking sheets are so useful, you may find you've subjected your metal pans to quite a bit of wear and tear over the years. It happens, but before you think about tossing them, you shouldn't get rid of your old baking sheets. Don't let their appearance fool you. Per a New York Times article, those older baking sheets that may look like they are ready to be put out to pasture have actually been well-seasoned and should be thought of as yet another asset when you are cooking and baking. Here's why.

Darker pans help with browning

According to The New York Times, a seasoned baking sheet serves several purposes. The first has to do with how foods stick to the pan. As more and more foods bake on an aluminum baking sheet, it's less likely food will stick to the pan the next time you use it. But that's not the only way a seasoned baking sheet transforms. Per America's Test Kitchen, when a baking sheet starts to get a little darker in appearance, this means it is going to brown your foods better because they heat faster. The New York Times points out this can be very advantageous when roasting vegetables. 

Why does this happen? It is really just simple science. Darker pans are going to absorb heat faster than lighter color pans. This is optimal for some foods but not for your baked goods like cookies. A well-seasoned pan could cause your cookies to bake too quickly and leave you with a burnt mess. Still want to use the seasoned baking sheet for these foods? Livestrong suggests if you decrease the bake time and temperature by 25%, this can solve the problem.