How to Keep Your Cookie Sheets Clean and in Good Shape

Do your cookie sheets get ruined quickly? If so, you probably aren’t taking care of them as well as you should. Unlike a sauce pan that can handle heavy use, a cookie sheet needs special care. Here are a few tips that can help you extend the life of your cookie sheets and keep them in the best possible condition for baking.

Avoid sudden temperature changes. While it’s fine to put a cool cookie sheet in a hot oven, it’s not OK to run a hot cookie sheet under cold water. This sudden temperature change will cause the pans to warp enough so that they will no longer lie flat. The problem with a warped pan is that some of the cookies will be closer to the element than others which leads to uneven cooking. If you must immerse the pan in water, make sure it has cooled down first.

Use baked goods only. Cookie and baking sheets are designed for baked goods only which is why I hide my good cookie sheets and leave out the yucky dark colored ones for pan frying. If you need a cookie sheet for making pizza, roasting chicken, or baking a tray of tater tots, always use an older cookie sheet since melted cheese and oil splatters can quickly ruin a good pan.

Use square head spatulas. Those round tip spatulas found at the grocery store might be fine for flipping pancakes, but will scrape the surface of a shiny new cookie sheet. I use a square tip commercial grade spatula to lift cookies and biscuits at my house; stiff plastic spatulas will also work though the tips tend to melt over time.

Don’t use a knife to cut. If you enjoy making bar cookies, the knife you use to cut the cookies will also damage the surface of a new pan. Do what I do and use a cheap plastic pizza cutter to slice your bar cookies into nice, even squares. Plastic pizza cutters are usually free from your favorite pizza delivery guy or can be found at most dollar stores.

Wash gently. When it’s time to clean your cookie sheets, don’t reach for the oven cleaner or an SOS pad as these will damage the surface. Try some hot soapy water and 15 minutes of soaking instead followed with a baking soda scrub. For the really stubborn stains that tend to build up in the corners, a light buffing with 0000 steel wool will do the trick.

Store carefully. All that TLC won’t matter if you are in the habit of jamming your cooky sheets in the cupboard next to the broiler pan, cutting boards, and cooling racks. My cooky and baking sheets are stored flat on a shelf in the pantry and protected beneath a stiff piece of cardboard in case anyone gets the wise idea to set something on top.

With quality cookie sheets starting at $15, it makes sense to take care of the trays we own. These tips show you how easy it is to keep cookie sheets looking and performing like new.

More by this contributor:

How to use a mini donut machine without oil
10 strange baking tips that Mom never taught you.
How to make Boston Brown Bread in the Crock Pot

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