Using a baking sheet to make dinner from start to finish will transform your weeknights.

By Claire Sullivan
Updated August 10, 2020
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Are you a member of the sheet-pan-supper club yet? Our food editors are longtime fans, especially if they're cooking on a weeknight. The whole meal is made in a single baking sheet, the oven does all the heavy lifting, and cleanup is minimal—what's not to like? Follow our tactics for guaranteed family-style success. You'll get dinner on the table in no time, and you'll spend minimal time cleaning up once the meal is done.

sheet pan with chicken and vegetables
Credit: Ren Fuller

Reach for Metal

For a crispy finish fast, use a standard 13-by-18-inch rimmed aluminum sheet, sometimes called a half-sheet. It gets piping hot, and the low rim speeds up browning. Glass baking dishes with higher sides steam ingredients instead.

Build a Solid Base

Root vegetables are custom-made for this cooking technique: They're dense, and roasting brings out their sweetness. For the best texture, start with firm, fresh ones like carrots and potatoes.

Chop Smart

Cut vegetables into even pieces (per sizes listed in your recipe), otherwise smaller bits will burn and larger ones won't cook through. If you want to prep them a day in advance, refrigerate them in an airtight container for easy prep the next day.

Don't Get Stuck

Whether tossing vegetables in oil or drizzling them with it, use enough that they are well-coated before roasting. If they're not budging, be patient—they'll flip more easily once caramelized.

Use the Right Tools

A fish spatula is our food editors' go-to gadget for stirring mid-bake—it's thinner and more flexible than the regular kind, so you can rustle tender vegetables without smashing or breaking them. You can also use a slotted spatula or thin-metal spatula. But we recommend using metal tongs to turn sturdier ingredients, like chicken and sausage.

End on a High

One-pan dinners hit more notes when topped with something vibrant. These recipes call for capers, herbs, briny cheeses, and vinaigrettes. But chopped olives or pepperoncini, a drizzle of salsa or pesto, or just olive oil and flaky sea salt can also pep things up. Not only will they add flavor, but they'll also add visual interest.

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