By Chef Alli on August 8, 2019

Sheet Pan Dinner Success

They're fast, they're easy, they're sheet pan dinners

Sheet pan meals are wonderful because you use one pan and they are pretty hands-off . You can easily orchestrate a wholesome and flavorful meal without much fuss at all. Here are five tips for getting the most out of your sheet pan dinners.

1. Think Big and Heavy-Duty!

You’ll need a good, large and sturdy sheet pan. Your sheet pan should be big and broad enough to allow for your ingredients to be spread out into a single layer so they can cook evenly. A heavy-duty sheet pan with a rim is going to help promote the browning you want when you cook, and the rimmed edge keeps all your ingredients from sliding off as you move your sheet pan in and out of the oven.

2. Preheat! Preheat! Preheat!

If you’re looking for ways to speed up your sheet pan meal, preheat your sheet pan in the oven for a few minutes before adding any ingredients. This helps your food cook faster and more evenly, and it’s nice to hear a bit of a sizzle when you place your ingredients onto the sheet pan. Preheating really gets things moving in the right direction at a faster pace.

3. Crank up the Heat for Sheet Pans, Baby.

I like to heat my oven up to 450 F to give my sheet pan meals a good blast of heat right off the bat. After about five minutes, I reduce the oven temperature to what my recipes call for, which is usually 400 – 425 F. (Otherwise you’ll overcook your ingredients on the outside, while under-cooking them internally.)

4. Remember Your Sheet Pan Pals.

Aluminum foil and parchment paper are your friends. Covering your sheet pans with either of these makes clean-up easier and quicker. If you’re broiling, make sure to opt for foil as parchment paper will likely catch fi re under the broiler. Once dinner is over, it really feels good to simply toss most of the dirty work right into the trash. All that’s left is a quick wash and rinse of your sheet pan.

5. Don’t be Shy — Sheet Pan Dinner Experimentation is Fun!

When creating sheet pan dinners, this is the down-low: Pair quick-cooking ingredients, such as thinner chicken cutlets and fish, with other quick-cooking ingredients, such as zucchini, grape tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, etc. Thick chicken breasts and pork chops that take longer to cook can be paired with baby potatoes since both require a little more cooking time. Plus, you can provide the thicker/denser ingredients with an oven headstart, then add the quicker-cooking ingredients a bit later in the cooking process.