Whether you occasionally whip up a batch of biscuits or ornate pastry is part of your standard repertoire, a baking tray or cookie sheet is a kitchen basic that can’t really be replaced by anything else.
The flat surface is ideal for spreading out your bakes, and because you don’t need to spend a lot and it doesn’t take up much storage space, this piece of kit is a worthwhile addition to your equipment list.
Oven trays can take a bashing, as oil residue and sometimes charred remains build up over time. We think it’s best to have a baking tray or sheet that you keep especially for those more delicate baking tasks, ensuring you get the perfect batch every time. That said, we included a multi-purpose category for the minimalists out there.
How to choose the best baking tray
Although it’s tempting to get a cheap baking tray, we didn’t want to fall foul of false economy. Buying a tray that will last for years saves money and hassle in the long run, but we were keen to try both cheaper brands and more high-end products to find a product to suit everyone’s needs.
If you’re a frequent baker, 10-year or lifetime guarantees are appealing, as it gives you the knowledge that you can rely on your baking sheet time and time again. For those who bake less frequently, a budget option that still offers reasonable quality might feel like a better spend.
A good-quality non-stick surface will ensure no pesky baked-on remnants. We looked for trays that have such an effective non-stick coating that it wouldn’t be necessary to apply butter, oil, liners, parchment or foil.
We tested everything from supermarket basics to blowout brands to find our favourite products. For more baking buyer’s guides, visit our reviews section to find round-ups of the best cake tins, best kitchen scales, best hand whisks and best stand mixers, plus baking gadgets for showstopping success.
Best baking trays at a glance
- Le Creuset insulated cookie sheet, £34
- Netherton Foundry heavy duty baking sheet, £37.10
- Samuel Groves 40cm baking sheet, £47.70
- Silverwood anodised aluminium bomb-proof baking tray, £27.95
- Circulon Ultimum insulated baking sheet, £19.99
- Jamie Oliver non-stick two-layer quantum baking tray, £27.99
- Judge non-stick baking sheet, £14
- ProCook non-stick baking tray, £10
- Stellar/James Martin Bakers Collection non-stick baking tray, £19
- Prestige Inspire non-stick baking sheet, £10.49
Best baking trays and sheets to buy in 2020
Le Creuset insulated cookie sheet
- Lifetime guarantee
- Toughened non-stick
Star rating: 5/5
This sturdy, shiny black carbon-steel cookie sheet comes with an extra-toughened non-stick surface, making it super-smooth. Coupled with the flat edges, cookies slide gracefully from the sheet without help.
We love the orange heat-resistant silicone inserts, not simply because they make moving the hot sheet around safer, but they also help the sheet stand out in the drawer or cupboard.
Our cookies browned quickly on the double-walled sheet, but were dark in the recommended 10 minutes. Future bakes were removed at 8 minutes, resulting in the perfect colour and snap. We love that with just a quick wipe, the sheet is pristine.
The Le Creuset is a roomy 38cm, can withstand temperatures up to 240C, and comes with a lifetime guarantee – but we doubt you will ever have to call that in.
Netherton Foundry baking sheet
- Should last forever with care
- Easy to lift
Star rating: 5/5
This hand-forged 2mm-thick black steel sheet from Shropshire-based Netherton Foundry is the sturdiest and heaviest (1.9kg) sheet in our test. It’s oven-safe up to to 300C.
If you can handle a bit of weight, the sheet will serve you well, as it heats up in no time, is evenly spread, and bakes cookies in 8 minutes with an even colour and sharp, crisp snap.
Despite the weight, the Netherton sheet is one of the easiest to lift in and out of the oven, as it has a cleverly designed 2cm stepped rim on one side.
The sheet uses no chemicals or PTFE. It’s pre-seasoned with flax oil, making it naturally non-stick. This treatment can (and must) be repeated from time to time.
However, the sheet will also take on the oils and fats from your bakes, creating a lovely patina over time that will only get more beautiful with age. A wipe is all that is needed to keep the sheet clean.
Samuel Groves 40cm baking sheet
- Beautifully balanced
- Not overly heavy
- Should last a lifetime
Star rating: 5/5
This truly robust, hard anodised aluminium baking sheet from Samuel Groves is a lovely looking sheet. It has a soft grey colour and a good weight and balance to it, even when laden with cookies. We like the gentle lip on one side, which makes it easier to lift in and out of the oven.
The sheet needs a light pre-seasoning with vegetable oil before use. Though our cookie recipe suggests 10 minutes in the oven, ours were baked after just 8 minutes, though they did need the gentlest of nudges off the sheet with the help of a spatula.
Some of the sugar did burn onto the sheet, but we left it to cool, and it wiped clean with just a damp cloth. The sheet is not dishwasher-safe.
The Samuel Groves sheet is the most expensive in our test, which is justified as it comes with a lifetime guarantee and promises to be scratch-resistant and not blister or peel. With care, this sheet is an investment piece that, with care, should last a lifetime.
Silverwood anodised aluminium bomb-proof baking sheet
- Excellent performance
- Needs oiling for some bakes
Star rating: 5/5
What we liked about this ‘bomb-proof’ baking sheet is its good looks – the soft, silver-coloured anodised aluminium sheet is handcrafted in Birmingham.
We tested the 37 x 33cm size, which though large (it holds 10 cookies comfortably), is not heavy. It has a comfortable, reassuring weightiness for its quality.
Silverwood recommends a light oiling of the tray to ensure your bakes do not stick. Our cookies are very buttery, so we risked baking without, and had no problem at all. The cookies slid effortlessly from the sheet. With drier bakes, it may be a good idea to follow the recommendations.
The heat distribution and retention on this sheet is excellent, and our cookies spread quickly and evenly. The results were lovely, with an even colour, crisp outside and soft middle.
Silverwood recommends hand-washing – we only needed to wipe the sheet with a damp cloth – and provides a 25-year guarantee. At this price, this is an excellent sheet that promises great results for years to come.
Circulon Ultimum insulated baking sheet
- The best non-stick
- Light yet robust
Star rating: 4.5/5
Circulon is taking non-stick to another level. This baking sheet offers a lifetime guarantee on its triple-layered coating, which proves Circulon’s confidence, as the sheet is also dishwasher-safe. But, this sheet only needs a quick wipe with a damp cloth after use for it to look like new again.
On test, the non-stick surface performed so well, it was hard to stop the cookies sliding off all by themselves when moving the sheet in and out of the oven. This is a little unnerving, but we prefer it to the food sticking and burning.
The Circulon baking sheet is insulated, creating even heat distribution for evenly coloured cookies that are crisp on the outside and deliciously fudgy in the middle.
We particularly like the circular grooves that help further prevent any scratching. It’s a good idea to remember though that metal tools and non-stick sheets should never mix.
Being lighter than some of the other sheets on test in no way takes anything away from this sheet’s performance. It’s an excellent baking sheet for the price.
Jamie Oliver non-stick two-layer quantum baking tray
- Compact but beautifully formed
- Recipe timings need to be adjusted
Star rating: 4.5/5
We love the look of this tray, with its softly rounded corners, light satin-grey colour on the surface, and a pretty enamelled green underneath that makes it stand out in the baking drawer.
At 32cm, it isn’t the largest of trays, but it easily holds six cookies, and is ideal for anyone whose space is at a premium. There’s a gentle lip, making it easy to lift and move around safely. Being small, it’s also not heavy.
The tray has a double-layered non-stick surface, and is constructed with two layers of carbon steel, giving it excellent heat distribution. Our cookies were baked to perfection in 7 minutes, the fastest in the test, so recipe timings may need to be adjusted to prevent overcooking.
Cleaning up is a doddle, as you’ll just need to give it a quick wipe.
Judge non-stick baking sheet
- Great quality for a budget price
Star rating: 4/5
Do not be put off by the budget price of this non-stick sheet from Judge. The large 33cm square sheet performs quite well.
At first, the sheet does feel flimsy, and is easy to flex. We worried that it might buckle in the oven, but as it’s oven-safe to 210C, most lighter bakes will be covered. It certainly worked well with our cookies, with no buckling at all.
The sheet is made of steel, with softly rolling edges and two coats of non-stick. Our cookies browned beautifully in 8 minutes, and easily came off the sheet – they were sliding around all by themselves. The colour was even across the top, and deliciously brown on the bottom.
All that the sheet needs is a simple wipe with kitchen paper, though Judge promises it is dishwasher-safe. It comes with a five-year guarantee, and is certainly an impressive baking sheet for the price.
ProCook non-stick baking tray
- Low price with professional quality
Star rating: 4.5/5
This 2.5cm deep black tray from ProCook is one of the few four-sided trays we tested, and we love it.
At a whopping 44.5 x 30cm, it’s large and great for family cooking. It’s made from sturdy 1mm heavy-gauge carbon steel, making it similar to professional-grade trays. This does make it a little heavy, especially when laden with cookie dough.
The tray is black, with no adornments or handles, and has a super-smooth surface with a superior ProCook Ultra BK non-stick coating. The cookies slid around well after baking, which took just under 8 minutes.
The tray is dishwasher-safe on a gentle cycle, but it can be easily wiped clean. The tray is oven-safe up a high 260C, so it’s also good for roasting, after which it may need a good wash.
If you can handle a large, heavier tray, you’ll still be getting a high-quality, versatile, professional-quality tray that will likely well outlive its 10-year guarantee.
Stellar/James Martin Bakers Collection non-stick baking tray
- Professional-grade with great results
Star rating: 4.5/5
This baking tray from Stellar is designed in cooperation with celebrity chef James Martin, whose face and recipe is emblazoned on the packaging. It’s an impressive tray at 44.5 x 30cm, but weighs in on the heavy side.
The weight of the tray comes from its high-grade steel and rolled edges, but it is sturdy, robust and a quality that would perform well in the busiest of kitchens, at well under the price of a professional tray.
The tray is a lovely grey colour, with a satin double-layer non-stick surface that’s guaranteed for five years, though the tray itself is for a lifetime. The weight of the steel does deliver great heat distribution, and our cookies baked in 8 minutes to a delicious crispness with a slightly gooey centre.
Stellar states the tray is dishwasher-safe, but we found it cleaned up easily without going anywhere near the machine.
Though heavy, we were delighted with the results of this reasonably priced tray. It’s at a size and quality that would work for both family cooking and the professional chef.
Prestige Inspire baking sheet
- Cushioned base for even cooking
- Great budget price buy
- Recipe timings need adjusting
Star rating: 4/5
The Prestige tray is one of the cheapest on the test, but comes with some surprising results. The tray has four raised sides that make it versatile for both baking and roasting, and it’s oven-safe to 240C. We particularly like the large handles, which make it easy to lift from the oven.
The lightweight, black carbon steel tray has a unique cushioned base that looks a lot like metal bubble wrap. Those bubbles help with heat distribution as well as its non-stick qualities. Our cookies baked remarkably quickly, and were perfect in 7 minutes. For a tray so light, if we had baked them for 10 minutes, they would have most likely burned, so attention is needed for the recipe timings.
The tray is dishwasher-safe, but a wipe with kitchen paper or a damp cloth suffices.
With a five-year guarantee and delicious results, this tray a serious budget buy.
How we tested baking trays
We reviewed a representative sample of baking trays and scored them against the following criteria.
Sturdiness: We looked for a tray that was sturdy enough to withstand high heats without the buckling or twisting.
Weight: A good, sturdy tray will never be light, as the weight of solid materials retain and evenly distribute the heat, all of which helps the bake. However, if too heavy to start with, once laden with cookies or pastries it will be difficult to carry. We looked for trays that sat comfortably somewhere between the two.
Non-stickability: A good-quality non-stick surface that will stand the test of time, with no need for additional oiling or the use of liners, parchment or foil, if possible.
Ease of use/practicality: A lip, handles or shallow sides for moving the tray around with our precious bakes was very important.
Dishwasher or hand-wash: Both are good, but given washing in a dishwasher destroys the non-stick surface over time, we liked trays that needed little more than a wipe to keep clean (with just one exception).
We put all the trays through their paces using our classic vintage chocolate chip cookie recipe, dolloping the biscuit mix directly onto the tray. All the sheets and trays tested can also be used for pastries, bread and scones as well. The deeper trays are also good for roasting, where little or no oil is needed.
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This review was last updated in October 2020. If you have any questions or suggestions for future reviews, or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@.