Best baking trays – on test

Our BBC Good Food team reviewed a dozen baking trays and sheets, all ideal for making cookies, biscuits, pastries and cakes. Discover our top recommended buys.

Find out more about our BBC Good Food reviews.

Cookies on baking sheet
There are few things more comforting than a homemade biscuit dunked in a hot cup of tea. But to make the perfect biccy, you need the perfect baking tray. A good heat-conducting, non-stick sheet guarantees a great bake every time. We’ve tested everything from supermarket basics to blowout brands to find our faves and to give you the best advice on what's out there before you buy. 

 Best… investment piece

Black rectangular baking tray on white background

Le Creuset insulated cookie sheet
If you don't plan on buying another baking sheet for a while, look this way. This one feels like an ultra-durable piece of kit which will keep you right for years of frequent baking. It comes with a large square surface area for maximum baking capacity, and has both a grip and ridges on the handle, ensuring you won't send your food flying. Heat conduction was superb too, producing biscuits that were beautifully brown and crisp on the bottom but not too hard in the middle. This is described as a ‘cookie sheet’ but will work for all your baking needs as well as shallow roasting (without oil).

 
 

Best… budget buy
M&S silver baking sheet on white background

Marks & Spencer non-stick baking sheet
Out of all the budget options we tried, this was our favourite. It's pretty lightweight but not to the point of being overly flimsy, meaning our cookies slid off like a dream – and the sheet was super easy to wash afterwards. We'd recommend this one for light and infrequent use, but we'd suggest buying a more expensive option to guarantee results and durability over the years.
 

Available from M&S (£7.50).


 

** STAR BUY **
Best for… one-batch cooking

 

Black rectangular baking tray
Circulon Ultimum insulated baking sheet 
The proportions of this sheet really maximise on oven space, reducing the number of batches you’ll need to run through the oven. With a lifetime guarantee, Circulon are confident of its long-lasting capability, and having reviewed and reused many products from the Ultimum range we’re convinced they're right. It can be popped in the dishwasher too and is completely non-stick.

 


Best... multi-purpose tray 

OXO good grips grey trayOXO Good Grips non-stick pro oven tray 
We tested a range of options for our multi-purpose category, including trays with sides that would work well both for baking and for foods that produced cooking juices. Lakeland, Wilko and Prestige Moments all get an honourable mention, but in the end we chose this OXO Good Grips tin with its PFOA-free credentials (free from perfluorooctanoic acid), as well as its comfortable rolled edge and handy size markings.

Available from OXO UK (£22). 
 


Best... alternative to non-stick

Pyrex glass baking tray
Pyrex Multi-Purpose glass cooking sheet

Many of today’s non-stick materials have been made PFOA-free but may still contain similar compounds in small amounts. For people who want to minimise their exposure to chemicals in the home, glass makes a great alternative. Despite the lack of non-stick surface, cookies were still easy to remove and cleaning wasn’t a problem. This is a heavier tray than the metal alternatives, but glass is tough and long-lasting, can be put in the dishwasher without compromise and is microwave-safe too. Heat conduction is slower, so expect your biscuits to take longer – which works out great anyway if you prefer a soft bake.
 
For all of the products mentioned in this review, various retailers have been suggested by our affiliate partner Monetizer 101 and are not suggested or chosen by BBC Good Food. For more information on how these retailers are selected and the nature of our partnership, please read the Monetizer101 FAQ page
 

 

Buyer’s advice 

Roast veg on tray


Whether you occasionally whip up a batch of biscuits or an 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.
 

Why buy?

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.
 

What should I buy?

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, with the knowledge that you can rely on your 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.
 

What we looked for...


Baking equipment
Sturdiness: We looked for a tray that was sturdy enough to withstand high heats and frequent use.

Weight: Too light and it was a little too easy to send the contents flying – overly heavy and a laden tray proved difficult to wield. The sweet spot rested in between the two.

Non-stickability: We wanted trays with a good-quality non-stick surface to stand the test of time, minimising the need for additional single-use liners like baking parchment and foil.

Ease of use/practicality: A lip to hold on to is a bonus, but thick ridges round the edges reduce the cooking space. Effective non-stick surfaces were given extra points because we like an easy clean-up operation.

Dishwasher or handwash: We chose both, because even dishwasher-safe non-stick surfaces tend to dull and deteriorate in the machine over time. We recommend handwashing regardless to keep your trays at their best.

How we tested: We put all the trays through their paces using our classic vintage chocolate chip cookie recipe, dolloping the biscuit mix straight on the tray. With plenty of butter in the mixture, we ruled that the biscuits should come off easily with no additional greasing or parchment.

 

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This review was last updated in October 2018. 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@immediate.co.uk.

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