Diva Researching: Cleaning Sheet Pans…

We have run one similar to this before. However, this summer I have been doing sheet pan and foil wrapped/campfire meals more often. Effective and Efficient ways to create healthy, tasty meals in a flash…

HOW TO CLEAN SHEET PANS AND OTHER TIPS

If you’re like me, sheet pan are probably some of your most well-loved and perpetually dirty kitchen items. No amount of scrubbing and soaking seems to get any of that burnt residue off. Sometimes it’s time to set soap and water aside and look for new methods of cleaning stubborn stains and residue. So before you toss those dirty pans, give these methods of cleaning sheet pans a try.

Try Baking Soda and Vinegar

This method uses items you’ll already have in your cupboard to help loosen the residue and keep your pans clean.

Fill a sink with hot water. Add equal parts baking soda and white vinegar (about half a cup of each).

Submerge your pans in the mixture and allow them to soak for between 30 minutes to an hour.

Use some elbow grease and give the pan a serious scrub, using the coarse side of a sponge. Scrub in a circular motion to avoid noticeable scratching (although some scratching may still occur).

Once you’ve scrubbed to your heart’s content, give the pan a good hand wash with soap and water to remove the vinegar smell, and dry immediately to avoid rust.

Try Dryer Sheets

Yes, you read that right. This laundry room staple works wonders on grimy sheet pans.

Leave your sheet pan in the sink or on the counter. Add one or two dryer sheets and dish soap, and fill the pan with warm water. Let it sit for 2 to 3 hours.

When you return, throw out the dryer sheets and dump the water out of the pan. Any caked-on food should lift easily with soap, water, and a sponge.

Try Peroxide and Baking Soda

Go scrounge up the hydrogen peroxide from your first aid supplies because this method makes cleaning dirty sheet pans a breeze. It should be noted that this method is likely too harsh for sheet pans with non-stick coatings.

Start by mixing baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a paste.

Spread the mixture across the surface of the pan and allow it to sit for 2 to 3 hours.

Use a sponge to wipe away the paste. No harsh scrubbing should be needed!

How to Keep Your Sheet Pans Clean?

Now that your pan is free of grime and gunk, let’s keep it that way. The simplest way to keep your pans clean all the time is to use parchment paper or aluminum foil when cooking with them. And remember, scratches and stains are signs of your pans being put to good use, and that’s not such a bad thing.

RULES FOR SHEET PAN USAGE

Do buy rimmed baking sheets. While flat baking sheets can be used only for cookies, the rimmed ones can be used for all kinds of things. Whether you’re toasting bread crumbs or baking snack mix, you don’t want anything to slide off onto the oven floor if you should happen to jostle the baking sheet.

Don’t buy the insulated kind. (I made this mistake years ago. Since the baking sheets were expensive, I can’t bring myself to stop using them.) Insulated baking sheets are designed to keep cookies’ bottoms and edges from browning—which is great, except that most people like their cookies a little browned. Baking cookies on insulated sheets also takes longer, especially since there’s no browning to clue you in.

Do buy the heaviest sheets you can afford. The heavier the baking sheet, the more evenly it will cook and the less likely it is to warp or buckle. If possible, buy half sheet pans, which measure 13×18 inches. That’s the size used by professionals to bake half-sheet cakes.

Don’t buy nonstick baking sheets. They’re usually dark brown, meaning that the bottoms of your cookies may burn before the middles are done. And eventually the nonstick coating will wear out, meaning you’ll have to buy new pans.

Do line your baking sheets with baking parchment for the best results. Nothing sticks to baking parchment. Nothing! You can buy parchment in rolls or 12×16-inch sheets. Either way, baking parchment can be reused a few times if you treat it gently. I clean mine with a damp paper towel. Also I buy baking sheets with racks that insert. I can then line the pan with foil and bake meats and vegetables on the rack for even browning. Then the drippings can be folded up in the foil and tossed with little clean up to your sheet pan.

Do think about treating yourself to Silpat mats. Like baking parchment, these wonderful silicone sheets will keep your baked goods from sticking to the pan—but they can be washed and reused for years. The Silpat brand is currently head and shoulders above its competitors. Although Silpat mats cost more than other brands (approximately $25 vs. $15 for generics), they’re worth it in terms of their durability and the stress they’ll save you.

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