How To Clean A Baking Sheet

Sheet pans are oh-so-versatile, but such a pain to get clean.

Let’s give credit where credit is due. Your baking sheets do a lot of heavy lifting. From grandma’s famed cookies to all of those easy-peasy sheet pan recipes, it’s the baking sheet that gets the job done. They see it all, from caramelized sugar and gooey cheese to greasy meat juice and crusty, well, everything. Baking sheets get a serious workout when it comes to versatility. They experience super high temperatures and are usually abandoned to cool down completely before getting washed, allowing all of those baked-on tasty ingredients to congeal and really glom on for dear life.

While you may be tempted to throw it away, don’t! It just needs a little extra cleaning to make it look new. We’ve got some helpful ideas for how to give your baking sheet a total glow up. So before you bust out that chisel or razor blade, read our (less aggressive) list of cleaning tips so you don’t damage the baking sheet … or lose a finger.

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How to clean a baking sheet

First things first, check and see what type of material your baking sheet is made of. If it has a nonstick coating, you’ll want to skip any methods that use abrasives or scouring tools. While those are great at taking off grime, they’ll also rub the nonstick coating right off the sheet.

Baking sheet cleaning techniques

Stains, scorch marks and grease schmears, be gone! We’ve ranked these by level of effort, from easiest to “you might actually be sore tomorrow from scrubbing.” Just kidding! As promised, our baking sheet cleaning methods will save you time, effort and future muscle aches. Let the cleaning solutions and DIY concoctions do the work for you.

Everybody’s favorite: hands-off cleaning

Because when you find the perfect ready-made cleaning product, it’s like love at first wash. And the less time you’ve got to spend doing the dishes, the more time you can spend doing literally anything else (including enjoying the meal you’ve just prepared).

  • Dawn Platinum Powerwash Dish Spray is a real lifesaver when it comes to caked-on grime and stains. This stuff seriously cuts grease. Good Housekeeping even gave it a Best Cleaning Product Award in 2020. We can’t argue with the pros.
  • Just spray it on the sheet pan.
  • Let it soak for a few minutes.
  • Wipe clean (no scrubbing needed!), and rinse with warm water.

Cream of tartar

We know, this sounds like some weird British ingredient for savory scones or chips or something. We assure you, it’s not. Cream of tartar is potassium bitartrate, which is actually a byproduct of winemaking. It is processed from the potassium acid salt of tartaric acid. The resulting powdery acid can be used in baking—or, in this case, as a cleaning solution!

  • Combine 2–3 tablespoons of cream of tartar with water to make a paste.
  • Rub the paste mixture all over the baking sheet.
  • Let the pan sit until the paste dries out.
  • Rinse the paste off of the baking sheet with warm water.
  • Wash the sheet pan like you normally would with Dawn Dish Soap and water.

Baking soda

  • Sprinkle baking soda all over the baking sheet.
  • Add just enough water to create a soft paste to cover the sheet.
  • Let this mixture sit for at least 30 minutes.
  • Scrub the pan with a sponge. You’ll probably want to use the more abrasive side of the sponge for tough, baked-on grit.
  • Rinse the baking soda off with warm water.
  • Wash the sheet pan like you normally would with Dawn and water.

Steel wool

Steel wool is a great kitchen tool to have on hand. It cuts through grime and burnt-on food fast. We recommend using #00 (not heavy duty) steel wool on cooking surfaces because it’s strong enough for baked-on cheese, but not so abrasive that it will damage your baking sheet’s surface.

  • Use the steel wool like you would a normal sponge. Get the baking sheet sudsy with Dawn and warm water, and scrub away. (Disclaimer: depending on the mess, you might need to seriously scrub away.)

How to maintain your baking sheets

If you take good care of your baking sheets and sheet pans, they ought to last you up to five years or so before needing to be replaced. There are lots of ways you can help your baking sheets to live long, healthy lives.

  • Cover baking sheets with tinfoil, parchment paper or silicone baking mats when cooking. Some people will argue that this negatively affects the flavor or quality of your cooking, but not everyone’s a baking sheet purist. We find these nonstick options to be totally acceptable—even preferable—ways to bake! Plus covering your sheet pans will absolutely streamline your cleaning process. Simply throw out the used tinfoil or parchment paper and toss the silicone sheet in the dishwasher (Hint: roll them up, and put them on the top shelf of the dishwasher). Then you won’t even be tempted to trash your entire sheet pan.

    • Foil is better for high temperature broiling or grilling.
    • Parchment paper fares well with baking more delicate dishes.
    • Silicone baking mats are awesome for everything, from meatballs to macarons. Plus they’re reusable!
  • If you have a dishwasher, wash your dirty baking sheets in there with Cascade Platinum ActionPacs. These detergent pods are specifically designed to tackle grease and food particles, and you don’t even have to prerinse.

  • If you don’t have a dishwasher, we recommend using Dawn Platinum Powerwash (again!). It’s perfect for big sheet pans because you don’t have to worry about being able to fit the whole pan in a small sink to soak them. Just spray, wipe and rinse.

So there you go. Now you can freely roast vegetables, broil pork chops, grill whole fish and bake biscuits without having to worry that one will taste like the other because you’d failed to scrape the remnants of last night’s dinner off before cooking tonight’s meal. And we’re not calling you a failure—baking sheets are just hard to get clean! No one said adulting would be easy. But with our helpful tricks and cleaning mixtures, your sheet pans should be fresh and reset in between uses.

And while you’re at it, we’ve got some more tricks for how to clean your stainless steel pots and pans, how to clean cast iron and also—just in case!—how to get rid of burnt smells that might be lingering in your kitchen, or elsewhere. Hey, we’re not accusing you of anything, we just noticed all those stains on your baking sheets is all.

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