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Updated April 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best jelly roll pans

You've stocked your kitchen with a wide range of cooking gear and gadgets, but do you have a jelly roll pan when you need one? A quality jelly roll pan is much more versatile than you might imagine and is a useful piece of equipment for any home cook.

A jelly roll pan is a rectangular baking tray with a shallow lip. As the name suggests, these pans are designed for baking the sponge cake for jelly rolls. However, you can also use them for many other purposes, including baking cookies, making a multilayered sponge cake (such as opera cake), roasting vegetables, and any other baking or roasting task that requires a shallow, flat baking tray.

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A jelly roll pan should have a rim, or lip, that’s about one inch tall.

Key considerations

Size

Traditional jelly roll pans measure roughly 17.5 by 12.5 inches. If you're baking a jelly roll, Swiss roll, or any other type of cake where the recipe specifies using a jelly roll pan, this is the size you should use. If you use a smaller or larger pan, the cooking time will vary and the sponge might not roll as easily. However, most people now use jelly roll pans for general baking and roasting tasks rather than baking jelly rolls, so you'll find them in a wider range of sizes. Another popular size is 15 by 10 inches, the same size as a standard cookie sheet. The size you choose will depend on your requirements, oven size, and what you'll be making in your jelly roll pan.

Material

Jelly roll pans are made of a range of different metals. These are the most popular options:

  • Aluminum: This is a hugely popular material for jelly roll pans because it conducts heat effectively, doesn't rust, and bakes evenly. However, you need to choose a pan made from heavy-duty aluminum because thinner, flimsier pans can warp in the oven.

  • Anodized aluminum: These pans have undergone a hardening process that not only makes them more durable than standard aluminum but also gives them a scratch-resistant, nonstick outer layer without any potentially harmful chemicals. The downside is that these pans tend to be more expensive.

  • Aluminized steel: Aluminized steel pans are made from steel that has been coated with an aluminum-silicon alloy. The coating provides better heat conduction and protection against corrosion, while the solid steel resists warping.

  • Stainless steel: Stainless steel jelly roll pans feel thick and sturdy and are unlikely to warp or scratch. However, plain stainless steel doesn’t conduct heat as well, so your baked goods might not brown evenly.

Durability

You want a jelly roll pan that is durable enough to stand up to regular use. If it easily warps, rusts, or scratches, it won't last particularly long before its performance goes downhill. Pans made from commercial-grade aluminum, anodized aluminum, or aluminized steel tend to be more durable.

Maintenance

Scrubbing pans is nobody's favorite kitchen task, so consider how easy your chosen jelly roll pan will be to clean. Those with a nonstick surface are less likely to have tough, stuck-on food, though some nonstick coatings are easy to scratch, so you'll need to be careful when washing them. Choosing a dishwasher-safe jelly roll pan will make cleanup easier, which is particularly important if you plan to use your pan regularly.

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Expert Tip
After washing and drying your jelly roll pan, pop it into an oven on BROIL for five minutes to evaporate any water in the nooks and crannies.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

Jelly roll pan features

Non-stick

Some jelly roll pans have a nonstick coating that easily releases the food from the pan. Of course, this means there's less need to use a layer of parchment paper when baking or lots of oil for roasting, and it makes the pan easier to clean. However, some nonstick coatings contain chemicals such as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which we now know may pose long-term health risks. What's more, these coatings can scratch or flake off over time, and when this happens, you must replace the pan. While there are some great nonstick options out there, those made from anodized aluminum are less prone to scratching or flaking.

Rack

Some jelly roll pans come with a rack that fits inside the pan. This rack is great for items that benefit from having airflow underneath for even baking or roasting. However, it can also double as a cooling rack for cakes or cookies.

Handles

Although handles certainly aren't essential on a jelly roll pan, they can make it easier to put the pan in the oven and remove it without accidentally getting your oven mitts in cake batter or whatever else is inside the pan. Some handles have nonslip grips to prevent accidents.

Expert TIp
Use parchment inside the bottom of your pan for the easiest release of fragile cakes and cookies.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

Corrugated

Some jelly roll pans have a corrugated or textured surface. The reason behind this is to get better airflow all around the food inside the pan. Otherwise, the part of the food that's against the pan can get too crisp and result in uneven cooking. A textured surface also helps food release from the pan more easily.

Jelly roll pan prices

Inexpensive

You can find some inexpensive options for less than $10. These tend to be made from flimsy materials and won't last especially long, so they're best avoided.

Mid-range

These jelly roll pans cost between $10 and $20. You can find perfectly serviceable pans in this price range that are fine for daily use.

Expensive

High-end jelly roll pans cost between $20 and $40. These tend to be made from commercial-grade materials and are the kinds of pans that last for generations.

Expert Tip
A textured pan does aid with baked goods release more easily, but the texture marks the exterior surface of any roll you make as well as the bottoms of baked goods like cookies. Some like this, and others don't, but keep it in mind when choosing a pan.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

Tips

  • Check if there's a maximum recommended heat for your jelly roll pan. Some are only oven-safe to 400°F or 450°F, so they might not be suitable for oven fries, pizza, or anything else that needs cooking at a high temperature.

  • Consider whether you need more than one jelly roll pan. If you do, you can sometimes find sets of two or three that offer excellent utility.

  • Think about how often you'll use your jelly roll pan. If you're likely to use it daily, it's worth splurging on a high-end model that will last.

  • Examine the rim. Those pans with rolled or reinforced edges tend to last longer.
Cookies on a cooling rack over a jelly roll pan
You might benefit from owning several jelly roll pans of different sizes for various uses.

FAQ

Q. Do I really need a jelly roll pan?

A. Even if you've never made a jelly roll in your life and don't intend to, you can use a jelly roll pan for countless other purposes. One is great for cooking anything that doesn’t require a high rim but needs a little bit of a rim to stop oil or juices from flowing over the edge. You can also use a jelly roll pan for anything you'd cook on a flat pan, but with less chance of mess.

Q. Can you buy jelly roll pans that have been made in the USA?

A. If you prefer to keep your dollars within the US economy, or you're worried about poor working conditions for people who make items in developing countries, you might prefer to buy a jelly roll pan that was made in the USA. You’ll need to shop around a little, but you can find USA-made jelly roll pans.

Q. Where can I find a tasty jelly roll recipe?

A. You can find plenty of excellent jelly roll recipes online.

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