The Reason You Shouldn't Use Warped Baking Sheets

A bent baking sheet is a tale as old as time. Even if you're exclusively a holiday baker, just one batch in a too-hot oven could turn your baking tray into a warped and dented version of what it once was. Open any old kitchen cupboard and you're bound to see a pile of cookie sheets with at least a dent or two, and that's because most consumer-friendly pans are made of thin aluminum that's susceptible to bending under extreme temperatures. Even if you bake your cookies under low heat, tossing a hot pan directly in water (or in the dishwasher, if you're feeling particularly bold) can cause it to warp, according to Foods Guy.

It's a kitchen staple we've come to accept — you're either replacing your sheet pans regularly because you can't stand to stack the warped ones, or you're crossing your fingers and cooking on them anyways. They're a nuisance to store, but a little dent can't affect your food that much, right?

Wrong. Baking is a science, and that means every varying factor is going to affect the outcome. Unless you're aiming for half-burned cookies or undercooked fries, then ditch the cookware you've been holding on to. Trust us on this one — aesthetics aside, bent baking sheets aren't doing you or your cooking any favors.

Ditch your bent baking sheets

If you're scratching your head at every last batch of cookies, wondering why some came out perfect but others fell short, the culprit may not be in the ingredients. Bon Appétit says that "a warped sheet pan is no good for baking cookies, toasting nuts, or roasting vegetables," because it leads to uneven cooking. If some of the sheet is touching the oven rack, but one corner isn't, an inconsistent result is inevitable.

Cook'n explains that if a corner of the pan is raised, it could cause any excess oil to drain into the opposite end of the pan. So if you're attempting to make some french fries from scratch, you'll want to use a consistently flat pan — otherwise, you could have a pile of burnt pieces, and a small handful left undercooked. Cook'n suggests trying to place a level wire rack inside the pan to disperse oil as needed, and you can get a more consistent cook on whatever it is you're cheffing up.

Depending on the severity of the bend, your baking sheet may be able to stick around for a little bit longer. Cook'n notes that slight warping won't affect your cooking, but if you grab your sheet pans from HomeGoods and continue to use them long after they've bent enough to pop and hiss in the oven, you should probably swap them out for a new, heavier duty set, with a raised rim to help weigh it down.