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One reason I love baking is because seemingly slight variations can make so much difference.
For example, even an extra few inches on the height of the baking pan being used can make or break a cake (often literally, as improperly baked cakes often fall apart when removed from the pan).
The precision required in baking makes a good finished product taste even sweeter. And that precision is what makes jelly roll pans so important. Not quite a cookie sheet, not quite a rectangular baking pan, they can produce some amazing baked goods no other baking pan can.
In this post, let’s go over why jelly roll pans are so awesome and pinpoint a few of the best ones on the market.
All About Jelly Roll Pans
To cook a jelly roll cake (also known as “log cake” or “Swiss roll”), a baker spreads a thin layer of batter on the bottom of a pan, bakes the batter, and then spreads a layer of frosting or whipped cream on the thin cake that results. The cake is rolled up and voila!
Unfortunately, using a regular baking pan with relatively tall edges is not ideal, since the batter layer is very thin and will not receive enough heat if the walls of the pan block it. On the other hand, the batter cannot be spread on a pan with no walls whatsoever like a cookie sheet or else it would drip off the pan.
The solution is a pan with a very short lip to contain the batter, not high enough to block much heat from the sides. This type of pan is known as a “jelly roll pan.”
Jelly rolls used to be a very popular baked good, but nowadays you don’t see them as much. Bakers increasingly use jelly roll pans to prepare other goodies, like peanut brittle or toffee, that are poured into the pan in a thin layer of batter or sauce before baking. The pans are also great for baking veggies, granola, and other things which might roll off the pan or release juices when baking or being moved.
Not all jelly roll pans are the same, though. There are different sizes and materials that may contribute to different cooking times, ease of cleaning, and levels of durability. Some have thought put behind their design and make baking more fun, and some are just a hassle to deal with. In the section below, I’ll go through my top picks for the best jelly roll pans of different types.
8 Best Jelly Roll Pans
1. Best Overall Jelly Roll Pan: USA Pan Jelly Roll Pan
by Sur La Table
I absolutely love this jelly roll pan. Let’s start with the material: the aluminized steel used is of the same caliber used in professional bakeries, and it’s feather-light but still offers great heat distribution.
It’s also good at preventing sticking, not to mention that it’s just the right thickness to where it doesn’t feel flimsy but it’s easy to pick up one-handed.
The corrugated bottom is a huge plus too. Corrugations to ensure good air circulation is not uncommon in jelly roll pans, but this model has slightly larger corrugations that I feel actually make a big difference.
The cherry on top is that this product manages to beat out almost all of the competition in terms of price. Whoever designed this one deserves a raise.
2. Best Nonstick Jelly Roll Pan: OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Pro Jelly Roll
If you’re considering baking actual jelly roll cakes (or some other type of thin cake) in your jelly roll pan, I highly recommend this model. Being able to release a thin cake from the pan with no breakage whatsoever is even more crucial than with thicker cakes, and this model has the best nonstick material on the market.
The coating is commercial grade Swiss engineering at its finest, with two layers of ceramic reinforcement. You might not need such advanced nonstick technology if you’re only planning on using the jelly roll pan for things like roasted vegetables or baked nuts, but jelly roll enthusiasts should jump at the opportunity to get one for less than $25.
3. Jelly Roll Pan With the Best Handles: All-Clad Nonstick Pro Release Jelly Roll Pan
Nice handles are a luxury that most baking pans do not include because of additional cost. If you’re willing to shell out just a bit more, though, you can get this model that is very easy to pull in and out of the oven or to transport around the kitchen.
This is especially important if you plan to use the jelly roll pan for things like peanut brittle that fill the whole pan and can’t exactly be touched before or during baking. The material used is pretty good at nonstick, too.
4. Best Jelly Roll Pan for New Bakers: Traditionaltouch™ Jelly Roll Sheet and Silpat Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat Set
Every baker should have at least one jelly roll pan and at least one baking mat, and this set conveniently provides a really good version of each one.
The pan itself is simple but effective. It’s made of a lightweight but sturdy material and has angled edges that make it easier to pick up.
The baking mat fits into the pan snugly (they were literally made for each other, after all) and effectively gives the pan the best nonstick bottom money can buy.
Those who are new to baking and need some equipment should definitely look into this quality set.
5. Best Textured Jelly Roll Pan: Platinum Pro Jellyroll Pan
by Sur La Table
The fact that the corrugations on the bottom of this pan are diagonal is a brilliant design decision. Not only does it provide the superior air flow of any corrugated bottom, but it gives the pan a bump in durability.
The diagonal corrugations act like supports, making the pan more resistant to warping or denting. The steel wire added to the rim of the pan helps make it even more durable.
I should also mention the pan’s coating, which is top-of-the-line when it comes to preventing sticking and cleans up very easily.
6. Best Ceramic Jelly Roll Pan: Baking Sheet
Ceramic heats more evenly than metals like aluminum, meaning that ceramic bakeware creates a smaller chance of unevenly cooked baked goods. It also looks fantastic.
Whenever I bake in ceramic, for example, I like to bring the pan to the table after baking just because it looks so nice.
Protip: if you do this, make sure the pan is cool enough first to where it won’t burn the table! Metal heats up faster, which is why most jelly roll pans use it as their material.
With this combination of a ceramic exterior and a metal interior baking surface, though, you’ll get the best of both worlds.
7. Best Jelly Roll Pan Set: Chicago Metallic Jelly Roll Set
The two jelly roll pans in this set are a really nice addition to a baker’s arsenal, as they are uniform and can stack together in the cupboard to save space. They have nice heat distribution and nonstick capabilities as well.
This set is ideal for cooking multiple dishes at once. The cooling rack is a great addition, allowing any small goodies like cookies or vegetables that you bake or reheat in these great jelly roll pans to cool in a fraction of the time they would on most pans.
8. Best Jelly Roll Mat: Silpat Silicone Jelly Roll Mat
This is the same baking mat I mentioned in my section about “best jelly roll pan for new bakers.” If you already have a pan that you know and love, though, I’d recommend picking the appropriate size of this Silpat baking sheet and getting that. The sheet is super flexible and easy to use, but it’s also very durable and does not get marked up easily.
Recipes For Your New Jelly Roll Pan
Whenever I get a new baking tool, I want to use it as soon as possible to break it in. In case you’re the same way, here are a few recipes I’ve been making for years using the jelly roll pans I discussed above.
Jelly Roll Pan FAQ
For moderate stains, mix together vinegar and baking soda to form a paste and spread it liberally on top of the jelly roll pan. Leave the paste there for at least 30 minutes, and viola! Your pan should be totally clean. If the pan has baked-in grease or more serious stains the vinegar and baking soda method won’t get rid of, substitute hydrogen peroxide for the vinegar. After spreading the paste, leave for three hours. This heavier-duty method should leave your pan looking like new!
Yes! In fact, most jelly roll pan owners never actually use it to make a jelly roll. The pans are perfect for things like cookies, brownies, and toffee that only use a thin layer of batter. With their shallow rim, they’re also great for baking vegetables without allowing the juices to drip off the pan.
Are You Ready for the Jelly?
Jelly roll pans are an awesome baking tool that opens doors to new and delicious recipes.
The name can be a bit misleading because most people have no idea what jelly rolls are, but the pans can actually cook all manner of delicious treats! They’re easier to handle than traditional high-rimmed baking pans, and they’re easier to clean.
Unless you’re baking a cake that needs a higher rim, there’s no reason not to go with one or more of the wonderful jelly roll pans mentioned above!
Last update on 2022-02-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API