Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel Baking Sheet – What’s The Difference?

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Buying the right baking sheet can be confusing for many people, especially for those who have just started baking. And plenty of people have turned to bake recently. According to a survey Published by Nils-Gerrit Wunsch, 57% of people in Italy baked at least once a week in 2020. 

So, if you’re new, so many questions come to mind and various factors that you might have to consider. And sometimes, we don’t even know what factors should we consider before choosing between Aluminum or stainless steel baking sheets. 

This article will try to cover most of the differences between the two in detail. In this way, you can be confident when you decide which type of baking sheet you want to have in your kitchen. Furthermore, having deep knowledge about these two baking sheets will enable you to use each one where it’s intended to be used.

This will optimize your time in the kitchen and ensure that the food you’re making is top-notch. So, take notes as you go through the article because we’re going into detail on this one.

What is Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel is an alloy (mixture of different metals) made from a combination of different metals. It is infinitely and completely recyclable, corrosion-resistant, and tough. Most of the good quality stainless steel is considered environment friendly as it is inert and doesn’t react with other materials easily.

Moreover, stainless steel doesn’t leak any compounds which might affect its structure or composition when it comes in contact with other elements, including water. In addition to these benefits, we can’t deny that stainless steel has an aesthetically pleasing look. However, the most important quality of stainless steel is its ability to resist high temperatures of more than 800°C.

 This is made possible by mixing various metals like iron, nickel, chromium and other metals. This mixture of different metals ensures that stainless steel gets the best quality of each metal. The final result is a durable alloy used to fulfill many different functions, one of which is baking sheets.

What is Aluminum

Aluminum is a naturally occurring chemical element with 13 protons and 13 electrons in its shell. It is silvery-white and is considered the most widespread metal here on earth. The total mass of Aluminum makes up 8% of the earth’s core. In fact, Aluminum is the 3rd most common element on earth after silicon and oxygen.

But unlike stainless steel, aluminum binds quickly with other metals, so it does not exist in its pure form in nature. Instead, it exists in combination with other elements, most commonly as aluminum sulfate. This is the reason why it took us so long to learn about its existence. In fact, it wasn’t until 1824 that aluminum was first produced formally, and it took an additional 50 years to mass-produce it for industrial purposes.

Now let’s talk about what sets Aluminum apart from other metals.

Aluminum is three times lighter than iron, almost as durable as steel, easily bendable, and resistant to corrosion. Aluminum is so light that if you were to use Aluminum-Zirconium wires instead of copper wires in a car, the car’s total weight would be reduced by 12 Kgs. This set of qualities makes Aluminum one of the main metals used in the construction industry and the culinary world.

Baking Pans vs. Cookie Sheets

Before we differentiate between the two Baking sheets, we believe that it’s better to understand the difference between a baking sheet and a Cookie sheet. Cookie sheets are more commonly called Baking sheets. But there is a difference between the two that sets them apart.

Cookie sheets don’t have folds on the edges of the sheet, while Baking pans do. This lack of folds provides a larger surface area for placing cookies ensures the easy removal of cookies without their shape being disturbed.

Aluminum Baking Sheet

As we have already mentioned, Aluminum is very thin, conductive, and durable. These qualities make Aluminum heat up pretty quickly, but at the same time, it losses heat quickly as well. This can be a disadvantage because you can end up with burnt food if you are not careful with the timing.

Moreover, due to the low heat retention, Aluminum is not suited for baking products that take longer to make. It’s better to start experimenting with quick and easy items to make. You might want to turn down the heat a little and start checking a few minutes before, so you don’t end up burning whatever it is you’re making.

Most of the recipes you’ll find online won’t mention which type of sheet you should use. So, it’s up to you to experiment with different temperatures and lengths of time to figure out what suits you best. But we recommend that you follow the time and temperature given in the recipe, observe the outcomes, and make changes accordingly.

One more thing about Aluminum sheets, they don’t come with a coating. So, you’ll have to use oil or anti-stick spray to prevent your food from sticking to the sheet.

Stainless Baking sheet 

Most professional chefs (and even home chefs) prefer stainless steel sheets. This is because of steel’s favorable properties, which make up for a good baking experience.  

Unlike aluminum sheets, stainless steel sheets usually get treated with non-stick coating, making things easier for us as we don’t have to grease the baking sheet again. Furthermore, stainless steel sheets don’t heat up too quickly; instead, they take some time and may require pre-heating. If you have never used a stainless steel sheet before then, you’ll find that many recipes that require less time on an aluminum sheet will take longer on a stainless steel sheet.

Another property of stainless steel sheets is that they don’t lose heat. This is beneficial if you are baking products that require high temperatures and long baking time. However, you need to be careful when taking the sheet out of the oven, as it will still be hot long after you have turned off the heat.

So What’s the Difference Between Aluminum Baking Sheet and Stainless Steel Baking Sheet?

  • Stainless steel is better at retaining of heat than Aluminum, so they cool down slowly.
  • Aluminum sheets are easier to ben while stainless steel sheets are more durable.
  • Stainless steel sheets usually come with a non-stick coating but Aluminum sheets don’t.
  • Aluminum sheets heat up much quicker than stainless steel sheets.