How To: Clean Cookie Sheets
If burned pans are bumming out your baking experience, try our goofproof technique—using just two common household ingredients—to make those cookie sheets as good as new.
There’s nothing quite like whipping up a batch of homemade cookies. But once the fun of baking and eating is over, sometimes you’re left with sheet pans lined with browned grease—especially if you left the cookies in the oven a bit too long or, over the years, were a little lax about getting those pans spic and span. Luckily, there’s an easy solution for banishing brown, burnt gunk from most pans (cast iron and carbon steel excluded).
Regular dish soap isn’t strong enough to work on deep-seated grime. But you can get the job done with two common, inexpensive ingredients: baking soda and hydrogen peroxide (a mild disinfectant and oxidizer available at any drugstore for less than $3). Hydrogen peroxide is a natural cleaning agent that, when mixed with baking soda, alkalizes to loosen gunk the way other cleaners can’t. So read on for the right formula and guidance on how to clean cookie sheets. Whip up one batch of the mixture outline below, and you can get an average-sized pan in shape once again.
Pour about ¼ cup baking soda into any type of bowl. Then, slowly add the hydrogen peroxide a few drops at a time, stirring as you go. (Don’t worry if you get a bit of fizzing.) Obtaining the ideal thick paste consistency generally requires two to three tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide. If you add a little too much liquid, even it out with some more baking soda.
Place your dirty cookie sheet pan flat in the sink or a washtub. If you don’t have a big enough basin, lay a large old towel on your kitchen counter and place the dirty pan on top.
Generously spoon the baking soda-hydrogen peroxide paste onto the business side of the baking sheet, covering it completely. There’s no need to scrub or work the paste into the pan.
Let the paste-covered pan sit undisturbed for about two hours—usually enough dwell time for the mixture to break away at the burnt-on crud.
Run some warm water over a household sponge (not an abrasive pad, which could scratch non-stick surfaces) and start to gently scrub the pan. The brown grime should be significantly loosened. Some tough spots still might take a bit of elbow grease, but most of the gunk should come off easily. Scrub until the pan is sparkling, then rinse with warm water.
Immediately dry the clean pan thoroughly. This step is especially important—skip it, and you run the risk of developing rust or corrosion.
If the back of the cookie sheet pan is also burnt and stained, repeat all steps on the other side.
Now you’re ready to bake some more cookies. Be sure to set a timer for this batch! It may do you well to also consider laying down some parchment paper rather than a thin coat of cooking spray; the fomer won’t leave behind any sticky residue to burn and bog down dish-washing.