When To Use Light Or Dark Baking Sheets

When To Use Light Or Dark Baking Sheets
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Baking sheets come in different shades, and that’s not just a decor choice — depending on what you’re baking, the colour of your pan matters. Here’s when to use a light baking sheet versus a darker one.

Photo by Rebecca Siegel

The Kitchn breaks it down:

If you are wondering about the difference between light and dark pans, think about this: When you go out into the hot summer sun, what happens when you are wearing a darker T-shirt versus a light pastel or white T-shirt? Your shirt heats up more and a lot faster if it’s made of a dark material. The same goes for bakeware placed in the oven. Darker materials and black pans typically absorb and also radiate more heat.

When you are debating between using a light- or dark-coloured pan to bake with in your oven, consider what you wish to achieve: Do you want the pan to get really hot and radiate lots of heat onto your food or do you want a gentler, lighter heat?

They suggest using a darker sheet or pan when you want crispy baked goods — like pizza crust or potato wedges. If you’ve got an old, used, blackened baking sheet, use it for roasting veggies. Use a lighter pan for cakes and biscuits. This keeps your cakes from browning too quickly on the edges before they’re thoroughly cooked.

If you don’t have the right colour pan, the Kitchn also offers some tips on how to modify the baking temperature with your current pans. Head to the link below to read more.

When to Use a Light-Coloured Pan, and When to Use a Dark One [TheKitchn]


  • This is so outrageously incorrect its hilarious!
    A black shirt in the sun heats up more because, being black, adsorbs all the solar energy that falls on it, while a white shirt will reflect it.
    A metal pan in an oven is absorbing heat from the heat generated from the element not a light bulb. It’s ability to adsorb heat is affected by the composition of the material, not what colour paint is on the top.

    • First look up a concept called “emissivity”. Wikipedia should do it. Then appreciate the fact that one of the primary sources of heat in an oven is the infra-red radiation of every surface in it. The hot air in the oven is another source, but because air is a great insulator with very little thermal mass, it is a relatively less significant source of heat. Regardless, a dark surface with high emissivity will both heat faster and radiate more heat once hot than a light or shiny surface. Whether this is a significant difference in the oven which will have any real effect on your baking is another matter, but the principle is scientifically sound.

  • This article is talking about baking sheets, some are made from silicon (aka NOT metal). So it is plausible that the darker sheets heat up quicker.

  • It would be interesting to see if there’s any difference when it’s actually tested but I would assume for the purposes of baking the insulative or conductive properties of the material would be much more important.

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