Real talk: You can’t just throw food in your oven, you filthy animal. You need to put it in something, obviously. So to that end we’re going to talk about oven safe vessels. Like with knives, you’re only going to need a few basic pieces for the vast majority of applications. First and foremost is a baking sheet.
BAKING SHEET: A baking sheet is the most basic ovenware, and you need one. Cookies? Baking sheet. Pizza? Baking sheet. Potato skins? Baking sheet. Get a baking sheet. There are a few kinds, but most of them are more trouble than they’re worth.Only buy single solid piece baking sheets, don’t buy baking sheets that consist of multiple pieces of metal. Aluminum is fine, just make sure it’s 10 gauge or thicker. Don’t spend more than twenty-five dollars. That’s it, that’s all you need to know, go get one.
ROASTING PAN: If you want to roast or braise you’ll need one of these, I’m talking four raised sides about four to six inches deep. Heavier is a good direction to go. Because you use a roasting pan for longer cooking dishes, material stability tends to be more important than outright performance. Stainless steel is a good choice for this kind of thing. The roasting pan is likely to be the most expensive general purpose ovenware you buy, but unless you get something really fancy don’t pay more than sixty bucks.
JELLY ROLL PAN: A jelly roll pan is a lot like a smaller baking sheet with slightly raised edges. These pans are good for all the foods that are too mobile or juicy for a standard baking sheet, but don’t exactly warrant a full roasting pan. Personally, I love making brownies in a jelly roll pan, they cook faster and bake more uniformly. As with the baking sheet, this pan should be one solid piece. Aluminum heats evenly so it’s a good way to go, but mind that if its not thick enough it may warp during cooking. This too should not cost more than twenty-five bucks.