Sheet pan meals are a combination of protein and vegetables roasted together in the oven to make a quick and easy meal. While there are hundreds of delicious sheet pan recipes to choose from, creating your own is simple and a great way to use up leftover ingredients. Here are some tips to help you create your own sheet pan meal.
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What makes a great sheet pan meal?
A great sheet pan meal is quick, family-friendly, and easy to prepare. And because the entire meal is cooked on one sheet pan clean up is a breeze! Just pick your favorite protein, add a couple of vegetables, and a pop of flavor, then toss it all together on a sheet pan for a complete dinner.
1. Choose a protein
Most meals start by choosing a protein. Plan to cook 1/4 to 3/4 pounds per person. Here are suggested cooking times for some of the most popular proteins. Remember that all ovens and therefore cook times will vary. It is best to check your food’s temperature using an probe thermometer. This one is my favorite.
Poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer, make sure all of the juices that come from the chicken run clear and not pink.
|Cut of Chicken||Cooking Time at 400 degrees|
|Chicken Breast Bone-In||30 to 40 Minutes|
|Chicken Breast Boneless||20 to 30 Minutes|
|Chicken Thigh Bone-In||30 to 45 Minutes|
|Chicken Thigh Boneless||25 to 40 Minutes|
|Chicken Drumstick||30 to 40 Minutes|
|Turkey Breast Bone-In||40 to 50 Minutes|
|Turkey Breast Boneless||25 to 35 Minutes|
Need some inspiration
- Chicken Asparagus Bake Sheet Pan Dinner – Joy Filled Eats
- Sheet Pan Garlic Chicken “Milanese: with Lemon – The Clever Meal This delicious sheet pan Milanese chicken with veggies light and healthy, but it’s also super easy to assemble and to clean up, basically a full meal that makes everyone happy with only one pan to wash!
- Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables – To Simply Inspire This healthy Sheet Pan Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables is perfectly seasoned with basil, garlic and balsamic and oven-baked. It’s a delicious all in one meal that is ready in about 20 minutes.
- Teriyaki Sheet Pan Chicken Dinner – Curry Trail This best ever teriyaki sheet pan chicken recipe is a meal itself all made in one sheet pan, loaded with amazing flavors. We are talking about simple and best homemade Teriyaki sauce.
- Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas – This Chicken Fajita Freezer Meal is filled with tender juicy chicken, charred bell peppers and onions, wrapped in a warm tortilla and topped with your favorite toppings. It is delicious, so easy to make, and tastes better than any restaurant meal for a fraction of the cost.
Whole cuts of pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Followed by a three minute rest time. Ground pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
|Cut of Pork||Cooking Time at 400 degrees|
|Pork Chop Bone-In 1-inch Thick||25 to 35 Minutes|
|Pork Chop Boneless 1-inch Thick||20 to 30 Minutes|
|Pork Tenderloin||45 to 60 Minutes|
|Pork Sausage Links||20 – 35 Minutes|
Need some inspiration
- Fall Sheet Pan Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Vegetables – Food Wine Sunshine This easy dinner recipe is ready in about 30 minutes with only about 5 minutes of prep time. Full of flavor and hassle-free, this easy recipe is sure to please the whole family.
- Polynesian Sheet Pan Pork Chops – Who Needs a Cape Polynesian Sheet Pan Pork Chops are so easy to prepare. This meal has loads of flavor from pork, veggies, pineapple, and a tangy sauce.
- Maple Balsamic Pork Tenderloin Sheet Pan Dinner – Cooking with Carlee Moist and flavorful pork tenderloin cooked right along with fresh green beans and potatoes. It’s a perfect sheet pan dinner that will have your whole family asking for more!
Beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Not all cuts of beef are well suited to sheet pan meals.
|Cut of Beef||Cooking Time at 400 degrees|
|Flank Steak Seared on Both Sides||8 to 12 Minutes|
Need some inspiration
- Sheet Pan Steak Fajita Wraps – Cook at Home Mom Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas made with bell peppers, red onions, and homemade fajita seasoning. Serve them with lettuce wraps and some avocado and you’ve got yourself a healthy, low carb dinner in under 20 minutes!
Seafood should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer, fish should be opaque and flake easily with a fork.
|Seafood||Cooking Time at 400 degrees|
|Shrimp||5 to 8 Minutes|
|Salmon Fillet 1-inch Thick||8 to 12 Minutes|
|White Fish (Cod, Tilapia, Hake, or Halibut) 1-inch Thick||8 to 12 Minutes|
|Tuna Steak 1-inch Thick||8 to 12 Minutes|
Need some inspiration
- Cuban-Inspired Sheet Pan Salmon – Baked the Blog This Cuban-inspired sheet pan salmon is a filling and delicious meal on its own, however, you could extend it by serving it over rice, quinoa, or a mix of rice and beans.
- Keto Sheet Pan Salmon & Asparagus – Keto Cooking Wins Perfect for spring, this Lemon & Dill Sheet Pan Salmon & Asparagus recipe is easy, tasty, and satisfying. Plus, the cleanup is a breeze!
- Sheet Pan Fish Cakes with Vegetables – Imagelicious Perfect springtime sheet pan meal with fish cakes and seasonal vegetables.
Before cooking tofu should be dried to make sure it becomes crispy. Lay pieces out on a kitchen towel for 10 to 30 minutes.
|Vegetable Protein||Cooking Time at 400 degrees|
|Tofu 1/2-inch Rectangles or 1-inch Cubes||30 to 45 Minutes|
2. Choose your vegetables
Once you have selected a protein it is time to choose the vegetables. The easiest way to choose the vegetables is to look for ones with similar cooking times as your protein choice. Make sure to cut the vegetables down to a consistent size to ensure even cooking. Coat your vegetables with oil and seasoning and do not crowd the sheet pan to ensure even browning. To make vegetable selection easy refer to the list below of vegetables and their cooking times.
|Vegetable 1/2-inch pieces unless specified||Cooking Time at 400 degrees|
|Asparagus, whole||8 to 15 Minutes|
|Beets||25 to 40 Minutes|
|Broccoli||10 to 15 Minutes|
|Brussels Sprouts||20 to 30 Minutes|
|Butternut Squash||25 to 40 Minutes|
|Cauliflower||25 to 45 Minutes|
|Carrots||30 to 45 Minutes|
|Cherry tomatoes, whole||25 to 50 Minutes|
|Chickpeas, canned||40 to 55 Minutes|
|Eggplant||25 to 45 Minutes|
|Leeks||20 to 35 Minutes|
|Peppers (red, green, orange)||30 to 45 Minutes|
|Potatoes||25 to 35 Minutes|
|Sweet Potatoes||30 to 40 Minutes|
|Zucchini||40 to 55 Minutes|
Need some inspiration
- Sheet Pan Eggs – Little Sunny Kitchen Easy sheet pan eggs to feed a crowd, made in just half an hour. Perfect for breakfasts, brunches, light lunches, and meal prep.
- Sheet Pan Gnocchi Meal Prep – Carmy Made in under 30 minutes, this Sheet Pan Gnocchi Meal Prep is healthy, filling, and also perfect as a last-minute dinner!
3. Add some seasoning
For simplicity’s sake, I will use the same seasoning on every ingredient. I simply add all of my ingredients to a large bowl and toss with olive oil and my seasonings. But you could also season each ingredient separately to create different flavor combinations.
Add additional raw ingredients or sauces after cooking. Give your meal a flavor boost by adding fresh herbs, sliced radishes, baby arugula, or a quick sauce after cooking.
Seasoning combinations to try
Take your sheet pan meal to the next level by adding some different herbs and spices. Most cuisines identify with a certain combination of flavors. Try some of these flavor profile suggestions below:
- Mexican: chili powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, oregano, paprika, cumin, cilantro, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and ground black pepper
- Italian: oregano, marjoram, thyme, basil, rosemary, sage, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and ground black pepper
- Greek: oregano, basil, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and ground black pepper
- Asian: basil, cinnamon, cilantro, coriander, chiles, cloves, cumin, garlic powder, ginger, lemongrass, spearmint, star anise, and turmeric
- Indian: garam masala, turmeric, curry powder, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, clove, black pepper, salt, and fennel seed
4. Cook your sheet pan meal
- Use a Commercial-Grade Half Sheet Pan: When roasting your dinner you don’t want to crowd your ingredients. The standard size for a half sheet pan is 13″ X 18″ which will allow the heat to circulate around all of the ingredients creating a delicious caramelization rather than steaming the ingredients into a soggy mess. Look for a heavy pan that is at least 18 gauge. Remember the higher the gauge the thinner the pan so a 13 gauge pan would be even better.
- Line Your Sheet Pan for Easy Clean-Up: I love to cook but I hate cleaning up. Which is why I typically line my sheet pans with foil or parchment paper. That way nothing sticks to the pan requiring me to scrub it later.
- Choose Proteins and Vegetables with Similar Cooking Times: Different proteins and vegetables have different cooking times. Nothing is worse than burning green beans while you wait for chicken thighs to cook or drying out fish while you wait for sweet potatoes to become tender. To create the simplest and easiest sheet pan meal choose ingredients with the same cooking time.
- Add Ingredients in Stages: Ok, so you really want to eat green beans and chicken thighs for dinner. There is a way to work around the differences in cooking times. Add the ingredients to the sheet pan in stages. Start by adding ingredients with longer cooking times first, then as they are nearing completion add your additional ingredients. For our chicken and green bean example, roast the chicken thighs at 400 degrees for 15 minutes then add the green beans and roast for an additional 20 minutes.
- Use a Wire Rack: Earlier I mentioned that you want to maximize airflow especially when you want your ingredients to become crispy. Try adding a wire rack to your sheet pan. This is especially great for cooking breaded chicken or fish. To ensure a crispy coating, scatter your vegetables on the sheet pan and then place a wire rack on top where you will place your protein keeping it away from the moisture below.
- Know When to Keep Ingredients Separate: If you are cooking items like roasted vegetables that should be tossed halfway through cooking along with fish fillets for example. Keep the items separate. This way you can easily flip your vegetables without disturbing the fish. You can either use to opposite ends of on sheet pan or just use two smaller sheet pans.
- Use the Broiler: If you want a little extra crispiness to your sheet pan meal turn the broiler on for the last couple of minutes. But pay close attention broilers can take food from crispy deliciousness to a burnt mess quickly.
Looking for some more great sheet pan recipes? Check out this post: Quick and Easy Sheet Pan Meals
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