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how to clean aluminum cookie sheet boiled with watermarks | Family Cuisine

If you are looking for a way to clean your aluminum cookie sheet, boiled with watermarks, this article is for you.

They come in sizes big and small, rimmed or without sides. We use them to bake just about anything, but mostly cookies. And they can get super grungy with layers of baked- and burnt-on grease resulting in ugly stains and residue build-up.

dirty sheet pan

Does anything here look familiar to you? If so, I have good news. Your cookie sheets can be cleaned and restored, quite possibly back to the way they looked when new.

What follows are relatively quick and easy ways to clean cookie sheets, depending on the severity of the baked-on grease, stubborn food residue, and even rust on any type of cookie and baking sheets—aluminum, aluminized steel, and non-stick—and then how to clean and maintain to keep them sparkling clean.

Baked-on grease can be a tough mess to deal with, especially if it has built-up over many uses. But the following methods for each type of sheet pan should help solve the problem.

Sprinkle cream of tartar all over the top of your baking sheets. Add water and bring to a boil over the stovetop for 5 minutes. This should lift the grease off of the pan. Simply rinse away any remaining residue and dry.

Place your cookie sheet on the stove. Fill about halfway with water and a few drops of Blue Dawn dishwasing liquid. Bring the water to a gentle boil for about five minutes. Let the liquid cool completely, then scrub the pan with a stainless steel scrubbing pad to remove baked-on grease.

Sprinkle the top of the cookie sheet with baking soda. Pour vinegar over the baking soda so that the powder begins to fizz. Let the sheet stand for 30 minutes. Gently scrub any remaining grease. Rinse thoroughly and dry.

Washing Soda and Cream of Tartar

  1. Sprinkle equal amounts of washing soda (not baking soda) and cream of tartar onto the cookie sheet.
  2. Pour a small amount of very hot water on top of the sheet.
  3. Mix the ingredients into a thick paste.
  4. Spread the paste evenly across the pan, making sure to cover all of the gunk and grime.
  5. Let sit for 15 minutes only, especially if you are cleaning an aluminum pan.
  6. Scrub stains with a non-abrasive scrubbing pad, like Scotchbrite heavy-duty for aluminized steel or non-scratch for aluminum and stainless steel.
  7. Wash paste and dirt off the pan with hot water and blue Dawn.
  8. Rinse well, then dry thoroughly before storing.

Baking Soda and Water

  1. Create a paste with warm water and baking soda
  2. Cover the cookie sheet with the paste
  3. Let sit for 30 minutes
  4. Gently rub stains with a nylon scrubber until the spots are gone
  5. Wash thoroughly and dry immediately
  6. How to maintain cookie sheets

To prevent a build-up of food residue, grease, or rust going forward, follow these tips for cleaning and maintaining baking and cookie sheets.

  • Avoid big messes to begin with by lining your pan with aluminum foil, parchment paper, or silicone baking mats.
  • Coat pans with a very light layer of oil to prevent rusting.
  • After washing, immediately dry cookie sheets to avoid a build-up of bacteria and rust.
  • When possible, hand-wash cookie sheets immediately after use


Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Half Sheet. These are my absolute favorite cookie sheets. First, because they are inexpensive, but also because they are relatively heavy but not too heavy to be easily managed in and out of the oven. They clean up well and have a nice rim size.

While I also own this cookie sheet in full-sheet size, I use it rarely because it’s super large. The half-sheet size might be the only sheet pan you’ll ever need—and so nice you might want to own two.


Wilton Perfect Results Premium Non-Stick 21 x 15-Inch Mega Baking Pan. This is a very nice cookie sheet and the price is right. However, in that it has a non-stick coating, it is delicate, requiring gentle handling and care.

Aluminized steel

USA Pan Warp Resistant Non-Stick Aluminized Steel Bakeware Cookie Sheet. While a bit more pricey than aluminum, aluminized steel is much heavier which makes it more warp-resistant; it conducts heat super well and is resistant to scratching. Quite easy to clean and maintain, too.


A good cookie sheet is one you’ll be making delicious memories with for years to come. And when you know exactly how to clean your baking sheets and keep them free of baked-on grease, grime, and gunk it will give you that spark of joy that makes baking so much fun.

Start with a good one like the Nordic Ware that I recommended above, and you’ll never have to worry about hopelessly stained cookie sheets or heat warping again.

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