Tips for Everyday Sheet Pan Dinners

Sheet pan dinners are easy to make and look and taste great.  It's a one-pan dinner that's easy to customize.  You make them in your oven, of course.  But did you know you can also cook these in the summer, on your grill?  You can!  How can you make sure that yours comes out perfect?  Just remember these tips…

When cooking sheet pan dinners on the grill, use indirect heat.  Placing your sheet pan over indirect heat (on the rack close to but not directly over the flame) helps your grill to function like an oven (make sure to keep the lid closed, too).

Don't overload your pan!  If you crowd your ingredients together on the pan, you'll end up steaming, not browning.  If needed, use 2 pans.

Parchment paper or no parchment paper?  We say no.  You'll get better browning if you don't line the pan with parchment paper.  If you're afraid of sticking, brush the sheet pan lightly with canola oil before adding your food.

Start with a protein to build your sheet pan dinner.  Many types of proteins will work with a sheet pan dinner, but cuts with more fat like lamb and dark meat chicken are more forgiving of overcooking.  That will give you more flexibility when choosing the sides that will be cooking alongside.

Make sure ingredient sizes are uniform.  If you're cutting up potatoes, for instance, make sure all the pieces are the same size so that they'll be done at the same time.  For whole ingredients, like chicken thighs or fish fillets, the same rule applies- a fillet that's smaller than the rest will be overdone by the time the rest are cooked through.

Will everything be done at the same time?  It depends.  Here are some general rules: boneless meat cooks faster than bone-in.  Root vegetables like potatoes and carrots take longer to cook than green vegetables like green beans and asparagus.  Leafy greens, like kale, cook the quickest.  You can add ingredients to the pan in stages, starting with the longer-cooking ingredients, then adding the quicker-cooking ones to the pan later.

Can I add fresh herbs?  Yes!  Keep in mind that sturdy herbs like rosemary and thyme work best.  Those with softer leaves like basil and cilantro are best added before serving, as a garnish.

Speaking of garnishes…after your sheet pan meal is done, it's easy to add flavor and some Insta-worthy pizazz before serving with a squeeze of fresh citrus (or a little grated zest), some chopped fresh herbs or crumbled or grated cheese like feta or Parmesan!