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January/February 2019

Rimmed Baking Sheet Lid

No kitchen should be without a rimmed baking sheet and a matching wire rack. Is a plastic lid essential, too?

How We Tested

Few pieces of equipment get more use in the test kitchen than rimmed baking sheets. They're indispensable for roasting, baking, and all kinds of kitchen prep work. When we learned that our favorite model, the Nordic Ware Baker's Half Sheet ($14.97), had a lid, we were intrigued. After all, we often wrap trays in plastic wrap or aluminum foil when preparing food to cook later, transporting dishes to a party, or storing leftovers. A good lid would be a handy alternative. And if the plastic was sturdy enough, we could stack things on top of it, maximizing space in a crowded refrigerator. We purchased several copies of the lid ($10.13) and started testing.

We Put the Lid to the Test

First things first: Does the lid keep food fresh? To find out, we sliced eggplants into planks and divided them among three rimmed baking sheets. We covered each one with a different material—the lid, plastic wrap, or aluminum foil—and then stored them in the refrigerator overnight. We performed a similar test with fresh fruit, stored in the freezer for a week. In both cases, the lid performed similarly to our usual disposable wraps. The eggplant didn't discolor or dry out. The fruit was also in good form.

We did two additional food tests to gauge the height and sturdiness of the lid. First, we baked a sheet cake, frosted it, placed a lid on the sheet, and stacked 10 pounds of cans and bowls on top. We left it for 24 hours, periodically jostling those heavy items. Although the lid sagged a bit in the middle, it didn't touch the top of the cake, and the plastic didn't crack or look damaged afterward. The cake was still tender, too. Next, we proofed two balls of pizza dough in a covered baking sheet in the refrigerator for three days. They fit neatly and turned out perfectly soft and tender. We typically proof pizza dough balls in medium bowls covered with plastic wrap, which hog space in the refrigerator. The baking sheet took up much less room, and we liked that we could stack things on top of it.

The Lid Was Easy and Convenient to Use

In addition to allowing stacking, the lid had another advantage over the wraps: It was easier to use. Rimmed baking sheets are fairly bulky, and covering them often requires multiple, overlapping sheets of foil or plastic. It was a breeze to snap the lid into place. We liked that we could quickly remove and replace the lid instead of peeling back plastic or aluminum and then trying to smooth it into place again. The lid was also easy to wash. Even when we deliberately stained it with oil, curry powder, and garlic, it cleaned up quickly. It emerged from 10 rounds in the dishwasher looking like new.

That said, we do have one criticism. The lid attaches to a baking sheet in two places with slim plastic strips that slide underneath the edges of the sheet's short sides. It was enough to keep food fresh and nothing spilled when we carried the sheets around the kitchen, but it would have felt more secure if it attached on all four sides.

We Have a New Trio

For years, we've maintained that a rimmed baking sheet and a wire rack is a must-have combination. A lid also increases the sheet's usefulness by converting it into a food storage container. Whether you're storing food, cooking, or baking, the Nordic Ware Half Sheet Cover is sure to come in handy. It's available à la carte ($10.13) and as part of a set with our winning rimmed baking sheet ($26.50).

Methodology

We tested the lid for our favorite rimmed baking sheet from Nordic Ware. Testers used the lid to cover food left overnight in the refrigerator and for a week in the freezer, comparing it to baking sheets covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. We also used the lid to cover pizza dough as it proofed on a baking sheet in the refrigerator. To test the lid's durability, we weighed it down with heavy items, deliberately stained it, and ran it through the dishwasher 10 times. We purchased the lid online; it is sold either à la carte or as a set with the rimmed baking sheet.

Rating Criteria

Ease of Use: We attached the lid to multiple copies of our winning rimmed baking sheet, evaluating how tightly it snapped into place and how easy it was to remove. Throughout testing, we compared it to plastic wrap and aluminum foil.

Performance: We used the lid to cover sheets of food in the refrigerator and freezer as well as to cover pizza dough as it proofed, again comparing its performance to that of plastic wrap or aluminum foil used to cover sheets or bowls of the same foods. In each test, we examined the food for discoloration and dryness.

Durability: To test the lid's strength, we snapped it onto a rimmed baking sheet and placed 10 pounds of food on top. We checked to see if the lid sagged, cracked, or chipped. Finally, we stained the lid, washed it by hand, and then checked for stains and odors. We also ran it through the dishwasher 10 times.

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The Results

Winner
Recommended

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

$33.31*

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Winner
Recommended

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

$33.31*

Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12"

Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.