Sheet pan dinner from iStock
In the ongoing quest to make feeding a family easier, the latest trend is sheet-pan dinners: whole meals cooked on a single sheet pan. A little chopping, slicing and spicing ahead of time, and dinner gets cooked entirely on a single pan. It simplifies dinner, ensures that everything finishes cooking at the same time, and can adapt to all different types of proteins, vegetables, carbs and spices, to offer infinite options for easy dinners — and even easier clean-up.
1. Cajun shrimp and sausage
Take a tip from the Taste Critic with the Cajun flavors of this one-sheet dinner winner. The sausage and shrimp cook up at just the same time as the zucchini and squash, imbuing the vegetables with their inherent savoriness, while the Cajun seasoning makes for an exciting kick.
Tip: Salt the zucchini and squash a little ahead of time to drain off some of the moisture; this will make them brown faster.
2. Za’atar-spiced veggies with tahini miso sauce
This colorful vegetarian meal uses purple cauliflower, orange sweet potato, yellow corn, red pepper and green broccoli to cook up a rainbow of a dinner. The vegetables get dressed in a simple miso-tahini sauce, giving them tons of umami, and the za’atar delivers an herby punch.
Tip: Always cut your vegetables to be about the same size, so that they’ll roast in about the same amount of time.
3. Parmesan pork chops with potatoes and asparagus
The classic meat and potatoes meal takes a single-pan turn, with the pork chops cooking in the oven, right alongside the vegetables and potatoes. A crisp Parmesan and panko topping brings the meal together.
Tip: Pat your pork chops dry before brushing on the oil to help the topping stick to them.
4. Fish and brown butter sauce
Brown butter makes magic with its toasted milk fats, and a wholesome dinner of green beans, fish and potatoes. The brown butter sauce gets made while the rest of the dish cooks, so while it does take an extra pan, it still has the advantage of everything being ready at once.
Tip: This recipe calls for haddock, but here in the Northwest, lingcod would make an excellent and affordable substitute.
5. Korean chicken and vegetables
This is sheet pan cooking at its best: throw together all the ingredients, let them cook in the oven, and pull it all out 30 minutes later, completely ready to serve. There’s a bit of Sriracha sauce in this one, so if your little ones are sensitive to spice, you can cut it down a bit.
Tip: Make sure you spread the vegetables out, the less they touch each other, the more consistently they will brown.
Ready to take your sheet-pan cooking up a notch? This sheet-pan paella is a bit more complicated than most of the meals here, requiring a few extra steps and a few more pans, but the result is endlessly impressive: an entire paella, straight out of your oven on a sheet pan.
Tip: If you’re buying Northwest Manila clams, you can skip purging the clams — the ones sold around here all come pre-cleaned.
7. Flank steak with garlic roasted potatoes
This recipe takes a little more prep as you have to boil the potatoes ahead of time so that they crisp up in the pan with the other vegetables. Thanks to this extra step though, you save time on the cooking by using the broil function to give everything a nice crisp finish in a much quicker time.
Tip: You can boil the potatoes the night before or in the morning to save time when you’re actually making dinner.
8. Moroccan spiced chicken
This easy toss-and-bake chicken is all about the spices, which bring big flavors to the simple combination of chicken, chickpeas and vegetables. The colorful result gives you a bowl as bright as the taste. The author recommends serving it over couscous, but you can also just add some extra chickpeas for a healthful alternative.
Tip: Double the spice mixture (or quadruple!) to have it ready for the next time you make it.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in December 2018, and updated in August 2020.