How to Prevent Cookie Sheets from Turning Brown?

A cookie sheet is an essential piece of bakeware to own if you want to try baking. Cookie sheets are versatile and can be used for baking chewy chocolate chip cookies and roasting vegetables due to their flat surfaces and round edges. However, a cookie sheet can change from silver to brown over time if it is frequently used and has long-baked grease.

If you want to prevent your cookie sheets from turning brown, always line them with parchment paper, aluminum foil, or silicone baking mats. In addition, your cookie sheet may also turn brown due to rust, so be sure to always dry your cookie sheet thoroughly after washing it. 

Looking for ways to prevent your cookie sheets from turning brown, or how to make your brown sheets look new? Continue reading to find out when you should replace cookie sheets. You will also learn what you can do with your old cookie sheet instead of throwing it away. 

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How to Prevent Cookie Sheets from Turning Brown

Why Do Cookie Sheets Turn Brown?

Your cookie sheets are turning brown and losing their original shape, color, coating, and shine for several reasons. Usually, it depends on the cookie sheets type; that is if they can turn brown, catch rust, or develop stains. 

If the cookie sheet is made of uncoated aluminum, then the oil we use in our food or grease the pan to keep things from sticking to the pan can cause the cookie sheet to turn brown. But, if the cookie sheet is made of metal, it can catch rust because of moisture. Similarly, your stainless steel cookie sheet can be discolored because of heating at high temperatures.

If it is not well taken care of, a cookie sheet will look old because of its frequent use. Long baked grease can turn the cookie sheet to lose its natural shine. Like, if you are using olive oil to grease the pan, it can ruin your cookie sheet color when food is being cooked at a high temperature because olive oil has a low cooking temperature.

However, always wash and dry your cookie sheets thoroughly after baking but make sure cookie sheets are cool down before washing to avoid any damage. 

Read Also: Can You Bake Brownies in a Pyrex Dish?

When Should You Change Cookie Sheets?

Your cookie sheets can last more than five years before there is a need to change them. But it depends on the quality of the cookie sheets and how well you take care of them. We keep thinking of replacing cookie sheets and other bakeware and always try to avoid it. 

But if you notice the following signs in your cookie sheet, you should definitely change them.

  1. If your non-stick coating is peeling off or does not have the same effect as it used to.
  2. If you find bits of the cookie sheet coating in your food, it is best to change them. 
  3. When a pot has cracks and dents, it can be tricky to avoid undercooking and overcooking, which can cause uneven cooking.
  4. If the surface of your cookie sheet is imbalanced or has risen from the center.

Cookie sheets can be stained and brown, but it is okay if it is not affecting their performance. However, if you find peeled-off coating or dents and scratches, then it’s time to go shopping and replace your cookie sheets.

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How to Clean Cookie Sheets?

If you are thinking of discarding your cookie sheet because of its poor condition, you should try deep cleaning it once. There are plenty of products available, but to make this process easier to use ingredients you already have in your kitchen. Try the following tips.

1. Baking Soda and Vinegar

Mix ½ cup baking soda and 1⁄2 cup vinegar with hot water. It will bubble up and help to loosen the residue on sheets. 

Baking soda works best for breaking down acidic stuff. Plug the sink and soak the cookie sheet in a mixture of baking soda and vinegar for at least 30 mins then scrub it away with steel wool. After scrubbing, wash it with regular soap, and your cookie sheet will be as new. 

2. Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda

First, sprinkle baking soda on your cookie sheet, then hydrogen peroxide, then again a layer of baking soda. Now, let it sit for two hours; then scrub it with a sponge and wash it with regular washing soap. And your cookie sheet will look new again.

The mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda can be harsh; therefore, test it on a small patch before using it, especially if you have a different material pan or coating on your pan.

Read Also: Why Do Baking Sheets Bend in the Oven?

What Should You Do with Expired Cookie Sheets?

How to Prevent Cookie Sheets from Turning Brown1

If your cookie sheets are not usable, and you want to replace them, consider donating those to your local charity to assist those in need of basic household items.

On the other hand, if your cookie sheets are damaged and can not be used for baking anymore, then, instead of tossing out the expired cookie sheets, you can recycle or repurpose these for non-cooking tasks. 

Following are some of the ideas; which you can use to convert your expired cookie sheets into something useful and creative.

  1. It can be used as an organizer for your dresser after painting it with acrylics to match the decor in your bedroom.
  2. Play with different colors to change it into a rainbow kitchen trivet.
  3. You can paint it black to make it a chalkboard that you can use as a notepad to leave a message for family members or make a to-do list.
  4. It can be decorated to use as a serving tray. 
  5. Your local waste management or metal collectors accept unusable cookie sheets to recycle them.


In conclusion, cookie sheets can last longer if you use parchment paper or aluminum foil to avoid them turning brown. But if your cookie sheet has turned brown due to frequent use, then you can clean them using baking soda. Furthermore, you can also repurpose your old cookie sheets for decor or serving purposes.

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