Jelly Roll Pan vs Baking Pan – What’s the difference?

Perhaps the most important part is not the recipe but rather the equipment you use when it comes to baking.

Among these, the pan you bake in is of significant consideration. For the most part, you should always use the pan the recipe requires you to.

This is because it determines the density, taste, and even size of your cakes or cookies.

It is pretty common for people to use jelly roll pans and baking pans interchangeably because they look similar.

However, the two have significant differences between them, which is why you cannot make the same dessert in both.

By breaking down the differences between both of these pans, you will likely understand why one cannot be used in place of the other.

In this guide, we will walk you through these and what exactly you can cook in them. Keep reading to find out.

What is a Jelly Roll Pan?

A jelly roll pan is a flat baking sheet with slightly raised edges.

USA Pan Bakeware Jelly Roll Pan, Warp Resistant Nonstick Baking Pan, Made in the USA from Aluminized Steel

These edges, or rims, are typically only one inch tall. This rim is what allows jelly roll pans to be multipurpose since you can bake both cakes and cookies in them.

Moreover, these pans are made from different types of materials, but you can commonly find them aluminum or aluminized steel.

Jelly roll pans tend to be smaller, which is why they can easily fit in any type of oven and easily stored. In fact, it will likely even fit in your dishwasher.

Jelly roll pans are ideal for everyday use if you have a small family since they tend to be smaller.

Also read: Best Jelly Roll Pans for Cakes and Cookies

Uses of Jelly Roll Pans

Jelly roll pans are popularly used for baking beautiful swirls of Swiss rolls. These are also known as jelly rolls, which is where these pans get their name from.

This is because they help make thin but sturdy sponge cakes that are dense enough to be rolled out with a filling in between.

Many people also use jelly roll pans for baking homemade granola, peanut butter brittles, or even meat loves.

For example, if you prefer thin blondies and brownies that are crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside, you can use a jelly roll pan for baking them perfectly.

You can also roast vegetables in this pan.

What is a Baking Pan?

Now, let’s move onto the more popular pan used for baking. You probably already have these in your kitchen.

Baking pans are the most versatile tools that can be used for baking a myriad of dishes.

Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker's Half Sheet, 2 pack, 2-Pack, Silver

They tend to run a bit larger than jelly roll pans, making them ideal for larger families. However, you can find them in various different sizes.

Moreover, you can also find baking pans in a number of different shapes, for example, in rectangle, square, round, and even heart-shaped.

Baking sheets are also perfect for beginners or for people who do not cook often.

What makes them more versatile is the fact that you can find them in a number of different materials.

These include stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum, and aluminum steel. Each of these types comes with various heat conductivity.

This means that they will also have varying cooking times.

Uses of Baking Pans

Considering how versatile baking pans are and the fact that they come in various sizes, shapes, and materials, they can definitely be multipurpose.

They can be used for anything from baking cakes, cookies, and various other desserts like tarts, to savory dishes as well.

So, for example, you can use baking pans for baking pizza, making a casserole, lasagna, fish and chips, and much more.

It really depends on the size of these pans, which will allow you to bake a number of things in these pans.

For example, you don’t necessarily need a bread pan to bake bread dough. Instead, you can bake bread in a baking pan.

Additionally, depending on the size, you can also make bread rolls in these pans.

Differences between Jelly Roll Pan and Baking Pan

Now that you know about jelly roll pans and baking pans and what they are typically used for let’s discuss their differences.

If you have been confused about which one to buy for your baking, knowing the following will help you make an informed decision.


The biggest difference between the two pans comes from the fact that one is much more versatile than the other.

Jelly roll pans only come in one shape, which is rectangular. Similarly, they also only come in two materials; aluminum and aluminized steel.

On the other hand, baking pans come in various shapes and sizes.

They are also made of a number of materials. This allows for more versatile cooking compared to a jelly roll pan.

Construction Material

Baking pans can be made of aluminum, ceramic, carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and aluminized steel.

However, that is not the case with jelly roll pans. This is because they can be made in only aluminum and aluminized steel.


Jelly roll pans come in two main sizes, which are sometimes considered too small.

These include the following:

  • 9 by 13 inches, with the deepness being 1 inch
  • 12 by 17 inches, with the deepness being 1 inch

However, they can come in much larger or much smaller sizes when it comes to baking pans.

This depends on their shape. Hence, you have various sizes to choose from but have limited choices in jelly roll pans.


Baking pans are much deeper than jelly roll pans. This is because the latter has small edges.

This means that batter can easily flow out of the pan in jelly roll pans than in baking pans. Moreover, you cannot also make bigger cakes in them.

The edges also mean that you cannot easily carry a jelly roll pan because they don’t have any handles.

But since baking pans are deeper, you can easily use the edges to hold and carry the pan.


This is an obvious difference between the two pans. You can use baking pans to make various dishes.

For example, you can make cakes, cookies, tarts, bread, pizza, bread rolls, lasagna, casseroles, and much more. In many ways, you can bake nearly any dish in these, depending on the size you have.

However, that is not the case with jelly roll pans. This is because they can only be used primarily to bake flat cakes or thin sponge cakes.

These are then used to make Swiss rolls or jelly rolls. You can also use them for roasting vegetables or baking brownies or cookies. Hence, your choices are limited.

Ease of Use

Jelly roll pans tend to be slightly more difficult to use and handle simply because they are flat and not as deep.

This means that your cake better can spill out, or you might not be able to bake all the batter.

Because of their design, you cannot also hold and carry these pans as easily either.

However, most baking pans come with handles since they are much deeper. Hence, you can much easily use or clean them.

Baking Time

This is a very subjective factor because baking time varies depending on what you are cooking.

However, if you plan to bake a cake or cookies in either of these pans, the cooking time will likely vary. This is because of their construction and design.

Baking pans tend to be thicker and larger.

This is why it will likely take much longer to bake cakes or cookies.

On the other hand, since jelly roll pans are thinner and tend to run smaller, they will not take as much time and will bake them faster.

Which to Buy – Jelly Roll Pan or Baking Pan?

Some jelly roll pans are also called baking pans because they may have a similar shape.

However, the two will not be the same. This is because baking pans will not be as deep. Hence you cannot use the two in the same way.

You can perhaps make cookies and cakes in a jelly roll pan, but you cannot bake a swiss roll or jelly roll cake in a baking pan.

Hence, deciding which one is a better choice to buy depends on your cooking needs and preferences. For example, a baking pan is a staple in a kitchen because it is so versatile.

You can bake most things in it. However, jelly roll pans are best for baking specific desserts that they are designed for.

If you want a pan for general baking, then your best bet would be a baking pan. However, if you are an avid baker of Swiss rolls or jelly rolls, you should consider buying a jelly roll pan.

Final Words

Now that you know about the main differences uses, and specifications of both pans, you can make a more informed decision.

In the end, the choice of which is better completely relies on your needs. If you are not on a budget, the best idea is to get both.

There simply cannot be anything like too many pans anyway!

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