Sheet pan meals are one of my favorite ways to prepare dinner. They are quick to prepare and easy to clean up. Put a few vegetables and a meat on the pan, stick it in the oven for a short time, and Voila! Dinner is done! Yes, super easy, but there’s a little more to it than that. I put together a simple guideline and general roasting times all in one place for easy reference.
How to Make Sheet Pan Meals
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Typically, sheet pan meals go on an 18-by-13 inch sheet pan (also known as half sheet pans) that has a 1-inch rim. The pan has to be sturdy enough to handle the heat and carry the load of food safely. The rim keeps juices and vegetables from falling off, as well as allows for better air circulation for more even roasting. I like to use a 13 – 15 gauge aluminum pan, but reviews for stainless steel sheet pans are pretty good, too. It’s also nice to have two, just in case you don’t want different flavoring blending together, or the meat and vegetables need more room.
For best results, put your pan in the center of the oven to allow better circulation. If using two pans, put them on the same rack if possible. It not, make sure there are 5″ – 6″ between the two racks. Rotate the trays about half-way through so everything is evenly cooked. I like to line my sheet pan with foil for easier cleanup.
The Perfect Sheet Pan Meal
Choose Your Oil
Pour 2 tablespoons of oil on the pan. When the vegetables and meat are added to the sheet pan, a basting brush is helpful to make sure the meat and vegetables all have a light coating of oil to help retain moisture and encourage browning. Everything on the pan needs to be spread out a little so that the vegetables actually roast and are not just steamed, which really isn’t all that bad sometimes.
Sheet Pan Vegetables
When deciding what vegetables to use, choose those that have the same cooking time and temperature, and cut the vegetables in similar sizes. Or partially roast the more dense vegetables with longer roasting times, and then add the additional vegetables to the sheet pan for the appropriate time. Bear in mind that vegetables will shrink when cooked, so be sure to add plenty of vegetables without overcrowding the pan. This is when the extra sheet pan comes in handy.
Note: Go ahead and prepare extra vegetables, but have a plan for the extras. They will keep in the fridge for 3 -4 days and will reheat beautifully, but do not freeze well.
Be sure to season the vegetables. Salt and pepper are good to start, but add other herbs and spices for more flavor. Ground herbs and spices can be sprinkled directly on the food, or included in a basting sauce or rub. If using fresh herbs, use thicker leaved herbs, such as bay leaves, oregano, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme, or crushed peeled garlic cloves.
The best temperature for roasting vegetables is 400° F/205°C for the specified time listed below. It may take 5 – 10 minutes longer for your vegetables to be nicely caramelized.
Sheet Pan Fruits
Fruit can also be added to sheet pan meals to bump up the flavor. Try cubed apples, pear or peach slices, whole or halved grapes, pineapple chunks or rings. Maybe berries – blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or strawberries would all be a delicious addition. I find fruits hold up well for 25 – 35 minutes of roasting time at 400°F/205°C.
Sheet Pan Meats
You can choose beef, chicken/poultry, fish or pork. Allow 4 to 6 ounces per person. It’s important to remember that meat or chicken with bones takes longer to cook through than boneless cuts. Follow the list below for approximate roasting times for different cuts of meat at 400° F/205°C.
Sometimes it’s necessary to turn the broiler on the last few minutes to brown the meat and vegetables a little for a more appealing look.
The Final Touch
When the sheet pan meal is finished roasting, add the final touches: a little extra seasoning if necessary, lemon juice or uncooked condiments, sauces or special salsas. Peach salsa, anyone? Maybe some grated cheese and then top with fresh herbs or curled citrus peels for a beautiful sheet pan meal presentation.
Sheet Pan Meal Time Chart
Cut in ½” slices or ½” cubes, unless specified otherwise.
- Asparagus, whole spears 8 – 14 minutes,
- Beets (slices or cubes) 25 – 35 minutes
- Bell Peppers (strips) 30 – 40 minutes
- Broccoli (florets) 10 – 15 minutes
- Brussels sprouts (halved) 20 – 25 minutes
- Cauliflower (florets or slices) 30– 45 minutes
- Carrots (½-inch slices or small whole carrots) 30 – 45 minutes
- Cherry tomatoes ( whole) 25 – 35 minutes
- Eggplant (cubes or slices) 25 – 40 minutes
- Leeks (halved) 20 – 30 minutes
- Onions (halved or quartered) 30 – 35 minutes
- Potatoes (1” cubes, sliced) 30 – 35 minutes
- Summer squash (Yellow, Zucchini, cubes or slices) 35– 45 minutes
- Sweet potatoes (cubes or slices) 35– 45 minutes
- Winter squash (Acorn, butternut, etc, (cubes or slices) 30 – 45 minutes
All ground meats NEED to cook to 160 °F (71.1 °C) internal temperature. All other beef cuts cook to at LEAST 145°F (62.8°C) internal temperature and adding a MINIMUM 3-minute rest time.
- Steak 25 – 35 minutes
- Meatballs 25 – 30 minutes (depending on size)
- Meatloaf 45 – 50 minutes, 165°F
Cook to at least 165 °F (73.9 °C) internal temperature. For best results, use chicken with the skin on.
- Chicken, whole breast with bone 30 – 40 minutes
- Chicken, whole breast boneless 20 – 30 minutes
- Chicken, Thighs, with bone 30 – 45 minutes
- Chicken, Thighs, boneless 20 -30 minutes
Cook to at least 145°F (62.8°C) internal temperature.
- Fillets, 1″ thick 8 -12 minutes
- Shrimp, peeled 5 -8 minutes
Cook to at LEAST 145°F (62.8°C) internal temperature and adding a MINIMUM 3-minute rest time.
- Chops, 1”, bone-in 25 -35 minutes
- Tenderloin, whole 45 -60 minutes
- Sausage, whole (Smoked, Kielbasa, Polish, etc) 20 -35 minutes
Meal Prep for Sheet Pan Meal
These sheet pan meal ingredients could even be part of a meal-prep plan. Put the seasoned meat and vegetables in separate bags or containers. (Potatoes are about the only vegetable that shouldn’t be prepped ahead of time.) The bags will hold up in the fridge for 2 -3 days. You could also use frozen vegetables , that have been thawed in the fridge for a few hours and patted dry before roasting. Drained thawed frozen fruit could be used too.
I hope you find this information helpful. The printable timetable was written so that you could put it in a plastic sheet protector for handy reference. I would love to hear about the amazing sheet pan dinners you create.