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Why Your Sheet Pan Dinner Ingredients Should All Be The Same Size

sheet pan meal on pan and in bowl on table
sheet pan meal on pan and in bowl on table - Rudisill/Getty Images

Following a sheet pan dinner recipe is a minimally fussy, one-pan method to get dinner on the table by just using the oven. But what begins as a convenient way to cook a meal of protein and vegetables at the same time can quickly turn into a logistical nightmare, particularly if your ingredients are not the same size. Cut your vegetables unevenly and you'll be tossing the ingredients around in the pan midway, wondering why half are browned and shriveling up and the other half haven't even softened yet.

Since you're dealing with multiple ingredients in one pan, it's best to make your life easier by slicing and chopping each one to a similar size. Then your ingredients will have a similar cooktime and have the best chance of roasting evenly. Not only will this help your ingredients come out with a nice even roast, but it'll also make your sheet pan dinner look uniform and all the more appetizing.

Read more: 8 Baking Sheet Mistakes You Want To Avoid

Be Mindful Of Your Ingredients' Cook Time

vegetables and chicken on sheet pan
vegetables and chicken on sheet pan - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

If you're working with different kinds of vegetables like potatoes, broccoli, and red onion, you may wonder how you can cut those different vegetables evenly and get them to finish cooking at the same time. The reality is that harder, denser vegetables like potatoes will take longer to cook than more delicate red onions. So just make sure all of your potatoes are cut the same size, as well as your red onion, broccoli, peppers, and whatever other vegetables you're using. As long as each ingredient is uniform on its own, you'll make sure it's roasting evenly in the appropriate amount of time.

Since these ingredients have differing cook times, you'll have to stagger when you add each ingredient to your sheet pan and get it cooked in the oven for optimal results. Using the aforementioned list of ingredients as an example, let's start with the potatoes. Potatoes can take about 25-35 minutes to cook in an oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, while broccoli will only take 10-15 minutes. The red onion slices, depending on thickness, will fall somewhere in the middle at about 20 minutes. So here, you would briefly take your sheet pan out of the oven and add those red onions once about 10 minutes have passed with the potatoes, and then do the same for your broccoli approximately 10 minutes later. Cutting ingredients unevenly and ignoring different ingredient cooktimes are just some of the many common baking sheet mistakes you'll want to avoid.

Overcrowding: Another Enemy Of Even Roasting

crowded vegetables on sheet pan
crowded vegetables on sheet pan - Jordan Feeg/Shutterstock

When you start to make a sheet pan dinner, the pan can become crowded very easily. You know that vegetables shrink when cooked, so you start piling those potatoes on there and realize you won't have much room for the broccoli and onions later. Not to mention, if your potatoes don't have space between them, the air won't be able to circulate. This is another surefire mistake that'll result in steaming your veggies instead of roasting them evenly on all sides.

One way to solve this issue is to use separate sheet pans for each ingredient. Not only does this ensure that they have enough space to get crisp, golden-brown edges on every side, but it also removes the hassle of taking out your sheet pan in the middle of roasting to add the next ingredient. As long as your ingredients are cut uniformly to about the same size and you follow these tips, you'll be on your way to a beautifully roasted, presentable sheet pan dinner.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.