What good is a one-pan dinner if it requires every prep tool and mixing bowl in your kitchen? A sheet-pan recipe should be fuss-free: no esoteric ingredients, no painstaking prep, no babysitting the food as it cooks and certainly no resulting sink full of dirty dishes.
The test cooks at Cook’s Country—one of the brands in America’s Test Kitchen —are always creating satisfying one-pan meals without shortchanging flavor or texture. We believe that every meal should be something special, even if you’re short on time, so we keep the ingredient lists short (relying heavily on pantry staples) and the hands-on cooking to a minimum. Instead, we turn to useful test kitchen tricks like staggered cooking times, flavor-packed ingredients and different oven rack positions.
Here are five of our favorite sheet-pan recipes. The first one is included in full on this page; enter your email address to gain free access to the four others featured in this round-up, plus all other invaluable recipes, reviews and cooking tips on Cook’s Country’s website for 14 days.
One-Pan Roasted Salmon with Broccoli and Red Potatoes
This trio of ingredients is tried and true, but how to cook them all on one pan without any one component coming out overcooked or undercooked was a puzzle we needed to solve. The answer was staggered cooking times: Since the potatoes required the most time in the oven and the salmon required the least, we started by roasting the potatoes and broccoli together for the first half of the cooking time and then swapped in the salmon for the broccoli halfway through roasting.
Note: Use small red potatoes measuring 1 to 2 inches in diameter for this recipe.
4 (6- to 8-ounce) center-cut skinless salmon fillets, 1 to 1½ inches thick
2 tsp plus 5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 pound small red potatoes, unpeeled, halved
1 pound broccoli florets, cut into 2-inch pieces
¼ cup minced fresh chives
2 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Pat salmon dry with paper towels, then rub all over with 2 teaspoons oil and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.
Brush rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil. Toss potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper together in a bowl. Arrange potatoes cut side down on half of the sheet. Toss broccoli, 1 tablespoon oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper together in the now-empty bowl. Arrange broccoli on other half of sheet.
Roast until potatoes are light golden brown and broccoli is dark brown on bottom, 22 to 24 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.
Meanwhile, combine chives, mustard, lemon juice, honey, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, pinch salt and pinch pepper in a bowl; set chive sauce aside.
Remove sheet from the oven and transfer broccoli to platter, browned side up; cover with foil to keep warm. Using a spatula, remove any bits of broccoli remaining on the sheet. (Leave potatoes on the sheet).
Place salmon skinned side down on the now-empty side of the sheet, spaced evenly. Place sheet in the oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees. Bake until centers of fillets register 125 degrees (for medium-rare), 11 to 15 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.
Transfer the potatoes and salmon to the platter with broccoli.
One-Pan Pork Tenderloin and Panzanella Salad
We built a one-pan meal around this toasted bread salad by adding roasted pork tenderloin and a mix of fresh and roasted vegetables. We flavored the pork tenderloins with a sweet, tangy glaze and gave the meat a jumpstart in the oven before adding summer squash, red onion, bell pepper, and baguette and roasted it all until the pork was rosy in the center, the vegetables were tender, and the bread was toasted and crunchy. While the meat rested, we tossed the toasted bread and vegetables with fresh cucumber, cherry tomatoes, basil, and a bright vinaigrette.
One-Pan Ratatouille with Chicken
Who says this rustic stew of late-summer produce needs to be made in a pot? To make it on a baking sheet and include chicken for a complete meal, we first spread bite-size grape tomatoes, sliced shallots and chunks of summer squash, eggplant and bell peppers on the sheet and roasted them partway through. Once they had wilted a bit, we pushed them to one side of the sheet and added the chicken so it could roast while the vegetables finished cooking. We then removed the chicken from the sheet to let it rest and stirred the drippings into the vegetables. We brightened up the ultra savory dish by stirring in some fresh basil and briny kalamata olives and sprinkling lemon zest and chopped thyme over top.
One-Pan Steak Fajitas
Fajitas are a sizzling spectacle but this recipe is more about flavor than theater and uses only one baking sheet. We cooked strips of bell peppers, rings of red onion and slices of garlic on the lower-middle rack so they browned and didn’t steam, then added spice-rubbed flank steak to the pan. In just 8 minutes, the meat was at the target temperature of 135 degrees. (Cooked to medium instead of medium-rare, the steak was less chewy when sliced and dropped into a tortilla.) Once the steak was rested and sliced, we tossed it with the browned, tender vegetables, plus chopped cilantro and a spritz of lime juice to brighten the flavors.
One-Pan Pork Tenderloin with Green Beans and Potatoes
Since roasting pork tenderloin on a baking sheet gives it little opportunity to brown, we brushed the meat with dark, intense hoisin sauce to add color and flavor. The spice notes of garlic, anise and chiles meld with the pork as it cooks, and the sauce gives the vegetables a subtle sweetness. To give the green beans a chance to steam, we lay the pork over them (which also insulates the pork and slows down the cooking) along the cooler center of the baking sheet. Roasting the potatoes cut-side down on the ends of the sheet develops perfectly browned edges. An easy garlic-chive butter melts over the resting pork and adds richness to the vegetables.
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