Easy Sheet Pan Suppers for Spring
Celebrate fresh seasonal produce with recipes that come together on a single sheet pan — plus 7 tips to perfect your technique.
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Despite shelter-in-place orders for us humans, spring has sprung. Daylight hours last into the evening, and everywhere I look out my windows, things are starting to bloom. That’s happening down at the farm, too, which means we’re about to experience the annual influx of tender spring vegetables. Well, we have every hope to experience it, supply chains willing. So I’ve got my fingers crossed. I mean, I love winter squash, sweet potatoes, and brussels sprouts as much as the next person, but I’m ready for something fresh and bright, especially right now.
As much as I look forward to playing with all the new vegetables, those extra hours of sunshine make me want to spend less time in the kitchen. Cooking an entire meal on one pan is a fantastic way to achieve that goal. It’s one of the most low-stress ways I can think of to feed my whole family quickly, and perfect for busy weeknights. I make sure to line the pan with parchment or foil, and cleanup becomes ridiculously easy, too.
But you can’t just chuck a bunch of food onto a pan and stick it in the oven. Even easy sheet pan dinners require a teeny bit of finesse.
Top tips for sheet pan suppers
This quick advice will help you up your sheet-pan game for weeknight meals.
Sturdy is better. Thin sheet pans will warp in time, which makes it more difficult to get reliable results. If you plan to cook sheet pan suppers regularly, invest in a heavy-gauge rimmed baking sheet, also known as a half sheet pan.
Line it. Putting down either parchment paper or foil coated with nonstick spray does more than make cleanup easy. It ensures you won’t have a stuck-on mess when you’re hoping for a no-fuss sheet pan meal.
Timing is everything. Different types of food take varying amounts of time to cook through. If you tried to bake potatoes and fish on the sheet pan all at once, you’d wind up eating either raw spuds or shoe-leather fish. Make sure you’re adding items to the pan in stages, giving longer-cooking ingredients a head start. (While you're waiting to add ingredients, this is a great time to finish up any remaining meal prep.)
Size matters. Don’t expect irregularly chopped food to cook evenly. Cut everything into uniform pieces, and if you’re cooking multiple pieces of protein (chicken breasts, for instance, or salmon fillets), make sure they’re roughly the same thickness.
Leave some space. Crowding the pan will slow your cooking and leave you with mushy food, since air can’t circulate between the pieces to evaporate moisture. Essentially, you’ll be steaming everything. And you don’t want that.
Know your oven. Most ovens have hot spots — areas where the temperature is warmer than the dial says it should be. Make sure to rotate your pan during cooking to give both sides some time there.
Consider the broiler. If the food is cooked through but doesn’t have those enticing browned edges, a quick run under the broiler will do the trick. (If you know you’ll be finishing in the broiler, opt for foil over flammable parchment paper to line the pan.)
Now that you know how to sheet-pan your supper like a pro, how about some sheet pan recipes to get you started? Since spring produce gets harvested at different times over the next few months, and since access to ingredients can vary right now, I’ve sorted these options by type. Each may be coming to a market near you soon, if it’s not there already. And that's something we can celebrate.
“Primavera” means “spring” in Italian, and this stunning (to look at and to eat) dinner takes full advantage of the season’s array of baby vegetables — including baby artichokes, which get a special section devoted to prepping them. Surprise: It’s much, much easier than working with a fully-grown ‘choke. Both vegetables and salmon get seasoned with a simple herb dressing, and the end result is fancy enough for a special weeknight meal.
You may not think of pizza as a sheet pan supper — but it definitely qualifies. Stretching the dough to fill a sheet pan makes for a deliciously thin, crispy crust. If baby artichokes haven’t appeared yet near you but you still want a hint of spring, this recipe does the trick. It swaps a jar of marinated artichoke hearts for the fresh kind, teaming it up with baby spinach, fresh garlic, and mozz to top prepared pizza dough.
How would you like to have a light, flavor-packed dinner that’s ready in just 15 minutes? A super-simple ingredients list — shrimp, asparagus, spices, and lemon — combines into the kind of meal that’s just begging to be eaten on the patio, taking advantage of early-evening spring sunlight. All you need is some crusty bread and a bottle of white wine.
This is one of those miraculous one-pan dinners that comes together with practically no effort at all. Seasoned baked chicken breasts get topped with sliced tomato and fresh mozzarella, and a generous quantity of bright, grassy asparagus bakes alongside on the sheet pan. Your chicken sheet pan dinner is on the table in just half an hour.
Fennel + olives + garlic + lemon + chicken = a sophisticated, lick-the-plate chicken dinner with minimal fuss and almost no clean-up. Serving it on a bed of peppery arugula makes this particularly memorable. It feels light and spring-like, but also substantial, all at once.
Roasting fennel mellows its licorice-y bite and brings out its natural sweetness. It matches up beautifully with oranges, making a perfect foil for spicy shrimp. Serve it with rice if you like, or just warm up a baguette for a no-fuss side.
Early green beans may be harvested soon, just in time for this vegan dinner recipe. You roast them in a spicy, savory marinade along with triangles of tofu until the tofu is slightly crispy, for about 15 minutes prep time and 45 minutes total time.
Maybe you're looking for a more traditional one-pan meal with meat, and if that's the case, consider roasting green beans with crispy potatoes, tender pork chops, and a pantry-friendly sauce of ketchup, Worcestershire, vinegar, and a few spices. Starting the potatoes first means that everything finishes cooking at the same time.
Leeks have a faintly garlicky flavor which softens as they cook. In this chicken recipe, early-spring baby leeks make the flavor even more subtle. You add them to the sheet pan late in the game, when the chicken is almost roasted and oodles of spiced chickpeas have had a chance to get good and crunchy. Serve your chicken dinner drizzled with a lemony yogurt sauce.
This fish dish in shades of white and green just screams “spring,” doesn’t it? Delicate, white-fleshed Dover sole, tender-skinned baby potatoes, and mild rings of thinly-sliced leeks cook quickly on a sheet pan. While it’s in the oven, you’ll have time to make a bright lemon-dill olive oil for a finishing touch.
Sugar Snap Peas
This low-carb sheet-pan supper takes its spring vegetables seriously: In addition to crunchy sugar snap peas, it also features a variety of other items you’ll find this time of year, like dandelion greens, baby asparagus, baby radishes, and pea sprouts. But the true beauty of the Italian baked-egg dish is its flexibility, so if you can’t find those exact ingredients, the recipe shows you how to substitute.
Sugar snap peas add a springtime lift to this blissfully simple stir-fry alternative. All you do is toss strips of chicken with teriyaki sauce and spread them on your sheet pan, then surround with a variety of vegetables tossed with oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, and you've got an easy dinner that's as quick as takeout!
Baby (new) potatoes
Sheet pan suppers tend to feature some kind of animal protein, but this one works for vegans. The small, young potatoes that are harvested in the spring have a nice thin skin, which helps them cook through quickly. You’ll toss them with two other seasonal favorites, asparagus and baby carrots, and roast with chickpeas in a flavorful spice mixture. Served with sliced avocado for creamy contrast, the result is as satisfying as it is effortless.
Before they hit the sheet pan, baby red potatoes, fresh fennel, asparagus, and chicken thighs marinate in a bright lemon/parsley/fennel combo — that’s right, the vegetables spend some time soaking up flavor, too. It all goes into the oven together, and 40 stress-free minutes later, you’re eating.
Spring radishes are the star of this dish — and if you think you don’t like them because of their sharp, bitter edge, you’ll be astonished at how a quick roast transforms them. They roast alongside wild-caught salmon (frozen thawed is a great option), and it’s all seasoned simply with fresh dill and lemon zest. Serve it with a dollop of tangy yogurt.
Sometimes you just want to eat a light supper — something on a slab of crunchy sheet pan toast, perhaps. And what’s more spring-like than a bed of mashed peas topped with roasted radishes, baby carrots, and asparagus? The addition of scallions, lemon, Parmesan, and fresh mint lifts this into the kind of quick vegetarian meal you’ll crave.
OK technically this isn’t supper, but you’re a grownup. If you say pie makes a fine dinner, then it makes a fine dinner. Store-bought pie crust, rolled to fit a sheet pan, becomes a no-fuss base for 3 pounds of strawberries tossed with sugar, lemon zest, and cornstarch. Top it with cookie-cut crust pieces for a gorgeous, fruity finish to a lovely spring evening.
Recipes for quarantine cooking
We're with you at Yummly during the coronavirus to make home cooking as easy and flexible as possible. You'll find lots more ideas in our quarantine cooking collection.