What’s the Best Jelly Roll Pan Substitute?

While it can be difficult to keep your kitchen properly stocked with baking pans and sheets, it’s an important part of a cook’s repertoire. Using the correct size pan ensures you a perfect cake every time.

What is a Jelly Roll Pan?

You often come across recipes calling for a “jelly roll pan” for the perfect bake. 

A jelly roll pan is a rectangular baking sheet with 1-inch sides – to hold the batter as it rises.

They are designed for sheet cakes – which are thin and sponge-like cakes that you fill with jelly or another filling and roll it into a cylinder. The “Swiss roll cake” so to speak.

Do I Really Need A Jelly Roll Pan?

The short answer is: yes, but it’s complicated. 

While there are some options to substitute, there are so many recipes using this special pan that it would be ideal to have one you can rely on for them.

Despite that, there are most definitely substitutes available in case you don’t have – or can’t find – a jelly roll pan. 

Best Jelly Roll Pan Substitutes

Dough Maker Aluminum Baking Pan

This is an excellent substitute for the jelly roll pan. 

The surface is non-stick, which makes it the perfect fit for baking. And opting for higher quality aluminum ensures a safe, rust-resistant pan.

With good airflow and high sides, if you’re lacking a dedicated jelly roll sheet – give the dough maker baking pan a try. 

Quarter Sheet Pan

Small, but it does the trick!

The quarter sheet pan is a good pick if you’re going solo on this dessert – or just a few guests. 

The recipe will need to be adapted to fit within the dimensions of a quarter sheet pan. However, be mindful that it may be difficult.

Casserole Pan

The casserole pan is another good option if you’re lacking a dedicated jelly roll pan.

It is a deep, large pan that offers a lot of variety for your baking, cooking, or reheating needs.

However, there are a few things you should be mindful of if you choose to go the route of the casserole pan.

Due to the dimensions of the pan, it’s highly recommended to fill up your pan with less batter. Filling it all the way to the top doesn’t always work how you’d expect it to.

9×13 Pan

This is a pretty standard, frequently used pan that you’ll find in almost every kitchen. 

As the name suggests, it’s a 9 x 13 sized pan – which makes it perfect for baking a variety of cakes, cookies, and sweets. 

The dimensions and depth make it excellent for those jelly rolls, as well.

Options to Avoid

Cookie sheet pans are designed without edges, to give a perfect even bake over the surface of each cookie. 

Though they’re often called the same thing, a cookie sheet pan is different from a sheet pan.

Because the cookie sheets can vary in length and width, if you get the wrong sizing you could end up burning your jelly roll to a crisp – or much more thin and dry than you expected.

Half Sheet Pan

Baking a jelly roll in a half sheet pan is a terrible idea. It might make your cake turn out cracked, dry or burned.

Unless you heavily adjust your recipe, a half sheet pan will spread out your batter too thin, and potentially ruin your bake. 

You need the right size pan for your jelly rolls, in order for them to come out perfect. As similar as they look, half sheet pans don’t match the required dimensions. 

It’s best to give this option a skip entirely, for the sake of your cake.

In Conclusion

A truly versatile kitchen needs all kinds of tools, pans, and sheets to accommodate every cooking and baking need. 

The jelly roll pan is no different. While there are many options for substitution if you lack this special pan, nothing truly beats baking a cake in the pan it was made for. 

For this reason, do yourself a favor and pick up a jelly roll pan.