This is the only sheet pan dinner recipe you'll ever need.
This anything-goes sheet pan dinner recipe will show you how to use whatever protein, veggies, and greens you like for the easiest, no-fuss, one-pan way to get dinner on the table tonight.
- First pick a protein - chicken, sausage, fish, shrimp, or tofu.
- Then choose your veggies and greens- potatoes, onions, cauliflower, bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, green beans, spinach, kale.... use ANY kind of veggies and greens you like in any combination.
- Group everything together according to the cook times listed in the recipe and toss it in the oven for the ULTIMATE way to use whatever you have or whatever you like up in a delicious, one-pan meal.
5 Reasons To LOVE Sheet Pan Dinners:
- You can cook AND serve a complete meal using only ONE PAN.
- Sheet pan dinners are the perfect way to use up anything and everything in your refrigerator
- They are picky eater friendly. Cook a variety of things on the same pan, so everyone you're cooking for can pick and choose what they want.
- They are a fantastic way to feed a crowd. You can pile a LOT of food onto one large sheet pan, and using the same pan for cooking AND serving makes the whole thing a lot easier on the cook (and the dishwasher).
- They are ideal for small meals, designed to feed one or two people. All the great things about sheet pan dinners that make them perfect for a crowd (simple, one pan, use what you have, easy serving, easy cleanup) also apply to those times when you're only cooking for yourself or for a small group. Actually, I think they are even more important when you're cooking for one or two.
The Truth About Sheet Pan Dinners: You don't need a recipe
The sheet pan dinner recipe that follows is more of a template or formula that you can use to cook any kind of sheet pan dinner you like.
Everything cooks on the same pan under the same temperature. The key is to simply group ingredients together based on how long it takes them to cook.
Before you begin, read through this "recipe" and make a note about cook times for whatever vegetables and protein(s) you've chosen for tonight's meal.
The recipe includes basic cook times for most vegetables, chicken (bone-in and boneless), tofu, fish (halibut, tilapia and snapper), sausage, and shrimp.
It's important to remember that the cook times for each of these will be affected by how big your cuts of protein are. Just keep an eye on things and remove them from the oven when they look done.
The Anything-Goes Sheet Pan Dinner Recipe
This recipe is loosely written for 4 servings. However, it can be easily scaled up or down to cook as much or as little as you like. (Or, at least as much as will fit on your sheet pan.)
Even though sheet pan dinners are a great way to cook a simple meal for one or two, I almost always scale this recipe up and use as much protein and veggies as I can fit onto my pan because leftovers are the bomb.
Pretty much any kind of roasted fish or meat and veggies can be used throughout the week to make salads, sandwiches, rice/ grain bowls, or soup.
If scaling up, you'll just need to make a bit more dressing and plan for additional olive oil and spices.
Here's the basic formula:
#1. Chop veggies into same size pieces and divide them into groups.
Cutting a variety of vegetables into pieces that are roughly the same size will help them cook more evenly. I usually aim for chopping everything into 3-inch size chunks. There are, of course, exceptions:
- For Brussels sprouts, simply trim the bottom and remove any loose outer leaves.
- Because winter squash and potatoes tends to take a long time to cook, cut them into smaller pieces, approximately 1 to 2-inch chunks.
- If using small new potatoes or fingerlings, cut them in half.
Group the vegetables based on cooking times. Add veggies that take a while to cook in one bowl and veggies that cook quickly in a separate bowl.
Toss the veggies with olive oil, salt and pepper, and add some fresh garlic if you like. Add whole (peeled) garlic cloves to veggies that require a longer roasting time and chopped garlic to veggies that require a shorter roasting time.
Vegetables that require a longer roasting time:
Squash, roots, and tubers (potatoes, parsnips, carrots, beets), and alliums (onions, leeks, garlic).
Vegetables that require a shorter roasting time:
Cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, green beans, bell peppers, mushrooms, radishes
#2. Prepare the protein
The only thing you need to do to prepare pretty much any kind of sausage links is to poke them all over with a sharp knife or fork. This prevents air bubbles from rising in the casing while they cook, which can causing them to explode in your oven.
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts or Thighs:
If the pieces are large, cut them into ½-lb pieces. Spread the chicken out onto a paper towel and pat dry. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and any other spices you are using.
Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over the top of the chicken pieces, which will keep the top of the meat from drying out while it roasts.
Bone-in Chicken Pieces:
Spread the pieces out onto a paper towel and pat dry. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and any other spices you are using. Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over the top of the chicken pieces to help the skin crisp up while roasting.
Wipe away any excess moisture on the outside of the tofu and set it on a plate lined with a towel or 2 layers of paper towels. Place another towel or 2 more layers of paper towels over the tofu and then top it with something heavy, like a dutch oven or cast iron skillet.
Let the tofu rest for 15-30 minutes to squeeze out excess moisture. Cut the tofu into 2-3 inch pieces that are no more than 1-inch thick. Toss the pieces of tofu in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then coat with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch so they get nice and crispy while roasting.
The best choices are hallibut, snapper, and tillapia. Right before roasting, rub the fish with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle it with salt, pepper, and any other spices you are using.
Peel and devein the shrimp. Right before roasting, toss the shrimp with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle it with salt, pepper, and any other spices you are using.
#3. Cook everything on the same pan, but not for the same amount of time
The key to a perfectly cooked sheet pan dinner is to keep all the different ingredients grouped together on the pan so that you can add and remove them at different times, based on how long they need to cook.
- Add chicken, sausage, tofu, and longer cooking vegetables to the pan at the beginning.
- Add fish, shrimp, and vegetables that cook quickly to the pan later on.
- As everything cooks, remove protein and vegetables that are done cooking while allowing everything else the time it needs to finish cooking.
Grouping different ingredients together on the pan makes it easy to add and remove them as necessary, giving you total control over the cook times for a variety of foods.
#4. Brighten everything up with greens and a quick vinaigrette
Adding a few handfuls of greens that have been dressed in a simple vinaigrette is a super easy way to add another layer of flavor and texture to a sheet pan dinner. Slightly charred kale, collard greens, or spinach are tender, smoky and delicious, adding a bright shock of color and flavor that brings everything together.
Having said that, you can certainly forgo the greens entirely if you wish, but please don't skip the dressing.
The dressing, which is a super simple vinaigrette, takes about 2 minutes to make and adds a lovely burst of acidity that elevates any combination of roasted protein and veggies.
Trust me on this. Last week, as I was testing this recipe in my kitchen, I sent it over to a friend so she could test it in hers. She was skeptical of the dressing. She still made it, she just didn't drizzle it over everything right before serving, as I recommended.
That night we met up over video chat for a virtually shared sheet pan dinner and I watched her dip every bite in the dressing. After a while she said, "This is delicious. Why did I doubt you?" 😂
Add the greens at the very end of cooking, scattering them over whatever is left on the sheet pan and cooking them just until they begin to char. Then, pile everything back onto the pan, drizzle it with the vinaigrette, and serve.
Sheet pan dinner serving suggestions:
If you've piled a variety of delicious ingredients onto your sheet pan, you really don't need anything else. Done and done. Dinner is served.
Still, I usually like to round out the meal with some rice, couscous, quinoa, bread, or tortillas, and a bowl of chimichurri, pico de Gallo, or roasted tomatillo sauce. Here are my favorite things to serve with sheet pan dinners...
- Chimichurri is a magical green sauce that’s one of the best ways to instantly brighten a dish with fresh flavor and color. Aside from being totally delicious, it’s healthy, versatile, and only takes minutes to prepare.
- This all-purpose Pico de Gallo recipe is a jumping off point for all sorts of fresh salsa variations. Add roasted poblano peppers, thinly sliced radishes, black beans, fresh corn, mango, pineapple, or anything else you like to build whatever salsa you're craving.
- Roasted Tomatillo Sauce. Tomatillos and poblano peppers are charred under high heat until smoky and tender, then cooked with garlic, cumin and lime for a concentrated, bright and tangy, slightly spicy tomatillo sauce that does triple duty as a sauce, marinade, or salsa verde.
- Homemade Tortillas. Homemade tortillas, soft and warm, are one of the best things in the whole wide world. Combine that with how easy they are to make and flour tortillas from scratch becomes one of the few life decisions for which there can be no regrets.
- The BEST Dinner Rolls. These homemade dinner rolls are incredibly soft and pillowy, with the perfect amount of chew and rich buttery flavor. This has been a staple recipe in my family for over 20 years, having long ago established itself in our vocabulary as simply, “those rolls”.
- Homemade Potato Rolls. Soft and buttery, these potato rolls are a genius use of leftover baked potatoes and make the most amazing dinner rolls or sandwich buns.
- These super simple Cream Biscuits are impossibly tender, buttery and delicious, and ready to eat in about 20 minutes.
- This Buttermilk Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread is sweet, savory AND spicy, with a touch of brown sugar and honey, pickled jalapeños, and loads of cheese.
- 4 - 6 cups fresh vegetables, and kind and combination you like (Suggestions below)
- Protein: chicken (bone-in or boneless), sausage, shrimp, tofu, or fish (The best choices are hallibut, snapper, and tillapia.) Use whatever amount you want for a total of 4 servings. (*See note)
- ½ - ¾ cup (118 - 177ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup (59ml) vinegar (preferably red or white wine vinegar or rice vinegar)
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 large bunch bitter greens, such as kale or collard greens, washed, stems removed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
- 6 - 10 cloves of garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- 1 -2 tbsp dried herbs or spice blends (For seasoning your choice of protein; Can be anything you like.)
- 2 tbsp cornstarch - *You'll only need this if using tofu as the protein
Sauce options (optional), for serving:
Prepare the vegetables:
- Cut whatever vegetables you’re using into pieces that are all roughly the same size to help them cook evenly. Cut most vegetables into 3 inch chunks. Potatoes and winter squash should be cut into smaller pieces that are approximately 1 to 2 inches. If using small potatoes that are already 1 to 2 inches in diameter, cut them in half.
- Group the vegetables based on cooking times (listed below), placing those with longer cooking times in one bowl and those with shorter cooking times in a separate bowl.
- Drizzle enough olive oil into each bowl to coat the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (approximately 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper).
- Add garlic: Add a few whole garlic cloves (peeled) to longer cooking vegetables. For shorter cooking vegetables, add a teaspoon or two of chopped garlic.
- Stir the vegetables around in the bowl to evenly coat in the oil and seasoning. Make sure that potatoes and other root vegetables are particularly well coated with oil.
Vegetables that require a longer roasting time: Squash, roots, and tubers (potatoes, parsnips, carrots, beets), and alliums (onions, leeks).
Vegetables that require a shorter roasting time: Cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, green beans, bell peppers, mushrooms, radishes
Prepare the Protein:
Sausage Links: Prick sausages all over with a sharp knife or fork.
Boneless, Skinless Chicken breasts or thighs: If the pieces are large, cut them into ½-lb pieces. Spread out onto a paper towel and pat dry. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and any other spices you are using. Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over the top of the chicken pieces.
Bone-in Chicken pieces: Spread the pieces out onto a paper towel and pat dry. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and any other spices you are using. Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over the top of the chicken pieces.
Tofu: Wipe away any excess moisture on the outside. Set the tofu on a plate lined with a towel or 2 layers of paper towels. Top with another towel or 2 more layers of paper towels. Top the tofu with something heavy, like a cast iron skillet, and let stand for 15-30 minutes to squeeze out excess moisture. Cut the tofu into 2-3 inch pieces that are no more than 1-inch thick. Toss the pieces of tofu in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then coat with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
Fish: The best choices are hallibut, snapper, and tillapia. Right before roasting, rub the fish with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle it with salt, pepper, and any other spices you are using.
Shrimp: Peel and devein the shrimp. Right before roasting, toss the shrimp with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle it with salt, pepper, and any other spices you are using.
To Cook your Sheet Pan Dinner:
- Preheat oven to 450°F (232°C). Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Make the dressing: Add the vinegar, dijon mustard, and honey to a small bowl or measuring cup. Add ½ tsp salt and pepper and 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Whisk to combine.
- Add the greens to a large bowl and pour in about half of the dressing. Use your fingers to toss the greens in the dressing and "massage" the dressing onto the greens to ensure they are well caoted. Set the greens and the remaining dressing aside.
- Add all longer cooking vegetables that you are using to the sheet pan, grouping them together in one secton of the pan. If using vegetables that require a shorter cooking time, leave some room on the baking sheet for them. They will be added later.
- If using chicken, sausage, or tofu, add them to the pan now, also keeping them grouped together. Bone-in chicken should be skin side up.
- Put the pan in the oven to roast.
- After 20 minutes of roasting: remove the pan from the oven and add the vegetables that require a shorter cooking time. If using boneless, skineless chicken, test to see if it's done - it should be cooked to 165 degrees. If you cut into it, there should be no visible pink. If done, remove from the pan, place it on a plate, and cover loosly with foil to keep warm. If using tofu, turn the pieces over. Return the pan to the oven.
- After 30 minutes of roasting: remove the pan from the oven and remove the vegetables that require a shorter roasting time. Check the vegetables that require a longer roasting time and remove them if done; leave them on the pan if they need some more time. If using tofu, remove it from the pan, place it on a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. If using chicken, test for doneness (cooked to 165 degrees with no pink in the middle). If using sausage, remove it from the pan, place it on a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
- If using fish or shrimp, add it to the sheet pan now. Put the pan back in the oven.
- If using halibut or tilapia, roast for 4 to 6 minutes per ½-inch thickness of fish. Snapper will take approximatly 10 minutes. Shrimp will take approximatly 6 minutes.
- Remove fish or shrimp from the pan when done cooking, place on a plate, and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
- Scatter the greens over the top of the sheet pan so they are in one layer. It's ok to scatter them over the top of any longer cooking vegetables that are still on the pan. Roast for an additional 7-9 minutes, until the greens are starting to brown in a few places.
- Remove the pan from the oven and put all the vegetables and protein that you've removed from the pan back on the pan. Drizzle the reserved dressing over everything and serve.
Tip for perfectly done veggies:
At any point, if any of the vegetables are getting too brown, but are still not done, use a fork to flip them over.
This recipe is loosely written for 4 servings, but can be scaled up or down.
This recipe can be easily scalled up to cook as much as you like, or as much as will fit on your sheet pan. Almost every time I make this dinner, I add as much protein and veggies as I can fit on the pan because leftovers are the bomb. If scaling up, you'll just need to make a bit more dressing and plan for additional olive oil and spices.
I usually like to serve this sheet pan dinner with rice, quiona, couscous or bread. See the list right above the recipe for links to my favorite recipes.
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