Why are we home cooks drawn to sheet tray meals? The answer is simple: Plopping everything you plan to eat on one tray means there’s only one pan to wash, and often just one timer to set. With the help of a sheet tray, you can carve into a hunk of salmon and vegetables in under 30 minutes, or make your brunch friends feel like royalty with a giant slice-and-serve breakfast egg sandwich. But there’s another sheet-tray dish you need to add to your routine, and it is pancakes. Considering that pancakes are typically a circular food cooked in a pan, and sheet tray pancakes are neither of these things, they may not fit into pancake canon per se, but you won’t care after you try them.
Sheet tray pancakes are ridiculously easy. So easy, you may actually become annoyed with your former self for how many collective hours you’ve spent standing over a hot pan flipping flapjacks just to get something decently dessert-y for breakfast. (At least, I did.)
There are a few ways to go about sheet tray pancake batter: totally homemade or doctored mix. Both are delicious; one takes a bit less time. Choose your path.
For the mix version, prepare pancake batter according to the directions on the package, adding an extra ½ cup flour. Extra points if you use cake mix instead of pancake mix. Skip the next paragraph and continue on with the recipe.
For the homemade version, whisk together 4 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 ½ cups milk, 3 eggs, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet and add a small splash of seltzer if you have it. Spread the batter onto a parchment paper-lined 13x18-inch sheet tray. (If you’re looking for super-fluffy pancakes, try a greased 9x13-inch baking dish)
Sprinkle the batter with lines of berries, chocolate chips, pieces of cooked bacon, or anything else you like in a pancake, then slide the tray into a 425ºF oven. Cook for 10-14 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. If using a deeper baking dish, cook for 18-20 minutes
When the sheet tray pancakes are fully cooked, remove from the oven and let cool for about five minutes. Slice the pancakes into squares, or feel free to get busy with some cookie cutters. The cookie cutter route can be optimal, as it leaves a lot of little pieces of pancake trimming for the chef to savor in the kitchen away from other mouths. You could also adopt my skillet cookie method, which is comprised of slapping the full tray directly onto the table with a pile of forks, and instructing the folks sitting at the table to go wild. This is also very fun.
Regardless of your slicing method, serve sheet tray pancakes with maple syrup, jams, whipped cream, and any other sugar-laden substance you enjoy pouring over your breakfast.