Cake desserts like pumpkin rolls or jelly rolls are usually purchased in stores because they seem difficult to make at home. One weekend I decided to make my own jelly roll for our family’s weekend brunch but soon learned I needed a specialized jelly roll pan. 

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I didn’t have a jelly roll pan, therefore, I scoured underneath my cabinets for a jelly roll pan substitute. I came out with some worthy contenders and am here to share them with you if you are in need of a substitute for a jelly pan like I was.

A Quick Glance of Jelly Roll Pan Substitutes:

SubstituteTypical SizeWhy It Works
Half Sheet Cake Pan13”W x 18”L x 1”HSimilar-sized, sturdy
Baking Dish10”W x 15”L x 2”HRaised sides, readily available
Disposable Baking Pan Sheet13”W x 18” x 1.25”HProper depth, budget-friendly

Jelly Roll Pan Use

A jelly roll pan is used when making thin sponge cakes that are filled with jelly, jam or other sweet creams. The batter is spread into the jelly roll pan and baked in an oven. 

Doughmakers Jelly Roll Commercial Grade Aluminum Bake Pan 10 x 15

The rim around the sides of the pan is what keeps the batter in place. Once completely cooked and cooled the filling is spread over the cake. The flat cake is then rolled into the traditional shape of a jelly roll.

How Deep Is a Jelly Roll Pan

The depth of a pan for jelly rolls is integral to the making of this dessert. It’s also why you have to be especially careful when considering substitutes. Jelly roll pans are 1” deep. The standard dimensions are approximately 10″W x 15”L x 1”H.

A pan that is not deep enough will result in a possibly overcooked cake that is too brittle to be rolled properly. A pan that is too deep will end in a cake that is too thick to be rolled. At that point you might as well slap icing on it and call it a day.

Jelly Roll Pan vs Cookie Sheet

You may be tempted to use a cookie sheet if you don’t have a jelly roll pan but this is a no-no. You’ll see many cookware brands using the words cookie sheet and baking pan interchangeably but they are actually two different things.

A traditional cookie sheet is much less than 1” deep and does not have sides that are very high. 

 This cookie sheet by G & S Metal is only 0.7” in depth. That’s certainly not deep enough to pour in enough batter to get the perfect jelly roll.

Bakeware You Can Use as a Jelly Roll Pan Substitute

The great thing about cooking and baking is the fact that you can improvise. Nothing is truly set in stone and many great new food concepts were the result of someone having to “wing it” at the last minute and ending up with something truly spectacular. Here are some of the best substitutes for a jelly roll pan.

Half Sheet Cake Pan

As long as you have a similar-sized pan with raised sides close to 1” it can be used in the place of a jelly roll pan. The half sheet cake pan can be an ideal substitute. The size of a half sheet cake pan is approximately 13”W x 18”W X 1”H. 

Keep in mind that the half-sheet pan will be wider and longer than a jelly roll pan. This means that you will need to increase the amount of cake batter for your jelly roll as you need to have enough to fill the pan a little before the rim. Too little batter will result in a cake that’s too thin and will likely break apart if you attempt to roll it.

Baking Dish

Baking dishes such as popular casserole pans by Pyrex are versatile substitutions for a jelly roll pan. Baking dishes are normally about 2” deep; compared to jelly roll pans which are 1” in depth. In this case, you wouldn’t fill the baking dish to the very top. Instead, fill the batter to 1” in depth only.

Disposable Baking Pan Sheet

When searching for a jelly or swiss roll pan substitute we have a great eco-friendly choice. You know those durable aluminum foil baking sheets with sides that are used in bake sales? They are usually marketed as cookie sheets but they typically have raised sides and the 1” depth that’s needed for baking jelly rolls. As a matter of fact this 15 count set of aluminum sheets by Nicole Home Collection are 1.25” in depth so they’ll work perfectly.

Nordic Ware Natural Jelly Roll Pan

Our Final Thoughts 

We are glad to have provided you with this list of the best substitutes for jelly roll pans. As you can see, you have a variety of alternative choices depending on what you may already have in your cabinets. 

At some point you may choose to purchase your own jelly roll pan. But until then, remember that baking is a fun experience that allows you to improvise as needed.