Sheet Pan Salmon with Pancetta, Brussels Sprouts & Granny Smith Apples

Ahhh…October.  My absolute favorite month of the year.  The air is cooler and the flavors in our cooking are changing – becoming deeper, richer and more comforting.  Mushrooms, squashes, root vegetables, hardy greens, woody herbs, earthy spices, heavier grains, richer meats.  Lower and slower cooking times.  Cue the record scratch.

Yes, I love the fall, but let’s be honest, it’s BUSY!  Whether you’re back to school, back to the office, or just taking advantage of all of the fun things fall has to offer, it can be a hectic time.  Low and slow cooking times are not always what we have time for.  My advice:  save that for the weekend when you may be able to squeeze in a little more time.  And for those weeknights, set yourself up for delicious, quick wins.

It’s time to fall in love with weeknight cooking.

sheet pan dinner with salmon, brussels sprouts, pancetta, granny smith apples with apple cider reduction
Sheet pan dinner featuring salmon, brussels sprouts, pancetta & granny smith apples

One of my secret weapons for this is mastering the magic that can be a Sheet Pan Dinner.  I fully admit that the name doesn’t exactly conjure up colorful images of deliciousness that direct our taste buds to stand at attention or quickly send our salivary glands into motion.  And I also admit that before having children, I never really gave the concept the time of day. I may have even turned my nose up at the idea.  Boy was I mistaken. 

Whether you like to cook or not, weeknight dinners can be a grind, which means we all need some real tools in our back pockets. Hence, the idea of an entire meal made on the humble sheet pan.  The name is mundane at best, but the options are almost limitless. 

Sheet pan dinners are a dance and once you master the three key elements – heat, timing, and flavor – you will take a giant step forward in reclaiming some weeknight sanity.

Most people think of a sheet pan dinner as throwing a bunch of ingredients onto a sheet pan at the same time and temperature, and roasting it until it’s “done”.  The problem is that different vegetables and proteins have different cook times and cooking temperatures.  If you don’t account for this, you can end up with a pan full of food in which some is over-cooked and some is under-cooked.  This is where heat and timing come in.

Heat is one of the key elements of all cooking, and having command of how to use it in various situations ultimately makes you a much better cook.  In creating a sheet pan masterpiece, it is important to consider two facets of heat – what temperature is best for the items being cooked and how long does each item take to cook. 

To take this one step further, it’s also important to know that there is nuance in the size that ingredients are cut, that the ingredients aren’t over-crowded, and where they are placed on the sheet pan. So, generally speaking, start with the slowest-cooking ingredients, then add items in a progression, eventually ending with what ingredient cooks the fastest – all the while, remembering that the smaller you cut something AND placing it around the perimeter, the faster it cooks. Once you have a feel for this, you are well on your way to setting yourself up for success.

These are some general guidelines for temperature and timing, but don’t be afraid to play with temperatures to increase browning and caramelization:

  • Boneless Poultry: 20-35 minutes at 425 degrees
  • Bone-in Poultry:  30-40 minutes at 425 degrees
  • Fish & Shrimp:  7-10 minutes at 425 degrees
  • Pork: 20-30 minutes at 425 degrees
  • Dense vegetables:  30+ minutes at 425 degrees
  • Leafy greens: 3-10 minutes at 425 degrees 

The third way to raise your sheet pan game is all about flavor.  This can take many forms and is where I encourage you to channel your creativity.  Spices, herbs, marinades, and sauces are where the sheet pan dinner comes together and is truly elevated. And the best part is that it doesn’t need to be complicated if you are short on time. 

Simple ideas to add flavor include smashed whole cloves of garlic, a drizzle of fresh-squeezed citrus or vinegar, crumbled cheeses, a flavored oil, quick-pickled onions, a fresh herb sauce, a flavored compound butter, a spiced yogurt drizzle – the options really are endless and go a long way toward pulling it all together.  The only thing left to do is bring that whole sheet pan to the table and dig in.

I hope I have convinced you to at least consider the possibilities of the humble sheet pan dinner.  After all, the season is right and the cleanup is a snap. I share with you below, one of my favorite seasonal combinations to see how to put it all into action.

sheet pan dinner with salmon, brussels sprouts, pancetta, granny smith apples with apple cider reduction

Sheet Pan Salmon with Pancetta, Brussels Sprouts & Granny Smith Apples

This dinner is short on time, long on flavor, and a snap to clean up!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: salmon, sheet pan dinner
Servings: 4


  • 4 each salmon filets
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. brussels sprouts
  • 2 each Granny Smith apples
  • 4 oz. pancetta diced
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1/2 bunch thyme divided


  • Pour apple cider into a small sauce pan; add a handful of thyme sprigs and simmer over medium-low heat until reduced to a syrup. Skim top periodically. (This can be done ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator)
  • Place salmon in a container and add soy sauce, olive oil and garlic. Refrigerate until needed.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Prepare brussels sprouts by trimming the stem, removing the outer leaves, and cutting in half.
  • On a sheet pan, toss the brussels sprouts and diced pancetta with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.  Place in the oven, reduce the heat to 425 degrees, and roast for 12 minutes.
  • While the brussels sprouts are roasting, peel and dice the apples.  Toss them with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  • After the 12 minutes are up, remove the sheet pan from the oven and add the apples and toss everything around.  Make space for the salmon filets and add them to the pan.
  • Return the pan to the oven, and roast for about 8 minutes.
  • Turn the temperature up to broil, and place the sheet pan on the highest rack in your oven and broil for a few minutes to let everything get well caramelized.
  • Remove from the oven and drizzle the entire sheet pan with the cider reduction and sprinkle everything with a generous amount of fresh thyme leaves.  ENJOY!


    1. Thank you! It’s a great combo, for sure – and the apple cider-thyme reduction is what really elevates it!

  1. 5 stars
    I love the recipe, so easy, and I just bought amazing Granny Smith Apples.
    Can I substitute the pancetta?

    1. Yes! You can substitute bacon or you can just omit it altogether. You would just need to toss the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper (since you won’t have the fat from the pancetta or bacon).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating