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Aluminum foil is a staple in the kitchen. And while the answer to "can aluminum foil go in the oven" might seem obvious, there are a few things to discuss about how to use and the safety.
From lining baking dishes to protecting the oven rack from dripping meat juices, aluminum foil is a cook’s best friend. Although it’s relatively expensive, the convenience factor makes up for it.
Best of all, When you are done baking just about anything, you simply pull the food out and toss the foil in the trash. Now, will it be better to use a washable baking dish or a reusable cookie sheet? Perhaps. But, with three kids and work, every second counts.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should use foil all the time. But, when time is short, and you want to get things done in a jiffy, using a foil is definitely a life-saver.
However, how safe or unsafe the practice is, needs more discussion.
So, the question is; Can you put foil in the oven? And is it safe? Here’s our take on the mind-boggling question:
Can you put aluminum foil in the oven?
Yes, you can put foil in the oven. However, using aluminum foil in the oven has potential benefits and downsides. Neither can we outrightly reject the usage, nor can we adopt it as a completely harmless practice.
It all depends on whether you love the ease of using it more or want to keep an eye on the potential hazards.
For us, the ease of using aluminum foil weighs more than the potential hazards. Still, it might not be a great idea to line the bottom of your oven with aluminum foil.
It will affect the performance of your oven immensely, blocking the air and heat supply inside the baking chamber.
That's one precaution. There are some more down there. Before those, let's get to know the correct way of using the foil:
Related: Can you put cardboard in the oven?
Using foil in the oven
There's no correct way of using aluminum foil. However, keeping the shiny side out will appeal to your eyes more (and that's easy too because the foil roll has packed it the same way).
Apart from the aesthetic element, there's no difference between the shiny and dull side. Both shiny and dull sides are eventually made up of aluminum, and both have the same benefits and risks attached.
Now, before moving to the hazards and precautions of using aluminum foil in the oven, let's discuss the ways you can use foil in the oven:
Ways to use foil in the oven
Aluminum foil is a versatile kitchen supply. You can use it inside the oven, and many use it to protect their stovetops from spillages and splashes. However, we are looking into the ways how we can use aluminum foil inside an oven:
On a casserole dish
Although casserole dishes are versatile and usually big, they typically don't come with lids.
Here comes the role of our shiny superhero aluminum foil. Got done with lasagne preps? Time to cover the casserole dish with a big rectangular piece of aluminum foil.
The foil will keep the content of the casserole in its place, without anything bubbling or oozing out. Moreover, it will help retain an even amount of heat inside the casserole dish.
Wrapped around food
We have a lot of foiled food options. From steamed drumsticks to baked potatoes and a nice serving of baked vegetables to delicious foiled fish, aluminum foil rescues many situations.
There's literally no hassle of arranging dishes or casseroles to get delicious foiled food. Furthermore, the foil is a quite presentable option to serve food. Even after cooking, you can serve the food directly wrapped in the foil.
It is common to cover the bottom rack of a regular oven with aluminum foil. The reason is simple; Whenever you’re cooking something on the middle shelf that has a risk of dripping, you cover the oven bottom with aluminum foil.
This way, the cleaning process of the oven gets convenient, and you can put the drippings back on the dish with the help of a spoon.
On the oven rack
When baking items such as pizza, the middle rack works best with aluminum foil. You need to wrap the middle rack in a foil sheet and place the pizza inside without worrying about the cleaning process.
Once you get done with the baking part, you can take out the aluminum foil and discard it without having to clean the entire rack.
Although purpose-built for baking, cookie sheets and baking sheets pose a challenge in cleaning up after baking. The cookie dough or the sheet cake residues can get hard to clean. You need to soak the sheets to get a proper cleaning.
That’s when a piece of foil comes in extremely handy. You only need to line the baking/cookie sheets with foil, grease it a bit and bake your goodies. Tada!
After baking, you only need to crumple up the foil sheet and throw it in the trash.
Aluminum foil pans
These foil pans are great because they can be used just like a casserole dish. They can be used in the oven and are disposable after use.
Is it always safe to to put foil in the oven?
While using foil in the oven is a super-convenient option, it has its downsides. It is not always safe to put foil in the oven because:
- Foil can contaminate your food with aluminum.
- You may encounter aluminum toxicity due if you ingest high levels of aluminum to this contamination.
Aluminum is present almost everywhere because it is the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust (our body cells, too, have aluminum). Still, we do not require ingesting it. However, aluminum foil in the oven can have some leaching into the food while heating up.
The amount may be negligible, but continuous and long-term use of aluminum foil in the oven can cause potential health problems like aluminum toxicity.
Why use foil in the oven?
Using foil in the oven has many benefits, such as:
- No dripping of juices from the meat
- Easy cleanup after baking
- No hassle of using dishes
- The food gets thoroughly cooked without getting burned.
- Wrapping the food with aluminum foil keeps the moisture of the dish intact.
Having a few downsides definitely put a question mark on the usability of aluminum foil in the oven. However, the hazards occur only with excessive use of the metal inside the oven.
Using foil paper doesn’t make the whole process toxic for people who bake occasionally. Still, there are some other options, too, if you are not satisfied with using foil in the oven:
What can you use instead of foil?
Although aluminum foil is truly the most convenient option, it is not cost-effective. Besides the cost, you are also producing a lot of waste due to its disposable nature. So, here are some other options to think about:
For covering casserole dishes or other large pots, you can use silicone lids instead of aluminum foil. They can seal the dish well, and there will be no hassle of anything bubbling out.
Moreover, silicone lids are reusable, unlike aluminum foil, so they cost you less than the always-thrown-away aluminum foil.
Baking sheets and sheet pans need to be your first choice while baking stuff. They are specifically manufactured for baking purposes and are oven-safe.
Besides that, they too are reusable, so you aren't disturbing the environment too much using them.
For the problem of cleaning, there's always the option of lining the baking sheets with parchment paper that doesn't have the risk of chemical contamination on heating.
Most people use foil to keep the juices intact in the meat. One great way to avoid dripping of the juices into the baking box of your oven is to use a Dutch oven.
You can put big quantities of meat in a Dutch oven without the fear of dripping out juices. Besides that, Dutch ovens come with lids, so there's no need for silicone lids like casseroles.
Parchment paper is another substitute for foil. However, parchment paper works well only for lining the dishes.
For the covering part, parchment paper is hard to hold the shape of the container of the baking item.
Parchment paper works exceptionally well for lining dishes that need even cooking. For cookies and cakes, parchment is a far better option than aluminum foil.
Silicone mat or sheets
Like silicone lids, silicone sheets or silicone mats are a great foil substitute to use inside the oven.
They are far lower in conducting heat than aluminum, so if you wish to slow cook something inside the oven, silicone sheets or mats are a better option than aluminum foil.
Can you use tin foil in an electric oven?
Foil works the same in the electric oven like a regular gas oven. Both of them have risks and benefits.
However, there is nothing such as a fire hazard or an electrical shock hazard (it can happen with aluminum foil in the microwave) by putting aluminum foil in an electric oven.
The only thing to keep in mind is not to overdo it.
Undeniably, aluminum oil is one of the most convenient kitchen inventions. They are versatile, come with countless uses, and they make your dishes more presentable. However, using them inside the oven poses the risk of too much aluminum ingestion which has certain side effects.
To enjoy the benefits of using aluminum foil inside the oven, make sure not to go overboard with it.
Use foil inside the oven when it is absolutely necessary. Happy baking!