Stay Cautious: Is Aluminum Foil Save in Ovens?
People use aluminum foil for many things, so it's hard to imagine what life would be like without this kitchen staple. Many of us use aluminum foil in our ovens as a convenient dish covering or to catch drips and spills. But it's important to stop and ask: Is aluminum foil safe in ovens? Here's a list of ways you can enjoy the convenience of aluminum foil in the safest way possible.
When Is Aluminum Foil Safe in Ovens?
Do use aluminum foil to:
- Line baking pans. This will help prevent food from sticking to your pans and make clean up a breeze. Just know that cookies will spread out a bit more and be a bit crispier on the bottom if baked on foil.
- Catch spills. If you want to use foil to catch spills, then don't line the entire bottom of the oven with foil, which can be dangerous. Rather, place a sheet of foil on the rack below the dish you're cooking. Only use as much foil as necessary and never cover an entire oven rack with aluminum foil.
- Protect poultry. Create a loose "tent" with the foil and cover your chicken or turkey for the first couple of hours. This will prevent the bird's skin from browning before the rest of the meat is cooked. Remove the foil in the 30 to 60 minutes before the bird is fully cooked to get that nice crispy skin.
- Store leftovers. When the food comes out of the oven and it's time to store leftovers, you may automatically reach for the plastic wrap, but aluminum foil is the better choice because when sealed tightly, it's impermeable to odors and moisture.
When Is it Not Safe to Use Aluminum Foil in Ovens?
You should never use aluminum foil to:
- Line the entire bottom of the oven. This will cause food to heat unevenly and, over time, foil can melt and permanently damage the oven bottom. You’re better off wiping up messes after each use, when the oven has cooled but before the spill has hardened.
- Cook in the microwave. Using aluminum foil in the microwave is a very real fire hazard. On top of that, the aluminum interferes with the cooking process, so your food won't cook evenly.
- Store highly acidic foods. Highly acidic dishes include anything made with tomatoes, tomato sauce, vinegar, or tart fruits (e.g., lemons, limes, grapefruit). After a few days, the acids in these foods erode the foil, which will end up in the food.
Additional Tips for Cooktops
Now that we've covered when aluminum foil is safe in ovens, here are a few quick tips for using aluminum foil on various cooktops.
- Electric coil cooktops: Do not use aluminum foil to line drip pans. Foil can trap heat or melt, resulting in damage to the appliance and even fire.
- Electric radiant cooktops: Do not use aluminum foil on or near a radiant cooktop burner. The heat from the burner will fuse the aluminum foil to the glass surface and be impossible to remove.
- Gas cooktops: Do not use aluminum foil on any part of your gas cooktop. Doing so may result in carbon monoxide poisoning, overheating of the cooktop surfaces, and even fire.
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