Silicone bakeware is very popular nowadays due to its versatility and appealing designs. Silicone features some advantages that will out-perform traditional bakeware. There are several key reasons why people choose to have silicone bakeware in their kitchen:
Durable: Despite being lightweight, silicone is a strong and sturdy material that can last for a long time. Utensils can be used over and over again without worrying about damage. They don’t fade or wear off and they won’t get bent or break if you accidentally drop them onto a hard kitchen floor.
Non-Stick capability: Silicone bakeware has excellent nonstick capabilities. You even don’t have to use grease or a baking spray, which saves prep time and reduces calories. The baked goods came out easily and effortlessly.
Food will bake evenly: The food bakes evenly and browns beautifully. Unlike metal, a silicone pan stops the baking process once removed from the oven. It cools quickly, which makes it more convenient for use.
Easy to clean: Silicone bakeware offers easy cleaning because it has a surface that foods do not stick to. You can clean the pans using just warm water and soap, but they are dishwasher-safe too. The pans don’t stain or retain odors and flavors of the foods cooked inside. The surface has no open pores to harbor bacteria and it is also hypoallergenic.
Temperature resistant: Silicone withstands a large range of temperature changes, so it can be used for the baking, serving, and storing of food all together with no issues. It withstands temperatures from -76 to 500ºF.
Microwave safe: Reheating baked goods or leftovers are easier with silicone. You can put your food in the fridge or a freezer, and reheat it and even serve using the same pan that you baked in.
Ease of storage: Storage of silicone bakeware is simple, because of its flexible nature. The flexibility allows for collapsing and easy storage in any space. A collapsed item will snap back into shape when needed in the future.
Appealing look: Silicone utensils come in a wide variety of colors and shapes. They are usually made with cool colors that allow you to serve in the same pan the food was baked in.
Affordable: Silicone baking dishes can be found at local stores for good prices. With a reusable silicone mat, you can bake without using a disposable paper, which makes it a good choice for the environment as well.
Are there any Downsides?
Could be too flexible: The floppiness of silicone baking sheets can be an issue. They are quite flexible which makes lifting and transferring foods to the oven a bit difficult. You might need to use a firm base for added stability.
Spill risk: Liquids are not as well contained as more sturdy items, so burns and spills can be more likely. The problem can be resolved by using a sturdy baking pan or sheet under the silicone bakeware.
Static builds up on silicone utensils and attracts dust, so they must be cleaned regularly.
Is Silicone Safe for Using with Food?
Silicone products have a wide range of benefits as discussed, but there has been controversy about their safety.
Silicone is FDA approved, as a “food-safe substance”, so bakeware made from silicone is generally considered safe for food preparation. All bakeware products must be manufactured to meet food contact safety FDA standards. Food grade silicone is non-reactive and shouldn’t leach into food or harm your food in any way. It will melt if the temperature goes above the safe temperature range, but then it still doesn’t emit toxic fumes.
Silicone has low chemical reactivity and also will not support microbiological growth. Silicone dishes made from food-grade silicone do not allow for cracking and peeling. There is no evidence showing that using for silicone serving, storing, and baking food can contaminate it. If you use silicone for baking, make sure that any piece you are using is food-grade. Also, make sure to read the instructions and use your bakeware properly and within the recommended temperature range. Each silicone bakeware piece has the max temperature listed on it.
Are there still some Concerns Remaining?
Odors have been reported by some users, but this usually happens due to the use of low-quality and low-grade silicone. It looks as if these odors are connected to fillers used in the final product, rather than the silicone. Bakeware products made from a quality, food-grade silicone don’t produce any odors.
You can test your silicone for filler by twisting and pinching it. If white color shows, the product contains filler. Discontinue use and look for higher-grade silicone bakeware instead.
Silicone bakeware is rated from below-freezing temperatures up to 450° Fahrenheit. The safety of silicone bakeware when it is repeatedly exposed to high temperatures over long periods has not yet been studied. So long-term studies should be conducted to ensure that the silicone is completely safe for baking.
In 2007 the Italian magazine Altroconsumo tested silicone molds from various manufacturers on the domestic market to verify their food contact suitability. The test revealed that a particularly high level of undesirable substances was released from silicone molds the first time the mold is used. The migration was reduced after washing the mold in the dishwasher.
If you’re going to use silicone bakeware for baking purposes, always choose high-quality items made of FDA-approved food-grade silicone. Be sure to wash new silicone bakeware in the dishwasher prior to first use.