(Note: that sentence means very little since the FDA approves a bunch of things for human consumption that I don’t trust, like hydrogenated oils, for example.) Those that stated otherwise were usually single people in a forum or comments railing about silicone being toxic.
The “nonreactive” claim is just based on the fact that silicon (the element) is “inert.” Again, let’s be serious: just because something in nature is fairly stable doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily cook and eat on it. The oils in silicone, which are very powerful and toxic, may “migrate” from the material, but I can’t find any real data.
I do notice an odor or smoking every so often, especially when oil hits the surface (like when roasting pumpkin seeds tossed in Too). It’s reasonably new, so long-term studies haven’t been performed on cookware that has been exposed to high temperatures over very long periods.
All over the Internet, people are basically saying, I can’t find anything dangerous about silicone, so I assume it’s a safe material.” That’s basically what I’ve said over the years, and now I’ve just contributed another article to the vastness of the Internet that says little to nothing about the safety of silicone. If you want to be very conservative, skip the silicone and stick with glass, cast iron, or stainless steel for cooking and baking and unbleached parchment paper if you need something flexible.
It doesn’t take more energy to create than glass or mining metal for pots and pans, and it is not toxic to aquatic or soil organisms. So for the earth, silicone bakeware is a fine choice compared to just about anything else out there, and better than Teflon, which contains chemicals that won’t break down at all.
I also swear by my silicone “spoonful” for scrambling eggs in the pan and other stove top cooking. I found the muffin tin to be a beast to clean, much worse than its metal counterpart.
The nonstick claim leaves a lot to be desired on the three-dimensional products, but the mats are still my friend…unless I decide they might be toxic. Katie Kimball has been “green” since 5th grade when she read 50 Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth.
She remains slightly disappointed that she didn’t actually save the whole thing back then, but now that she has 3 kiddos counting on her, she keeps plugging away hopefully. Katie blogs at Kitchen Stewardship about real food and natural living and is the author of Healthy Snacks to Go and other e-books, available for Kindle.
However, greasing or spraying your silicone mats before placing dough or food on them will help when it is time to remove your freshly baked treat. When it comes to a work surface, you can also place the silicone mat on a countertop if you plan on kneading bread or rolling out cookie dough.
With a little soap and water, wipe your silicone mat clean, and let it air dry. Silicone fillers can be harmful to our health because of the toxins they omit when heated or cooled.
Your best bet for finding safe silicone baking mats is to purchase from a respected manufacturer. If you want to be sure about the components of the mat before buying, you can always reach out to the customer service team.
You can use a baking mat and parchment paper interchangeably in a variety of ways. We break down the uses of baking mats versus parchment paper in the list below.
This is a question on many consumer's minds, ranging from professional bakers to the occasional home cook. You will also find silicone ice cube trays, rolling pins and all sorts of baking pans.
Silicone bakeware is tolerant of both heat and cold, and can be used in the oven at temperatures up to 428 degrees Fahrenheit. It can go directly from the oven to the freezer, is microwave safe, and easy to clean.
It does not emit fumes of any sort, leach into food, or pose any health risks according to the FDA. If you are concerned about the possibilities of long term use of silicone bakeware, consider confining your use to spatulas, trivets and other items that are not exposed to heat on a consistent basis.
If you do use silicone pans, you should also keep in mind that they should be placed on a firm surface, like a cookie sheet, when baking. Lifting a flexible pan from the oven can leave you with burns and a cake on the floor rather than your table.
It appears that these odors are connected to fillers in the final product, rather than the silicone itself. Keep in mind that silicone cookware has become quite popular and low quality items are available.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a professional kitchen that doesn’t keep a huge box of parchment paper sheets, and silicone mats are a staple for most serious bakers. I took a deeper look at the uses, pros, and cons of a silicone mat versus using parchment paper to find out.
The main benefit to owning a silicone mat is that, unlike parchment paper, it’s reusable. The silicone mat is also especially well suited for jobs that may prove too hot and sticky for parchment paper to stand up to without reinforcement (i.e. greasing).
Time Inc. Food Studios recipe developer/tester Deb Wise says, “If you make a lot of peanut brittle or do a lot of cooking with sugar, you will need a silicone mat.” She notes that a silicone mat is incredibly useful when you are working with hot confections such as caramel or toffee. These mats are also easy to clean, especially compared to scrubbing a baking sheet with hard-set residue.
Once you puncture or slice the mat, it becomes more difficult to clean and the damage will continue to deteriorate over time. The Silent mat is made with a combination of fiberglass mesh and silicone that contribute to its non-stick power.
For half the price of a Silent, you can get two half-sheet mats from the online giant’s branded line of products. A major perk of parchment is that you can tailor it to oddly shaped pans with a pair of scissors, while you can only use a mat in specific sizes/shapes.
I conducted a simple test to see if there is any obvious difference in using parchment paper versus using a silicone mat in baking with our Ultimate Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookie recipe. I baked each batch of cookies on a lightly colored half sheet pan with raised edges.
And because the Silent lays completely flat, it was easier to scoop the dough onto, compared to the parchment paper with ever-curling ends. We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products.
), culinary chefs, and home bakers: the Silent Premium Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat is definitely the #1 choice. As the original silicone mat, Silent is an incredible product of great quality that has been utilized in professional and home kitchens for years.
Silent is a line of silicone products made by the company NASA Female Inc. For over five decades, NASA Female Inc. is an authorized production facility in France that has been committed to improving cooks’ baking experiences. As an experienced French baker, Female hoped to improve baking his baguette bread with a nonstick tray.
Silent is made with the highest quality food grade silicone reinforced with fiberglass mesh. Along with the silicone, this specially designed mesh provides consistent heat distribution, which helps with even baking and browning.
With proper care and maintenance, Silent products can be reused for up to two to three thousand times, as claimed on the company website. Silent products conform to United States regulations for food grade silicone.
Silent makes a range of differently sized mats, to suit your individual baking needs. They also sell individual mats with markings for traditional pretzel shapes, macaroni, and round cookies.
Now that we’ve reviewed our most recommended model, let’s go over some silicone basics, and why it’s the right choice for busy bakers. As described on Silent’s company website, silicone is a man made material, a composition of inorganic rubbers created by linking silica atoms.
The majority of these mats have a very strong and flexible woven fiberglass core, completely surrounded by a transparent silicone covering. Fancy science talk aside, the combination of these invented materials of silicone and fiberglass can withstand extreme temperatures, making a product that is incredibly pliable and strong, rejects stickiness, and can be reused many times with no damage.
If you are concerned with minimizing waste, silicone is the more practical alternative to disposable paper or foil. You don’t need to apply a thick coating of oil, butter, or cooking spray.
You save money by not using these ingredients, and you’ll reduce extra caloric intake by eliminating these fats. Photo credit: Nikki Crone. Even with the stickiest of caramels or the gooiest of cinnamon rolls, they all will release easily from the pan.
You won’t have to deal with the annoyance of peeling off bits of parchment paper from the bottoms of your beloved treats. Anything on the pan is easily removed with hot soapy water and a soft sponge, no soaking or scrubbing required.
Don’t place these products directly on an oven rack, stove top, hot plate, or grill. While silicone mats can be placed on the top rack of your dishwasher, I prefer to treat them more gently to minimize the risk of damage.
Proper storage may be the most important aspect of the care and maintenance of these kitchen implements. After cleaning, allow the mats to dry completely before storing to prevent a buildup of excess moisture.
Carefully follow my maintenance advice, and you and your silicone mat will be a happy baking duo for a long time! Now that you understand all the use and upkeep basics for this phenomenally nonstick product, let’s take a look at the other top options available to purchase.
The AmazonBasics model, made in China, includes two nonstick silicone baking mats that fit the size of a half-sheet pan. Both have the same aesthetic features: a light brown base, with a dark gray outer lining.
Though I prefer washing them by hand, AmazonBasics states that they can also be cleaned in the dishwasher, top rack only. You may return most new, unopened items sold and fulfilled by Amazon within 30 days of delivery for a full refund.
Kiting’s mats are made with professional food grade silicone with a fiberglass core, making them another stellar option for ditching the parchment paper when making toffee, caramel, macaroni, or crispy roasted potatoes. If you are not completely satisfied with your product, Kiting offers a 100% money-back guarantee.
Artisan now offers newer models with helpful measurements written on the surfaces. Feudal was unable to acquire warranty information at the time of the review, but we will update this section with feedback from the manufacturer’s customer service department as soon as possible.
The bright 3-pack set will bring some colorful charm into your kitchen, and the measurement guidelines in inches on the bottom of the mat will help you and your kids roll out dough to the right size. As with the other models, the combination of the two materials creates better air circulation and even heat distribution.
They can withstand a temperature range of -40 °F to 482 °F, making them safe for the oven, microwave, and freezer. Silicone mats provide one of the best nonstick work surfaces for baking a range of delicious treats.
Even heat distribution, no sticky messes, and long-lasting durability are all amazing reasons why these flexible creations are the preferred surfaces for home cooks and professional chefs. Photo credit: Nikki Crone. They’re environmentally friendly, waste-free, long-lasting, and make the need for spraying your baking surface with cooking oil or coating it with butter obsolete.
Product photos via various manufacturers: Silent, AmazonBasics, Kiting, Artisan, and Filched. When she is not tearing through her city's best cheese steaks, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga and chocolate.