Most home cooks and bakers have put aluminum foil in the oven, whether to keep baked goods from burning or for an easier clean-up. However, few are privy to exactly when and when not to put this cooking material in the oven. The question is, when can you put aluminum foil in the oven and when should you avoid it? Simply put, you can put aluminum foil in the oven as long as you don't use it as an oven liner.
Aluminum foil is ideal for covering baking dishes to reduce cooking times or keep certain parts of your dish from burning. For instance, when baking a pie, you sometimes need to cover the crust in foil for the last few minutes to keep it from burning while the filling finishes cooking.
Although aluminum foil is a great option for covering dishes and lining baking sheets, it shouldn't be placed at the bottom of the oven, used as an oven liner, or spread across an entire oven rack. When used this way, foil increases the intensity of the heat in the oven, potentially damaging heating elements or surfaces of cookware. Along with this, it can melt when placed in such close proximity to the heating element in your oven. Even if it doesn't melt or damage your oven, using aluminum foil as an oven liner can block airflow and cause your food to be cooked unevenly.
Rather than using aluminum foil to line your oven, stick with silicone oven liners or parchment paper. You can also place an empty baking sheet underneath what you're cooking to catch any spills.
This post was originally published on July 27, 2021.