Silicone bakeware is a popular option for all sorts of baking needs. Not only are silicone pan liners, muffin cups, and cake pans durable, nonstick, and quite flexible, but also, their bright colors are almost too eye-catching to pass up. Are they safe, though?
What is Silicone Bakeware?
Silicone bakeware is made of a silicone rubber created from a mixture of bonded silicon and oxygen. Silicon is a naturally occurring element, making up some 28 percent of the earth’s crust; silicone is the synthetic form of silicon. Heat is applied to set the silicone’s shape during the manufacturing and curing processes. Silicone rubber may also be injection molded into various shapes during production.
A wide variety of silicone products are available for the kitchen, including potholders, spatulas, whisks, ice cube trays, rolling pins, and all sorts of baking pans. Silicone baking pan liners provide a nonstick surface for baking sheets and jelly roll pans, offering quick and easy cleanup.
Advantages to Using Silicone Bakeware
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 is easy to clean. While silicone bakeware is marketed as nonstick, greasing your bakeware is still a good habit.
Safety of Silicone
Silicone rubber is inert. It doesn’t emit fumes of any sort, leach into food, or pose any health risks, according to the FDA. Experts consider it nonreactive and a good choice when looking for low-risk cookware. If you’re concerned about the possibilities of long-term use of silicone bakeware, consider confining your use to spatulas, trivets, and other items that aren’t 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 burn you, and leave your cake on the floor rather than on your table.
Concerns About Silicone
Many people have reported odors when baking with silicone bakeware. It appears that these smells come from fillers used to make the bakeware, not from the silicone itself. Keep in mind that silicone cookware has become quite popular and some of it is low-quality. Examine pieces closely—if you see white when you twist a baking pan, fillers have been used. While there’s no evidence that risks are posed by poor-quality silicone cookware, offensive burning smells during baking are enough to make you want to avoid these items. Look for well-made silicone pieces by reputable manufacturers.