What about silicone bakeware?

If you’ve been considering new bakeware for your holiday baking, you’ve likely noticed all the silicone bakeware that is available for any baking need in various sizes, shapes, colors, and prices.  Perhaps you’ve wondered:  Is silicone safe?  Is it worth the money spent? and Is it better than traditional bakeware?

Silicone bakeware is made from a synthetic polymer created from a mixture of silicon, a naturally occurring element on the earth’s crust, combined with carbon and/or oxygen to create a rubber-like substance. The rubber-like substance can be shaped into any desired shape during manufacturing.  The FDA has approve silicone as a food safe substance and it is generally considered inert and will not leach into foods.  Silicone bakeware is rated safe for temperatures below freezing and up to 500֯F (always check the manufacturer’s specs).   Good quality silicone should not emit any odor or discolor with use.  Lower quality silicone may contain fillers or additives which may cause odor during baking and discolor over time.

Silicone bakeware is durable, non-stick, and quite flexible. A wide variety of silicone products are available for the kitchen beyond bakeware. Potholders,  trivets, spatulas, whisks and other utensils, collapsible mixing bowls and strainers, ice cube trays, rolling pins and mats, and much more have become commonplace. Silicone baking pan liners provide a non-stick surface for baking sheets and jelly roll pans making for quick and easy cleanup. It can go directly from the oven to the freezer or vice versa, is microwave and dishwasher safe, and easy to clean.  Since silicone is naturally non-stick no additional oil or grease calories are needed to prep the mold.  However, a small spritz of cooking oil could be helpful with the more decorative molds with sharp corners or intricate designs. Another special feature of silicone is that it’s a great insulator. This means that it both cooks evenly and also cools down quickly. While metal or glass bakeware retain heat, silicone bakeware cool enough to handle within minutes after removal from the oven. Silicone bakeware can go straight from oven to table allowing the molds to be a serving dish, too.  They can also be used for non-baked foods that require molding or even arts and crafts projects.

Silicone bakeware should always be used in conjunction with a firm surface like a cookie sheet to prevent burns and flipping baked goods to the floor.  In most cases, baking and cooling time is the same as for traditional bakeware.  While quite durable, beware of sharp objects and direct heat; a knife will cut through silicone and direct heat will melt it.

While silicone bakeware offers some distinct advantages and tradeoffs over the traditional alternatives, the question remains: are they for you?  I have a few silicone pieces and enjoy using them.  However, some products are simply made better in a traditional pan; others are better in silicone.  Muffin cups are my favorite.

Marlene Geiger

I am a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a BS in Home Economics Education and Extension and from Colorado State University with a MS in Textiles and Clothing. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, gardening, quilting, cooking, sewing, and sharing knowledge and experience with others.

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16 thoughts on “What about silicone bakeware?

  1. I think your article is very good. The more people who learn about the advantages of silicone bakeware, the faster America can become the leader in supply of this super product.

    Williams Sonoma has great silicone utensils in cream color. They are awesome to work with. I really want semi-rigid silicone bakeware like that utensil set in the form of baking sheets, loaf pans and muffin pans. Pray everybody.

  2. Dee, thank you for the positive feedback. Silicone bakeware and utensils are really great.

  3. I just bought some from Amazon in the box there was two that are used for bread and two for pies and four smaller ones for bread too. My question is the two came with directions telling me to bake them before use. The other ones had no directions so should I bake them too

    Thank you

  4. David, Thank you for contacting AnswerLine. I’m struggling to answer your question. I have a few pieces of silicone bakeware and the pre-use instructions direct putting them into the dishwasher. Further, I’ve spent considerable time trying to find more about the pre-baking instructions you seem to have and have come up empty handed. Can you provide the manufacturer of the bakeware you purchased? I tried to find you purchase on Amazon to see if I could get info about and from the manufacturer. And lastly, can you provide more information by what you mean, “the two came with directions”?

  5. This is the best and straightforward information I have ever read about Silicone Bakeware.
    You are indeed a “Subject Matter Expert”. I really enjoyed the fact that you made a difference between good quality Silicone and low-quality Silicone bakeware.
    Keep up the good work!

  6. Hi Victoria, thank you so very much for your positive feedback. I’m so glad you found the blog useful!

  7. Hi Diane, I’m sorry you have a cut in your silicone cake pan. It is not repairable. One of the biggest mistakes that you can make while baking with a silicone pan is to cut the cake while it is still in the pan. Always remember that silicone bakeware is not impenetrable. Both regular and butter knife can cut through the pan’s surface and damage it such that you will not be able to use it ever again. Hence, always take the cake out of the pan and place it on a tray or plate before cutting it.

  8. How can I find filler-free silicone bakeware? I’ve read that the “pinch test” is a myth or not a sure test for whether silicone contains fillers.

  9. Hi Kim, Look for products that are only 100% food-grade silicone, without fillers or additives that could leach into the food with heat. Products compliant to either FDA or European LFGB standards are proven safe to use with food. (The LFGB testing is a bit more comprehensive process resulting in pricier products.) It is my understanding that the pinch or twist test (twisting a flat surface on the item to see if white shows though indicating that the product is likely made with fillers rather than pure silicone) is the best way to determine whether filters have been used. The one exception to this are the higher quality silicone baking mats which have an internal fiberglass or nylon fiber mesh layer for improved heat distribution. This should not be of concern as the food is only in contact with the silicone layer of these mats. The best advice I have is to become familiar with the better product manufacturers whose products are only 100% food grade silicone.

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