Silicone cookware has become quite popular in modern kitchens. These utensils are beloved for their gorgeous bright colors and compatibility with delicate cookware like nonstick pots and pans because the rubbery surface cannot damage these linings.
There are many reasons why it’s tempting to buy a set of beautiful silicone spatulas, and these accessories can also make handy Christmas or birthday gifts. Before you make the purchase, however, it’s best to learn a little bit more about the advantages and disadvantages of silicone cookware.
In this guide, we take a closer look at the pros and cons of silicone cookware and we discuss whether it’s best to get silicone or to invest in more traditional alternatives.
What is Silicone Cookware?
Silicone cookware is a type of cookware that is made from or coated with a synthetic rubber. This synthetic rubber contains bonded silicon, oxygen, and sometimes carbon.
The cookware can also include other materials that might give more strength to the cookware or that might make the cookware more compatible with certain applications.
The synthetic rubber is very flexible and can be used to create various cooking utensils or bakeware. It’s a functional product to use for cooking because the material is freezer-safe and can withstand temperatures of up to 428 F (220 C).
Cookware and utensils made from this material can vary quite a bit. The material comes in a huge variety of colors and some manufacturers will use a higher grade of silicone and other materials in their products, while the items made by budget brands may be made from a thinner and more fragile silicone coating.
Silicone cookware can be used in the same way you might use an ordinary baking pan or a normal cooking utensil. The heat resistance of this material makes the utensils very practical on cooktops and bakeware is very functional inside any type of oven.
Different Types of Silicone Cookware
There are quite a few different types of silicone kitchenware and cookware items that you can get for your kitchen but the most common include bakeware and cooking utensils.
Silicone bakeware is an alternative to traditional tin and ceramic baking pans and bowls. Instead of metal, glass, or ceramic, silicone pans and trays are made from flexible silicone rubber. Silicone is heat resistant and can easily be used inside the oven.
Since the material is highly flexible, it becomes much easier to get food out of the trays. With bakeware, the entire baking pan or tray is made from silicone so you can easily place it inside an oven without worry that the materials will melt.
Silicone molds used for baking come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes and can have various designs. There are molds available for all sorts of baked foods including muffin pans, bread pans, and cake pans. These silicone products also come in a wide range of colors, making your baking experience quite fun.
Here is a list of some of the most common bakeware items this material is used for:
- Loaf pan
- Round silicone pan
- Muffin pan or mold
- Silicone mats
- Full bake sheets or cookie sheets
- Bread molds
- Cookie molds
- Decorative or themed cake molds
- Silicone baking cups
Silicone is a flexible material that doesn’t have a firm design. Because of this, silicone utensils usually include other materials like plastic, metal, or wood that give the utensils added strength. Silicone materials are used on the top or front of the utensils while the handle is usually made from a sturdier material.
The silicone part of these utensils comes in many different colors and some might even include fun prints on the flexible rubber.
Almost any utensil can have a silicone head including the following:
- Slotted spoons
- Pasta servers
- Basting brushes
- Potato mashers
- Solid spoons
- Soup spoons
Benefits of Silicone Cookware
Silicone cookware is popular in kitchens around the world because it has many advantages. Before we look at some of the disadvantages of silicone cookware, let’s explore some of the top reasons why so many chefs and home cooks love using this type of cooking gear.
Silicone cookware is reusable and is functional for cooking over long periods. Unlike iron, silicone products won’t rust or corrode. They may, however, eventually become stained and tarnished, but will remain functional until you toss them out.
Easy to Clean
Cooking and baking gear made from silicone can be very easy to clean because food doesn’t tend to cling to this type of material. All you need is some soapy water and any dirt and grime should come right off with minimal scrubbing.
Suitable for NonStick Cookware
Another advantage of this type of cookware is that it can easily be used inside cookware that is coated with a nonstick surface lining. Unlike metal utensils, the soft and flexible rubber won’t scratch or damage the cookware in any way and your cookware will stay beautiful and in great shape for much longer.
Safe to Use
This type of cookware is made from food-grade silicone, which isn’t likely to give off any foul taste, hazardous fumes, or harmful or toxic chemicals even when it makes contact with food at high temperatures.
The research on the effects that silicone cookware can have on your health is, however, still quite limited. Therefore, it’s usually best to avoid this type of cookware or utensils when you are preparing meals and snacks for infants and babies. For adults and children, the food-grade silicone is generally believed to be perfectly safe.
With that said, it’s important to realize that some manufacturers don’t use the same ingredients in their silicone products. If you want to be safe, it may be best to invest in 100% pure food-grade silicone cookware and accessories.
Silicone cookware comes in a wide variety of colors that can match your kitchen or give your cooking spaces a beautiful pop of color. Children adore these bright colors and some varieties can even be printed with beautiful pictures.
With silicone cooking utensils, you can safely and easily cook in any type of pan, pot, or container without damaging your equipment, making cooking hassle-free. Foods prepared inside a silicone pan also won’t cling to the surface as much as other types of pans, which can help to avoid compromising your beautiful dishes.
Silicone cookware is cold and heat-resistant, which means it tends to be more durable than plastic cooking accessories. Silicone bake pans can also last longer than iron or metal trays since they won’t rust. However, the life expectancy of silicone cookware is slightly shorter than products that are made from cast iron, stainless steel, or aluminum.
Withstands Extreme Temperatures
You can easily use your silicone cookware inside an oven or on the stovetop because it isn’t temperature-sensitive. The molds and cooking equipment won’t be damaged if you place it inside a freezer and it can withstand temperatures of up to 428 F (220 C).
The high-temperature resistance of this silicone cookware is surprising since even the toughest of traditional bakeware can only withstand a maximum temperature of 450 F before its integrity becomes compromised.
Reduces Oil and Grease Consumption
Silicone cookware makes it easier to prepare healthy meals because it often isn’t necessary to grease or oil silicone pans before using them. If you want to keep food from clinging to the surface of your molds, you can simply apply a coat of cooking spray before adding the food items. Your food will look and taste divine without using these harmful ingredients.
Silicone cookware items can range from affordable to quite pricey. However, even quality silicones tend to be quite reasonably priced compared to high-end kitchen equipment and especially compared to equipment that has been coated with products like enamel.
Disadvantages of Silicone Cookware
Silicone cookware can be a terrific solution for your kitchen, but they do have a couple of drawbacks. Here are some of the top disadvantages of silicone cookware:
While silicone cookware is easy to clean, it does need to be dried and stored properly or it can become tacky or sticky. This can make dust and pet hair cling to the surface and it can be challenging to get these small deposits wiped off the surface.
Prone to Staining
Light-colored silicone cookware can become stained over time. Silicone utensils, however, are less likely to become stained than silicone baking molds because the molds are usually stained by heated foods inside an oven. When a silicone bake sheet or tray becomes stained, it can start to look unpleasant.
One of silicone’s main advantages can also count as a major disadvantage. The materials are very flexible so you can easily flip a baked loaf or cake out of the mold when it is ready, however, this floppy design can make it challenging to get your baked items into the oven or to move the mold of dough around.
In most cases, it’s best to place the silicone mold inside a metal bake tray so you won’t run the risk of spilling dough all over the counter.
Not Environmentally Friendly
Unlike many other materials used inside kitchens, silicone cannot be recycled and this type of material does not biodegrade. This essentially means that it can cause landfill pollution when it’s time to discard your old pans or utensils.
Some people worry about leaching chemicals into food or exposing their bodies to toxins found inside the synthetic polymer. A lot of research has been done on this type of cookware and most studies conclude it is safe for use. Silicone cookware is, however, still relatively new on the market which means the true extent of effects might still be unknown.
Can be Damaged
Some silicone cookware or utensils can be damaged by sharp objects like a knife. Bakers’ folding knives can also become worn around the edges if they are frequently used on rough or textured surfaces.
Silicone Cookware FAQs
If you are new to silicone cookware then you probably have questions regarding the functionality and durability of these kitchen accessories. Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions others had regarding this type of cookware.
Is Silicone Cookware Safe?
In short, yes, silicone cookware is quite safe. Utensils and bakeware made from 100% pure food-grade silicone have been classified as safe by the FDA. These types of products don’t contain harmful toxins or chemicals that leach into food during cooking.
It is, however, important to ensure that your products are acquired from a reputable source. Not all synthetic polymers are food-grade materials. Knock-off brands or cheap manufacturers may include fillers in their silicone products. These fillers may not be as safe for cooking since they can transfer odors when heated.
As long as your silicone cookware is purchased from a reputable source, you should be perfectly safe consuming the foods made inside these types of containers.
Can You Microwave Silicone Cookware?
Yes, you can microwave pure silicone cookware without any negative side effects. The FDA deems these products safe for any type of cooking method including microwave use. As long as the temperatures of an oven don’t exceed 428 F (220 C), the cookware should produce no issues.
How Do You Clean Silicone Cookware?
Silicone cookware and utensils can easily be cleaned with dish soap and water and these products are also dishwasher safe.
To clean the utensils, simply create a mixture of mild dish soap and hot water. Submerge the cookware in the hot water and allow it to sit for a few minutes so the food and contaminants can soften. You can now wipe down the surface of these products with a soapy cloth. Rinse the cookware properly and allow it to air dry.
The most important step for cleaning silicone cookware is to allow it to dry properly. If these products are stored away without drying them properly, they can become tacky or sticky and will be difficult to work with the next time you need them.
Learning more about the advantages and disadvantages of silicone cookware is a great way to see whether this type of kitchen accessory will suit your cooking style and if it will fit in well with your kitchen.
We hope that you enjoyed our guide and if you want to learn more about different types of cookware or kitchen appliances then we welcome you to have a look at some of the other guides we have on Cookroom Kitchen. With our guides, you can find all the latest and best gear for your kitchen.