Silicone bakeware is becoming more and more popular and with good reason. There are some really great benefits to using it. Silicone has been used for quite some time for medical implants such as pacemakers and artificial joints. The FDA has approved silicone as a food-safe substance. with its beneficial baking properties yet rubber-like flexibility, it almost seems too good to be true. It also just doesn’t seem like it’s something that should be placed in an oven. Scientific testing on medical-grade silicone has proved that it is perfectly safe. That said, you may not be purchasing medical-grade silicone bakeware. So is silicone bakeware safe to use in your home? Let’s cover the areas of concern.
Fillers in lower quality silicone
While scientific testing has proven that medical-grade silicone is safe to use, the concern comes in with cheaper manufacturers than may be using unknown fillers to save money. There isn’t any proof that any of the fillers that may be used could be harmful since there isn’t an easy way to determine what fillers are being used, if any. If this is a concern but you’re still very interested in using silicone bakeware it would likely be best to stick with the premium brands.
Leaching into food at high temperatures
Some have concerns that cooking at high temperatures could cause leaching of the silicone into the food. There are no documented cases of this and given that silicone is non-toxic it is likely not an issue. Again, if there are fillers used in the silicone they could be a concern. A safe course of action if this is a concern is to avoid temperatures above 450º.
Odors when baking at high temperatures
Some have concerns about odors when baking at high temperatures. This is just an anecdotal concern but some worry this could happen to them and worry what negative health effects could occur. Silicone is stable to beyond 450º and should not produce any fumes or odors below this temperature. If this is a concern, limiting cooking with silicone bakeware to temperatures below 450º should avoid these concerns.
Benefits of Silicone Bakeware
- It’s considered a green alternative to aluminum foil or parchment paper
- It’s very non-stick
- It’s very easy to clean
- Its flexibility can help removing baked foods from molds
- It’s dishwasher safe
- It’s petroleum free
- It’s highly scratch and fade resistant
Problems with Silicone Bakeware
- It’s new to the cooking industry so long-term effects are unknown
- Fillers used in cheaper silicone products could be hazardous
- Not as non-stick as Teflon®
What temperature is silicone safe up to?
The average oven can reach temperatures of 500º however silicone is only approved for use up to 450º. If you have a need that exceeds 450º it’s recommended that you opt for a material other than silicone. Also, if you’re using a silicone mat in the bottom of your oven to help keep it clean when baking you will want to remove it in these extreme situations.
Is silicone safe for babies?
There’s no reason to believe that silicone would be any more unsafe for babies than it would be for adults. We all are extra protective of our little ones so given that silicone hasn’t been in use with bakeware for the long term so affects aren’t known for prolonged exposure you may want to play it safe. That said, silicone has been used for quite some time in medical devices implanted in humans and been proven to be non-toxic.
Is silicone safe to be used in the microwave?
Silicone is perfectly acceptable to use in either an oven or microwave. Microwaves typically can’t heat things much beyond 200º which is well below the maximum range for silicone bakeware.
Is silicone BPA-free?
If a product lists the material to be 100% silicone then you need not be concerned about BPAs. Silicone itself is BPA-free.
Do silicone baking pans need to be greased?
Silicone is marketed as a non-stick material but in truth it’s not as non-stick as Teflon® and some other non-stick materials. Using a non-stick spray can be a good idea when working with more difficult recipes. You don’t need to go to great lengths but a little extra help will make cleanup a lot easier.
Additional Reading on Silicone Bakeware
If you’d like to read more about silicone bakeware, below are a few links to some sites that you may find helpful:
The most likely answer to the question of whether silicone bakeware is safe is yes. Given that silicone has been used for quite some time in the medical industry for implants such as pacemakers and artificial joints, we have some evidence that it has proven safe for these individuals. Long term use as bakeware will be the true test however. If you’re skeptical or not willing to gamble until some long term results come in then you’ll obviously want to wait before using them.