The Dire Oven Mistake You Have To Stop Making With Aluminum Foil

Aluminum foil has a plethora of uses. Its thin, sheet-like design makes it perfect for lining baking dishes, covering refrigerated food, and even acting as a barrier between your recipe and the bottom of the oven. However, if you're someone who uses aluminum foil directly on the oven's base as a way to prevent stuck-on stains from that big meal you're cooking, you should stop what you're doing. It turns out lining the bottom of your oven is unsafe, as it can cause heat damage to the appliance.

Though it has many uses and is generally safe to use in other ways in an oven, aluminum foil wasn't designed to come in such close contact with the heat source at the bottom of your oven. You can still use it to prevent those unwanted sticky oven stains; you just need to place it in a different part of the oven.

You shouldn't place aluminum foil at your oven's base

Contrary to what you might think, aluminum foil isn't designed to be wrapped around or placed on top of the oven's base. Reynold's, a popular aluminum foil brand, even notes on its website that this is not recommended. However, the company offers another solution. "To avoid possible heat damage to your oven, we do not recommend using aluminum foil to line the bottom of your oven," the site's FAQ says. "Rather, we recommend that you place a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil on the oven rack beneath the pie or casserole you are baking."

The brand also recommends only using a piece of foil that is slightly larger than the baking dish. This way, the air can continue to circulate around the food and allow it to cook properly. As far as cooking temperature, the general rule of thumb is to avoid using aluminum foil in the oven if you plan to heat it to a temperature higher than 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If the oven is under 400, you're safe.

Other uses for aluminum foil

Aluminum foil doesn't just prevent stains at the bottom of your oven. It's also perfect for wrapping sheet pans if you're going to cook anything in the oven that could create a mess. For example, tossing veggies in olive oil and seasoning them before oven-roasting them is a great way to get them crisp and flavorful, but it can also make a mess of the sheet pan. By lining the sheet with aluminum foil, you avoid the time-consuming, soapy cleanup that comes with scrubbing the pan.

Standard aluminum foil is also great for storing items in the refrigerator or freezer. The USDA says aluminum foil is an "excellent" choice for wrapping foods that will be frozen, though heavy-duty plastic wrap or freezer-friendly plastic bags work well, too. The USDA recommends foil, though, if the food will be frozen for more than two months, as foil allows for "longer storage."