Hans Christian Ørsted probably couldn’t imagine how useful aluminum was at the time when he discovered this metal. But we, as people, have the natural urge to find more than one use for the things around us. And thanks to the one hungry soul who experimented by cooking with aluminum foil, I can now teach you the do’s and don’ts in cooking with aluminum foil in a toaster oven.
Can You Put Aluminum Foil in a Toaster Oven?
Yes, you can put aluminum foil in a toaster oven, but be very careful when using it. It can get dangerous if the foil covers the sides of the toaster oven interior, so cut it accordingly. Thicker foils stand up to higher heats, so it’s best to stick to heavy duty aluminum foil.
Why the extra precautionary measures you may ask? There are two main reasons: overheating and possible sparks which are a fire hazard.
First, the heat. Aluminum foil reflects heat which can cause your toaster oven to overheat. Going over the temperatures it can withstand will cause your toaster oven to malfunction, start melting from the inside, or worst, catch fire. In order to avoid this, you should stick to acceptable temperature limits or even go slightly lower than the recipe suggests.
Secondly, sparks. They may occur if the aluminum foil touches any part of the heating elements in your toaster oven. Sparks can cause numerous problems for your toaster oven – malfunction and setting it on fire, to name a few. Avoid this by carefully cutting the foil so it’s exactly the size of the pan.
IMPORTANT: It’s best to consult the manufacturer’s manual and assure yourself it’s safe to use aluminum foil in the particular oven model you’re using. In case you can’t find yours check out ManualLib, they have a large database of user manuals.
Why & How to Use Aluminum Foil in a Toaster Oven
You probably aren’t aware how cool a kitchen tool aluminum foil really is, but there are plenty of ways you can use it either for cooking or even for storing food.
Wrap it Around the Food
This technique is most widely known for the making of baked potatoes, preparing meat or grilling vegetables or cheese on a barbeque. You wrap the food in foil because it is heat resistant. That way it is cooked in steam, in its own juice or added oils, thus preventing it from losing moisture and without it getting burnt.
Use it As a Baking Sheet
Use it as a baking sheet for your vegetables, it will help your veggies be cooked faster than it would normally take. Cut the aluminum foil, place it on the baking tray carefully and make sure the foil doesn’t overflow the tray and touch the inside of the toaster oven. This could cause sparks and damage your toaster oven. Then place the food on the foil, spray it with some oil and let it bake to perfection!
Cover Tray With Foil From Above
By covering the tray with aluminum foil from above, you make a nice steam bath for the food you cook. This way the food gets juicier from the steam and absorbs all the flavors from the smoke. Afterward, when you take the foil off, the juicy food can get its crisp from the outside. This technique is favored by chefs all around the world and I am sure it will be one of your favorites as well.
Mold It in a Form of a Tray
Don’t be in despair if you don’t have a tray or at least not a fitting tray. Aluminum foil is easy to mold in any kind of shape!
You can even get goofy with it! Baking fish? Why not mold it in the form of a fish?! However, it’s important to leave the sides of the form firmer and higher than the inside, where you place the food, to prevent the liquids from leaking.
Keep Your Food Fresh!
This is not necessarily using foil in a toaster oven but comes in afterward. In case you have any leftover food wrapping it up in foil will make it stay fresh for a long time. Store-bought produce from chocolate bars to fresh meat often comes wrapped in aluminum foil, and there is a reason for that! Don’t let the effort you put into preparing the food go to waste.
Alternatives To Using Aluminum Foil in a Toaster Oven
There are different alternatives to using aluminum foil, depending on what you’re trying to do.
You don’t want any grease dropping to the bottom of your toaster oven? For this purpose, aluminum foil can be replaced by a paper baking sheet or by а toaster oven silicone mat. Be careful when using these too, as paper baking sheets can withstand temperatures of up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything exceeding that will set them on fire.
If you were to use aluminum foil for covering the food, you can use a baking dish with a lid that can fit your toaster oven to get the same effect.
You can replace aluminum foil with a Silpat. They are non-stick baking sheets made of high-temperature resistant materials. Silpats are reusable which makes them a favorite among many.
Remember, Be Extra Careful!
I cannot emphasize enough how careful you should be with aluminum foil. Aluminum foil is heat resistant, therefore inflammable, but if the airflow inside the toaster oven is interfered with, it can lead to fire hazards. That is why it is important you make sure there is space for the air to move around freely. Stay safe & stay toasty!