This was one of my last non-crunchy holdouts when changing my lifestyle. I cooked and baked and wrapped and did a million other things with aluminum foil before I finally cut it out of my life for good. Let me tell you, it has definitely been a challenge finding products and things to use as aluminum foil alternatives.
Now I am not going to try and convince you aluminum foil is bad for you in this post, plenty of others have done that for me. You can read about it here, here, and here. While research on long term effects of aluminum is new and there is not much of it yet much of the research points to aluminum possibly being dangerous and so I put it in my better safe than sorry category. Besides the possible health risks, using aluminum foil is also wasteful, even if it is the most abundant metal on Earth. If we keep treating it as the most abundant it will soon be gone except for in landfills.
Aluminum Foil Alternatives for Baking
Many items you bake require them to be covered. The easiest way to do this without tinfoil is to invest in some nice casserole dishes with lids like this, this, and this. Le Creuset is a great option for bakeware and your everyday cookware but it is a bit pricey (but just look at all the pretty colors!). I save up and purchase a piece of it every couple of months. If you just need to cover something to keep it from burning using a baking tray or cookie sheet is a good option.
If you love pie as much as I do, and bake it regularly, you will often find that the crust starts to get too brown before the rest of the pie is cooked. Many people just make a rim of aluminum foil to keep the crust edges from burning. Buuuuut, they make these super nifty little silicone pie shields that make my heart flutter in joy! I got a bunch of these before I got rid of all my aluminum foil because they are just so easy to use. Oh, and they are also adjustable! Bake on my friends, bake on.
Aluminum Foil Alternatives for Grilling
Now that summer is here I do lots and lots of grilling! I used to wrap up vegetables in aluminum foil to throw on the grill along with my meat. For some veggies like squash you can cut them in long strips and place them on the grill so they do not slip through the cracks. There are also some great grill baskets out there made of stainless steel that you can use. Just chop up your vegetables, throw them in, and stir them around every once in a while.
Aluminum Foil Alternatives for Easy Cleanup After Roasting
I swear on every cooking show I hear ‘just cover the pan in foil for easy cleanup’ and it just makes me feel lazy and wasteful to do that. I use glass pans and when I am done cooking I add water and a little bit of baking soda and let it sit before scrubbing clean. It maybe takes an extra 2 minutes in cleaning time.
Aluminum Foil Alternatives for Baking Potatoes
I am just going to let you in on a huge secret…you do not have to wrap potatoes in foil to bake them. What!?! I know it is crazy right? I grew up thinking there was some kind of law in the potato universe that demanded you must wrap your potatoes in aluminum foil. So how do you cook them without foil, you ask? Make sure you poke enough DEEP holes in your potatoes to keep them from exploding everywhere (yeah, this happened to me once). Then place a cookie sheet or baking tray on the rack below your potatoes and cook like normal. Super easy right!
And that is how I replaced aluminum foil in my kitchen! I know a little bit more work may be required but for me it is worth it to waste less and stay healthy! How have you replaced wasteful items in your kitchen?
Thank you for sharing this! I find that we use too much foil, I’ll be working on replacing it for sure.
You’re very welcome! I hope this helps to make replacing aluminum foil in your house much easier!
Thank you for this! It’s not necessarily the renewability issue for me, it’s the fact that you can’t recycle it if it’s covered in grease/food. And over time it’s just an expense I would like to do without.
I use it to reheat rice and other easily dried out leftovers. Suggestions for alternatives?
Microwave in a dish loosely covered with a plate…you may want to add a tiny bit of water if really dry
Just wondering if you considered that silicone may also have health risks when used for cooking.
Yes I have. So far the studies have shown that silicone is relatively inert and does not leach any chemicals, although these studies are not the best nor most extensive by far and could be improved upon. For most of my baking I generally use glass, metal, and cast iron but I do occasionally use some silicone, like the pie crust rings.
In Scouts, the kids have used foil packs in order to make up their individually selected ingredients and cook outdoors over hot coals. I’m at a loss for an alternative. Any ideas? I am also highly concerned about the environment and a fellow animal lover.
Ariel, maybe parchment paper packs cooked in a dutch oven?
How do you replace aluminum foil on the campfire? Foil Dinners?
You can cook in cast iron, and if you packet dinner wrap them in parchment paper then place in a caste iron dutch oven.
Love the silicone crust shield, but what I’d like to find is something I can use to wrap around a seitan roast (sealing both ends). Also, re baked potatoes: I have some handmade cloth pouches that you put a potato in (after piercing) and microwave for 4-5 minutes. Comes out perfect. Also works for sweet potatoes.
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