Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Tips for using silicone baking mats

I've always been a big fan of stainless steel bakeware. It's safe, durable, and easy to use. But, as of this year, I have a new love:

Silicone baking mats

We got these aluminum baking sheets (13x18-inch, called a "half size") at Costco Business Center, along with the two silicone baking mats. I previously had just two (11x15-inch) baking sheets and it was difficult to make larger batches of things because, well, I didn't have more than 2 sheets (both went in the oven at the same time).

I had shied away from aluminum baking sheets because I prefer our food not to have contact with aluminum. (Aluminum is affordable, and works well though!) But, with the addition of the silicone baking mat, the food doesn't touch the aluminum after all.

I'm so glad I decided to try these sheets and mats! I loved them immediately and use them several times per week, at least! The big size holds plenty of vegetables, rolls, etc. and the mats prevent any sticking without having to grease the pan. YAY for saving on butter and not having to get my hands messy! :)

Silicone baking mats

Tip: After washing silicone baking mats, roll them and stand on end to dry (pictured above). I've tried lots of other ways of letting the mats air-dry but none work as well as standing on end. :)

Here are some of the things I've been making using my new sheets and mats:

Roasted broccoli

Roasted vegetables. A silicone baking mat makes roasted veggies SO simple! (Have I mentioned that I love not greasing pans?!) In this picture, I made "grilled" broccoli and cauliflower (but roasted it in the oven). :)

Pizza! Again, no grease -- but a perfectly baked crust! I have never had any dough stick to my mats, and I've put some pretty sticky dough on them.

An added bonus? If a few stray pieces of shredded cheese end up on the mat instead of the pizza when you're making the pizza, they won't stick either. (Ever spend 20 minutes cleaning burnt cheese off the side of pizza pans? I know I have...)

Potato wedges

Potato wedges are AWESOME on a silicone baking mat. Why?

#1. No need to grease the pan.
#2. The bottoms and tops evenly brown, so not really any need to stir during baking.
#3. The browned part stays on the potato wedges instead of sticking to the baking sheet = more crispy yumminess in my mouth, less time cleaning pans afterward!

The other thing that is perfect on the silicone baking mats is any bread! The bottom gets perfectly baked every time!

But, it gets better. You know how things like challah or hamburger buns or bagels tend to call for an egg wash and seeds sprinkled on top before baking? And the egg wash inevitably drips down onto the baking sheet and makes it so hard to clean afterwards, that I end up doing things like just NOT putting egg wash on my challah?

Well, the silicone baking mat eliminates that problem completely. The egg wash does not stick. The pan is not hard to wash. All my baked goods now look that much better because I can do an egg wash any time I want!! :)

The debate about washing an extra item:

When I decided to try the silicone baking mats, one of my concerns was that it would be a bit of a bother to wash an extra item (vs. just a baking sheet). Especially if you have 2, or more, sheets -- the number of dirty dishes is doubled!

But I have found that it is faster to wash the sheet + mat than to just wash my stainless steel pans, EVEN when there is nothing to really scrub off my other pans. The silicone mat has nothing sticking to it, and neither does the baking sheet, so it really is simple! The sheets + mats have been my go-to ever since I first tried them. :)

Where to buy?

You can get silicone baking mats from Amazon.com (referral link) or from a restaurant supply store like GFS or Business Costco. I really, really like the size I got (13x18-inch). My mats are Sil-Eco brand and have been used dozens of times already and still look brand new.

If anyone has silicone baking mat tips to share, I'd love to hear! :)

To Participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays:

Post a kitchen tip in your blog. Link to this post, and then leave your link here, so we know where to find YOU! :) In order to keep the kitchen tips more easily accessible, we need to be able to easily find/see what your kitchen/cooking tip is. :) Thanks for your participation! :)

Leave your tip links in a comment. I'll manually add them to this post!

1. Natural pan cleaner tip (Anna at The Joyful Wife)
2. 6 tips for storing and using cilantro (Adrienne at Whole New Mom)
3. Freezing hummus portions (Living So Abundantly)
4. Freezing and pitting peaches (Gretchen at Extraordinary Ordinary Life)
5. Avoid clumping brownies (Stacy at Stacy Makes Cents)
6. How to freeze individual peach and mango slices (Georgia at Georgia's Cookie Jar)
7. Freezing sweet potato fries (Carmen at Life Blessons)
8. Brainless French toast tip (Rachel at Trial and Error Home Ec)
9. Homemade ice cream making tips (Stephanie at Proactive Bridesmaid)
10. Tips for saving garden seeds (Kara at Taste Is Trump)

Comments

Good Morning Tammy -

My kitchen tip happened purely coincidentally when I could not get my pan clean.

Suffice to say, it came clean in no time doing this! I'm so pleased.

Hope all is well.

Anna

http://anna-thejoyfulwife.blogspot.com/2011/07/kitchen-tip-rescue-me.html

Good morning, Tammy!

Thanks, as always, for hosting.

I am sharing a list of 6 great tips for using and storing cilantro.

Hope they are helpful!

Blessings!
- Adrienne

http://wholenewmom.com/whole-new-budget/cilantro-and-coriander-store-herbs/

Okay, I am really excited now that I read your post! I have a silicone baking mat but have always been frustrated with how it dries! Problem solved! Also, I NEVER thought to make my pizza on it. Your posts are so helpful!

My post is on freezing hummus using muffin liners.

http://livingsoabundantly.blogspot.com/2011/07/hummus.html

Oh, I hope you like pizza on the baking mat! I made pizza for a friend a few weeks ago and she said the same thing -- she has a silicone mat and hadn't thought to make pizza on it. :) I'm not sure there's anything I wouldn't try making on mine! ;) So far everything's been a success! :D

I could not agree more! I love my baking mats. I bought an extra large one at Aldi for $2.99 and I use it to roll out my cinnamon rolls and various other breads because it is easy to contain the flour mess and and can just roll it and dump it. I have also used it to make homemade pasta because as you said - nothing sticks to it. I have 3 others that I use almost daily for everything from meatballs to cookies. I sometimes stick mine in the dishwasher but usually wash them by hand.

My kitchen tip is about freezing peaches and pitting them:
http://extraordinaryordinarylife.blogspot.com/2011/07/kitchen-tip-tuesday-just-peachy.html

-Gretchen

Wow, $2.99?! What size is that? :)

I actually prefer the counter for rolling things out... unless it is crackers or something that I will bake on the mat. Then it's nice to roll on the mat. :) I kinda doubt my mat would be big enough to contain my "flour" mess, heehee :)

Well, it was a special at Christmas time at Aldi. The mat is 25" x 18" and is too big for actual pans. I tried just laying it on rack in my oven and baking cookies on that but they didn't do as well as when I do them in a pan.

So I just use it for rolling out stuff.

-Gretchen

That sounds like an awesome deal! Now, you just need to go to a restaurant supply store and get a huge baking sheet for it! :D

Thank you for reviewing this product for us, Tammy. I have thought about buying silicone mats, but wondered if I would like them. It looks like I would love them! Looking at your link, they are are not as pricy as I had thought.

Tammy, I'm just getting into using my silicon mats. I admit at first they sorta weirded me out. LOL :-) Mine are Kitchen Aid, but I'd like to get some like you have.

Here is my tip - Avoiding Clumping Brownies
http://www.stacymakescents.com/kitchen-tip-tuesday

Thank you!

~Stacy from Stacy Makes Cents

What an awesome idea! How much do they typically cost? I have some pampered chef bar pans but they can be a pain to wash sometimes. i love reading your tips and can't wait to check out the challah recipe :0)

http://georgiascookiejar.blogspot.com/2010/08/fresh-peach-slices-frozen.html

I got my sheets and mats at a Costco Business Center (like a restaurant supply store) and I know the mats were $20 for two (Amazon sells the exact same one for $15 in my link above). The sheets, I can't remember -- I think each sheet was less than $10 though. I was a little hesitant because I thought the combined price of the sheets + mats was getting close to what I would pay for (smaller) stainless steel sheets, but I'm glad I took the plunge. I like having both options! :)

i wonder if they would have them at sams club? i have a membership might have to check it out! thanks for your reply!

Thanks for the insight on these sheets. I've tried silicone bakeware (e.g., muffin cups) and I really didn't like them so I was hesitant to try the silicone mats. But, if you like them... then they must be good :)

Thanks, Tammy!
SnoWhite

I haven't tried any other silicone bakeware, though I've thought about getting the silicone muffin liners. I just wasn't sure about washing all those liners. But maybe nothing sticks to them, either, like nothing sticks to the mats...?? :)

I have silicon muffin pans and I don't like them either. They seem very difficult to clean - they never really get clean enough for me. I keep storing them but I don't know why. LOL I always get my old school pans out instead.
~Stacy from Stacy Makes Cents

What great advice! I have to admit, I see these being used on cooking shows a lot, and wanted one, so my husband got me one for my birthday, and I think I've used it once since then (over 4 months ago). I tried cookies on it, and they didn't turn out as well as when I usually make them straight on the cookie sheet, so I put the mat away and kind of forgot about it.
Yesterday, when I was getting out a baking pan, I saw it in my drawer and felt guilty for not having used it more. Now I have some great ideas on exactly how to use it. Thanks so much!

Here is one more thought: I know aluminum conducts heat really well, so I am curious about the effect of using the mats with an aluminum sheet (rather than stainless steel, or non-stick, for example). Do my mats work better because they are on aluminum sheets? Maybe! I just know I've had excellent results with them. :)

Here's a post to how I made my own sweet potato fries, so so easily!

http://lifeblessons.blogspot.com/2011/04/what-i-did-with-6-lbs-of-sweet-potatoes.html

Absolutely no reason to buy storebought when you can make them yourself!

I've never tried silicone mats before, now I am want to try them! Thanks for sharing your experience.

I am sharing my tip for making simple syrup: http://premeditatedleftovers.com/making-simple-syrup-is-simple/

It is an expensive specialty item at stores but can be made for quickly and inexpennsively at home.

Alea @ Premeditated Leftovers

Ok I know some packages say not to put the mats in the dishwasher, but I do! They fit so nicely between places and cutting boards that they take almost no extra room at all!!!
I have not seen any effects of dishwasher use.
In thw winter I use mine daily and I will say after 3 years they are a bit discolored in spots, but work perfect!! They are the best for potatoes, rolls, and cookies, but I almost never bake without them.

When you put the mats in the dishwasher, do they bend and stick to the plates or cutting boards nearby? It seems like they would... and then the stuff nearby wouldn't get washed very well...?? :)

My mats have only once kept a cutting board for getting clean, because it did stick, but that was the only time. I've had good luck putting them in the dish washer!

I got the Silpat baking mats for my birthday or Christmas at least 15 yrs ago, I think they were $30 each then! Martha Stewart used them and that was how I had seen them...Now you can get them at Bed Bath and Beyond and use the 20% off (you know you can use those expired too and multiples in one transaction....). I used my mats all the time, but cut on some too (shame on me!). I finally replaced my mats in May using a $50 gift card my kids got me from BB+B, they were $19.99 each I think and they make the smaller one for the 1/4 sheet pan too.

I have used mine on my heavy Wilton stainless steel cookie sheets and the bottoms were always perfect on them too. I use mine for rolls and cookies the most. I also have a red Kitchen Aid one I got somewhere else...it is different so I haven't used it as much although today I put it under my wooden board while I shaped my bread dough and rolled out buns to keep the board from shifting rather than using a wet/damp towel. I don't like rolling out/kneading dough on my counters, I found that because I have granite counters it was lowering the temperature of the dough and it was taking forever for my yeast items to rise.

I so want some silicone mats but haven't actually bought any yet. I love my silicone oven mitts and such, so I really should. The bit about how potato skin crispiness staying on the potato is enough to almost make me want to go get them -right now-, lol.

Thanks for the tip! I hadn't heard of silicone baking mats before :)

Here's my tip:

Brainless French Toast
http://trialanderrorhomeec.blogspot.com/2011/07/ktt-french-toast-tip.html

-Rachel

I really want to try these. Can they be cut to different sizes?

From what I have read, the silicone baking mats are not supposed to be cut. I am not sure what the mesh inside mine is made of, or what would happen to the edges...

Silicone baking mats contain fiberglass. I believe there is a warning on the package to not cut. I've seen recipe posts where people cut their crackers and such directly on the mat before or after baking and that creates slices in the surface, potentially releasing fiberglass into your food.

Wait until Christmas and u make candy. The chocolate doesn't stick, nothing sticks. I have used them for several years, great for bread also.

Thanks for these tips. I have some silicone mats, and wasn't really sure what to do with them! Now I can put them to good use.

I've been hoping to add some of these mats to my kitchen for years. Someday the budget will cooperate.

I wrote up some homemade ice cream making tips:
http://proactivebridesmaid.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/not-plain-vanilla/
-Stephanie

you can save quite a bit of money by saving your seeds in your vegetable garden
http://goodlookingcook.blogspot.com/2011/07/saving-seeds.html

I just saw your question in response to my tip for French toast. I've always used eggs mixed with milk and a little sugar for my batter. I usually do 1 egg per person. The milk I estimate. The batter is thinner than uncooked scrambled eggs, but thicker than crepe batter. I usually use brown sugar, and add about half a tablespoon per egg.

I've found that if I don't add enough milk, the toast tastes really eggy.

-Rachel

I've had both the muffin liners and muffin pans in silicone. The liners are great, but they take a little time to wash (not anymore than a traditional muffin pan unlined) and do excellent double duty as dipping and snack dishes for little people. The muffin pan was frustrating, hard to take the muffins out of (it's deep) and my muffins always broke, and it was just as much work to clean. My silicone mats live permanently on my pans adhered by a thin layer of water (sterile from baking). Pans are always ready to go!

I don't have them and can't say anything of them with experience, but I've had to wash them, when my momhas used them and I prefer the paper muffin cups. :) No need to wash and they really harder cost anything, especially when you buy them at the dollar store. :)

Now the mats sound of interest to me, I can see using them a lot. Also they would be useful when freezing veggies or fruit on a cookie sheet first before putting them in bags. I do that with all my fruit and veggies, keeps them loose in the bag that way. :)

~Tanya - mama to 6 treasures plus one on the way. :)

Whenever I purchase tomato puree I never seem to need the entire can. I use what I require and then spread the rest out into a thin sheet on my silicone mat. I pop it in the freezer for a couple of hours to freeze, I then remove from freezer and break into pieces. I store them in a ziplock bag in the freezer for when i need it. So convenient as the silicone mat just peels off. I am sure it would be great to make fruit leather too.
I use the same method to freeze ground fresh garlic. Break into pieces and store in ziplock bags.

Do you have any concern about the chemical aspect of using silicone mats and dishes and such with food in the oven, etc.? A medical person told me to be very cautious and to avoid cooking with it as he feared it would end up being like Teflon. I think he had a good point so I don't cook with it, just use it for potholders and such.

Hi. I waould just like to ask, what are the different uses of the rectangular and circular mat? Where or how do you usually use the rectangular shaped and the circular shaped?

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