A toaster oven adorns many kitchen counters because of the ease it offers, as compared to a conventional oven. It is smaller and more compact, and hence can be easily accommodated on the countertop. It is much quicker and faster, not requiring a lot of pre-heating. It brings down cooking time as well as your energy bills.
While cooking foods like grilled cheese and bacon are a breeze in a toaster oven, the subsequent clean-up can be a pain. If you are struggling with dripping grease and falling crumbs, you may have wondered that can you put aluminum foil in the toaster oven?
The answer is yes, and no. Not all manufacturers recommend the use of aluminium foil for toaster oven cooking, but if you choose to do so, there are safety guidelines you can follow for better results. This article talks about the risks and benefits of using aluminium foil in a toaster oven and offers a number of suggestions for safe cooking with aluminum foil.
What Happens if You Put Aluminum Foil in the Toaster Oven?
Aluminum can withstand high temperatures up to 1220 degrees F, because of which it is a popular tool for cooking. While aluminum foil cannot go in a microwave, it could be used with a regular oven, conventional oven or toaster oven as long as caution is exercised. That is because aluminum foil is highly conductive and hence, very flammable.
Aluminum foil is used in a toaster oven to help with cooking the food. You can wrap the food for softer cooking and it also prevents the food from drying out. It is especially popular for cooking meat because it gives juicier meat. Alternately, you may want to cover the top of your casserole dish or bread with foil to prevent the top from drying out or burning.
Being waterproof and grease resistant, foil paper is a better option than parchment paper when it comes to wrapping food.
What Are the Risks of Putting Aluminum Foil in a Toaster Oven?
While we just ran through the various benefits of using foil paper in the toaster oven, there are also serious risks associated with this method.
For one, being highly conductive, aluminum foil can catch fire if it comes too close to the heating element of the toaster oven. Foil is a metal and can spark if it comes in contact with the heating element. It can also melt, leaving a sticky mess that is more difficult to clean than the drips from cooking food. This is especially true of the non-heavy-duty, lighter quality foil paper.
Another big con is that the warranty by the manufacturer on your toaster oven may get voided if their manual does not recommend the usage of aluminum foil in the toaster oven.
It is not unheard of for there to be an explosion if foil covers the walls or ceiling of the oven. The metal part of the interiors can short circuit, leading to a fire hazard.
Some other risks of using aluminum foil are that there could be improper circulation which could lead to food getting toasted unevenly. Acidic foods can interact with the aluminum and cause reactions, leaching the harmful aluminum into the food.
How Can You Use Aluminum Foil in a Toaster Oven Safely?
Knowing the risks involved, it is imperative to follow safety precautions when using foil paper in toaster ovens or convection ovens.
It is always best to check the owner’s manual that comes with your toaster oven for specific guidelines related to the oven. Different manufacturers and toasters may have different recommendations regarding the usage of aluminum foil inside.
If you do choose to use aluminum foil paper for cooking in the toaster oven, begin by picking up heavy-duty foil that can withstand higher cooking temperatures. While standard household foil is around 0.016mm, heavy-duty foil would be closer to 0.024mm thick.
You could also opt for non-stick aluminum foil, to prevent the danger of the foil sticking to the cooking surface. Another safety precaution is to apply a layer of oil on the foil paper before using it in the oven so it doesn’t stick to the oven tray or hot surfaces.
If using aluminum foil for wrapping food, it is recommended that you wrap closely and don’t leave parts of foil sticking out too close to oven walls. However, keep in mind that wrapping slows down cooking and could lead to longer cooking time.
It is imperative that the foil paper is positioned away from the heating element on the floor of the oven. It is best not to over fill the oven and cook in batches when using foil paper. Ideally, use a piece of aluminum foil only once and then discard it. Don’t re-use foil in the oven as old collected grease on it can catch fire. Finally, keep cooking temperatures lower and be prepared for the cooking to take longer.
Can You Use Aluminum Foil in a Countertop Convection Oven?
A countertop convection oven is also a handy kitchen appliance to have. It is fairly similar to a toaster oven in what it does, but it operates differently. While a toaster oven’s heating elements are located on the top and bottom of the device, a convection oven has a fan that distributes hot air for more even cooking.
The safety precautions while using aluminum foil in convection ovens would be fairly similar to that of toaster ovens. Keeping the temperature low and keeping the foil far away from the oven walls and the floor of the oven is advisable.
Can You Put Aluminum Foil on the Toaster Oven Tray?
While cooking in the toaster oven, it is not uncommon for food crumbs to fall. The toaster oven tray is designed to catch these crumbs. For an easier clean up, some people like to line the toaster oven tray with aluminum foil. However, it is important that the foil paper is not placed too close to the heating element or on the base. Even the slightest spark can set the foil on fire creating a fire hazard.
Moreover, proximity to the heating element can also cause the aluminum foil to melt and stick to the toaster oven tray. This will actually make clean up far more difficult.
If a layer of foil on the oven tray is being used to catch dripping grease, this can be risky as collected grease is prone to catch fire.
Finally, keep in mind that many manufacturers may void the warranty on your appliance if the bottom tray of the toaster oven is covered with foil. It is best to check the manufacturer’s guidelines before using aluminum foil on the toaster oven tray.
What Do Manufacturers Say About Using Aluminum Foil in a Toaster Oven?
Manufacturers of toaster ovens usually do not recommend use of aluminum foil because of the risks involved if the foil is not used safely.
Your toaster oven comes with an owner’s manual that should let you know the manufacturer’s recommendation. In case you have misplaced the physical manual, you should be able to find an online version on the manufacturer’s website. You can even contact support or go through the FAQ sections.
Here are safety recommendations from some of the toaster oven manufacturers’ websites and manuals:
Cuisinart TOB-155 Toaster Oven
The manual for the Cuisinart TOB-155 Toaster Oven warns against the use of aluminum foil for covering the broiling pan. They warn that “Grease will accumulate and may catch fire.” They also warn to “never cover the crumb tray.”
Look up the Cuisinart Toaster Ovens’ manuals page on their website to find your specific Cuisinart model’s manual.
Ninja Foodi DT 201 Pro Air Toaster Oven
For the Ninja Foodi DT 201 Pro Air Toaster Oven, the user manual suggests wrapping accessories with aluminum foil. However, they do caution against covering roast tray holes with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Black and Decker CT 06335S Toaster Oven
The Black and Decker use and care manual for the CT 06335S Toaster Oven also recommends against covering the crumb tray or any part of the oven with metal foil as this could cause overheating of the oven.
What Are the Alternatives to Using Foil in Your Toaster Oven?
Some safer alternatives to using metal foil in your toaster oven is to use toaster oven sheets or toaster oven mats. These are designed to withstand the temperatures inside the toaster oven, while not being easily flammable. You can also use regular baking trays, baking pans and bakeware, but avoid lining them with parchment paper which can catch fire inside a toaster oven.
You could line your bakeware with Silpats which are non-hazardous, non-stick mats that make clean up a breeze without posing a fire hazard. Made of fiberglass and silicone, Silpats can be washed and reused any number of times, making them convenient and environment friendly alternatives to foil and parchment paper.
Final Thoughts Yay or Nay to Aluminum Foil in Toaster Ovens
The final word on use of aluminum foil in the toaster oven is that yes, it can be used, depending on your toaster oven’s model and manufacturer guidelines. As long as the use of foil in your toaster oven does not void the product warranty, you may proceed but with caution.
Keep cooking temperatures low, beware of proximity to the heating element, do not cover the floor or walls of the toaster with the foil and most importantly, don’t leave your toaster oven unattended while cooking with foil.
Hoping you enjoy a mess-free and safe cooking experience!