Is Silicone Safe for Baking?

Is Silicone Safe for baking and cooking

I’ve mentioned before that I use silicone molds to make homemade gummy vitamins and lotion bars, along with several other household staples.

I’ve gotten one question so often that I decided it deserved its own post:

Is Silicone Safe for Baking?

Unfortunately, this is one of those questions that I usually answer by saying: It depends.

To understand that answer, it is important to understand several often-confused terms:

  •  Silicon– A natural chemical substance (atomic #14), meaning it can’t be divided into smaller particles without splitting atoms. It is the second most abundant element (after oxygen) and when it bonds with oxygen creates minerals called silicates (like quartz, olivine, micas, thomsonite, jadeite, and prehnite)
  • Silica– A compound made of silicon and another element. It is present in the human body in high amounts and emerging research suggests it can be beneficial for health. I’ve mentioned it before when talking about diatomaceous earth and how I consume it in natural form, but it isn’t the same as silicon or silicone bakeware and isn’t relevant when talking about the safety of silicone.
  • Silicone– A synthetic polymer created by adding carbon and/or oxygen to silicon. It can exist as a solid, liquid or gel and is often used in medical devices like pacemakers, joint replacements and implants. It is generally considered safe for these uses and is now used to make silicone bakeware.

When we are speaking about bakeware, we are referring to Silicone, the synthetic polymer. It is considered “FDA approved as a food-safe substance” and is generally considered inert.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much research on silicone bakeware or silicone molds so while there isn’t any evidence that it is harmful, there also isn’t much evidence that it is safe.

Testing on Silicone:

The testing that has been done on Silicone is on medical-grade silicone without fillers or additives and at body or room temperature. These studies have shown that silicone is safe at these temperatures and long-term follow-up data support this.

Silicone’s safety at high temperatures has not been adequately tested and this is where the controversy emerges.

On paper, silicone bakeware is rated for temperatures below freezing and up to almost 450°F so on paper it is safe.

Dangers of Silicone in Bakeware?

Again, any dangers are anecdotal at this point and not scientifically backed, but that doesn’t necessarily prove the safety of silicone. Some potential dangers include:

  • The potential for leaching at high temperatures
  • Fillers used in lower-quality silicone
  • Potential odor during high-temperature use

These dangers are not proven and are reported only at high temperature use, but still worth investigating further.

Benefits of Silicone Bakeware

One major advantage of silicone bakeware is that it is considered more non-stick than many traditional types of bakeware, especially with muffin cups and bread pans.

Silicone bake mats and other silicone baking products are often easy to clean and prevent sticking when baking. The flexibility of silicone bakeware and molds makes it easy to get things out of them and makes cleanup easier.

Silicone is also dishwasher safe, petroleum free and is not supposed to fade or scratch.

The Bottom Line

I hope that we will see updated research on the safety of silicone. Until we do, I feel comfortable using silicone at low temperatures and in the refrigerator or freezer, but try to avoid it in baking or high temperature use.

In any use, I consider silicone much safer than plastic, which I avoid at all costs. If you use silicone molds or bakeware, make sure it is high quality and doesn’t contain fillers or dangerous additives.

I stick to silicone molds for cool-temperature uses like:

These are the silicone molds I have:

For now, I’m sticking to cool-temperature uses for silicone until we know more about its safety at high temperatures.

What is your take on Silicone baking molds? How do you use it?

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Reader Comments

  1. What do you personally use for high temperature baking?

      • Please be careful putting your essential oils in silicone as you do with your coconut oil pulling chews because EO’s will leach out any form of chemical. And when ingested will distribute said chemicals. If one wears a chemical lotion or perfume and uses EO’s it will push these chemicals deeper into the skin. This info can be found at young living.com. Cinnamon powder, cloves powder would be better mixed in the oil.

        • Thank you, This was exactly the answer I was searching. Darn…I was hoping on a squeezable alternative to glass, as I add protective blend to my hand lotion and glass is so heavy. Oh Well.

          • Hi!
            Glass bottles are so much cooler though and you can even paint them with pretty designs with glass paint!

          • Mason jars have a nifty pump you can use instead of squeezing. 🙂

        • Do you need to grease silicone bakeware

  2. I’ve always wondered about the safety of silicone, but haven’t taken the time to research it. I do like using silicone spatulas for cooking raw meat since they are dishwasher safe.

    I’ve noticed the label on the cookware that you mentioned: “safe up to 450 degrees”, and wondered, “safe for the cookware, or safe for humans?” I’ve doubted ‘they’ really care about leaching at high temperatures.

    Thanks for this post and for this blog. I’m a new reader and am enjoying it!

    • I think when they say “safe up to 450 degrees” they mean it won’t catch on fire or start smoking at temps up to 450. I do NOT think they are saying it won’t leach into food at temps below 450.

  3. Agreed! Great article.

  4. Personally my family can not afford a lot of the better options such as stoneware and such. We try to stick with glass but given the choice of silicone or nonstick…. i generally try to go with silicone. Granted not the cheap 1 dollar products but still. I have always wondered if it ever leeched anything or not.

  5. I haven’t tried using silicone bakeware. I have bought molds to use making lotion bars and such. Personally, I don’t put much faith in the FDA and what they approve of. The last decade has shown they get an awful lot wrong!

  6. Do you use a silicone steamer basket? I’m trying to figure out the best option. We steam a lot of vegetables.

    • We steam a lot of vegetables too! I use these stainless steel mesh strainers from OXO good grips
      Hope this helps!

  7. It really depends on the quality of silicone. Not all silicone products are the same. Do not buy cheap and research the company making them. Leku makes fabulous, high quality silicone bake ware. Also, professional grade silicone for professional pastry work (usually only found online or mail order) are also fabulous, and very expensive. High quality silicone is 100% food grade silicone and should absolutely not smell! If u have silicone products that smell or are not completely nonstick, then it is not high quality 100% silicone; is a rip off product and should not be used.

    • Thanks I was needing some great pans for baking bread.

    • Can one use the cheaper silicone muffin pans for freezer use only??? I do not bake, but want to freeze olives, pesto , etc

  8. No way!! I was just looking this subject up today. I really couldn’t find much on the web so I decided to ask you. Now I don’t have to ask. lol I will just read your post. Thanks so much Katie!!

  9. I’m glad to see someone bring up this issue. I don’t trust silicone at all. I used a silicone mat to bake some cookies which had no oil in the batter. After they were baked, I removed them from the mat and placed them on a paper towel for cooling. I found an oily residue on the mat, and on the paper towel, so where did it come from if not the mat? Remember, they told us that Teflon was safe to use also. I considered buying some silicone molds and just didn’t like the texture or feel – rubbery and almost slimy. No thanks, I’ll stick with the old-fashioned ways.

  10. To me, silicone is the new plastic. It’s too new. Too synthetic. Food grade? Yea….um….Tupperware was and is considered food grade too which means nothing. It’s still toxic and my guess is that silicone will be proven the same. If we remember correctly, first it was pvcs then phalates then bpa that was found harmful. But prior it was all deemed safe. And lets not forget that the chemical that replaced bpa has a high estrogenoc effect too which is the reason they replaced bpa in the first place. Google it. Our FDA is a joke lol we use natural. Glass and stainless steel etc

  11. I am really disappointed in this article. It’s not as meticulously researched as your articles usually are, and I feel a little like it was supposed to come across was “sciencey” but there is no actual data here, simply what you would do. I hope we get back to the regular quality of articles soon.

    • Sorry you feel that way. Unfortunately, there truly isn’t much that I can research when it comes to silicone since not many studies have been done on using it, especially at high temperatures so it is hard to offer anything more concrete at this point, but I will definitely update if I find new information or studies

  12. What about silicone menstrual cups like the Diva Cup? When I’m wearing it, obviously it doesn’t heat up to oven temperatures…but to 98.6ish. Is that still a “safe” temp?

    • Good question! I, too, am now wondering about this, though I only used my cup (Sckoon) for a few months before I got pregnant. The temperature doesn’t seem like it would be too hot from how it feels when you take it out, but I suppose you would have to contact your cup maker about the type of silicone used and look up if any tests have been done in regards to that kind of silicone. If you wanted to avoid the potential danger altogether without purchasing throw-away natural tampons and without resorting to just reusable pads, I have heard of people using natural sea sponges to good effect. I haven’t looked too much into it (it DOES sound a bit scary and intimidating), but that could be an alternative you can look into depending on how much it matters to you. I like the easy cleanness of using a cup/tampons, but now I wonder if I will return to using my cup (if it still fits after having a baby! Bad timing for that purchase…) once my periods return. I am getting extra super crunchy as I learn more and more before this baby comes, so who knows how “crazy” I’ll be by that time.

      I feel like I’m unraveling a great puzzle in all of the research I’ve been doing before having this little one, and I am doing my best, but it is extremely complex! It does seem to me that more and more people care about safety regarding plastics and such, so hopefully there will be a manufacturing shift in response to consumer’s demanding safer, more quality products like with the organic food movement. But from that movement, we can see that when demand shifts, you still have to be on the look-out for greenwashers and that just because something is “organic” doesn’t mean it’s good for you, like non-gmo organic canola oil. Just like everything that says “BPA-free” isn’t good for you either. It seems like the research and verifiability checking never ends!

      Oh the trials of us Green Goddesses!

      • *consumers.

        Ugh! My perfectionism insists I correct that.

    • Was doing a little more research, and I found that some menstrual cups are made with natural latex. I believe I read while researching natural latex beds, that natural latex is “open celled” and whereas most allergies are from “closed cell” latex as is used in latex gloves? DEFINITELY NOT SURE on that, but if you don’t have a latex allergy, this could be a great option (and maybe even if you do have an allergy, although of course the manufacturers recommend the silicone option for those with latex allergies).

      The one I found is at Keeper.com where they sell two kinds: The Keeper in natural gum rubber (latex) and the Moon Cup in a silicone. I am emailing the company to make sure that there is nothing else mixed into the latex and I will let you know what I find out if there is anything else in it besides rubber.

  13. So are you saying parchment paper is safe, because I believe it is coated with silicones? Thanks, carolyn

  14. Thank you!
    I too, have attempted to research silicon kitchen items, but found almost nothing on it. I would be very interested in finding the articles you used in this article. This is one article that I would have appreciated you giving links to your sources for the information. Not that I am disagreeing or contradicting anything in this article, it’s just that I have seen NOTHING on it by searching, and would like the chance to read what you have.

    I also don’t trust the FDA or any government group that is supposed to have our best interest in mind, as they frequently (always!?) don’t know or have enough data or enough time testing to say for sure, and seem to be in the pockets of massive corporations and are more interested in giving them business than in helping the common person find truly safe, healthy things.

    Just look at their track record, and they way they almost refuse to say anything they have in the past said is fine after finding out the reverse. They keep silent so they don’t look so bad for saying it was great in the first place! Actually, have they EVER reversed a finding? I think it has always been someone else saying what the facts are about something they have said is fine!

    As for silicone, I have molds for cold or non-heated items as you have mentioned, but I also have spatulas and similar cooking tools for heated usage, as well as just buying a colander for steaming, as it was larger than anything else, and half the cost of stainless steel and easier to store…now I wonder if those are safe?

    Thanks for the article giving us your opinion, it helps, but I really wish someone with scientific background, and facts and figures, and a true goal of giving the health and safety of this new product without regard for how it might affect the sales of silicone cooking products or putting that above human health.

  15. Katie, I have tried silicone for mini lotion bars and had unsatisfactory results in getting them out of the mold intact. What do you do? I have had better results with mini soaps.

    I also am hesitant to try silicone for baking, but then I still have a lot of stainless, glass and stoneware.

    Robyn

  16. Like the commenter above mentioned, you completely skipped over parchment, which is silicone imbedded paper, and has been in use for decades.

    The temperature warnings are because above a certain temperature, silicone bakeware “melts”, for lack of a better term. I forgot about the temperature warnings once, had a silicone liner in the oven, and was roasting potatoes at over 500F. Smoke and an acrid stench that lingered for days filled my kitchen. When I managed to get the liner out of the oven, it had turned brittle almost like it had dried out. Moving it, it cracked and crackled. Obviously it went directly into the garbage.

    I have also managed to melt a “hole” in one of my spatulas. I believe it was lying in a cast iron pan while I heated it up. There is an area of textural change on the side, where it was touching the pan. The rest of the spatula was unaffected.

    I do still use silicone because there aren’t many alternatives.

  17. What are your thoughts on Xtrema’s FridgeX Collapsible Silicone Storage Set. I know you mentioned that you own a set in your article “How to Store Food Without Plastic”. Do you use your set for reheating?

      • Thanks! I just purchased my first set. I can’t wait to get it. I’ve been dumping plastic from my cabinets for the past week. I feel so refreshed. LOL

  18. Thks, Katie! I was happy to find this post bc I’ve been wondering about my bakewear. I made brownies (325F) last night and once again I could taste the silicone. I am a “super-taster,” meaning I have the gene that allows me to taste & smell more than most. But, I wonder is it safe to eat food cooked in silicone if I can taste it? Obviously, It could mean something has leached into the food. I also taste plastic, i.e.: food that has been stored in the refrigerator. I’ve even noticed it occasionally in some resturants. I am wondering, has anyone else been able to taste like this? I have appreciated reading your comments that have been posted thus far; and would welcome anyone who’d like to share their thoughts, or personal experiences regarding the topic of my comment. Note: I do not taste anything unnatural when I use the old-fashioned cookwear. I.E.: I usually use glass for baking, and iron, stainless steel & Kitchenmaid pots for stovetop cooking.

    • Hello Lisa!

      I already tried it at home and it helps me a lot for my hobbies on baking and also it is safer than i thought before because usually I’ve been using stainless steel and glass but now i prefer silicone for it has Fresh Vibrant Colors. i also have a doubt if this is safer by using a silicone cups but i found out that it already approved by BPA Free & FDA Durable Baking Molds. and i want to try this for my new baking decorations. I hope this information of mine can help you 🙂

  19. I am a great spoon licker, but when I lick a silicone spoon I’m left with the taste of it in my mouth – which makes me very suspicious!

  20. You ladies are hilarious! A “super-taster” and a “great spoon licker”! I have a “Super Nose and Super Taste Buds” and I now I know I am NOT the ‘Crazy” one in my house-LOL! Glad I am not alone 🙂
    Per the info on Parchment Paper. I used it to cook fish on last week and the paper edges burnt to a crisp black and the whole house smelled horrible! I had no idea and I thought it was safe. I will be getting rid of it now.

  21. I agree with Regina, I don’t trust the FDA (Fraudulent Drug Agency) “They don’t have a good record”. The FDA like the rest of the governments alphabet agencies are in place to protect the Corporations profits not you and me. Good article, thanks.

  22. Well I still don’t know if silicone is safe. I have read so much on it . Some say it is safe if it is 100% silicone ,Now all this ladies are saying it is not safe. So who do we believe. The FDA ? I have been using silicone spatula for years, and i love them.
    What to do?

  23. I own one silicone spatula. I use it for cleaning batter from bowls. I use wooden spatulas for stir frying and stainless for flipping eggs. Why use silicone spats for anything hot? No need. I have never trusted the FDA and doubt I ever will in this lifetime for all the reasons people mentioned above. I am reminded of my mother’s old adage ” When in doubt DON’T”. :))

  24. What is the best material for baking muffins? I see some stoneware ones, but it seems slightly terrible to grease, pry out a muffin, then wash. I liked the idea of silicone’s ease…I’m sad! Do you use paper muffin cups? Thanks!

    • Wow, Jennifer, i am truely sorry you would have to do tasks the old fashion way versus the ease and toxicity of silicone.
      Not trying to be rude. But i am old school. Refuse to use a dishwasher other than my own left and right hands.
      I accept stoneware. Yet, all my personal bakeware is either glass or metal.
      Also, two hints to all:
      1.)Placing pans/molds of set soaps or candles in a pan of hot water for a short time will loosen them easily.
      2.)Baking soda is the best cleaner for cookware that is greasy or burnt.

    • I use non-bleached muffin cups. Works great!

  25. Hi there! Thanks so much for writing about this topic. What do you consider high temp vs low temp? And I notice that you use silicone cupcake/muffin liners…

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HG95V52/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00HG95V52&linkCode=as2&tag=wellnessmama-20&linkId=7L35OIS2IRO6T5O3

    Most of the cupcake and muffin recipes I use call for 350 or 400 degrees in the oven. Do consider those low or high temps? Because if they are high temps, then aren’t you saying we should use silicone?

    Thanks for your time!
    Lauren

    • The current evidence I’ve seen shows that silicon is safe at 350 or 400,but I would not use it at a higher temp than that (though the packaging says you can)

    • 350 is moderate temperature. 400 is definitely “high” and will cause silicone to emit formaldehyde into your air. See comment by Madoka just below, and my reply there.

    • I think when they say “safe up to 450 degrees” they mean it won’t catch on fire or start smoking at temps up to 450. In other words, the item made of silicone will itself be “safe” up to 450, but not necessarily the human person using the item. I do NOT think that “safe up to 450 degrees” means silicone won’t leach into food at temps below 450.

      The comment by Madoka, below, leads to this article: https://imageserv5.team-logic.com/mediaLibrary/99/Formaldehyde_Generation_from_Silicone_Rubber.pdf which taught me that the word “silicone” is a blanket term that applies to lots of compounds — all of them include silicon and oxygen with double bonds, but apart from that there may be varying additional groups of chemicals joined to the silicon/oxygen. The article, bottom line, says that ALL silicones will emit formaldehyde in significant amounts at temps of about 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit) and above. So, quite apart from whether it may leach into food, you have to worry about the air quality in your home if you cook with silicone items! I just learned a few days ago that parchment “paper” is actually coated with silicone, and now I see that I definitely won’t be baking with it at temps over 350. And I don’t even have any kids at home.

      @Katie – I saw that you asked new visitors to this site to tell you in comments how they came to find you. I’ve been studying up on making my own bread – BTW, I recommend the book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. That book recommends using parchment paper for handling bread dough. The loaves bake at temps up to 450 degrees, and the authors say you should put your dough into the oven, onto your baking stone, along with the parchment paper, because it won’t stick that way. I got to wondering about whether that is really safe, since I saw singed-looking parchment in some of their photos of bread that had been baked. I went to the “baker’s hotline” at the King Arthur Flour Company’s website, and asked how do we know parchment paper with silicone is safe for baking, and the reply I got from Customer Support there gave me a link that led straight to this post of yours.

  26. I just used silicon egg poachers and the eggs came out smelling and tasting like silicon . I ate them because I was very hungry but now am.very worried. What do u think of this?

    • Hm… sounds suspect to me. I’d be wary of those.

    • My friend and I baked a carrot cake 2 days ago. We baked part of the mix in a stainless still mold and part on a silicone baking pan. My friend kept the one we baked on the silicone baking pan. She ate it the next day , she noticed it had green dots in it but she ate it thinking it could not be going bad since we baked it a day before. A few hours later she became horribly sick. She was so nauceated and dizzy that she had to trow up a few times. The rest of the cake kept turning green. The one we baked on the stainless still pan was perfect, no one got sick at my house. The only thing that was different was the baking containers. I would say its not safe.

  27. What do you use for muffins or homemade breads?

    • What do you use for cupcakes and muffins? The “nontoxic” liners are made of silicone…

  28. Are silicone whisks safe to make cream sauce while cooking on top of stove and they do not leach? Thank you very much for your time to respond.

  29. I need a safe donut pan… If not silicone, what else is there? Thank you!

  30. Oh man I just bought the recommended BPA Free silicone tubes to make the squeezeable toothpaste recipe that includes Essential Oils. (Just read above about EO leeching out chemicals in silicone above)
    Should I just use glass jars instead? My young children will be using this toothpaste and the tubes would be so much more convenient. Please advise! Thank you Katie!

  31. I read this entire post and comments. There is a lot of great input from everyone but people seem to keep asking if silicone products (baking or not) are safe. Safe according to who? Are we waiting for a consensus from a regulatory agency? My thoughts are that if it’s made in a lab with a million chemicals that it is generally unsafe. At some point items like these begin to degrade, don’t they? And with scouring and scratching even more so (if non stick I know, you won’t be needing to scrub) but I also try to think of the impact on the environment after I get rid of the item. I recently heard something about a culture many years ago contemplating the effect an item or action could potentially have seven generations from current and if there’s a negative affect then that’s a deciding factor. Silicone is one of those that IMO like plastic, will never truly “go away”.

  32. On the same thought, do you know anything about the paper muffin cups that are coated & non-stick? Someone gave me some & I used them & they were terrific. Nothing stuck to them, the paper just fell off. Yet I am very suspect since greasing muffin cups doesn’t give this type of results. I would like to start using them but I can’t find any info. Regarding what they are coated with & how safe they are. Can anyone help me?

  33. What would you recommend for baking muffins and/or cupcakes? I was using silicone baking cups or silicone-based muffin liners.

  34. This is a question I have wanted an answer to for quite some time. Love how cookies come out on my Silpat mats, but I typically bake at 350* F. I also use Pampered Chef stoneware which is great. I’m thinking about retiring the silicone mats.
    I also have silicone popsicle molds that I use for the kiddos. Does anyone know anything about freezing in silicone? Katie mentioned cooler temps, but not freezing.

  35. To know if your silicone mold contains fillers, do the pinch rest. Crease the silicone mold and if it is white on the stretching then it contains a filler.

  36. I need tea cup covers. Are silicone ones safe?

  37. I have an autoimmune disease so I can not have chemicals. We are almost a 100% plastic free only use glass, vintage Pyrex and Corning. I have a huge issue trying to find a silicone bag to store my bread in the freezer. My loafs are large and will not fit in the Lekue 1-Liter Fresh Bag it is very small. Does anyone have a suggestion?

    • I forgot to add for freezing my bread is first wrap it in Natural Value unbleached natural wax paper then put it into a large BPA free plastic bag.

  38. I’ve been buying new bakeware lately. Mostly I choose anodized aluminum for baking, because the metal gives better results to the baked goods. See http://fatdaddios.com/catalog/bakeware-ovenware for a source of anodized aluminum bakeware, and see http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/questions/whats-the-safest-cookware regarding the safety questions. I read that anodizing makes sure that no aluminum will leach into your food, even if the food has acidic ingredients like citrus or tomatoes. If the cooking surface gets damaged somehow, though, I’ll re-evaluate. I plan to hand-wash all my bakeware and cookware, because dishwasher detergent is harsh. I also use some items of glass and ceramic for baking. (Love the look of glass pie plates!) You have to turn down your oven lower than the temp stated in the recipe when using glass, because the glass will be hotter than other bakeware materials.

  39. Here’s a question — If you change your cooking and baking utensils due to a safety concern about the old ones, is it more ethical to throw away the old ones, or to donate them to Goodwill? I’m thinking the person who obtains them from Goodwill may not be aware of safety problems, but on the other hand may not be able to afford anything better. What do y’all think?

    • I typically give away old items, as even if it’s not the safest, at least it will be used by someone else (who probably can’t afford the better quality anyway) and it won’t just be thrown away to clog a landfill.

  40. I have used silicone a few times for baking, and every time the food has come out with a slightly weird taste (and a slightly weird smell). So I’m pretty positive that the stuff is leaching nastiness. Which means I stick with using it at room temp or below. For kneading bread or kids playing with clay it’s pretty great. 🙂

  41. I am blown away! I have been thinking silicone is safe for use with cooking for the longest time! I don’t do much baking and don’t use silicone in that way. I don’t actually have a lot of silicone. The one thing I do have and use EVERYDAY is a silicone spatula. I cook on the stove at least two meals a day. I cook in/on cast iron and stainless steel only and I use my silicone spatula. I will have to get rid of it and use a stainless steel spatula I guess. That is the only other alternative, right? I cook a lot of eggs, turkey burgers, vegetables… I do use bamboo spoons when making stir fry though. Just feeling a little discouraged right now and venting…

    I love your site, Wellness Mama! Thank you for bringing so many good things to light.

  42. Shoot. I was looking for an alternative to parchment paper. I want to make healthy, seed & cheese-based gluten-free crackers but the recipes all say to use parchment paper. I figured I could swap it out for the silicone baking mats but now I’m concerned about whether they are non-toxic or not. The two recipes I found bake at 200-325 degrees – is that considered high heat?? Can anyone recommend another non-stick option for sticky-type recipes?

  43. Any suggestions for a good silicone bread loaf liner? I like making my breads and have a hard time getting them to lift smoothly from the loaf pan.

  44. What type of cookware is safe for baking muffins?