Do you use Aluminum cookware, I certainly do. And perhaps like you, I too have wondered whether aluminum roasting pans were safe or toxic. I suppose many people avoid using aluminum because they think it might be toxic, but is it really?
We have conducted extensive research n aluminum and cooking to help you decide whether or not to keep using it.
Aluminum is a metal and comes from minerals like bauxite. Bauxite is a clay mineral combined with iron, silicon, titanium, etc. It has titanium elements and you would think that was a good thing. However, it didn’t turn out so well for the original Terminator as he melted in the end 🙂
As a reactive element, aluminum is not a natural element found in nature and is usually a combination of sorts as a chemical compound . Maybe, if Arnold Schwarzenegger had more aluminum elements, he would have been a better conductor of heat hence no “hasta la vista, baby” moment as the Terminator.
Spoiler alert: the verdict is that aluminum is kinda safe for cooking! Keep reading to find out more.
What are the uses of Aluminum?
Believe it or not, but aluminum is a metal that can be found in a lot of everyday objects. Based on our research, we found that aluminum is the most widely distributed metal and is used in a variety of applications. Even though it is lightweight, aluminum is a strong metal used in the construction of aircrafts and automobiles.
In addition to this, it is also a good conductor of electricity and heat, and thus often used for electrical wiring.
Aluminum is highly reflective and corrosion-resistant, and thus works well reflective paint and as a coating on other metals.
Furthermore, aluminum is also used in a range of consumer products, from soda cans to cooking pots – such as the ones we will discuss here. The uses of aluminum vary according to the need. It can be used as a solid to make a pan for example, or as a powder for fireworks.
Disclaimer: I am not suggesting you make fireworks by grinding your aluminum pan into dust, do not put that on me. Anyway, as you can probably tell by comparing its uses like I just did, aluminum plays a vital role in our economy and our everyday lives, thanks to its versatility.
Are Aluminum roasting pans safe?
Aluminum can be safe as long as you take the necessary precautions, I think that is a given. Example, do not use aluminum on high heat. Secondly, make sure that you don’t cook highly acidic foods with aluminum as both of these conditions together, may cause the aluminum to leach into your food .
So, there you have it, as long as you take the necessary precautions when cooking up delicious meals in your aluminum roasting pan. But as with anything, too much of a good thing can be bad for you so, use it in moderation. Except for chocolate, chocolate can never be bad and if anyone tells you otherwise, eat them too!
Are scratched Aluminum pans safe?
If you are like me, you probably have one or a few old scratched aluminum pans in your cooking arsenal. And, because you have been using it for years, assume that it may be perfectly safe, right? In reality, scratched, dented or damaged aluminum pans or cookware could pose a serious health risk.
There is the possibility when using damaged or scratched aluminum cookware, that food could leech into your food. The research data is clear on this, and as a result, you could end up ingesting small amounts of aluminum.
As time passes, this build up of aluminum in your body could lead to health issues. Our advice, it is safer to get rid of scratched aluminum pans or cookware, and if you are using a brand new set, just make sure to take the necessary precautions.
1. Aluminum exposure can lead to health problems
2. Scratched aluminum pans can leach aluminum into food
3. It’s best to get rid of scratched aluminum pans
Is Aluminum foil safe or toxic for ovens?
With the proliferation of modern cooking technology, a variety of materials can be used in an oven. One such material is aluminum foil. Although it is widely available, and rather inexpensive, the question remains – is aluminum foil safe or toxic to use in an oven?
The debate on this subject is rather heated (excuse the pun or pan). One the one hand, people that use aluminum foil say it is safe to use in the oven as long as it does not leach into the food. On the other hand, some people rather fervently believe that aluminum foil can be toxic, especially when heated.
The jury is still out on this issue, and more research needs to be done to determine whether or not aluminum foil is truly safe to use in an oven.
In the meantime, if you’re concerned about the safety of using aluminum foil in your oven, there are some other materials that you can use instead. Parchment paper and silicone baking mats are both safe alternatives that can be used in place of aluminum foil.
Why do restaurants use Aluminum pans?
Because aluminum is a good conductor of heat, it heats up very quickly and evenly. For this reason (among others), many restaurants make use of it as part of their cooking arsenal. This is particularly useful, when chefs have to prepare meals quickly and because aluminum is lightweight, it makes it easy to work with in a busy kitchen.
In addition to the above, aluminum is also non-reactive, thus it will not leave a metallic taste in food. Therefore, aluminum cookware remains one of the favorite choices amongst chefs in restaurants and homes around the world.
How do you clean an Aluminum roasting pan?
Due to its material composition, aluminum pans can be prone to staining and discoloration – making it difficult to clean or to maintain. Therefore, when cleaning an aluminum roasting pan, it would be wise to use a gentle cleanser and avoid abrasive scourers as these could cause scratches to the surface of the pan.
I am a believer of baking soda, and as such, you should be able to clean your aluminum pan quite effectively with some baking soda or white vinegar – I can attest to this effectiveness of this method!
The process is rather straightforward. Use the baking soda with a bit of water to form a paste. Apply the paste to the affected areas of the pan and allow it to sit for a 20 – 30 minutes. Using a soft sponge (non-abrasive), scrub the affected areas and rinse using warm water. Wipe the pan with a soft cloth and store your pan carefully.
Remember, aluminum is lightweight and should not be at the bottom of other cookware as this could cause damage to the aluminum. With proper care and maintenance, like mine, your aluminum could last for years.
What is the best way to store an Aluminum roasting pan?
As mentioned above, Aluminum is quite lightweight, and as a result can be prone of dents or extensive damage if stores incorrectly. The below are some practical considerations when dealing with the care and storing of your aluminum roasting pans.
1. Wash the pan thoroughly with soap and water after each use. This will prevent food from caking onto the surface and making it difficult to clean later on.
2. If possible, avoid storing the pan in a damp or humid environment. This can cause the aluminum to corrode.
3. If you need to stack the pan in a cabinet or cupboard, make sure to place something soft between the pan and the surface it’s resting on. This will prevent scratches and dents.
By following these simple tips, you can help keep your aluminum roasting pan in good condition for years.
Can you put an Aluminum pan in a microwave?
If you do not know this already, then the answer is an unequivocal no. You cannot put aluminum cookware in a microwave because of its conductivity of electricity, meaning its ability to absorb micro-waves.
Although the science behind this can be a bit complex, all you need to know is that when micro-waves hit aluminum, they cause electrons to vibrate, which results in heat. It is the formation of this heat that could cause the aluminum to catch fire.
For these reasons, you cannot put an aluminum pan in a microwave oven unless you want a fireworks display. So, not only will your food not be heated, but your microwave will also be defeated 🙂
There is one exception though, and that is when using a convection microwave oven. You can safely use aluminum roasting pans in a convection microwave oven, using the oven function. When using foil, make sure the foil does not touch the food and ensure that you keep an eye on the cooking while using the convection microwave.
Before you go…
Hopefully, our research has provided your with some insight to the safety of cooking with aluminum roasting pans. When all is said and done, as long as your cookware is in good nick, and well taken care of, you should have nothing to worry about.
Cook well, and take care.
Charlene is a lover of good food. She enjoys nothing more than cooking up a storm in the kitchen and sharing her favourite recipes with her readers. She also enjoys reading a good book.