Do you love baking cookies? Whether it’s a classic chocolate chip or a festive sugar cookie, baking these sweet treats is a delightful pastime for many.
However, when it comes to lining your baking sheet, you might be wondering if aluminum foil is a good choice.
While aluminum foil is a versatile material that has many uses in the kitchen, its suitability for baking cookies is a topic of debate among bakers.
Some swear by it, while others claim it can lead to burnt or unevenly baked cookies. So, can cookies be baked on aluminum foil, or is it better to use another option?
Let us take a closer look at the pros and cons of using aluminum foil when baking cookies and explore alternative methods that might help you achieve perfect cookies every time.
So, let’s dive in and discover the best way to bake your favorite cookies!
Aluminum Foil-Lined Baking Sheets Should Never Be Used to Bake Cookies
You might be surprised to learn that lining your baking sheets with aluminum foil is a huge baking mistake.
You can line your baking pan with aluminum foil for baking cookies. Many people consider it to be an effective alternative to parchment paper.
The aluminum conducts heat faster, however, so the cookie exposed to the foil browns more than the other side.
It’s simple science why you shouldn’t bake cookies on aluminum foil-lined baking sheets. It is likely you already know that foil used for cooking is primarily made from aluminum, which conducts heat well and is useful for many cooking techniques.
As a point of reference, Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil is made from 98.5 percent aluminum. Also, it’s important to note that cooking foil no longer contains any tin, despite what the common misnomer “tin foil” would suggest.
The term is used to refer to the times when this product did contain tin.
In addition to its heat-resistant properties, aluminum foil also has some significant disadvantages when it comes to baking, whether you are making chocolate chip cookies, gingersnaps for the holidays, or any other tasty treat that requires dough.
However, what you may not realize is that this signature characteristic also has some serious downsides when it comes to baking.
In the end, the scientific reason you shouldn’t bake cookies on foil-lined baking sheets is simple:
Aluminum’s natural conductivity causes the parts of your cookie dough that come in direct contact with the foil to experience higher heat concentrations than the rest of the cookie dough.
So, What’s The Result?
When you bake your cookies, the bottoms (which are in direct contact with the aluminum foil) bake faster than the tops (which are only exposed to evenly distributed heat).
That’s why foil-lined baking sheets produce browner, crispier bottoms (which may be burned sometimes) than parchment paper, which is the more scientifically wise choice for perfect cookies.
What Should I Use Instead of Aluminum Foil for Baking?
Parchment paper is the best option for baking because it does not scorch the bottom of your cookies like foil does due to its more even heat distribution and ability to distribute heat evenly throughout your oven.
Unlike foil, it is also naturally nonstick, so baked goods won’t stick to it. There is no need to grease it before using it. You won’t need to exert any effort to transfer your cookies from parchment paper to your cooling rack.
Why Bake Cookies on Aluminum Foil?
The cookie sheet may need to be well greased for some cookie recipes. There are others who recommend baking cookies on parchment paper. It will entirely depend on what kind of cookies you’re making whether you’ll use one or the other.
Easy Clean Up
My favorite use of aluminum foil is to bake cookies that are nicely browned while still moist, as well as to clean up my kitchen with ease.
The easiest way to remove cookies from the oven is to slide them out of the oven, remove the foil, and place them on a cooling rack. It’s that simple. You only have to clean baking bowls and utensils – no cookie sheets to scrub.
It’s really helpful when you’re baking gooey and sticky cookies, such as Chocolatey Bird’s Nest Cookies, or if you’re baking caramel or chocolate cookies.
For A Crispy Brown Bottom Cookie
When you bake your cookies on a greased cookie sheet, they will come out crispy, and they will bake quickly.
On parchment, cookies will be soft, moist, and lighter colored on the bottom. A cookie baked on aluminum foil gets a nice brown bottom and is both crisp and soft.
Does It Matter Which Side of the Foil You Use?
The shining side up or the dull side up question has been a point of contention for some time in your household: Your mother-in-law thinks you should cook that way, while others think the opposite.
Throughout the years, you may have read a variety of recipes with varying instructions for using aluminum foil and wondered why they differed so much. Here’s what you need to know:
You are right if you use aluminum foil with the shiny side up. You’re right if you use aluminum foil dull side up as well.
As it turns out, a foil’s external appearance has nothing to do with how well it is able to reflect or conduct heat. In reality, it is simply the result of the manufacturing process. Therefore, you are free to use it as you wish.
There is, however, an exception to this rule.
With nonstick foil, you have a top and bottom side. It is important to use nonstick foil with the dull side up, as only one side of the foil is coated with nonstick.
Tips for Using Aluminum Foil When Baking Cookies
Using aluminum foil when baking cookies can be helpful in many ways. Here are some tips to ensure that you use it effectively:
Make Adjustments To Cooking Time
When cooking with parchment paper, aluminum speeds up the process. You should therefore reduce the cooking time by approximately 10-20%.
Try baking the cookies for 8-9 minutes if the recipe calls for 10 minutes at a certain temperature. Reduce the cooking time or heat if the first batch comes out slightly burnt.
Always Use Heavy Aluminum Foil
Look for the heaviest aluminum foil when purchasing aluminum foil for baking. Avoid the dollar store, which usually sells fragile foil. Shop at kitchen specialty stores for sturdy baking foil.
Do You Need to Grease Aluminum Foil?
When we crave cookies, there’s nothing worse than having them stick to the foil during cooking. It’s for this reason that I grease aluminum foil before I place cookie dough on it. As a result, there will be no sticking.
It is best to use butter rather than baking spray when greasing – and you won’t need much. Grease the foil lightly, as too much butter could burn it.
Place Aluminum Foil Over Oven Racks
Alternatively, you can wrap aluminum foil around the oven rack and skip the cookie sheet altogether to bake cookies. Pull out the rack and lay a layer of foil on top, lightly greasing it.
In the preheated oven, scrape the dough onto foil and place the entire rack back in. Prevent burning by reducing baking time and checking after 7 minutes.
In general, cookies baked directly on the rack bake crispy and brown – so if you’re baking delicate cookies, like sugar cookies or shortbread, you may not get the desired results.
Using Aluminum Foil For Meringue Cookies
Meringue cookies are a holiday favorite. It’s important to bake these cookies on aluminum foil for a perfect bake.
It’s easy to lift the entire sheet of foil off the cookie sheet because it’s flexible. Use a knife to remove each meringue cookie from the foil rather than carefully pulling them apart.
Additionally, aluminum foil means less clean up time – meringue cookies often stick to bare cookie sheets, so you need to scrub before you’re done.
Aluminum foil is best used when baking bar cookies, such as Ginger Molasses Bars. The pan must be prepared properly for these types of cookies. Prepare a square baking pan by greasing and flouring it.
Once the bar is baked, line it with heavy duty aluminum foil, leaving a two-inch edge to make it easy to remove.
Make sure all four corners are greased. Shorten the baking time by a bit when you spoon the batter inside.
Cool the pan on a rack after baking. While still warm, hold onto the foil and remove the cookie-cake. Peel off the foil after the foil has cooled completely. Make the perfect family and friends treat by cutting into bars.
Making Aluminum Foil Cookie Sheets
Aluminum foil can be used as a cookie sheet much like baking directly on the oven rack. My other two cookie sheets are already in use when I’m baking a huge batch of cookies. Keep butter handy for preventing sticking.
A foil tray is also great for baking cookies while camping! Place the foil tray over the fire on a grill.
In conclusion, baking cookies on aluminum foil is certainly possible, but there are some important factors to consider before attempting it.
While it can help prevent the cookies from sticking to the baking sheet, the reflective nature of the foil can also result in uneven browning or overbaking.
Additionally, using aluminum foil can also affect the texture of the cookies, potentially making them crispy or tough instead of soft and chewy.
Ultimately, the decision to use aluminum foil when baking cookies is a personal one and depends on your baking preferences and the type of cookie you’re making.
By taking these factors into consideration and adjusting your baking technique accordingly, you can still enjoy delicious homemade cookies that are perfectly baked and ready to enjoy.