Close-up of lasagna in aluminum foil disposable pan.

Can you put aluminum foil in the oven?

Many recipes recommend covering or wrapping your food in aluminum foil while it cooks. However, it’s not suitable for every application. If you’re using aluminum foil as an oven liner, it could cause more harm than good. Read on to learn more about the best uses for aluminum foil in the oven.

Lasagna in aluminum foil pan on oven rack.

How to use aluminum foil in your oven

Aluminum foil is a thinly rolled sheet of aluminum that’s claimed its place as a common kitchen staple. Not only is it safe to cook with aluminum foil in the oven, but cooking with aluminum foil can help transmit heat readily and make cleanup easier. More flexible and sturdy than tin foil, aluminum foil reflects heat and can typically tolerate the highest baking temperatures in most residential kitchen ovens, making it a great baking companion. If you’re lining baking sheets, wrapping up food or covering it up to retain moisture, then aluminum foil is the way to go.

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1. Line baking sheets and pans

Using aluminum foil to line baking sheets and pans is a great way to guarantee an easier cleanup. After baking cookies, breads or other foods, you can simply slide or lift the foil from the pan to remove baked items.


Aluminum foil has a shiny and dull side because of the way it’s manufactured, but which side faces up depends on its use. Non-stick aluminum foil has a non-stick coating applied to the dull side, so face this side up when baking stickier foods. Otherwise, you can help promote browning on certain foods by facing the dull side down.

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2. Cover dishes

Covering dishes with aluminum foil during a bake helps lock in moisture. Loosely placing or tenting a sheet of foil over a dish can prevent the top from browning while the rest of your dish continues to bake. If you’re looking to create more steam in the baking process, sealing the dish tightly with a foil lid will do the trick.

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3. Disposable baking dishes

Disposable baking dishes like aluminum pans and trays can be a convenient alternative to metal dishes. Like aluminum foil, they can tolerate any temperature the oven can throw at them and have heat conduction properties that help readily transmit heat to your food.

Why can’t I use aluminum foil as an oven liner?

Using aluminum foil to keep your oven clean may be tempting, but lining an oven with foil increases the intensity of heat on oven surfaces that can lead to surface damage like scratching or chipping on the porcelain finish and damage to heating elements. It can also prevent even cooking.

Foil is heat resistant, but it isn’t completely heat-proof. Using high heat with aluminum foil in the oven bottom could cause the foil to melt, permanently damaging your appliance. Using aluminum foil as an oven liner can also cause the following issues:

  • Using foil on oven racks can disrupt heat distribution in the oven and interfere with optimal cooking results.

  • Covering up vent openings in the bottom of the oven can lead to insufficient air flow, heat distribution and issues with performance.

  • Heat reflecting off aluminum foil can overcook foods or damage your oven’s heating elements. 

  • Lining your gas oven with aluminum foil can block heat, air flow, and produce less than optimal cooking results.

  • Aluminum foil can cause scratching of the oven's enamel surfaces, and can also melt when contacting hot surfaces or elements, potentially causing cosmetic or permanent functional damage to elements or surfaces.

If you’ve used aluminum foil in your oven in the past, you may want to make sure it didn’t affect the heating elements or other oven parts. Take some time to calibrate your oven, and schedule service if you think something is amiss.

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What should I use instead of aluminum as an oven liner?

If you can’t use aluminum foil in the bottom of your oven, what should you use instead? If you want to avoid cleaning up caked-on drips and spills, there are a few alternative solutions that you can try.

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1. Empty baking dishes or trays

Put an empty baking dish on the rack below the food you are cooking. It will catch drips and make clean-up easier. Metal baking sheets can warp during sudden temperature shifts, so place the empty dish in the oven as the oven preheats to help prevent warping.

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2. Silicone oven liners

You could use a silicone oven liner on your cooking racks. These heat-resistant, non-reflective accessories will help you keep your oven clean, but could have some impact on baking performance if not used properly. Help air circulate by including at least 3 inches of clearance between the liner sheet and oven walls for optimal heat transfer.

 

Be aware that oven liners are only suitable for electric or convection ovens and should never be placed on the bottom of the oven. Although gas ovens, microwaves and countertop microwaves from Whirlpool are also options for cooking or heating similar food items, oven liners are not suitable to use in these appliances.

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3. Parchment paper

If you’re looking for alternatives to using aluminum foil on baking sheets, consider parchment paper. It is non-reflective and won’t scratch non-stick surfaces. Before using parchment paper, it is important to review the manufacturer’s recommendation for max parchment bake temperatures. Generally speaking, parchment paper should never touch the sides of your oven or be used for intense radiant cooking functions over 450 degrees (i.e. broiling at any temperature). Additionally, do not use parchment paper in gas ovens with an exposed flame.

Discover Whirlpool® Ovens and Ranges

With Whirlpool® Ovens and Ranges, you can count on more than aluminum foil to help keep your oven clean. Select ovens and ranges include features like a high-heat self-cleaning system that makes it easier to clear away stuck-on grime.

Learn more about Whirlpool® Ovens

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