Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Apr 19, 2007 04:31 PM

Foil vs. Wrap when cookingq

(I thought I posted this a few days ago, but I can't find it. Apologies if it is a duplicate.)

I love foil. I HATE plastic wrap. I imagine there are reasons for using wrap over foil when cooking, I am curious what they would be. Otherwise, for ease, I would stick with foil. Anyone?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. For actual cooking?
    I only use wrap if I'm microwaving. And that's a rare occasion.
    If I'm storing something, I wrap in foil. The only time I differ is anything that's tomato based. Sometimes the acid in the tomatoes can react with the aluminum foil (during long term storage, not cooking) and eat through the foil, or degrade it in some way (call it names, insult it's mother...). So, I'll plastic wrap things like lasagna and baked ziti. I also will plastic wrap breads and aluminum foil over that. It provides better protection against the air than foil alone.

    1. Wouldn't plastic wrap melt while cooking?

      I use plastic wrap for storage in the refrigerator and use it to cover a salad bowl and toss a salad to distribute the dressing evenly.

      1. Foil is "reactive". Any foods that need to be cooked in or on "non-reactive" surfaces will suffer (e.g. tomato sauce).

        2 Replies
        1. re: Christnp

          Ok, let me ask M and C: why not go ahead and use foil to cover a salad bowl and toss a salad? Does it make that big a difference? And how about the tomato sauce. Once cooked, if I put it in a bowl and am then going to put it in the fridge, will it still make a difference then?

          1. re: Tom P

            Because I flip that puppy upside down and shake it, and the seal with wrap keeps dressing from dripping down the outer sides of the bowl.

        2. Wrap for cooking? Say it ain't so Joe?

          Never cook with plastic wrap. The easy one is in the oven, it melts, but that should not be an epiphany.

          Likewise never in the MV unless the wrap is MV approved. There is a potential for tranference of bad stuff from wrap to food, could be very dangerous.

          Use waxed paper in MV and foil in oven.

          3 Replies
          1. re: jfood

            I learned in cooking school to use plastic film under foil for baking, it forms an airtight seal and it doesn't melt. Just make sure all the film is covered by the foil or the edges will stick to the pan. It bakes so much better that way, you should try it.
            Here's Snopes take on microwaving plastic:

            1. re: coll


              If you click on "Cookingv Safely in the Microwave Oven" you will see the following:

              "Only use cookware that is specially manufactured for use in the microwave oven. Glass, ceramic containers, and all plastics should be labeled for microwave oven use.
              Plastic storage containers such as margarine tubs, take-out containers, whipped topping bowls, and other one-time use containers should not be used in microwave ovens. These containers can warp or melt, possibly causing harmful chemicals to migrate into the food.
              Microwave plastic wraps, wax paper, cooking bags, parchment paper, and white microwave-safe paper towels should be safe to use. Do not let plastic wrap touch foods during microwaving.
              Never use thin plastic storage bags, brown paper or plastic grocery bags, newspapers, or aluminum foil in the microwave oven. "

              So I am not sure which side of the discussion you fall into but the article linked basically states "Not To"

            2. re: jfood

              nope, it doesnt melt when used to slowly roast foods at a very low temperature.

            3. Not for cooking per se, but it can be useful for terrines, rolling a roulade, pounding out chicken breasts, etc.