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Is it safe to leave silicone utensils sitting in the pan during high heat cooking?

g
GabrielKnight May 10, 2010 02:32 PM

By 'leave' I mean have the utensil sitting in the pan for 10 minutes at a time while the food cooks.

By 'silicone' I mean "high temperature silicone" from a reputable manufacturer

By 'utensils' I mean spatulas, spoons and the like.

By 'safe', I mean
a) It won't melt
b) It won't cause health / flavour problems

By 'high heat cooking' I mean
a) As hot as an oven can get (In the UK, 500°F, 260°C, Gas Mark 9)
b) Cast iron cookware, past the seasoning smoke point, but before the seasoning is cooked off, for very fast searing of steak.

  1. Master May 11, 2010 08:19 AM

    The silicon head of the tool may be able to withstand high heat, the wood or plastic handles cannot, my wife has burned or melted a couple of them now leaving them in cookware over a burner.

    1. t
      trakman May 10, 2010 07:57 PM

      I have had no problems with leaving the silicone part in the pan. The problem I have is that if you rest the handle on the side of the pan, and the handle is not of the same resistance, that you wind up with burns in the handle

      1. tanuki soup May 10, 2010 04:23 PM

        Every silicone utensil I've ever purchased has some indication of the temperature limit, which is usually in the range of 200-300 degrees C (392-572 degrees F).

        The smoke points of various fats and oils for cooking (taken from Wikipedia) are:

        butter = 150C
        extra virgin olive oil = 190C
        lard = 200C
        peanut oil = 231C
        corn oil = 236C
        canola oil = 242C
        safflower oil = 265C

        I've never had problems with silicone utensils melting during normal frying or sauteing, but for searing steaks, I use stainless steel tongs.

        1. Chemicalkinetics May 10, 2010 02:58 PM

          GK,

          You know the answer. It depends on your silicone utensils. Some are made to withstand up to 800F like this one:
          http://www.amazon.com/Creuset-Amazon-com-Exclusive-3-Piece-Silicone/dp/B000O5Z0ZQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1273528770&sr=1-1

          Some can tolerate 600F
          http://www.amazon.com/Oxo-Grips-Silicone-Flexible-Turner/dp/B000ND1YTU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1273528436&sr=1-1

          while others are only safe up to 500F
          http://www.amazon.com/Mario-Batali-Si...

          2 Replies
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
            g
            GabrielKnight May 10, 2010 03:42 PM

            Funnily enough, I'm fairly sure I didn't know the answer, but thanks for the info!

            For the last 20 years I've been cooking almost entirely with non-stick pans, but have very recently turned to cast iron, trying to achieve significantly higher temps to get restaurant style steaks.

            Spoon rests are a good idea, but it's still something else to take up room and drips need cleaning off the counter / holder. If there is a utensil I can keep in the pan (like wooden spoons at low temp) it's just one less thing to think about.

            800*F seems a very high temperature. Am I ever likely to accidently get above this without burning out the pan or making cooking a steak unworkable?

            1. re: GabrielKnight
              Chemicalkinetics May 10, 2010 04:55 PM

              :) I didn't mean you know the exact answer. I meant the answer depends on the heat tolerance of the specific silicone utensils -- which I believe you know that general premise. If you think about, what I really said is "It depends on the heat tolerance", and if I had said that you would have said "I know THAT".

              800oF probably is overkilled, but many people rather stay on the safer side.

          2. c oliver May 10, 2010 02:52 PM

            I don't do that with utensils made of any material and don't know why one would. That's why I have spoon rests on each side of the range.

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