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Feb 16, 2012 03:48 PM

Lining roasting pans with foil/parchment?

I keep seeing commercials for avoiding having to clean sticky, baked on messes by lining baking pans with foil. And now, Martha Stewart's foible of not liking foil to touch her food has resulted in a parchment paper/aluminum foil hybrid.

It has never occurred to me to line a pan with foil and then throw it away afterwards. I don't think I'll ever do it. I have no problem soaking baked on messes until they soften up enough for me to wash them.

Hounds, what say you all?

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  1. It depends on what I am roasting. Anything with sugar in it can be a nightmare to clean no matter how long it soaks. And who wants a dirty dish in the sink for days? I have a recipe for Cornish hens with a glaze made from plum jam that makes such a mess that I'd have to replace the roasting pan. Instead, I just line it with non-stick foil, one of the best kitchen inventions in recent years, IMO.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bitchincook

      I hear you, bitchincook. Same way with roasting a ham. I LOVE lining my roaster with heavy duty foil when I'm doing ham and being able to just toss it afterwards. Sometimes a pinhole lets some juices out, but overall it's a lot better than dealing with that sugary mess.

      I don't myself, but a lot of folks line their pans so they can freeze the food and not the dish.

    2. If it's just to catch drips and it's going to be a burned on drip kind of situation, I'm in favor of a foil liner. Other than that, I think it's wasteful and I'm in the Martha camp of thinking it's a bad idea to cook on/in alu.
      I don't really have any dishwashing gripes and getting crud off isn't really ever a problem enough for me to care. That said, I've done some pretty impressive food welding using my All-Clad roasting pan to do poultry in wood-fired oven.

      1 Reply
      1. re: splatgirl

        Yes, a good roaster is key in ease with cleaning. I have Mauviel roasters that clean easy enough, but I still would never stick a ham in them. It's the one protein that drives me crazy with the burned on mess.

      2. Aluminum is highly reactive, and I have heard in more than one medical setting that it would be best to avoid aluminum cookware (gerontologist has stated that high concentrations of aluminum were found in the brains of patients with Alzheimers). I would imagine that foil would be just as questionable for regular usage. Haven't tried parchment yet, and would love to know more about results.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Lovemy Privacy

          Parchment is impregnated with Silicone. Yeah, have fun with that. :oD

          1. re: pdxgastro

            We have been cooking with chef store-grade silicone paper and silicone mats for years, since learning this technique in a hands-on cooking claas in 1986.

            Silicone paper is thin and more fexible when compared to the thicker silicone mats, but both prevent the item being cooked from burning inside, or on the roasting pan. It also prevents the glaze or marinade from burning up in a smokey mess in, and around the pan. No burned brown and black spots to spend and hour or so on with a scour pad, brillo, or jackhammer.

            For example, we cook the holiday glazed ham using brown sugar, cloves, and mustard in a Rösle deep Brater or roasting pan. Normally, this would be a very messy, sticky, burned-on process, for a somewhat expensive pan. Using the silicone paper or mat between the pan and the meat, keeps the glaze intact in a liquid form, rather than burned. The glaze can be continually scooped up with a ladle and reapplied to the ham while cooking. It can also be saved to add to the cooked and sliced final product just before serving.

            Note that this is cooking-medical grade silicone, useful in cooking up to 220 C or 500 F temperatures, and should never be cut or trimmed. Overlapping folds outside of the pan is not a problem, in an oven or (indirectly) in a barbeque, all of which we have done with success.

            The barbeque application came when we had a large party over and a Winter power outage occurred. We turned the two side burners on, leaving the centre out for the roasting pan, and thus cooked and saved the meal, a memorable affair by candle and firelight .

            This usage leaves you with a well cooked meat dish, and a pan that is almost spot free of splatter burns, and really easy to clean. If this technique works successfully in professional kitchens, it should for you at home as well.

            1. re: pdxgastro

              Hm. Didn't know that. Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place, in terms of linings. I'll be investing in a roaster, and am leaning toward stainless. I'm as apprehensive about non-stick as I am about aluminum, and for the same reason. I've got one green non-stick griddle, and would like to find a roaster, preferably covered, with a v-shaped rack. Any suggestions?

            2. re: Lovemy Privacy

              This is urban folklore. A causal relationship has never been established between the use of aluminum cookware and Alhzeimers. The research into Alzheimers, as far as I have heard, and there is a lot of it going on, is focusing on diet and genes. Early onset Alzheimers is probably more of a genetic phenomenon, and late onset may be caused or exacerbated by the same diet and lifestyle habits as heart disease. If there is someone reading this who know more details about this, please post. I just read science articles in the popular press.

              1. re: sueatmo

                Not details, but here's a link to a statement from Health Canada on the subject:


                1. re: GH1618

                  That is an excellent and comrehensive link (in English and French, thank you ) on cookware and health.

                  Not wishing to digress, however I found a link to a Youtube video ( in English ) illustrating cooking in a roasting pan using silicone paper. We have cooked a gamon, or ham this way for many years. No splatter, no mess if one is careful, and clean-up is usually very easy.


                  I hope you find this helpful to the discussion.

                2. re: sueatmo

                  I got the "urban folklore" straight from the mouth of a gerontologist at a long term care facility when I attended a job related seminar. We were also told that Alzheimers patients were found to have had much higher concentrations of aluminum in their bodies. Perhaps the thinking has changed since that time, but I heard it for myself. I would hope you're right, but I still won't be purchasing any cookware that has exposed aluminum. If the aluminum roaster at my folks' house were used more than once a year, I wouldn't be using aluminum cookware at all! I'm reminded that for years the tobacco companies contended that there was no causal connection between tobacco use and cancer. I'm not an alarmist by nature, but on this topic, I'll still need hard proof that there's no connection.

                  1. re: Lovemy Privacy

                    With a minimum of effort I found two Alzheimer's websites, one in the U.S. and one in the U.K. that say there has been no confirmed link between aluminum pots/pans, beverage cans, etc. and Alzheimer's disease.



              2. I routinely line roasting pans with parchment paper. I used to use foil but it's gotten very expensive recently. I don't pay any attention to Martha Stewart and have no idea what she recommends. I assume it's stuff that gives money, but I could be wrong.

                Obviously, using paper and throwing it away involves killing a tree, or part of one, and then adding paper to a landfill. I don't think greasy parchment paper is compostable. However, spending extra hot water, soap, and wear on the sponge to scrub a greasy pan also uses resources, so it's probably a wash. Pun intended.

                I'm not worried about the silicone impregnation of parchment paper.