Aluminum foil or tin foil is somewhat like parchment paper. It serves as a protective layer separating food from a baking tray or baking dish so that they do not stick and burn at high temperatures in the oven.

However, tin foil prevents food from losing moisture while baking. Moreover, the most useful property of the foil for baking is the even distribution of temperature inside the product wrapped in foil (vegetables, meat, fish). Food cooks through evenly from all sides.  That is why all kinds of fish and meat, whole poultry (chicken and turkey), and vegetables are often baked in foil. Nevertheless, to get a beautiful golden-brown crust you need to open the foil for the last 5-20 minutes (depending on the food) of baking the dish in the oven.

Here are my favorite recipes that you cook in the foil:

How to Line a Baking Pan with Aluminum Foil

When you bake whole chicken or fish in the oven, the recipe usually requires wrapping the item itself tightly in the foil. However, on several occasions, the tray or a pan should be lined with aluminum foil. I will share with you a foolproof method that will help you to cover any baking pan:

  • Take the baking pan that you are using for the recipe. Measure out the sheet of tin foil that is large enough to cover the bottom of the baking pan, its sides and have a decent overhang part.
  • The length of the overhanging part depends on the recipe you are making. Whether you only need it to use as handles to lift the baked item out of the pan or to cover the top of the baking dish. Tear off the whole piece from the roll.

Take a sheet of foil and a baking pan

  • Turn the baking pan upside down. Place the foil over the baking pan and press it to repeat the shape of the pan. It does not matter if you put a shiny side in or a shiny side out, as it has no impact on cooking food except for one exception. With non-stick foil, there is a difference in which side of the foil sheet you are using.

Press the foil to the bottom of the pan

  • Turn over the pan and gently place the foil form inside of the baking pan. Smooth out all the edges and creases to prevent sticking anything in them. Grease the inside of the pan or proceed according to your recipe.

Turn the pan over and line it with foil

On the safety of using aluminum foil, check out the following article from The National Institute of Health.

Do I need to grease aluminum foil?

There is no definitive answer to the question, as there are many variables that you must take into account. The first thing is to determine whether you are using a non-stick foil or not. If you have a non-stick foil at hand then there is no necessity to use any grease, oil, or butter. Simply put food on the non-stick side (the one with a dull surface) and cook it in the oven or grill. In the end, it will lift right off the foil with no fuss and leaving no mess.

And there is also a regular aluminum foil. You should grease the usual tin foil with oil, butter or use a cooking spray to prevent the sticking of the food to the surface of the foil. Even if the recipe states that you should drizzle, for example, vegetables with oil and spread them over the lined with foil tray, take a minute to cover it with a thin layer of oil/butter.

Can I use foil instead of parchment paper?

I can say that these products are not interchangeable. They serve their separate purpose. And if the recipe requires a sheet of tin foil then you should use it. There is no way that you can grill with parchment paper or wrap the whole chicken or mackerel in it and get nicely cooked through a dish, as parchment paper will dissolve during baking with all the juices from meat and fish. With grilling it even becomes dangerous. Stick to the recipe and make sure to get the necessary appliances for the recipe while at the store.

I hope that the article was helpful and you found the information that you were looking for. If you still have any questions left, ask them in the comment section below!

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