The 7 Best Alternatives To Aluminum Foil, According To A Chef
Ditch the tin foil for these reusable options.
Whether you’re looking for an earth-friendly alternative or are just tired of buying tin foil over and over again, the best alternatives to aluminum foil provide baking, grilling, and food storage solutions and are reusable to reduce waste. Steven Chiappetti, executive chef at The Albert Chicago, tells Bustle that making the switch is actually pretty easy and notes that “there are several strong alternative solutions out there to replace aluminum.” They’re all convenient to clean and store, and some are even compostable when the time comes to replace them.
Steven Chiappetti is the executive chef at The Albert restaurant in downtown Chicago and went to culinary school at Kendall College in Chicago. He has received acclaim from The New York Times, USA Today, and Food & Wine.
What To Consider When Choosing Alternatives To Aluminum Foil
First, consider how you typically use aluminum foil to figure out which alternatives would be most beneficial for you.
- For baking and roasting, substitutes such as silicone mats are good for lining baking sheets and pans, and Chiappetti even notes that they’re great for leveling out hot spots.
- When you’re grilling, cedar planks can be used to keep food off the grates while infusing a smoky flavor and aroma into whatever you cook.
- When it comes to food storage, Chiappetti explains that he actually doesn’t like using aluminum foil because “some dishes [like tomato-based dishes] interact negatively with the aluminum.” Instead, try some stretchy silicone lids, cotton covers, and reusable beeswax sheets to accommodate a variety of containers, or even some glass or stainless steel containers with leakproof lids — but not all of these options can be heated, so keep that in mind when warming up leftovers.
Also, tin foil alternatives should be easy to use, clean, and store in your kitchen. Fortunately, all of the picks on this list feature easy-to-clean designs that can be lightly hand washed, put in the dishwasher, or thrown in the washing machine, depending on the one you choose. They’re all compact enough for easy storage, and some of these alternatives are designed to be reused for up to a year, while others can be used indefinitely, so they’re all pretty cost-effective too.
So when you’re ready to reduce waste with a more sustainable substitute, scroll on for the best alternatives to aluminum foil with rave reviews on Amazon.
1. A Pack Of Reusable & Compostable Beeswax Food Wraps
When you want to wrap or cover leftovers, these reusable beeswax food wraps are a great alternative to aluminum foil and plastic wrap and actually use the warmth of your hands to help create a seal. One reviewer wrote, “They are the right amount of "sticky" for things to be sealed to perfection.”
The pack includes three beeswax wraps in small, medium, and large sizes. Each wrap is made from certified organic cotton, responsibly sourced beeswax, organic plant oils, and tree resin, and you can rinse the wrap in cool water with mild soap and air dry it for reuse for up to a year. However, they’re not intended for heating, so you’ll need to remove them before warming your food.
There are four designs to choose from, including ocean, fruit, and a cute bears and bees print, and they’re completely compostable when it’s time to throw them away. Plus, if you are looking to cover extra-large bowls or casserole dishes, the brand also offers a beeswax wrap roll that you can cut to your preferred size.
One reviewer wrote: “Wow why have I not tried bees wax wrap sooner? The seal you get from this could never even come close to basic plastic wrap or foil. I used this as a makeshift lid for my dog's wet canned food and it stays fresher for twice as long as when i was using foil or plastic wrap because those dont have a seal at all. This wrap is amazing plus it has the added benefit of being eco friendly. These last a year so I will never have to waste money buying plastic wrap again.”
Reusability: Up to 1 year | Oven-Safe: No | Sizes: 7 x 8, 10 x 11, 13 x 14 inches | Colors and styles: 4
2. These Silicone Baking Mats With 90,000+ Amazon Reviews
Chiappetti calls silicone mats a “must-have” in the kitchen and that using them actually saves money in the long run. These best-selling silicone baking mats provide a reusable and completely nonstick surface for all of your baking and roasting needs — so you don’t even have to use cooking spray. The set of two mats is made to fit half-sheet pans and is oven-safe up to 480 degrees Fahrenheit. They can also be easily washed with soap and water after use. One fan even notes, “I use them to Cover casserole dishes when I take them out of the oven and when I need to put them in the refrigerator,” making them even more versatile.
One reviewer wrote: “These baking mats are hands down my favorite kitchen item [...] I must have six of these and I use them almost everyday. [...] They are significantly easier to clean than a messy cookie sheet. They are a practical replacement for foil, parchment paper, cooking spray and oils. Nothing will stick to these. NOTHING.”
Reusability: Indefinite | Oven-Safe: Up to 480 degrees Fahrenheit | Size: 11.6 x 16.5 inches
3. A Set Of Cotton Bowl Covers
If you’re looking for alternatives to aluminum foil for covering bowls and casserole dishes in the fridge, consider these reusable cotton bowl covers. The set of three features varying sizes designed to fit dishware between 6 and 13 inches in diameter, and each one has an elastic edge for a snug fit. There are two striped colors to choose from and the brand recommends hand-washing after use — however, many reviewers note the covers have stood up to machine washing very well.
One reviewer wrote: “These are amazing, I mainly bought them because I marinate chicken in a big bowl every week and I always used aluminum foil. Well that was such a waste and not good for the environment. So now I use the earth bunny fabric bowl and then just throw it in the wash. The size's work well and the big one can actually stretch and comfortably fit onto very large bowls. I also found other uses for them like covering bowls up in the microwave so it doesn't splatter everywhere. I love them, I think they are great, and I highly doubt anyone would be disappointed.”
Reusability: Indefinite | Oven-Safe: No | Sizes: For containers 6 to 13 inches in diameter | Colors: 2
4. These Stretchy Silicone Lids You Can Use In The Freezer, Microwave & Oven
Along the same lines as the beeswax and cotton covers above, these stretchy silicone lids are great alternatives to aluminum foil when it comes to storing food, and Chiappetti loves silicone lids because they’re so easy to wash and reuse. This set gives you seven different sizes to fit containers ranging from 2.6 to 12 inches in diameter, and they’re designed to provide an air-tight seal around both round and square containers. Each lid is freezer, microwave, and dishwasher-safe and can even be put in the oven up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re made of food-safe, BPA-free, and phthalate-free silicone and are totally clear so you can see what’s inside. Plus, they come with a cotton mesh bag for storage.
One reviewer wrote: “No more plastic wrap or aluminum foil! I am slowly replacing everything with reusable silicon! These lids are pretty awesome. They are stretchy and fit over my pyrex and my funny sized deep pie dish with handles. And my instant pot. And my weird bowls with the fluted sides. You can put them in the freezer/oven/microwave and use on really hot things. SO PERFECT. Super easy to wash, too!”
Reusability: Indefinite | Oven-Safe: Up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit | Sizes: For containers 2.6 to 12 inches in diameter
5. This Pack Of Cedar Planks For The Grill
Chiappetti is a fan of cedar grilling planks and explains, “It's nice to take simple vegetables, toss them in your favorite olive oil, season and just lay them on the board and then set on the grill to slowly cook and infuse flavor,” adding, “You can also rub your chicken or salmon with mustard and honey and set on top of the plank to slowly let the wood essence infuse with the proteins.”
These sustainably-sourced cedar planks not only create a beautiful flavor but also help prevent food from sticking to the grates. The 5 by 11-inch planks are made in a food-safe certified facility and free from pesticides, herbicides, and additives, and each one can fit up to four servings of meat or veggies. To use, simply soak them in water for about 15 minutes, place food on top, and grill until your desired doneness.
Keep in mind that the brand does not recommend reusing the planks after cooking on the grill because they often get charred. However, if they haven’t been charred or you only used them in the oven, you can rinse them off and store them in the freezer for another use — just be sure to cook the same type of food on them to avoid mixed flavors. And if you’re looking for an alternative to foil pouches, check out these cedar wraps that keep your food in a neat little package for grilling or baking.
One reviewer wrote: “These cedar planks are relatively inexpensive, reasonably sized – not too big, not too small – and behaved well on the grill. The smoky aroma that came off them during grilling made the cooking experience a pleasure. But nothing topped my family's reaction when they first tasted the food that I cooked with these planks.”
Reusability: 1 or 2 times, depending on use | Oven-Safe: Up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit | Size: 5 x 11 inches each
6. A Set Of Glass Containers For Storing Leftovers
Instead of using aluminum foil to cover leftovers, consider a set of matching glass containers with lids to store your food in the fridge or take with you for lunch. The set of 12 containers is made of super-durable borosilicate glass and features a variety of round and square sizes, each with a BPA-free plastic lid for a leakproof seal. The lids and containers are all dishwasher and freezer-safe, and the glass bases can be popped into the oven and microwave for easy reheating.
One reviewer wrote: “I LOVE these glass dishes. [...] perfect for storing leftovers and keeping food fresh. The lids provide a very secure seal, so you can put liquid in them and not have to worry about spilling. I’ve used them for picnics several times since I received them and none of the lids leaked. The glass is thick and is very good quality.”
Reusability: Indefinite | Oven-Safe: Containers up to 752 degrees Fahrenheit; lids are not oven-safe | Sizes: 9, ranging from 1.4 to 4.5 cups | Colors: 8
7. A Set Of Lightweight Stainless Steel Food Containers
These durable yet lightweight stainless steel containers are great for storing leftovers or packing lunch in and have a nonslip exterior so they’re easier to grip. The set includes three different sizes ranging from approximately 2 to 6 cups, and they have a space-saving nested design when they’re not in use. Each container comes with a BPA-free, leakproof, and transparent lid so you can see what’s inside, and there are six cute colors to choose from. It’s important to note that these containers are not microwave or oven safe and the brand recommends not placing them in the dishwasher or freezer as the lids and nonslip exteriors may become less durable when exposed to extreme temps.
One reviewer wrote: “Bought this set of 3 for our family both for the food safety, as well as the shatterproof nature of stainless steel. Love these containers for lunches and snacks on-the-go! Couldn't be more pleased with the quality: the lids are tight-fitting but fairly easy to get off; the grips on the bottoms make sure they're not sliding everywhere whether on the table/counter or in the car; and the variation in sizing is awesome for different quantities.”
Reusability: Indefinite | Oven-Safe: No | Sizes: 3, ranging from approximately 2 to 6 cups | Colors: 6
Steven Chiappetti, executive chef at The Albert restaurant in Chicago