All things silicone

I use a variety of traditional natural materials in my kitchen, but I’ve found silicone to be great for certain items. What silicone kitchen products would you recommend?

I think silicone is particularly well suited for the following:

Cutting boards. Nice and easy on knife edges, easy to wash, dishwasher safe, can be sterilized in the microwave oven, nonslip, lots of colors so you can color-code your cutting boards, can also be used as high-temperature trivets.

Silicone brushes. With other kinds of brushes, I always wonder whether they are really clean, especially where the bristles go into the handle. I don’t worry about it with silicone.

Silicone turners. I hate the partially melted, browned, pitted edges that seem to be inevitable with plastic turners. Not a problem with silicone.

Silicone oven mitts. Not only do they work great, but they are also easy to wash – even in the dishwasher. You can also use them to hold or pick up hot food directly with your hands. (This feature seems to be particularly appreciated by people who like to barbecue or smoke big pieces of meat.)

Silicone placemats!

I debated between Chilewich nylon ones and silicone placemats for a while and concluded that its better to have food contact silicone than nylon, not to mention easier to clean the one piece flat silicone too.

I think silicone works great in the kitchen. I have that same brush also mitts and the silpad and knockoffs

I would agree with everything that’s already been listed.

I also have silicone individual cupcake baking cups and a silicone bread mold. They’ve all worked really great. However, the silicone brownie mould – bah, not a great tool in my opinion. Unless you’re loading it directly on a pan, the heavy liquid batter makes the mould hard to lift and move.

The other thing I have that I love are silicone lids that can create suction and seal for various sized bowls. It’s come in real handy for things that don’t easily fit into my recycled takeout containers. I also have a silicone lid for a cooking pot that has flexible flaps on top. I cook a lot of congee in particular and it’s make it so much easier not to worry about spillovers.

Silicone mitts are great for moving hot coals around when you grill. I also get a fair amount of use out of my silicone egg poacher. And I have this, which I never use. I like having it, though.

I have a silicone brush as well. Silicone brush are ok. It doesn’t dispense and apply as good as normal brushes - in my experience. However, silicone brushes are very sturdy and “hair” does not come off, and even if the fiber does come off, you can see it. It is huge.

I was considering alternatives to non-stick baking pans. Glad to hear silicone works well as an alternative. More costly for silicone, right?

Hi, Tanuki:

I hate to be a downer here, but I don’t much like silicone. The feel, the propensity to get slimy and take on odors, the weird friction, etc., just take me in a different direction.

Although I have some brushes, potholders/trivets, ice cube trays, spoons and turners, and sheets, the only silicone I tolerate on a regular basis are spatulae. I’d prefer the older white rubber spats, but they need to be replaced too often.

Aloha,
Kaleo

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Well, I guess I’d say that silicone (like all things) comes in various grades and varieties. I have also noticed that weird slimy feeling you mention on some silicone items, but they have tended to be the cheaper ones that I picked up at places like dollar stores or supermarkets.

The silicone stuff from respected cookware brands seems to avoid the problem. Also, although I haven’t really studied the matter in detail, my general impression is that the higher the temperature rating, the better the quality of the silicone.

IME, top-quality silicone doesn’t smell strange (or take on odors) and doesn’t have any noticeable slimy feel to it.

I dislike silicone baking pans. You have to put a metal baking sheet under them for stability, the batter doesn’t brown as well, and they don’t release the cake as easily as expected. Then there’s the residue that forms on the pans, silpats, etc.

However, I love my silicone measuring cups and mixing bowl. Pouring from them is dripless. I use the bowl for hand-mixed batters like cupcakes and brownies. With ice cream scoops for portioning, I don’t even need a spatula to get out the last bit of batter.

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Depends. I was lucky and came upon a good bargains at my local Marshall’s and TJX. I also like to get my hands on and to see the silicone if possible, to check on the quality of silicone – avoid the thin, cheap stuff. Only rarely have I purposely looked for a silicone version of something I needed, except maybe the Silpat.

It also depends on what you need when you bake. When I do bread, I don’t mind that my loaf doesn’t come out with the perfect shape like a market loaf. If that matters for whatever you’re baking, sometimes silicone is not your best choice. The flexible sides don’t always produce a consistent shape.

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I don’t know… I’ve had bad luck with all the silicone I’ve tried, including the $$ baking sheets and potholders.

And how do you tell in advance of buying?

I’m staying with other materials, thanks.

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Silicone has its moments, but I don’t use a lot of it. I don’t like it for a baking vessel because it is too floppy and things dont brown well. I use silpats for macarons and some candies, and flexipans can be good for frozen items.

Here’s what works for me:

hard Tongs (terrific)
soft spatula
soft spatula/spoon
hard spatula/slotted spoon (terrific)
soft covers for enameled cast iron handles
silicone sealer for steamer insert

Here’s what doesn’t work for me:

silicone turner
silicone knife

I’m curious about the silicon board, how is it different from a hard plastic board?

The main thing is that it’s soft and floppy, and also surprisingly heavy. It also doesn’t show knife cuts as much as a plastic board (although a sharp knife will cut into it). Finally, the temperature rating is around 450 degrees or so, which means it won’t melt even if you put a hot frying pan on it.

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Being soft I would imagine it changing your feel as you’re cutting through something. Does the product your cutting sink down if pushed down on?

Thought a picture may demonstrate the message:

I looked at the reviews for this and some people say that they see deep cuts in it when they bend it. Does yours have cuts in it? I guess I will find out for myself since I just bought one. I really should stop myself from reading the cookware threads :slight_smile:

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold