Silicone baking mats are a reusable, nonstick alternative to parchment paper and aluminum foil. You get more use out of them and many come with helpful extras printed directly onto the mat that won't fade over time. For a durable mat that will help you make well-shaped, evenly spaced cookies, check out the Silpat Perfect Cookie Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat.
A silicone baking mat handles heat well, with a maximum of 450 to 500 degrees. In addition to being heat-resistant, it is also freezer-safe if something you've baked needs to cool.
The surface doesn't require a ton of spray or greasing and works well with sticky batter and dough. The silicone evenly distributes heat, and since it's not as conductive as other materials, you're less likely to burn the bottoms of cookies or bread.
Silicone is easy to clean. You can soak and wash it in warm water, but most mats are also dishwasher-safe. A mat rolls up for easy storage and lasts for a year or longer, depending on how often you use it. Just keep it in a cool, dry place. Don't use a knife on top of the mat as it can slice the silicone, ruining it over time.
While silicone can withstand high temperatures, it's important not to expose the mat to heat above 480 to 500 degrees, as this can cause the mat to melt.
The silicone mat should fit comfortably in a baking pan. Baking pan sizes vary, but the standard is about 9 by 13 inches, which means you want a mat that's about 8.25 by 12 inches for that pan. When working with less conventional dimensions, just make sure the mat is an inch or so shorter in height and length.
You get more for your money getting several mats at once instead of buying mats individually. A set comes with two to seven mats that are either identical or varying in size and shape. The latter is especially useful if you do a lot of cooking or baking that uses rectangular, square and round pans.
Some silicone mats have precise sizing templates and markers printed directly on the silicone. These templates are for dough and batter, so you know exactly how to shape and size your baked goods. There are mats that even go a step further, including a conversion table with the template so you don't have to check your phone for measurements while your hands are sticky with batter.
A mat with trimmed corners is more likely to fit inside a pan without a ripple or lifting effect. The trim also makes it easier to peel the mat off the pan after everything has cooled.
Most silicone baking mat singles or sets cost $10-$30, but some brands cost as much as $40-$70.
A. There's usually no need to grease a silicone mat. You can use a little cooking spray or grease if you'd prefer, but generally not much sticks to silicone.
A. While it is safe to put the mat directly in the oven without a pan, it is not recommended. The flexibility makes it hard to lift out of the oven without spilling if there isn't the structure of a pan beneath it.
A. Silicone baking mats are generally microwave-safe, but keep the dimensions in mind. While a square or round mat might fit in the microwave, most rectangular mats are too large. You should still put a plate underneath so the mat doesn't wobble when you take it out.
What you need to know: This silicone and fiberglass mesh baking mat measures 11.62 by 16.5 inches and is made for pans that measure 13 by 18 inches.
What you'll love: It's durable, easy to clean and dishwasher-safe. There are 13 marked, evenly spaced indentations for cookies. It has trimmed corners and you don't need to grease it.
What you should consider: It only comes with one cookie mat, as the macaron and pastry mats are sold separately.
What you need to know: This set comes with two identical silicone and fiberglass mesh half-size mats designed for pans that are 11.63 by 16.5 inches.
What you'll love: They are strong and have trimmed corners. These mats are easy to rinse and dishwasher-safe. You don't have to grease them because most food won't stick.
What you should consider: There are no charts or measurements printed on the surface.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: Available in two sizes, this silicone and fiberglass mat is made for a large 15- by 23-inch pan or a 13.5- by 19.66-inch pan.
What you'll love: It has a pastry outline as well as spaced cookie outlines for a better bake. There are charts for temperature, weight and volume, along with a fluid conversion table. It's restaurant-quality, easy to clean and dishwasher-safe.
What you should consider: It's very large, so be sure to check your measurements before purchasing.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Emily Verona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.