Greener Every Week – Replace your nonstick cookie sheets

A recommendation for cookie sheets without non-stick coating and silicone baking mats

“Greener Every Week” is my ongoing series in which I do one (cheap, easy) thing every week to make my home or lifestyle more healthy & eco-friendly.

In my ongoing quest to get chemicals out of my food and my home, I first switched away from non-stick pots and pans, and have recently replaced my non-stick cookie sheets as well. Fortunately this wasn’t nearly as expensive as I thought it might be due to my discovery of these Nordic Ware Bakers Half Sheets – at only 11 bucks or so each, they are wonderfully affordable while still being nice and sturdy. Step one accomplished – no teflon on my food!

On to step two: now that I got rid of that non-stick coating, how can I prevent things from, well, sticking?

I have long been in the habit of using parchment paper to line baking sheets (even with non-stick things seem to want to burn on and generally make cleaning up a pain, don’t they?), but the more I do to try to make my day-to-day life less wasteful, the more it was bugging me to throw away all that paper.

First I started buying recycled parchment paper, but then even that seemed sort of unnecessary once I heard about silicone baking mats. These bad boys are so cool! They are just thin silicone sheets that you lay right on your cookie sheet instead of parchment. So far nothing I’ve tried has stuck to them, and they are super easy to wash (and dishwasher safe)! There’s several brands but these ones were the best deal I could find since you get three in the set, making them only $10 each. Since parchment paper is about 3-5 dollars per roll, this will end up being a cost effective choice fairly quickly (seriously,  those rolls of parchment seem to run out way too fast). As with so many of the other changes I’ve made, this eco-friendly choice has also turned out to be the inexpensive, convenient one too, so hooray for that!

Has anyone tried these? Do you love them as much as I do?

Note:  Nobody has paid me in any way to endorse these products, I just genuinely like them and want to share my enthusiasm with you.  If you click the link and buy them from Amazon I’ll make like 37 cents through their affiliate program, so that would be sweet, but that’s the only compensation happening around here.

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19 Comments

  • I used to have a silicone mat from Tupperware. It was a little costly but worked like a charm! I’ve misplaced it somewhere along the road, so I think I need to get a new one. I use parchment paper most of the time, but you are right that it can be wasteful.

  • Jessica – just came across your blog recently and love it! I really am enjoying your helpful tips on ways to be more sustainable and the yummy recipes. Will share this with friends/family. Great job, keep it up!

  • If you use the silicon liners would that make using teflon sheets safe? So therfore no need to get rid of the baking sheets we have but still steer clear of leaked chemicals?

    Just wondering, thanks!

    • Well it would definitely be better than nothing since you’d avoid your food coming into contact with the teflon directly. Some evidence indicates that teflon might give off toxic fumes when it heats so you’d still have that, but it would at least be a step in the right direction!

    • That is an excellent question! As of right now, silicone is looking pretty good – there’s no evidence that it causes any health problems (at least not that I can find!) It’s actually similar to glass in that it’s made from sand and oxygen (in it’s most basic form). That isn’t to say that various producers can’t add undesirable components, so we can’t be 100% sure that it’s safe all the time. When possible, I do try to stick to things like glass, steel, and cast iron since they have all been around longer and therefore have a more reliable history of safety, but silicone generally has less weird additives than plastic and so far has a good track record of being safe so it’s one of the only “modern” materials I will occasionally use.

  • When I was in Austria several years ago, I saw a baker flipping out the most beautiful muffins out of a silicone muffin tray. Turns out it is not just silicone — the product he used was from a French company called Demarle. They spray 100% food-grade silicone over woven glass. The silicone gives your products a stick-free without the use of any oils or flours, and the glass conducts heat which will brown your food. I fell so in love with these products that I became a rep for them when I returned home. Fabulous when cooking fat-free — nothing sticks, and the clean-up is so easy. Roasting veggies on a Silpat is awesome – because there is glass between the layers of silicone, you don’t need to flip your products — they brown on both sides at the same time.

  • You may have jumped from the frying pan in to the fire…
    Looks like your new pans are aluminum ..which leads to
    health problems including Alzeimers and silicone liners
    have yet to be proven healthy….
    I am sticking with my steel sheets and if necessary parchment paper….
    Good luck with finding healthy solutions…de

  • I noticed that the baking sheet you bought is aluminium which is a no go for me as it has been linked to cancer. If you continue to use aluminium, make sure your food doesn’t come in contact with it although I don’t know if silicon is the way to go either. Remember that at one time teflon was thought to be safe too.

  • The Nordic Ware bakers sheet are made of aluminum 🙁 Per the Organic Gardening blog: “Anodized Aluminum: Another material on Dr. Feister’s watch list is anodized aluminum. Though it’s an excellent heat conductor, aluminum has been linked to bone and brain damage and has been found to interfere with the central nervous system, he says. “Some studies have shown that it does cause cancer in estrogen receptors in human breast tissue,” he adds. In cookware, it reacts with highly acidic or salty foods, imparting an undesirable metallic flavor to food, so manufacturers started to “anodize” it. In the anodization process, a piece of aluminum cookware is dipped into an acid bath, through which an electrical current is sent, he says. “That essentially causes controlled rusting,” he adds, which forms a hard coating that prevents food from reacting with the metal. “But repeated exposure to acidic foods can cause deanodization,” he says, “and you don’t want bare aluminum touching your food.” And if that’s not enough, now Calphalon, the leading manufacturer of anodized cookware, has started adding PTFE to its coatings. It’s unlikely that you’ll find aluminum pots and pans that aren’t anodized unless you frequent antique shops, but nonanodized aluminum cookie sheets are very common (more on those a little later).”
    http://www.organicgardening.com/living/how-keep-questionable-chemicals-out-your-holiday-cooking?page=0,0
    🙁

    • I use the silicone sheets so my food never touches the aluminum directly. It’s not a perfect solution, but I couldn’t find many better alternatives out there! I also am not 100% sure if we can trust silicone yet, but it’s the best thing I’ve found and could theoretically be pretty safe. Does anyone have a better alternative to aluminum pans?

  • Thanks for this. I was under the impression that aluminum is harmful as well. I am replacing my anodized aluminum cookware with ceramic and cast iron. Does this not apply to baking sheets? That would be nice cause these look great. Thanks. Jen