Silicone baking mats make a lot of sense when you’re trying to live a clean, green, simple lifestyle. They keep food from directly contacting potentially unhealthy non-stick and metal surfaces, they eliminate the need for oils and non-stick sprays, they’re eco-friendly compared to single-use parchment paper, and, depending on what you’re cooking on them, silicone baking mats can improve your baking results.
I’ll dig into some important purchase considerations later in this guide, but first let’s get to what probably brought you here: finding the best silicone baking mat for you. Below I break down five of the best options.
1. Premium Pick: Silpat Premium Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat (Single Mat)
Authentic Silpats are made by DeMarle in France, and no list of silicone baking mats would be complete without them. They’re the gold standard of silicone baking mats. So much so that in many professional kitchens, silicone mats are simply referred to as “silpats,” sort of like when we use Crock-Pot® or Popsicle® to refer to their generic equivalents.
Silpats cost a little more than other brands because they’re the leader in their category. I’m personally willing to pay more up front for premium quality because I’m an advocate of buying fewer, better things. And actually, products that last longer end up costing less on a per-use basis. Plus it’s simply more enjoyable to bake with professional grade stuff.
Silpat makes a variety of sizes and specialty use silicone mats, so if this one isn’t the right size, you can find a full range of other sizes here.
- Dimensions: 11 5/8 x 16.5″ (made for a 13″ x 18” pan)
- Temperature range: -40°F to 482°F (-40°C to 250°C)
- Dishwasher safe: not recommended by manufacturer (see note in “How to Clean” below)
2. Solid Choice: Kitzini BPA-Free Professional Grade Silicone Baking Mats (3-Piece Set)
This baking mat set from Kitzini is an excellent value from a company with a great track record of happy customers. Kitzini sells a number of sets in different size combinations, but this 3-piece set will work perfectly for most people, with the 2 half sheet and 1 quarter sheet sizes.
I really like that the Kitzini sets come with color variations that can be matched to the types of foods baked on them. Over time, silicone baking mats can hold odors, so it can be helpful to match specific colors to specific types of foods. It’s a feature that might come in handy if you’re a non-vegan cooking for vegan friends!
- Dimensions: 2 half size baking sheets (16.5″ x 11 5/8″) and 1 small size 11.5″ x 8.5″
- Temperature range: “freezing” up to 450°F (232°C)
- Thickness: 0.75 mm
- Dishwasher safe: No
3. Excellent Value: Rozotti Silicone Baking Mat Bundle (6-Piece set includes cleaning brush and silicone spatula)
It’s tough to find a better deal than this one from Rozotti. This set comes with 4 silicone baking mats (2 half sheets and 2 quarter sheets), which is a great deal for 4 separate mats. Also included are a silicone cleaning brush and silicone spatula, making this set an excellent value.
- Dimensions: 2 half size baking sheets (16.5″ x 11.6″) and 2 small size 11.5″ x 8.5″
- Temperature range: -40°F to 500°F (-40°C to 260°C)
- Dishwasher safe: Yes
4. Useful Design: HOTPOP Silicone Macaron Baking Mats (4-Piece Set)
The HOTPOP silicone baking mats feature markings that are ideal for baking french macarons, but these mats work equally well for bread, cookies, pizza, etc. The specifications are very similar to others on our list, and, similar to the Kitzini, they come in multiple colors, which is a great feature. They’re a great value, too, with 4 separate mats in an inexpensive set.
- Dimensions: 2 half size baking sheets (16.5″ x 11.5″) and 2 small size 11.5″ x 8.5″
- Temperature range: -40°F to 480°F (-40°C to 249°C)
- Thickness: 0.75 mm
5. Solid Contender: Silchef Silicone Baking Mats (3-Piece Set)
The Silchef baking mats have great specs, with the 1.0mm thickness that’s 30% – 40% thicker than other standard mats on the market. This is a 3-piece set that’s a great value, and they also offer multiple colors, similar to the Kitzini. These mats also include measurements along the edge, which is great for achieving nice, even spacing.
Despite the solid specs on this baking mat, I did note a number of complaints about discoloration and other quality issues after repeated use. It could very well be that those bakers weren’t using the product according the the manufacturer’s recommendation because vast majority of Silchef reviews are positive.
- Dimensions: 2 half sheet size (16.5″ x 11 5/8″) and 1 quarter sheet size (11.5″ x 8.5″)
- Temperature range: -40°F to 480°F (-40°C to 249°C)
- Thickness: 1.0 mm
Silicone Baking Mat vs. Parchment Paper
I have long been in the habit of using parchment paper to line baking sheets (even with non-stick sheets, things seem to want to burn on and generally make cleaning up a pain, don’t they?). But as I’ve continued to try to make my day-to-day life less wasteful, the more it’s bugged me to throw away all that paper.
Initially I bought recycled parchment paper, but even that seemed sort of unnecessary once I heard about silicone baking mats.
Could it really be as easy as making a one-time purchase that completely eliminates the need for parchment paper? Well, yes and no.
Why I think silicone baking mats are better than parchment paper:
- They lay flat and don’t curl up while you’re working with them.
- They’re grippy and don’t slide around on the baking sheet as you’re trying to put sticky dollops of food on them or lift food off of them.
- They’re thicker, which creates some separation between the food and the metal pan, so food tends to cook more evenly.
- They’re environmentally friendly because you can use them over and over again (Silpats claim to withstand between 2,000 and 3,000 bakings).
- Their per use cost is much lower than parchment over time. Yes, I am a nerd, so here’s how the math works out on that: a typical box of parchment paper is about 60 feet (720 inches) long and costs about $5. My Nordic Ware half sheet is about 16 inches long, so that’s about 45 uses per box. To get 2,000 to 3,000 uses of parchment paper, it would cost between $220 and $330. Even the more expensive Silpat is a steal compared to parchment paper!
Why parchment paper still has a place in my kitchen:
- Can be cut to fit any size pan or baking sheet. For larger batches, you can just roll out more. If I’m doing big batches, that could come into play.
- Can be folded and wrapped around things to create a steam pouch (en papillote).
- If you cut parchment paper with a knife, no biggie. But if you cut your silicone baking mat with a knife, you’ll not only mess it up, you could potentially get little pieces of fiberglass in your food from the fiberglass mesh. Don’t use a knife on your silicone baking mats!
- Since you’re using a new sheet of parchment every time you bake, there’s no residual odor. As I mentioned above, silicone mats can sometimes retain a bit of odor over time, depending on what you cook on them. I’ve got some cleaning tips below to help with that.
- Depending on what you’re cooking, you might get better browning on the underside of baked goods, if desired (your mileage may vary).
- For some foods parchment paper can make for crispier, crunchier results.
As usual, you want to use the right tool for the job. Even though you’ll get tons of good use out of your silicone baking mat and it will replace parchment paper most of the time, it won’t hurt to keep some parchment on hand for the few times when nothing else will do.
Silicone Baking Mat Safety: Is Silicone Safe for Baking?
Food-grade silicone is a non-toxic polymer mostly made from silica (sand). It’s generally considered safe and non-toxic, so there’s no need to worry about baking with silicone mats.
While silicone is widely considered safe for baking, I found it difficult to locate a clear, definitive statement on that from the FDA. There is this document, which includes silicone on a list of materials that “may be safely used in producing, manufacturing, packing, processing, preparing, treating, packaging, transporting, or holding food.”
The government of Canada is decidedly more clear in their guidance:
There are no known health hazards associated with use of silicone cookware. Silicone rubber does not react with food or beverages, or produce any hazardous fumes.
Even though silicone baking mats are considered safe for baking, you still need to make sure to you’re using them within the manufacturer’s guidelines. In general, most silicone baking mats should not be used under the broiler. They’re typically designed to withstand temperatures up to 450°F (232°C). They’re also not intended to be used directly on oven racks and in toaster ovens. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s specifications for the specific mat you buy.
How to Clean Your Silicone Baking Mat
Silcone baking mats are super easy to clean. Just place in some warm, soapy water and wipe with a sponge or soft cloth. Rinse with clean water. Dab it off with a clean towel to remove excess water and then let it air dry completely before storing (a slightly oily feel is normal, even after they’re clean). You can roll them up for storage, but I like to store them flat to ensure I don’t accidentally put a crease in them.
A note on dishwasher cleaning: A number of manufacturers indicate their silicone mats are dishwasher safe, so I suppose I’ll take their word for it. I find it interesting, however, that Silpat — the best known, premium brand — does not recommend using a dishwasher. My interpretation: you can wash silicone baking mats in the dishwasher, but I personally choose to hand wash to ensure I’m getting the most life out of my baking mats.
I mentioned previously that silicone baking mats can begin to hold odors over time from strong flavored foods. If you start to notice that happening, there are two easy options for eliminating the odor:
- Create a paste by combining warm water and baking soda. Massage the paste into the baking mat with a soft cloth or sponge. Once it’s well coated, let it set for 5-10 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
- Alternatively, you can squeeze a couple of lemons into some hot water and let your silicone mat soak in the lemon water bath for 5-10 minutes. Keep in mind, however, that the acid in lemon juice probably isn’t great for the silicone material, so I’d only recommend this for removing stubborn odors.
However you decide to clean your mats, make sure you don’t use a scraper or brush that could damage the silicone coating and expose the fiberglass mesh underneath.
Find the Best Silicone Baking Mat for You
As with so many of the other changes I’ve made, this eco-friendly choice has also turned out to be an inexpensive and convenient one too, so hooray for that! If you haven’t used a silicone baking mat yet, you’re going to be glad you did.
If none of the options above strike your fancy, check out the complete selection of silicone baking mats on Amazon to find the right one for you.
Feature photo: Akaberka/Bigstock