Can Aluminum Foil Be Used in Toaster Ovens?

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Aluminum foil is a must-have in any kitchen thanks to its many uses. You’ll find this insulator quite handy when cooking, from lining your pan for easy cleanup to covering a casserole dish.

Which brings us to the question many users have — can you put foil in a toaster oven? We’ll quickly point out that this depends on the toaster oven in question.

Different manufacturers have varying instructions regarding what can and can’t be used in their toaster ovens. As such, we strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the owner manual of the specific model of your toaster oven to get a clear-cut answer. We have links to many of the user manuals for the toaster ovens we reviewed.

What if you no longer have the manual? Email the manufacturer or visit their website. We’re certain you’ll get the information there.

Along with reading the user manual, it would be helpful to read the FAQ or Use and Care information on the manufacturer’s website. Sometimes additional information on a particular subject is on the website that is not stated in the user manual.

For example, The FAQ section on the Oster website recommends not using foil in a toaster oven. Yet this information is not stated in their online user manual.

In this article, we will discuss the following:

  • What Do Manufacturers Say About Using Aluminum Foil in a Toaster Oven?
  • Dangers of Using Aluminum Foil in a Toaster Oven
  • How to Use Foil Safely in a Toaster Oven
  • What are the Alternatives to Using Foil In Your Toaster Oven?

What Do Manufacturers Say About Using Aluminum Foil in a Toaster Oven?

We created a list of the toaster ovens we reviewed and the manufacturer recommendation regarding using aluminum foil. This information is contained in the respective use and care manuals.

instruction manual with glasses and wrench

Breville Models (900, 450XL, 650XL, 800XL, 845BSS

Care and use (brevilleusasupport.com)

Breville recommends not covering foods with metal foil (or any other type of lid or covering) so as not to restrict the airflow when using the convection function. They also state when using aluminum foil to cover pans and dishes, the wire rack should be in the middle or bottom rack position.

Use and Care Manual 

  •  Do not use foil to cover the crumb tray or any other part of the oven. (it will cause the oven to overheat)
  • Cover cookware with a layer of aluminum foil before covering with lid (this will keep more moisture in).
  • Make sure the metal foil is fitted securely when using it to cover pans and dishes. If it comes into close contact with the heating elements it could overheat and catch fire.
  • If metal foil is used to cover pans and dishes, place the wire rack in the middle or bottom rack position.  This reduces the chance of the foil touching the top heating elements.

Cusinart TOB260N1

Use and Care Manual

  • Do not use foil to cover the crumb tray or any other part of the oven. (it will cause the oven to overheat)
  • Can use aluminum foil to line pans and cover pans.
  • Can cover pans and dishes with foil if they are placed in rack position 2.

Hamilton Beach

Hamilton Beach FAQ (website)

Aluminum foil should not come into contact with the heating elements or be used to cover the crumb tray.

Use and Care Manual

  • Do not use foil to cover the crumb tray or any other part of the oven. (it will cause the oven to overheat)
  • Do not totally enclose foods in aluminum foil as it insulates foods and slows down heating.

Mueller-Austria

  • Do not use foil to cover the crumb tray or any other part of the oven. (it will cause the oven to overheat)
  • When using aluminum coil, keep the foil from touching heating elements.

Oster

Oster FAQ (website)

One of the questions is whether aluminum foil can be used in a toaster oven. This is Oster's response:

No. Placing foil in the unit may cause the unit to heat up over 500F. For this reason, we do not recommend using foil in the toaster oven.

User Manual

  • Do not use foil to cover the crumb tray or any other part of the oven. (it will cause the oven to overheat)

Panasonic NN-SD945S, NN-SN936B, NN-SN651WAZ

The instructions in these three Panasonic use and care manuals regarding the use of aluminum foil are the same, albeit confusing.

These are their instructions:

“It (aluminum foil) is not recommended to use. Arcing can occur if foil is too close to oven wall or door and cause damage to your oven.”

“When using foil in the oven, allow at least 1-inch (2.5 cm) of space between foil and interior oven walls or door.”

I think the message is they don’t recommend it to be used. However, if it is going to be used, make sure the foil is 1 inch from the interior oven walls or door.

Dangers of Using Aluminum Foil in a Toaster Oven

Now that we have addressed the question - can you put foil in a toaster oven, let’s outline the potential dangers associated with using foil in an oven. Hopefully, this will help you make an informed decision as to whether or not you want to use aluminum foil.

Sparks Can Fly

Don’t be fooled by the somewhat flexible and soft nature of aluminum foil—it is a metal. And like any metal, if it comes into contact with a hot surface or element, sparks can fly. These sparks can damage your oven.

However, the sparks are not the sole concern;  when foil comes into contact with an extremely hot heating element flames can erupt.

Aluminum Foil Conducts Heat

Aluminum foil is considered to be one of the best heat conductors after silver, copper, and gold. When a metal conducts heat it gets very hot. So it comes as no surprise why most pots and pans are made of aluminum.

It follows that when you use aluminum foil inside your toaster oven, it significantly increases the internal temperature.

green checkmark in circle

How to Use Foil Safely in a Toaster Oven

While the instructions differ from one manufacturer to the next, there’s a safe way of using foil as outlined below. We’ve categorized the information into what and what not to do.   

Basic Do’s

Read the manual

As mentioned earlier, the first thing you want to do is read your owner’s manual.

Cut the foil neatly

Make sure you cut the foil neatly so that it fits inside the toaster oven pan. This means that no foil must be left hanging over the edges of the pan.

Note that this isn’t for aesthetic purposes, but functional ones rather. As previously stated, excess foil paper can end up overheating resulting in a potential fire hazard.

Wrap foil tightly around your cooking equipment

When you decide to line your baking tray with aluminum foil, be sure to tuck it tightly around the tray. This is aimed at preventing any pieces of foil from touching heating elements which can lead to fire accidents.

Opt for non-stick foil

Rather than settling for lightweight foil opt for a non-stick aluminum foil. Why? Aluminum foil tends to stick to food. This type of foil can be lifted off. It can also be used when packaging food for the freezer or storage. 

Why is this important? There has been a lot of discussion about a possible link between ingested aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease.

Although elevated aluminum content has been found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, the reason for this has not been conclusively determined. It’s not clear whether aluminum foil causes Alzheimer’s disease or if elevated aluminum levels are a result of having Alzheimer’s disease. 

Use a cooking spray

Do you want to eliminate any chance of food sticking onto lightweight, non-stick foil? Spray nonstick cooking spray or oil onto the foil to prevent this.

red x in block

Basic Dont's

Don’t cover the oven walls/sides with aluminum foil

Never cover the walls of your toaster oven with aluminum foil. Foil coming in contact with a hot surface can lead to overheating.

Never let it touch the heating elements

The foil should never touch the heating element. Always leave at least an inch between the foil and the top heating element.

Don’t cover the drip tray with foil when broiling meat

People often use drip trays to broil meat as it effectively collects fat that drips off. But you should never line or cover the drip tray in this instance. The foil can get too hot and could result in a fire.

Avoid covering a crumb tray

Many manufacturers will agree that covering your crumb tray isn’t advisable as it often causes overheating. Feel free to do so if the manual explicitly states otherwise.

Avoid wrapping foil tightly around your food

It’s never a good idea to tightly wrap foil paper around your food. This, unfortunately, insulates food from the much needed heated external air resulting in longer cooking time. Either that or the result is unevenly cooked food.

Avoid food or grease build-up on foil 

This usually applies to those who prefer lining their baking trays with foil. Food or grease that accumulates on the foil can lead to grease fires. Always change the foil regularly to prevent this.

Avoid using Aluminum foil with acidic foods

A team of researchers evaluated the risk of using aluminum foil in food preparation. They wanted to see if aluminum leached from aluminum foil. In this study, they prepared minced meat in a variety of food solutions. They concluded, “The amount of leaching was found to be high in acidic solutions, and even higher with the addition of spices.”

What are the Alternatives to Using Foil In Your Toaster Oven?

So, what else can you use if you’re not keen on using foil paper? Thankfully you do have a few alternatives such as:

  • Toaster oven silicone baking mat for your baked goods
  • Toaster oven-safe baking dish with a lid
  • Oven cookie sheet
  • Covered roasting pans
  • Toasted oven liners

Wrapping Up

Will you be using aluminum foil in your toaster oven?

Remember that incorrect use of aluminum foil in a toaster oven can have devastating effects, from damaging your oven to grease fires. On the other hand, when used correctly, aluminum foil offers unmatched cooking convenience.

Remember to read the owner’s manual first and check out the manufacturer’s website and we’re certain everything will go smoothly.