The pros and cons to consider when using either silicone or metal bakeware.
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So, what’s really better to use for conjuring up successful cakes and baked goods: nonstick silicone baking pans or the traditional metal baking pans? Well, that really depends mainly on the baking situation at hand, but also depends a little on personal preference. Whether we are talking about bundt cake pans, cupcake/muffin pans, round cake pans, square pans, or loaf pans, isn’t the question. The question is which one, silicone or metal, provides better baking results?
Now, this comparison is strictly for bakeware not utensils, which is a totally different story. Silicone utensils are almost always better than metal ones because they are heat-resistant, nonstick, and don’t scratch up the baking pans at all. When it comes to the actual baking pans though, there is a lot more to take into consideration. Such as, is there a difference in required baking times? Are there any differences in the outcome of fully baked goods? Is one easier to use than the other? Well, if you’ve been curious as to what differences there really are between the two, I’m happy to share my findings with you from my Silicone vs. Metal Baking Pans experience!
Silicone Baking Pan Pros & Cons
Let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using silicone baking ware. Silicone is a better heat insulator than a heat conductor, which can sometimes affect the baking time. Batter may sometimes cook faster, but it may also take longer to cook than when using metal baking pans. Since the heat is not transferred as evenly, this can result in uneven baking, which may lead to denser baked goods. Based on my experience, smaller silicone pans like cupcakes have fewer issues. However, I stopped using larger silicone baking pans because they don’t bake evenly. The top layer and edges tend to burn while the batter at the bottom of the pan remains unbaked.
Silicone bakeware is also known for its flexibility which can also be a problem when it comes to successful baked goods. The flexibility of the silicone can be unstable which results in either the pan bulging from heavy batter or the pan potentially folding in on itself. This can result in lopsided baked treats, which is no good. The inconsistent baking results from using silicone bakeware seem to be the overall biggest con to using it.
On the other hand, the natural nonstick surface of silicone makes removing the cake or treat from it’s pan way easier and much cleaner. Because the batter does not cling to the nonstick surface, the treat will easily pop out in one solid piece. Even better than that, the nonstick surface also guarantees an incredibly easy clean-up when it’s dishwashing time. Actually, most silicone bakeware is dishwasher safe so you can just pop it in the dishwasher without any hassle. Plus, silicone baking ware comes in a wide variety of fun colors, and really, who can resist that?
Silicone Bakeware Pros:
- Nonstick silicone surface ensures that cakes and baked goods release easily and cleanly from the pan.
- Super easy to clean.
- Since baked goods don’t stick to the silicone pan, no greasing should be required.
- Flexibility makes these easy to store.
- Come in fun colors for a more personal touch.
- No rusting or staining like metal pans.
- Usually freezer, refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, and oven safe.
Silicone Bakeware Cons:
- Baking results are inconsistent. Sometimes much faster, sometimes longer.
- The flexibility of the silicone is unstable, which can lead to not holding shape during the baking process – the pan can bulge or fold in on itself.
- Need a metal baking sheet to place under the silicone pan in the oven.
Metal Baking Pan Pros & Cons
Now let’s go over the pros and cons of metal bakeware. The metal bakeware is most commonly used since it has been around so long and pretty much everyone is familiar with it. Metal is a heat conductor which helps provide even, consistent baking results. Since metal conducts heat quickly and evenly to the cake batter, this results in, well, reliable and even cook times and properly shaped cakes and baked goods. This allows the baked goods to bake in the amount of time specified in recipes, whereas the baking times might differ significantly when using silicone baking pans.
However, on the downside, it can be tough to get metal pans to release cakes after baking. Cakes can come out missing chunks that are still stuck to the pan, or come out crumbly in general. Not only can that result be disheartening, but that also makes for a difficult and tough clean-up process. Luckily, this can be resolved by properly greasing the pan or lining the pan with a nonstick surface such as parchment paper or a reusable silicone baking mat. This little step helps with both clean cake removal and easier pan clean-up.
Metal Bakeware Pros:
- Consistent baking results.
- Bakes treats in the amount of time recipes specify.
- Evenly heats the batter.
- Cakes and baked goods don’t come out lopsided.
Metal Bakeware Cons:
- Harder to clean, most of them are not dishwasher safe so they have to be hand washed.
- Batter sticks to the metal so it’s harder to remove cakes and pastries in one clean piece from the pans.
- Metal pans are heavier and bulkier.
- Prone to rusting and staining.
Metal Baking Pan Tips:
- For cupcake/muffin pans, I usually prefer to use foil liners over the paper ones because they do not get soggy and tear up from the moisture of the batter.
- To keep my cakes from sticking to their pans, especially when it comes to bundt cake pans, I like to use a coating of vegetable shortening in the pan and then follow it with a light coating of flour. Then, I dump out the excess flour before pouring in the batter. This trick has always worked for me! My bundt cakes come out easily in one clean piece any time I use this method.
- After washing metal pans, immediately dry them off with paper towels or a kitchen towel to help prevent rusting.
My Baking Pan Conclusion
My conclusion after all of my baking adventures thus far, is that I personally prefer to use the metal baking pans lined with parchment paper sheets. With the metal pans, I usually know what results to expect and I really appreciate that reliability and consistency. As a busy mom and even busier baker, I usually can’t risk having inconsistent results. Although, sometimes I do like to play around and experiment with my baking methods and treats so I will still use my silicone bakeware from time to time.
Here are a few of my favorite baking recipes that I make successfully with my parchment paper and metal baking sheet method:
- Star-shaped Graham Crackers
- Oven-Baked Bratwurst
- Oven-Baked Bacon
- Giant Brioche Buns
- Unicorn Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Unicorn Meringue Pops
- Unicorn Meringue Cookies