If you haven’t already discovered these handy little kitchen tools, this is a primer on what baking and grilling mats are and how they are useful. If you have already seen them in stores and even advertised on television and online, you may be wondering how well they work before purchasing. Today, I’ll cover the question on whether or not baking and grilling mats are a good choice to purchase and use.
What are Baking and Grilling Mats?
These rectangular mats are made of heat-resistant materials, sometimes even silicon, which creates a non-stick surface for foods. They also act as a protective surface that catch drips from dishes and foods that overflow or produce juices (or are slathered in a marinade that may drop off at times). They are often sized to fit nicely in the bottom of a cookie sheet, the base of an oven and on top of a grill grate.
Personally, I have been using one of these for years whenever I bake anything in my oven. It has helped with creating an even colored bottom to my baked goods, as well as making cleanup an absolute breeze. I’ve saved much scrubbing and toil I would have normally faced had I just used a naked cookie sheet. Baking mats are treated in manufacturing in such a way that you no longer need to grease or spray a cookie sheet in order to remove your food easily. Even if something does stick to the mat, it washes off very easily, and it stores flat with very little real estate taken up in my cabinet.
These may also double for catching drips in the bottom of your oven from other foods, such as casseroles that may ooze out over the sides and down into your oven. They don’t burn from the spilled foods, but you do want to keep them away from directly touching the coils in your oven. I did mention earlier how easy they are to clean, and in this situation, this remains true. It’s far easier to clean a baking mat than it is to clean the bottom of your oven! Just remove, wash in the sink, dry and put it right back in for the next meal.
These are the very same as the baking mats, but they often come in a black color to make it a little more appealing visually to the typical grill, as well as making it something a little more less gender specific. They are very popular for those who may go to parks and use public grills that are notoriously not cleaned thoroughly or properly. The mat lies over the grilling grate with ease, providing a clean grilling surface for foods.
The one thing that it prevents is getting those nice grill marks on food. There will be some that come through the mat, but the barrier it creates between the grate and the food diminishes it enough to displease some purists. It’s wonderful at catching drips from foods, which helps to prevent flare-ups and loss of moisture in foods. Grill mats clean just as easily as baking mats, too.
Ultimately, these are a good buying choice. They aren’t as expensive as they once were, and often come in multi-packs. If you haven’t tried one of these baking and grilling mats out in your own kitchen or outdoor grilling experience, it’s recommended that you do: You may never cook the same way again.