The Saran wrap manufacturers do not recommend using it in the oven.
The instructions are clear “not safe for use in conventional ovens, browning units, stovetops or toaster ovens.”
The chemicals present in the plastic leach out quite easily into food in an oven. This happens long before the melting temperature of Saran wrap is reached.
However, there is one technique that involves a minor improvision with the help of which you can use the saran wrap in an oven safely.
Let us dive deeper to understand about them and the safest way possible of using the Saran wrap in an oven
What is a Saran Wrap?
“Saran” is a trading name for a polyethylene wrap owned by Johnson and son.
The saran wrap is made up of linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE). It has a high tensile strength that makes it puncture-resistant.
Saran wraps can be used to store in the fridge/freezer and also to reheat food in the microwave.
The film blocks out air and helps to preserve the moisture content.
The saran is an excellent protection cover that seals the food efficiently.
The food remains fresh for a long time. It can withstand heat and cold both to a certain degree and takes a longer time to melt compared to other wraps.
How to Use Saran Wrap in the Oven?
No brand of plastic wraps would ever recommend using the (plastic) wrap in an oven.
As you would think, when the plastic is exposed to high temperatures, chemical toxins are released into your food and the air. The worst-case scenario is the plastic film melting.
Yet, You will find most of the chefs in the restaurants using plastic wraps.
According to them, as long as there is a foil around the wrap and the heat is kept low, it seals the food like no other!
When it comes to what kind of plastic wraps, choose a branded wrap.
A good quality plastic film will not release toxins at the same rate compared to normal plastic wraps.
Use a high-quality wrap, like saran that is BPA-free.
Food should not come in contact with the saran wrap or else there is a danger of it melting. The best method is to double layer it up with foil.
This technique is backed up by a chemistry professor in his interview with the Washington Post.
According to him, most of the plastic wraps available in the market melt after reaching temperatures of 220-250F.
When a Saran wrap is double layered with aluminum foil, the foil will prevent the wrap from reaching temperatures greater than 200-212F. This temperature range will not cause any melting of the Saran wrap.
Further explaining the process, he says that the foil acts as a shield against the convection of hot air and radiation.
The thin foil does not retain or absorb heat so it never gets hot enough to melt the saran wrap beneath.
The melting temperature of the saran wrap is 220 and above. With a double layer of aluminum foil, the wrap will never get hotter than 212F.
The beautifully sealed food will never lose moisture content. The result is a tender and juicy dish.
To summarise, the key points in using plastic saran wrap in an oven are
- Cover up all parts of the wrap with aluminum foil. You can double layer or triple-fold or use as many layers as you want.
- Keep the temperature low ideally below 250F
Now that you can consider using the saran wrap in the oven, the next relevant question is whether there are chances of the thin film melting in the oven.
Can a Saran Wrap Melt in the Oven?
To be frank, the plastic wrap is bound to melt in an oven when used alone without the protection of aluminum foil.
The saran wrap is thinner than a plastic bag. Plastic generally cannot handle the high temperatures of the oven.
Most of the cling films and wraps start to melt at 220F-250F. Usually, we use ovens for temperatures higher than that. Most of our cooking in the oven is around 300-400F.
Hot food, when comes in contact with the saran wrap, will cause the film to melt in no time.
To make sure the saran wrap does not melt, the food should not touch the wrap and double layer the wrap with aluminum foil.
Hazards of Using Saran wraps in Oven
According to Environmental Health News, toxins enter your food even if the plastic wrap does not melt.
They also stress on FDA ignoring the effects caused by a low dose of endocrine-disrupting chemicals. This puts a whole question mark on BPA-free food-grade plastic wraps.
Then comes the question of non-intentionally added substances present in the saran wrap.
The NIAS or non intentionally added substances are not in the manufacturer’s control and sneak in as side products, contaminants and break down products.
All of the above concerns are quite valid and if you can forgo using the saran wrap in the oven, go ahead.
But if you must then use low to moderate temperature and cover up the wrap with a foil.
Safe Alternative to Using Saran Wraps in Oven
Like it or not, there are some risks involved when you use plastic wrap in the oven.
Instead of using a saran wrap in the oven, you can switch it with an oven bag (which is completely safe to use).
Oven bags are heat-resistant grease-proof paper or nylon bags that help to lock in the moisture content of food.
Oven bags are flexible and cook tender and juicy meats giving you the same results a Saran plastic wrap would.
These bags can be found in local grocery shops or online, and are quite economical. The plus point is their durability and strength.
All you have to put is your favorite meat along with vegetables, spices, or sauces and place it in the oven. The bags are BPA-free and can also be used in the microwave.
The only downside is that the bags are good for one-time use and not reusable.
The manufacturers of the oven bags always write detailed instructions on the packaging of the product or online on their website. They tell you the exact method, required temperature, and time duration.
Make sure to refer to them as you go through culinary exploits.
If the risk of plastic wrap in your oven makes you concerned, replace it with an oven bag.
It is a safe alternative and simple enough to use. An oven bag is guaranteed to give you delicious results of tender and juicy meats without any harmful chemicals.
Oven bags are bound to give a stress-free and healthy cooking experience for your entire family.
Can Saran Wraps Be Used in a Microwave?
Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions on the package or online to find out if the plastic films can be used in the microwave.
To heat or reheat food at moderate to low temperatures, saran wraps are quite safe.
How safe the plastic wrap is depends on the manufacturing instructions and the type of plastic the brand uses.
Double-check to see if the wrap is labeled microwave safe. Some good microwave-safe brands are Glad press n seal, SaranWrap, ClingWrap, and Reynolds plastic wraps.
While using the saran wrap in the oven, follow these tips
- Let a corner of the wrap turn back a bit to allow venting of steam
- Always keep a one-inch gap between the food and the wrap. This is because hot food should not touch the thin plastic for chances of melting and leakage.
- Once the food is cooked, poke some holes to allow steam to release. Wait a few minutes and lift the plastic wrap.
Bottom line- is placing Saran wraps in the oven a good idea?
The key is to cook food in an oven at low temperatures (preferably below 250F) and to cover the saran wrap completely in aluminum foil.
I would advise you to do slow cooking of dishes or roast them at low temperatures.
Remember to not let the wrap be exposed. Each part should be covered with foil.
The answer to your query depends on the cautions you take, your comfort level, and your commitment to eating right.
Placing Saran Wraps in the oven is bound to carry some level of risk. If you don’t cook on low to moderate temperatures and wrap it up with aluminum, the risk greatly increases.
In the end, I would like to conclude by saying that Saran Wrap manufacturers highly discourage people from using their wraps in the oven.
Environmental friendly societies also warn against using Saran Wraps for cooking in the oven.
Purchase and use an oven bag whenever any recipe requires the moisture to be locked in.
It is easily available, cheap and a safe alternative to using SaranWraps in the oven.
If you must use the saran wraps, wrap them up in aluminum foil and cook on low to moderate heat.
All the best!
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