Aluminum Foil: Should the Shiny Side be Up or Down When Cooking?

nce aluminum foil has a shiny side and a dull side, many cooking resources say that when cooking foods wrapped or covered with aluminum foil, the shiny side should be down, facing the food, and the dull side up. This is because the shiny side is more reflective and so will reflect more of the radiant heat than the duller side.

Is this true?

Although most resources still say it is true, the shiny side should be down, some newer sources say that it makes no difference which side of the aluminum foil faces up.

For example, Robert L. Wolke  and America’s Test Kitchen say that it makes no difference at all in cooking. You can place either side in either direction whether cooking or freezing food with aluminum foil.

Aluminum foil has a shiny side and a dull side. Many people believe that it matters which side is used up or down. The truth is that it makes no difference at all. The reason the two sides look different is due to the manufacturing process. When the sheets of aluminum are rolled out, the side that comes in contact with the rollers come out shiny.

 

This explanation does not explain why the shiny side makes no difference. It simply reiterates, with a bit more explanation, that foil does, in fact, have a shiny side and a dull side. Not very informative!

Regardless of why one side of aluminum foil is shiny and one is dull, it stands to reason that the shinier surface will be more reflective than the duller surface. The explanations given seem to indicate that since the shiny and dull sides are simply a by-produThe truth is that the shiny side of aluminum foil is only a little bit shinier than the dull side. While some small amount of additional energy will be reflected by the shiny side, the difference is so small that it will make no practical difference in cooking. To say that there is no effect whatsoever is inaccurate and it probably still is a little more efficient to cook with the dull side out. However, when measured over time in high temperatures, the difference is so slight that there should be little discernable change in cooking times. This may seem like a lot of explanation to come to the same conclusion, but it is not my purpose to give inaccurate explanations!ct of the manufacturingThe truth is that the shiny side of aluminum foil is only a little bit shinier than the dull side. While some small amount of additional energy will be reflected by the shiny side, the difference is so small that it will make no practical difference in cooking. To say that there is no effect whatsoever is inaccurate and it probably still is a little more efficient to cook with the dull side out. However, when measured over time in high temperatures, the difference is so slight that there should be little discernable change in cooking times. This may seem like a lot of explanation to come to the same conclusion, but it is not my purpose to give inaccurate explanations! process and are not purposely put there, they make no difference. The explanation does not support the claim. So what’s the truth?

Consider a baked potato. When wrapping potatoes in aluminum foil for baking, you probably tend to place the dull side out. In reality, in the long length of time it takes to bake a potato, either side will work basically the same. The foil will be heated through convection and this energy will be transferred to the potato, and as the moisture in the potato heats up, the potato is cooked through steam.

Rather than which side is out, a bigger difference may be made by how tightly the potato is wrapped. Any air trapped in the aluminum foil pouch and surrounding the potato may act as an insulating barrier, slowing the transfer of heat. So, wrap your potatoes tightly before baking.

So, it is up to you which side of the aluminum foil goes up.

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