Essential Tools

50 (!) Ways to Use Foil

June  8, 2016

I remember watching the foil challenge on Top Chef, even though it was, like, 5 years ago and just some old episode of Top Chef. Contestants had to unwrap foil-wrapped ingredients and cook whatever they ended up with—but cook only with foil. I was the person yelling at the TV, “Man, I’d be so good at this challenge.”

The secret to crispy, ultra-thin cookies? Foil. Photo by Mark Weinberg

While some of us don’t know what they’d do without foil, and others are a little wary of it, you’ll probably end up using some foil at some point. And instead of chucking it once you’ve used it once, reuse it. It’s sturdy and easily cleaned!

Here are 50 ways foil can chameleon to help you out in and out of the kitchen:

Oven Stuff

1. Roasting in a foil packet

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2. Covering pie crust that's browning too quickly

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Top Comment:
“Also the cheapest way to sharpen your knife if you don't have a sharpener or 'footed' plate - you mentioned sharpening scissors and I've done the same thing with a knife too.”
— Coco E.

3. Covering the bottom of your oven to keep drips off (according to your oven manufacturer’s instructions)

Food Storage

4. Wrapping leftovers

5. Covering tops of bowls in fridge (so your strawberries don't taste like onion)

6. Wrapping bread in plastic wrap, then foil, before freezing

7. Making a foil swan for leftovers

Clean and Tidy

8. Covering your counter before rolling out dough

9. Wrapping the bottom of your ice cream cone to prevent drippage

10. Fashioning a funnel for getting peppercorns into your grinder

11. Lining drawers

12. Scrubbing dirty dishes with a ball of it

13. Leak-proofing a springform pan in a water bath

14. Lining your burners to avoid cleaning drips

15. Disposing of grease

16. Covering a spattering pan

17. Smushing it into a hook to clean gunk out of bottles with thin necks

18. Putting it under a towel when you’re drying greens so the counter doesn’t get wet

Baking Sheet Scenarios

19. Lining the bottom of baking sheets

20. Making a sling for pans

21. Covering baking pans or sheets in the oven

22. Making a tiny makeshift baking sheet for baking single cookies with dough from the freezer

More Kitchen Help

23. Softening brown sugar by baking it in foil in a 300° F oven for a few minutes

24. Hacking a steamer

25. Keeping bananas from ripening too fast by foiling their stems

26. Keeping celery fresh

27. Fishing out dumplings (or eggs!) from hot water in a pinch

28. Rolling it into a thin ribbon and use as a substitute rubber band for vegetables

29. Using instead of a spoon to get a skin or foam off soup, jam, beans...

30. Tenting a turkey

31. Using it to push down on dough to get it evenly in a pan

32. Keeping tortillas or rolls warm on the table

33. Stacking all your lunch items and wrapping them up in foil as a makeshift lunchbox

34. For holding onto seized chocolate that’s been fixed

Outside Endeavors

35. Cooking in foil packets over a campfire

36. Scrubbing a dirty grill with a ball of it


37. Protecting doorknobs while you paint

38. Disguising flaws in mirrors by adding foil on the back side

39. Putting foil in your indoor plants’ dirt to prevent insects

40. Sharpening scissors

41. Bunching into a makeshift wine cork

42. Wrapping flower stems for non-drippy but hydrated transport

43. Folding into a makeshift flower pot saucer

44. Sliding heavy furniture by putting foil under its feet

45. Cleaning silver

46. Curling around the bottom of candlesticks to catch wax

47. Wrapping gifts with it (my grandma has done this)

48. Covering shoelace ends with foil when the plastic tip wears off (learned that one from the Reynold’s Wrap box!)

49. Lining the bottom of a fireplace (or an animal food station)

50. Creating a personal antenna/costume

What'd we miss? Tell us how you use foil.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Kit
  • VFell
  • M
  • Coco et Cocoa
    Coco et Cocoa
Editor/writer/stylist. Author of I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To). Last name rhymes with bagel.


Kit June 13, 2016
Wrap a piece of cardboard or paper plate to make a fun base for party food or dessert - great as a dish you don't need to get back!
VFell June 12, 2016
I've read that you can use a 2-3 inch ball of wadded up foil in the clothes dryer to reduce static. But haven't tried this.
M June 8, 2016
My mother always wrapped cold bottles of soda/juice in paper towel and then foil to keep it cold for as long as possible.
Coco E. June 8, 2016
Also the cheapest way to sharpen your knife if you don't have a sharpener or 'footed' plate - you mentioned sharpening scissors and I've done the same thing with a knife too.
Coco E. June 8, 2016
(just don't cut through the foil, instead, rub the folded piece of foil with dull side facing outwards at an angle along (not against) the blade in swift, long strokes.