Many baking recipes call for lining a pan with parchment paper, but parchment paper isn’t the only thing that you can use to line a pan. Silpats are non-stick baking sheets made of a blend of food-safe silicone and a fiberglass mesh. They’re incredible versatile because nothing sticks to them, they can be used thousands of times and they work at a very wide temperature range. Parchment paper, by contrast, can only be used a limited number of times and may start to smoulder at very high temperatures. To use a Silpat, simply place it on your baking sheet without greasing and place your cookie dough directly on top of the mat, then bake. Because they add a degree of insulation to a pan, using one of these silicone mats often results in more evenly baked cookies and cakes, especially if your oven (or pan) tends to have hot spots in it. Silpats have many fans, but the insulation they add can mean that a familiar recipe may take an extra minute or two bake fully compared to the same recipe made on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
Silpats, and other silicone pan liners, aren’t just for baking cookies. These non-stick sheets have many other kitchen uses. They’re wonderful for rolling out pastry dough, kneading bread dough and working with especially sticky foods, such as hot sugar or candies. The mats clean with water (or a mild soap), so they’re as easy to care for as they are to use, and you’ll definitely find quite a few uses for one if you have one in your kitchen.
Esther x3bakingMarch 24, 2011
I have a liner too, but it’s so annoying when I have to wash it. It flops around and that’s what makes it hard to wash. also, the slippery surface makes it hard to discern whether it is clean enough. Nonetheless, I still like mine a lot.
Amy @ A Little NoshMarch 24, 2011
We have a huge one so we can’t use it to line a cookie sheet (it’s way too big), but I use it to roll out dough all the time. Love it!
LindaMarch 24, 2011
I have had two Silpats since they first came out. Back then you had to “treat” them by preheating them and cleaning the black residue off them the first time you used them. I still have those two and two more and they are just as good as the first time I used them. They said 1000 uses but mine have long since passed 1000 times. When I feel they need a good cleaning I put them in the dishwasher. Otherwise a good wiping is sufficient between cookies (barring spices or sprinkles needing to be removed)
KellyOctober 9, 2011
Amy, there are large baking sheets for the large Silpats; they just aren’t sold in stores. I can get you one if you’d like.
Jerome TuckerOctober 20, 2013
Silpats are indeed great for baking. I tried using these before in one of my baking sessions and I think this is much better than greasing. The results were awesome.
AnnJanuary 6, 2015
I have a bread recipe that calls for baking a round of bread in a preheated, covered dutch oven (450 degrees F.)
on parchment for 30 minutes, and then removing the cover and baking for 15 more minutes.
Can I sue a silpat, cut to fit the dutch oven in place of the parchment?
NicoleJanuary 6, 2015
Ann – You should never cut a silpat. The exposed edges are not food-safe. They do sell shaped silpats at specialty stores that you can buy and use in baking pans, etc. There is likely even one that will be close in size to your dutch oven.