JFF: Foil--shiny Side up or Down?

Updated on July 24, 2012
M.M. asks from Wheaton, IL
15 answers

Do you put the shiny side up or down?

My husband was making smores and it just about drove me mad to watch him put the dull side out. I had to bite my tongue from correcting him. Then, it got me thinking. Is there really a right or wrong way to it? Below is an answer I found from America's Test Kitchen. What other things drive you nuts if not done your way (ie toilet paper over the top or down the wall)?


According to Reynolds Consumer Products, during manufacturing, two layers of aluminum foil are passed through the rolling mill at the same time. The side that comes in contact with the rollers becomes shiny, and the other side emerges with a duller finish. But is there a difference in how the surfaces reflect heat that affects cooking?

Even in the test kitchen, some test cooks prefer cooking with the shiny side up, others the opposite. To settle the issue once and for all, we baked stuffed manicotti covered with foil shiny side up and shiny side down. A probe thermometer inserted in the center revealed that both casseroles reached the same temperature (within a couple of degrees) in the same amount of time. To test browning, we oven-baked bacon on foil-lined baking sheets. Shiny side and dull side produced crisp, golden-brown bacon within a few seconds of each other.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The shiny and dull sides of aluminum foil insulate and conduct heat at the same rate.

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answers from St. Louis on

I generally don't pay attention but a tid bit if you are dealing with solar heat it must be shiny side in. Yeah, in girl scouts we made ovens out of cardboard boxes and foil. The shiny side may conduct heat the same but it also repels solar heat, either that or I was lied to as a girl scout and my whole world is now crushed!

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answers from Dallas on

I don't pay attention. Whatever side ends up out is the side I go with. I hate cooking so much, I just throw the stuff on and walk away fast as I can!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

It doesn't really matter to me.
But I think, I tend to put shiny side facing out. If making foil pockets.
Who knows.
I don't think my Hubby even takes notice of which side is where. LOL

I know though, these things are but one of those daily irks huh?
I have many irks today.
Slap myself on the head.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

good to know! i always use it as it comes out of the roll - shiny side up if covering a dish, which ends up inside if i am wrapping meat or what have you...but i always felt that the shiny side was "meant" to be on the outside. so i always kinda thought i was doing it "wrong" lol.

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answers from Chicago on

Usually doesn't matter and I don;t really pay attn. But when I need to use it when making cookies, shiny side up.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Wow! You did some great investigating!

Oooh, the toilet paper must go over the top not down the wall!!!! Lol men or boys who do not put the seat down! My husband puts it down every time, his dad, NEVER does!

People who use dish towels or the towel from their sinks to wipe off counters!!!! Gross! I realize that it is more Eco friendly but I see nothing but germs! I recycle, have a garden, repurpose items, and have a rain barrel but I refuse to use anything but clean, fresh, paper towels to wipe down my counters & placemats! It totally grosses me out to watch people take that towel from their sink (even if the rinse it out) and rub it over their counter tops! Just me:)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

Dull side up. Food sticks less this way. At least in my kitchen.

When using it as a covering for a food dish, doesn't matter.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I don't really mind either way. I grease the side closest to the food no matter what.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Good job! I've actually wondered about that.
You questioned your own beliefs and ended up learning something. I strive for that sort of thing, especially when raising kids.

What drives me nuts?
- when people add oil to the water when making pasta so it doesn't stick (try adding salt and stirring it a little)
- when people don't season their food so you can just add the amount of salt you want ... Thanks for the flavorless food :-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

Depends on how I'm using it. Like if I'm lining a cookie sheet I put shiny side up, but if I'm wrapping or covering something it would be shiny side out.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I always put shiny side up.

If someone else (husband, friend) did it the opposite way, I am sure I would notice, but I am not uptight about things like that. It's not like I'd tell them they're doing it wrong nor would I "fix" it when they're not looking.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

oh yeah it bugs me, I feel like the shiny side shoud be in, logically, BUT i can't do it, it isn't pretty that way, so i just slap it on and try not to over think it because i can't do it logically.

Also it's how it comes off the roll. I flip the box so it rolls out to the right, which means andything i place on it touches the dull side..

way wya way overthinking this see.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

When I'm baking, I use shiny side toward the food. When I'm serving the dish and bringing it to someone else's party, I cover it with the shiny side out. :-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Oh boy you have way too much free time on your hands LOL. I agree with you shiney side on the outside. Next on your list LOL. You made me smile.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

there's a difference???

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