The two sides of aluminum foil

What are the rules for cooking with the two different sides of aluminum foil? One is shiny and the other is dull. When does it matter which side is facing out?

It never matters; both sides are identical for cooking purposes, except when the nonstick Reynolds Release product is used.

Why should we trust Reynolds, do they think they know foil or something? Here’s our master’s take.

I always have the shiny side facing the food, on the assumption that it reflects heat better.

That’s what all the other guys thought when I was back in Scouts, but I knew enough thermodynamics to be suspicious of that notion, and so cooked my foil meals with the shiny side out. When mine ended up just as done just as quickly as everyone else’s, they came around. Though really, it was a very poorly controlled and very imprecise experiment.

This is a timely question for me, because I just had this discussion with my husband and informed him all matter-of-factly that the shiny side should always be out.

This is the exact reason I gave, but in reverse. :wink: The shiny side reflects heat, so face it out and the food will cook more slowly, and thus more thoroughly and tastily. :slight_smile: Of course I was pulling my logic out of thin air, but he doesn’t need to know that. My Mommy told me shiny side out when I was little, so therefore shiny side out it shall remain. :wink: Maybe it just looks prettier that way.

Interesting, I’d always thought shiny-side-in was the way to go. Ignorance fought! On the other hand, I do appreciate there being two distinguishable sides, because as long as I always do shiny-side-in, I always know which side touched food, and which touched everything else.

If you are using the aluminum foil to create a reflector oven to heat up your English Muffins on a camping trip, you want the shiny side as the mirror side for presumably obvious reasons.

I’m pretty sure that solar ovens are made with the shiny side out also. But for nearly all applications, it makes no difference.