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Silicone Food Covers
Silicone food covers are meant to be a low-hassle alternative to plastic wrap for covering bowls and other containers. Which set gets the job done?
Published Nov. 13, 2020. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 22: Holiday Dessert and Salad
What You Need To Know
When we need to cover a bowl for storage or transport, we usually reach for plastic wrap. Silicone food covers (often called "silicone lids" or "reusable lids") are heat-resistant, dishwasher-safe, reusable alternatives. They come in two styles: stretch covers made of flexible silicone that expand to wrap over and around the rims of the bowls, and flat covers that rest on top of the bowls' rims and create a tight seal via suction. We wondered which were best, so we put together a lineup of three sets of stretch covers and three sets of flat covers. Five were sold as sets; we assembled the final set by purchasing matching small, medium, and large lids that were sold singly. All told, the covers in our lineup were priced from about $9 to about $34 per set. We used the covers to seal metal, glass, ceramic, wood, and plastic bowls of various sizes. We tested the tightness of the covers’ seals by shaking and overturning the covered bowls that we’d filled first with grapes and then with water. To further gauge performance, we used the lids to cover bowls of fruit salad that we then stored in the refrigerator for three days. We also used the lids to cover and heat bowls of water in the microwave, deliberately smeared them with condiments to see if they stained, and both washed and stretched them repeatedly. We were looking for a set of covers that could form a strong seal on all types of bowls, keep food fresh, resist stains and odors, and hold up to use over time.
The Simpler, the Better
There were stark differences in how easy the two styles of covers were to use. The stretch covers were particularly difficult to wrangle onto bowls of all types for three reasons. First, each cover expands widely from its initial diameter, so selecting the right size from the pile was a guessing game. It often took us several tries to find the stretch cover that fit a given bowl. Second, holding the stretch covers in place on one area of a bowl’s rim while trying to cover the other edges was difficult—despite small tabs on the covers’ perimeters meant to assist in stretching. We didn’t have enough hands to both brace and stretch at the same time. We found ourselves having to brace the bowl against our torsos and stretch with both hands, worrying about spilling food the whole time. Even once we thought we had a good seal, the covers would sometimes pop off a few seconds later. Two of the stretch cover sets were especially hard to stretch and prone to slipping off the bowls’ rims; the remaining set had a bit more give, making it slightly easier to stretch and hold in place. Finally, the sizes in each set weren’t always compatible with the st...
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The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.
Chase is an associate editor for ATK Reviews. He's an epidemiologist-turned-equipment tester and biscuit enthusiast.