28

I have bought three silicone spatulas so far and all of them start "melting" when used to flip frying eggs.

I don't leave them in the pan or anything and, supposedly, silicone should be able to withstand much higher temperatures than frying oil.

But I've had the same happen with a "silicone basket"-like utensil (I don't know exactly what it was called) which, quite literally, melted and fell apart when I used it for the first time to fish french fries out of the frier.

I also see a lot of people having the same experience over the wire/internet.

Why is this happening and is there a way to confirm the utensils are real silicone and not something else?

EDIT:
After some digging I have discovered I have, in fact, bought a nylon spatula, instead of a silicone one.

I am going to copy @unlisted's comment for benefit of future readers:

Though both obviously 'plasticky' nylon is hard & silicone is soft. If it will squish a bit, it's silicone. Nylon will bend but you could never describe it as 'squishy'. Of course, even if it passes that test it may still not be food-grade.

14
  • 13
    If the products are melting and falling apart in hot oil at cooking temperatures I think you have experimentally confirmed that they are not good grade silicone.
    – dbmag9
    Oct 18, 2022 at 18:48
  • 4
    FWIW, I have silicone spatulas that I use with frying all the time. Never been any sign of melting (unlike my nylon utensils, for example).
    – FuzzyChef
    Oct 18, 2022 at 20:40
  • 6
    I am now adopting the idea perhaps I was sold a nylon utensil as a silicone one.
    – notarobot
    Oct 18, 2022 at 22:35
  • 7
    Though both obviously 'plasticky' nylon is hard & silicone is soft. If it will squish a bit, it's silicone. Nylon will bend but you could never describe it as 'squishy'. Of course, even if it passes that test it may still not be food-grade. In the UK even the cheap supermarket brands are heat stable.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 19, 2022 at 7:47
  • 3
    @OrangeDog, not to a person not familiar with either, they are not.
    – notarobot
    Oct 19, 2022 at 21:02

1 Answer 1

50

If the products are melting and falling apart in hot oil at cooking temperatures I think you have experimentally confirmed that they are not food grade silicone. Food-grade silicone should be completely functional in the range of frying temperatures.

In a guide to food-grade silicone:

Temperature resistance is one of the principal attributes of food-grade silicone. This is particularly crucial in food processing where temperatures can vary from boiling hot to freezing cold. Food grade silicone can generally function in temperatures varying between -60°C and +250°C (special grades up to +300°C). Source

In a guide to safe deep-frying:

If you have a food thermometer heat the oil to 160C for low, 180C for moderate and 190C for high. Source

As for buying reliable products, my recommendation would be to buy branded products from reputable shops. With experience and common sense you can get a sense for what brands and products to trust.

8
  • 3
    @notarobot I've expanded a little; I think product standards are something that will differ depending on where you are. I'm in the UK and I'm confident that anything I buy in a supermarket or homeware store that is labelled as food-grade silicone will indeed be reliable – even if the product lifetime and general sturdiness may be different for different brands. But in other markets that may be different, so you will have to use some level of personal experience and instinct.
    – dbmag9
    Oct 18, 2022 at 20:57
  • 3
    @dbmag9 I would say that your assessment is too optimistic. While 180-ish is the optimal temperature for the oil bath in deep frying, many people don't manage to stay in the optimal range and heat their fat too much. Also, the OP said "frying eggs", which is not deep frying - it is much more likely that they are using few to no oil on a very hot pan, and the spatula comes in direct contact with the pan, which is likely well above 250 C. The idea of a single "food grade silicone" is also overly generalized - silicones are a wide group of materials, and spatulas are food grade, but not ...
    – rumtscho
    Oct 19, 2022 at 10:36
  • 5
    @rumtscho The OP specifically says they aren't leaving the utensils in contact with the pan for long and that they had the same issue fishing fries from a fryer, so I am confident that the utensils are not doing what they should here. Note that for some people 'spatula' only describes the patisserie tool you mention, for others it describes an 'egg-lifter' and I assume that's what the OP is using.
    – dbmag9
    Oct 19, 2022 at 11:04
  • 4
    @rumtscho I have a set of silicone utensils which have a rigid internal structure (presumably metal) and silicone exterior, so that they aren't floppy but can't scratch any surfaces.
    – dbmag9
    Oct 19, 2022 at 12:16
  • 5
    Edited my question, basically the problem was not low grade silicone but outright a nylon utensil. Some sellers sell nylon utensils labeled as "silicone" either trying to deceive or because they, themselves, have been deceived. In my opinion adding info that utensils melting means they are most probably nylon would help future readers. Personally, I included a comment from @unlisted that helps a lot in this regard.
    – notarobot
    Oct 19, 2022 at 14:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.