Can you boil aluminum foil? (1 Precaution)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can you boil aluminum foil? We will discuss the risks and precautions needed if you need to cook using aluminum foil. We will also shed light on some safe alternates to aluminum foil. 

Can you boil aluminum foil?

You can boil aluminum foil with food wrapped inside. However, some research suggests otherwise. Many sources can expose you to the element; aluminum foil being the worst of all. Pots, pans, and even foods like cheese, corn, salt, and tea have some amounts of aluminum.

However, research strongly suggests that you refrain from using aluminum foil because it has an inert form of aluminum. Aluminum from other sources such as cookware is oxidized with repeated use, in contrast to aluminum foil, which is a single-use item.

When you cook using aluminum foil, the amount of aluminum that leaches into food is higher than the allowed limit set by the World Health Organization. Spicy and acidic foods speed up the process that makes aluminum leach out of foil and into the food. 

We recommend that you do not store or boil any acidic food. Boiling food in aluminum foil becomes very unsafe when your food is acidic like tomatoes and plums. Also, you can cause some non-acidic foods to become acidic, if you marinade or season using vinegar, lemon juice, or tomatoes. Sour foods have a low pH and are classified as acidic foods. 

When should you worry about the safety of aluminum?

Aluminum foil has a great scope for food safety as it provides a reliable barrier against light, bacteria, air, and moisture. 

The safe limit of aluminum is 40 mg per kg of a person’s body weight. If a small amount makes its way into a person’s body, the body will not have an adverse reaction to it. For a person who weighs 60 kg, aluminum in a dosage higher than 2400 mg will be capable of causing harm.  

Rather than cooking, you can use aluminum for storing food for a short period. Subjecting to aggressive conditions such as acidic environment or spicy foods will cause the aluminum from foil to dissolve into food. For cooking, baking, roasting, and boiling, we advise that you use porcelain or glassware, which is your healthiest option. 

Refrain from exposing foods that are acidic, spicy, or even high in salt to aluminum foil. If you need to cook such foods, you must resort to a different method. You can use parchment paper,  stainless steel grilling basket, glass pan, steel cookie sheet, or parchment paper. 

How to use aluminum foil for food in boiling water?

You must follow some precautions to avoid aluminum from becoming a part of your diet via aluminum foil. Aluminum consumption has health risks including bone diseases and renal impairment. Aluminum exposure also has a close association with Alzheimer’s disease; therefore, it is necessary to practice caution. 

Using aluminum foil to steam food wrapped inside must be done safely. When you boil, remember not to expose the food wrapped in aluminum foil to high temperatures. A temperature of 1220 Fahrenheits makes the aluminum toxic, whereas food is usually cooked at a temperature of 165 Fahrenheit. The highest temperature that the water can attain while boiling is 702 Fahrenheits, while your food will be done cooking far sooner than that. 

Follow the steps below to correctly steam-cook or boil food wrapped in aluminum foil:

  1. Prepare the food to completion that includes washing, peeling, and scrubbing.
  2. Cut the piece of foil that is at least twice the surface area of the food. 
  3. Place the foil on your station and place the food in the center of the aluminum foil.
  4. Fold the aluminum foil over the shorter sides and then enwrap the vertical edges of the foil.
  5. Place another piece of foil over the counter that is the same size as the previous piece of foil.
  6. Put the wrapped food on the center, secure it, and tuck the other foil as well. 
  7. After your food has been surely wrapped in aluminum foil, drop it in a pot of water and bring it to a boil.

Aluminum foil covers and protects the food when you wrap it up securely. As it makes a barrier between the food and water, it prevents excessive moisture from entering food. If you boil food directly, it can 

Enrobing food securely in aluminum foil is crucial. If you fail to tightly enclose the food; and water manages to make contact with the food, your entire effort will be deemed useless. 

In this brief guide, we answered the question, can you boil aluminium foil? We discussed the risks and precautions needed if you need to cook using aluminum foil. We also shed light on some safe alternates to aluminum foil. 


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.