The New $5 Trader Joe’s Baking Staple That’s Hiding Next to the Paper Towels

published Nov 22, 2023
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As a loyal Trader’s Joe’s patron, nothing gets me more excited than seeing fully stocked shelves of new products during my weekly trip to the grocery store. (Hey, it’s the little things.) Keeping up with all the new items at Trader Joe’s is like keeping up with the Kardashians — challenging and exhausting, but so worth it. From Rustic Apple Tarts to Jingle Jangle, the holiday delicacies just keep rolling in, keeping both our pantries and our bellies full. However, not all of the best Trader Joe’s treats are edible.

The retailer recently released the GIR Baking Mat — which is about to become a new staple in your kitchen. “GIR” stands for “Get It Right,” and that’s exactly what this item does. Retailing at $4.99 per mat, the product is made of FDA-approved, hypoallergenic, platinum-grade silicone. It’s also free of BPA and BPS, so there won’t be any unwanted plastics touching your food. If you want to order it online, the mats are available at a higher price point on the GIR website.

As someone who is always looking for small ways to make a positive environmental impact, I grabbed two as soon as I saw them. The mat measures 12″x17″ so I trimmed mine down to fit my 9 1/2”x13” baking sheets and, so far, the edges haven’t frayed. Just use extra-sharp scissors to get an even cut.

I typically bake by lining my tray with aluminum foil, as it tolerates high temperatures and makes cleanup easy. While aluminum foil can be easily reused and then thrown in most recycling bins because it breaks down quickly, a lot of foil ends up in landfills, as it needs to be 100% clean in order to be properly recycled. This mat is a simple solution to lower your home’s environmental footprint.

I was slightly worried that the thick silicone would impact the texture of my food. When I cook anything in the oven, I like to crisp everything to perfection. Luckily, my worries quickly dissolved after I made some smashed potatoes using the mats. (Yes, smashed, not mashed.) After boiling baby potatoes, I coat each potato with a little oil and seasoning, before smashing each potato directly on my baking tray using a fork. I throw these in the oven at 400°F until the edges become crispy. I’ve made smashed potatoes a handful of times before, so I knew what they were supposed to leave the oven looking and tasting like — and it’s safe to say these Trader Joe’s mats did the job perfectly. The potatoes were crisp on the outside and tender on the inside — just the way they’re supposed to be.

Since then, I have used the mats to make broccoli and baked tofu, both of which came out just as they should: delicious. Plus, the mats were super easy to clean. You can scrub with a little dish soap and drape over your drying rack, or just throw them in the dishwasher. The mats are both dishwasher- and microwave-safe. They are also heat-proof up to 550°F, but I haven’t cranked up the heat just yet, as I don’t want to burn my roasted veggies. Next time I make a pizza, I’ll put these mats to the test.

All in all, these mats are arguably better than your standard aluminum foil. They certainly get my stamp of approval for contributing to tasty food, plus keeping our planet (and our kitchens) green and clean.

Buy: GIR Baking Mat, $9.95