If you don’t want baking goods and foot to stick to trays or other baking surfaces it’s only logical that you would want to use parchment paper or substitutes for parchment paper.
Aren’t you just completely disappointed when you discover that no drawer in your house holds parchment paper? Fear not, that’s what substitutes are for, your ingredients will not be wasted and the results will be the same.
Moreover, check out my post on compostable parchment paper to discover which the best types to buy.
Basically, we already know why parchment paper is so incredibly useful but we’re here to talk about substitutes for parchment paper. Let’s move on to doing that.
Parchment paper—aka baking paper—has been an essential part of any
. The paper is greaseproof and heat-resistant, and is used to create a non-stick surface for your
. And while it’s easy to use, its disposal isn’t as simple.
While nonstick pans are always a
option, it’s true that many people still opt for parchment paper. In 2020, about
1.75 million Americans
used 10 or more rolls or boxes of parchment wrap. With this many people still using parchment paper in the kitchen, it’s no secret this product may be creating a significant
amount of waste
So, you may be wondering: Is parchment paper recyclable? Or what to use instead of parchment paper. This guide covers everything you should know.
Like aluminum foil and
plastic cling wrap
, parchment paper is often sold in rolls, contained in a long cardboard box. The paper can either be white or brown, depending on the brand and the type you buy.
To create the beloved non-stick feature parchment paper has, the paper is coated in silicone. If the paper is white, it’s gone through an extra step: bleaching. Brown paper hasn’t been bleached, and therefore contains fewer chemicals. But white parchment paper undergoes a bleaching process that uses chlorine and toxins. This process pollutes the atmosphere and
However, some brands—including Reynolds—offer nonbleached,
parchment paper. This paper is chlorine-free, made from
75% unbleached fibers
, and the packaging is 100% recyclable cardboard.
The catch? The paper is compostable at commercial facilities, but Reynolds doesn’t offer information about whether it’s compostable in your
at-home composting bin
. In other words, it can be really hard to figure out the most eco-friendly way to dispose of parchment paper.
SomethingSwanky is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.
When you’re looking for a good substitute for parchment paper, there is a wide variety of available options. We list the best ones below.
Read on to find a solid substitute for parchment paper.
Table of Contents
- Substitutes For Parchment Paper
- Can I Substitute Wax Paper for Parchment Paper?
- Can you Bake on Aluminum Foil?
- How do You Make Homemade Parchment Paper?
- Never Use Paper Grocery Bags
Parchment paper is a great for lining baking sheets, covering doughnuts while they cool, and wrapping delicate food items. But sometimes you may not have enough on hand in your kitchen.
We’ve had the opportunity to explore different substitutes for parchment paper and can confidently say that there is no one-size-fits-all substitute. It depends on what you need it for.
Here are some alternatives to pay that you might find useful:
Silicone Baking Mat
A great substitute for parchment paper? A silicone baking mat. This is a sheet of silicone designed to prevent sticking and browning on your food as it cooks in the oven or roasts over an open flame.
The mat is non-stick It works well for cookies and vegetables. Parchment paper is better for roasting vegetables than a baking mat because it protects the food from getting soggy. If you’re making something very warm, don’t use a mat. You should look at the next option.
Aluminum Foil with Oil
As parchment paper becomes more expensive, many people are using aluminum foil as a substitute. Here’s what you need to know about this inexpensive option:
Pros: The cost is low and it can be recycled
Cons: It cannot withstand high heat
The longevity of aluminum foil is unparalleled. It can handle the heat. If you want to prevent your foil from sticking, make sure it is covered with oil. It’s perfect for fish or veggies, even though it might not work for cookies.
Greased Baking Sheet or Pan
There are many other options. If you want to fry vegetables without using a lot of oil or butter in the pan, then use an ungreased baking sheet instead. Greased aluminum foil can be used to replace your ovenproof cake pans.
When cooking, the best way to avoid having your food stick is by using a non-stick pan or baking sheet. Greasing the surface of the pan will help to prevent sticking and make cleanup easier.
However, it’s important to note that some high heat can damage non-stick coatings, so be sure to adjust your oven temperature accordingly.
It’s a good idea to use wax paper instead of parchment paper If you’re making no-bake treats like chocolate bark, it works just fine if you use wax paper.
Pros: Wax paper is nonstick.
Cons: Do not use wax paper in the oven because it will melt and you’ll be left with a big mess!
Non-Stick Baking Sheets
Parchment paper is an often-used kitchen staple for roasting and baking, but what if there was a way to avoid the use of this sticky surface? Nonstick sheets can replace parchment paper by just placing food directly on top. With its non-stick properties, cleanup becomes quick and easy.
Silpat Baking Mat
When you’re looking for a substitute for parchment paper, consider getting Silpat Baking Mats. They are more expensive than the usual alternative but they last longer and can handle anything from pies to muffins.
These silicone mats are perfect for any baking project that you might be working on. They’re flexible and heat-resistant, which means they’ll make clean-up a breeze!
The only issue with these mats is that they can’t be used to steam things in the oven or funnel ingredients. Also, you’ll need multiple sizes for different projects because parchment and wax paper are both adjustable.
Some people are reluctant to buy parchment paper because it is expensive, but the cooking spray can be a cheaper alternative. Although you have to reuse the parchment paper several times before throwing it away (unless you’re using raw food), many bakers and cooks find that its easy use outweighs this disadvantage. If your cookies stick to the pan when sprayed with cooking oil, though, then beware of what will happen if they come in contact with water.
Cooking spray is a good thing to have on hand, but only use it when you need it. Food & Wine has suggested that the cooking spray can build up residue and cause damage if not removed in time.
However, when it comes to sticking power, the cooking spray has the upper hand.
Can I Substitute Wax Paper for Parchment Paper?
This isn’t the best substitute, but it will do in a pinch. Wax paper can be used to wrap or freeze food. It’s perfect for these purposes. Wax paper isn’t good for anything other than wrapping a turkey sandwich. If you’re using it as an outer layer between the bread and anything else that might be inside, you’ll get that.
If you’re grating cheese or peeling vegetables, then it’s important to have wax paper on hand. Wax paper will help prevent any messes from happening.
Can you Bake on Aluminum Foil?
It’s pretty amazing to have foil. You can use it in the oven if you choose. You need to coat the pan with oil so that it doesn’t stick to baked goods. The problem with cooking on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil is that the bottom of your food can get hot.
Baking cookies is a delicate process—one that should never be attempted directly on a pan. This is because the high temperatures needed to cook cookies can cause them to stick to the pan, resulting in an uneven and burnt final product. However, if you use a silicone baking mat instead of parchment paper, you’ll never have this problem again.
Silicone baking mats are non-stick and heat resistant, so they’re perfect for cooking anything without fear of sticking or burning.
How do You Make Homemade Parchment Paper?
Parchment paper is the ideal solution for those that want to bake without having their food stick. Parchment paper can be used with any type of cooking and will make your life a lot easier. Nowadays, people don’t write on parchment anymore. Instead, they use computers and smartphones to keep in touch with their friends.
One of the many cool things you can do with old newspapers is turned them into greaseproof paper. All you need to do is soak a few sheets of water and use them as parchment paper. You know that old brown bag you had sitting in the back of your fridge? Well, just add a tablespoon of olive oil and brush it all over.
Get out your cooking spray, and make sure to cover the bottom of the pan evenly. The oil should be able to soak into it for a few minutes before you start frying. This is a good way to grease the pan, but we still recommend just putting some oil or butter on it before you start baking.
Never Use Paper Grocery Bags
There’s a big difference between parchment paper and grocery bags. Parchment is fire-resistant, whereas the opposite isn’t true for most plastic or paper products.
The paper bag is not only bad for the environment, but it also makes cooking food more difficult. You can’t even grease the inside of a paper bag because all that would do is soak into the fibrous material and be rendered useless.
It’s a bad idea to use plastic grocery bags for anything other than storage. They’re made of toxic ink that could leach into your food and make you sick. Click To Tweet
Paper grocery bags are not the best replacement for parchment paper. It’s better to go with a different option that is more sustainable and safe.
Parchment paper is a great alternative to aluminum foil or waxed paper for lining baking sheets, but sometimes you just don’t have enough in your kitchen.
We’ve provided you with a list of the best substitute for parchment paper. It depends on what you need it for; hopefully, you’ve found the list useful.
About the author
Taylor resides in the mountains of Asheville, NC spending her time listening to her husband talk about plants and chasing her daughters and dogs to see what they’re trying to eat now. She’s a blogger by day and fiction writer by night. Words (and food) are her lifeblood. When not writing, Taylor can be found cooking, reading, eating way too much cheese, and trying to fit more gadgets in her kitchen.
So you don’t have any parchment paper on hand, but your recipe calls for it. What’s a home baker to do?
I’ve got you covered.
Several of these you can pick up at your local grocery store, and a couple or more specialty items.
Okay, let’s dive in and talk about the best substitutes for parchment paper!
Here’s the video in case you learn better that way. But I have it all written out below as well!
What is Parchment Paper?
First of all, let’s talk about what parchment paper is. Parchment paper is food-grade paper that’s coated with silicone. The silicone is what gives parchment paper its non-stick qualities. You can either purchase bleached or non-bleached parchment paper.
1 Aluminum Foil
Okay, here’s the first parchment paper replacement: aluminum foil!
This is great substitute to use when you want to lift whatever you’re baking out of the pan (make sure to purchase heavy foil if you’ll be lifting something heavy out of the pan). It’s great for lining a baking sheet when cooking bacon, toasting nuts, etc.
This is also the best substitute for cooking en papillote (in parchment paper).
Keep in mind that aluminum foil is NOT nonstick like parchment paper. As I mentioned above, parchment paper has a silicone coating, which gives it its nonstick properties. So make sure to oil or butter aluminum foil if you’re concerned about the food sticking to it.
The best way to apply the oil is with a pastry brush.
Also keep in mind that since aluminum foil is reflective, it can alter the cooking time. It also tends to make whatever you’re baking crisper or darker on the bottom. So keep that in mind if you’re using it in place of parchment paper.
This makes for really easy cleanup since it protects the pan from whatever you’re baking.
Note: Some links are affiliate. All opinions are my own. If you click a link and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. This has zero impact on the price you pay, and it helps Buttered Side Up out!
2 Silpat mat
An excellent substitute for parchment baking paper is a silicone baking mat, also known as a silpat mat.
These silicone mats are made from a fiberglass core and a food-grade silicone outer layer. If you treat them properly, they can last for up to 3000 baking cycles.
These are really non-stick, and they’re great for lining a cookie sheet for baking cookies, scones, etc.
However, they’re not meant to be used as a cutting surface, so you must remove whatever you baked to a separate surface if it needs to be sliced.
Also, you can’t cut it down to size to fit your pan. You can however purchase them in different sizes, including round ones for cake tins.
But they are pretty much infinitely reusable, so they’re useful tool to have on hand.
3 Silicone Baking Pans
The next substitute for parchment paper is silicone pans.
You can actually purchase silicone muffin liners, muffin pans, cake pans, loaf pans, etc. For example, Silpat makes silicone muffin pans and cake molds that don’t require liners!
They have a non-stick surface, so you don’t need to line them with parchment like traditional baking pans.
Most silicone baking trays can withstand fairly high temperatures of 400 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (204 – 232 Celsius).
The downside is silicone obviously isn’t as sturdy as glass or metal, so you have to be more careful when you’re transferring your baked goods to the oven.
4 Cooking Spray
The fourth substitute for parchment paper is cooking spray.
There are many different cooking sprays on the market, and some of them actually contain flour to help with the non-stick properties.
I personally try to avoid the propellants and other additives contained in many of these cooking sprays.
I like the Chosen Foods or Thrive market avocado oil sprays. Also, I try to avoid seed oils such as canola oil, corn oil, etc.
You could also just grease your pan manually with oil or butter.
5 Butter and Flour
Which is grease plus flour. This method of greasing your pan involves first rubbing it all over, including the sides of the pan, with a solid fat such as salted or unsalted butter or coconut oil. I don’t recommend using a liquid fat like olive oil or avocado oil for this.
Then you sprinkle the greased baking pan with flour, and then turn the pan in every direction so the flour evenly coats the grease. Then you tap out any excess flour.
And there you have a pan that’s perfectly coated in a thin layer of butter and flour.
This method isn’t quite as fool proof as parchment paper, but if you are careful to cover every single surface of the pan, it comes close.
This is the best parchment paper substitute if you don’t want to buy any specialty equipment or tools.
The downside to this method is the outside of whatever you’re baking gets coated in flour, which may be a drawback for you aesthetically.
You also run the risk of burning the flour if you’re baking with a really hot oven.
6 Banana Leaves or Corn Husks
Two bonus parchment paper alternatives are banana leaves and corn husks. I have not personally tried these methods, so keep that in mind.
For corn husks, you’ll want to soak them in water for 30 minutes before using them. Then you can wrap them around fish or other food items to make an en papillote substitute. Then you can tie it up with baker’s twine.
For banana leaves, you can use them in a similar way to wrap food for baking.
Keep in mind that both banana leaves and corn husks won’t keep liquids or fats from leaking through, so make sure to put them in a baking dish before putting in the oven.
Bad Parchment Paper Substitutes (Avoid These!)
Okay, those are 5 substitutes for parchment paper for baking.
Let’s address a couple of methods that you should never use when baking.
1 Wax Paper (Do Not Use)
The first thing you should never use for a parchment paper substitute when baking is waxed paper. Wax paper is NOT designed for baking with and is not heat resistant.
The main reason you don’t want to use this is the wax that coats wax paper can actually melt off of the paper when baking. Wax has a low melting point, and considering that the paper is often coated with paraffin wax, you really don’t want that leaching into your food.
So stick to using wax paper for storing food or as food wrappers, and keep it away from your oven.
Freezer paper is also not meant for baking, only for wrapping food for storage. It’s often coated in plastic, which shouldn’t go in the oven obviously.
2 Paper Bags (Do Not Use)
The other thing you should never use for baking is paper grocery bags. They are NOT a good substitute for parchment paper because they are not manufactured with high temperatures and cooking in mind. The inks used to print the paper bags could leach into your food as it cooks.
So if you want to store your cooled food in a really clean brown paper grocery bag, feel free! Just don’t use it for baking.
And I don’t think this needs to be said, but just in case, don’t use a paper towel for baking either! It would be okay to line a baking tray for keeping food warm in an oven set to very low temperatures, like 200 degrees F (93 C) or less. The main concern is they could catch on fire at high heat.
Regular paper (such at notebook paper or printer paper for writing) is also not meant to be food safe or go in the oven, so avoid that.
Honorable mention goes to plastic wrap: this is great for storing food when you don’t want it to stick to the storage container. But it should never ever go near an oven.
I hope this helped you to make a decision for which parchment paper alternative to use for all your baking needs!
If you have any questions, please leave me a comment down below!
Homemade Cake and Cookie Recipes
We all know that parchment paper is not very environmentally friendly.
Take a Look ↓↓↓
Parchment paper has been around for thousands of years. The paper was mainly used for writing. During those times, it was primarily made from animal skins. However, in the early 19th century, the rise of parchment that was non-animal based gave birth to the parchment paper used in modern times. In 1847 two French scientists, Louis Figuier and Jean-André Poumarède, invented a new treatment process for creating parchment paper.
In their process, parchment paper was made by submerging it into water mixed with concentrated sulfuric acid, then washed in ammonia and water. The process would continue evolving, resulting in today’s Parchment paper.
It can maybe be reused twice if you’re lucky, and then into the trash it goes. If you bake regularly, this results in a lot of unnecessary waste.
Not only this, but constantly having to purchase parchment paper can become expensive quickly.
We have rounded up a selection of cheaper and much more sustainable alternatives to parchment paper that every baking enthusiast must have in their kitchen.
Parchment paper is silicone coated paper that comes either bleached or unbleached. Parchment paper is water and heat resistant, as well as non-stick. must do the same thing.
It is made by soaking and compressing paper fibers into thin sheets, which are then dipped into a bath of acid.
They are then washed again and run across many rotating hot drums to dry them off. This ensures all of the fibers are in alignment, which gives the parchment paper a lot of strength.
It is commonly used to like cake tins and baking sheets. It makes light work of rolling out sticky doughs and can even be used to create parcels around delicate fish for cooking.
Almost everything you can think of, parchment paper can be used for.
This is a type of non-stick silicone baking mat. They are reusable, there is no need to grease, and they are highly durable.
They are made from food-grade silicone combined with fiberglass mesh. The mats are certified by the National Science Foundation, they are kosher, and they meet FDA regulations.
The mat was created in France in 1965, by a baker known as Monsieur Guy Demarle. The mat is said to distribute heat evenly to ensure a consistent bake.
They can deal with heats of up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, much hotter than regular household ovens reach.
They are stored rolled up gently. They are not the cheapest to purchase initially, but the time and money they will save you means they are a good investment.
The only real downside to Silpat is that you cannot cut on the top in case you damage the mat. They are available in multiple sizes.
Pyrex baking sheet
The cookware company Pyrex has created a borosilicate glass baking sheet that can be used without the need for a liner.
It is colorless and odor free meaning that you don’t need to worry about the flavors of your food being impacted.
You can cut directly on the surface of this baking sheet without damaging it, making it very useful for things such as pizza. It is also dishwasher safe.
This baking sheet can be used for temperatures ranging from -40 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning it can be used in all environments.
It is thermal shock resistant, meaning that you can take the tray straight out of the freezer and pop it in a preheated oven without worrying about it cracking.
This is not a perfect substitute for baking paper as it cannot be used to line dishes. It does make a handy replacement for lining flat baking sheets though!
This is also referred to as waxed paper. It is coated with wax, as the name suggests, and should not be heated in the oven due to its low melting point.
This is good for lining cool dishes such as refrigerator cakes. It is also highly useful for layering between cookies in a storage container.
This is not reusable indefinitely, but it is slightly cheaper than parchment paper. While it is a substitution, it is not very sustainable.
It is very good for wrapping cheese in to retain freshness and is fantastic for rolling out dough – saving you the hassle of cleaning up loose flour.
Reusable baking sheets
This is essentially reusable greaseproof paper. It comes in large sheets that can be cut to size.
You can get these in rectangles, squares, circles, or strips. Many manufacturers claim that their products will last for up to 5 years.
They are heat resistant and suitable for use in the oven. Most of them are also dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. They are made of a fabric core with a PTFE plastic coating.
This is the most traditional method for preventing foods from sticking to your baking sheet.
Simply coat the baking dish with a thin layer of oil or butter to lubricate the space between the food and the tray. You could also use some cooking spray.
Some recipes call for greasing the walls of cake tins with a layer of flour or cocoa powder. This is fairly uncommon though, due to the risk of it burning and forming a charred crust on the exterior of your bake.
Some bonus ideas
Flour is also very useful for rolling out doughs on a countertop. Icing sugar is a good option for sweet things such as fondant. These are good, and less wasteful, substitutes for rolling things out using parchment paper.
Aluminum foil is also coated with silicone, making it a non-stick surface. It can withstand high heats and is suitable for baking things on.
It is not a more sustainable swap, but it will serve as a suitable replacement for parchment paper if you find yourself out of it. We suggest using double strength aluminum foil to ensure it will not tear under the pressure.
If you want a more natural substitute to make baking parcels, we recommend wrapping your protein in a banana leaf.
Soaked corn husks and bamboo leaves would also work well here. These are very eco-friendly and sustainable substitutes, that will likely impart a slight flavor onto your dish too.
Please never use paper grocery bags as a substitute for parchment paper, despite what people may say to you.
This is quite a dangerous idea as this untreated paper is highly flammable. If it was to catch fire this would not only ruin whatever you are cooking, but could potentially be very harmful.
Many paper grocery bags do not have a coating, meaning that the fibers can easily be transferred to the surface of your food.
This could ruin the taste, but also has the potential to make you very ill. Your food is also very likely to stick to the paper on the bag, which will be a pain when you are hungry and just want to eat.
The ink used on grocery bags is unlikely to be of a food-safe grade. This could potentially be toxic if ingested, and it is not worth taking the risk.
Frequently Asked Questions
On the odd occasion when you do not have any parchment paper available you may wonder what you can use instead of parchment paper for your cookie baking antics. While parchment paper works really well when it comes to cookie baking, the main properties of parchment paper that are used for this exact process are the anti-sticking properties.
This is why you can use anything really as long as it does not stick. You could use aluminum foil instead of parchment paper for your cookie baking, although we would recommend you grease the foil first to prevent any of your cookies getting stuck to it. The best solution in this instance is to simply grease the baking tray to prevent the cookies from sticking.
Can I use regular paper instead of parchment paper?
You must NEVER ever use notebook paper or grocery bag paper as a substitute for parchment paper, especially for cooking. You can use them as food wrappers for storing your food, but never use them as a baking paper.
They can easily ignite even at fairly low temperatures, and you won’t want to watch your baking go up in flames. Also, the ink that is used in these types of paper can be very toxic if it comes into contact with your food, so not only would your oven be on fire, but your food would be toxic and ruined.
Regular paper is a no-go zone for cooking purposes. Use it for storage or freezing by all means, but keep regular paper away from anything hot and keep that ink away from your delicious baked goods and food. You do not want to be tasting toxic ink when you chow down on some lovely fresh food.
Can you bake bread without parchment paper?
If you are a baker and love baking your own bread, but then you go to the cupboard and find you are all out of parchment paper, what should you do? Well, you could run to the store.
You could also use a floured towel to rest your dough on and use it to transfer the dough to the pot. Although the dough may stick to the towel, so it may not be the best choice.
Overall though there are plenty of options for baking bread without parchment paper, try out the different techniques and find which one is best for you, personally, we think no-knead is the best option here.
Parchment paper is not like the old timey parchment people used to write on, it is a greaseproof paper that is used for baking.
You could easily make your own greaseproof paper if you are sick of going to the store, use an old paper bag and some cooking oil. Cut open the paper bag, so it lays flat on your baking tray, add a tablespoon of olive oil and spread it over quickly with a pastry brush, make sure the paper absorbs all the oil.
Store it and let it sit, and you can use that as a baking base. The oil will do the job as it is no longer a dry surface. However, we still think that it is just so much easier to just grease/ oil your baking trays.
These options are sure to be a hit. So, gather your family and friends and enjoy. Let us know your thoughts!
- Pyrex baking sheet
- Reusable baking sheets
Select your option.
Use in or with your favorite recipe.
Let us know how it was!
Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book “Healthy Eating Through the Garden” will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer’s markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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Many cooks and bakers feel that parchment paper is a home essential, but others aren’t exactly sold on the stuff and find it problematic in several different ways. For one thing, “The Conscious Kitchen” points out that white parchment paper is bleached with chemicals that can be potentially harmful and that some types of parchment paper are also made with a coating called quilon that contains heavy metals (the kind that could make you sick versus headbang to the rhythm).
Plus, parchment paper can be rather expensive, and it’s pretty wasteful. It also can’t be recycled thanks to the silicon or quilon coating, which means that it can’t be composted, either — after you use your paper, into the landfill it goes. Whether your reasons for avoiding parchment paper are out of concern for the environment, your health, or your budget, you may be glad to know that in many instances, the paper can easily be replaced.
Each of these substitutes has its own advantages such as being cheaper, more heat-resistant, or easier to use than parchment paper. While there’s no single item that can be used in all situations, as long as you have a few of these items on hand, you can ditch that pricey, problematic parchment paper for good.
If you bake a lot of cookies, the cost of parchment paper can sure add up. One great alternative, however, is the reusable silpat, a baking mat made of silicone. Investing in such a mat might not even run you any more money, either. At the time of writing, Amazon is listing a roll of parchment paper at $14.99 while this set of two silpats costs just $14.39. What’s more, the silpats can be re-used time and time again, while parchment paper sheets are pretty much one and done.
There are, however, a few drawbacks to silpats. One being the size, so if you have baking pans in different shapes and sizes you may have to purchase multiple mats. With paper, of course, you can simply cut off the amount you need on a case-by-case basis. Silpats are also too thick to be used as makeshift funnels, and you can’t fold the silcone mat around a piece of fish when steaming en papillote.
While you can’t always use silpats in place of parchment paper, though, they do have a few significant advantages. The silicone mats are generally oven-safe up to 500 degrees, while parchment paper tops out at 450 degrees. Also, as Buddy Valastro tells the Rachael Ray Show, silpats are usually better for candy making. He explains that melted sugar can stick to parchment paper, with the result being a sticky mess that no-one will want to eat.
One of the main reasons why home cooks turn to parchment paper for every baking project is so they can be sure that their cakes, cookies, and breads all come out of the pans intact. Sure, parchment paper will help with this, but in many cases it’s not strictly necessary. For some baking projects, non-stick cookware alone can do the trick.
Some aluminum bakeware comes with a nonstick coating. Although, as with non-stick frying pans, this coating is rather fragile — meaning that you’ll need to avoid metal spatulas. It’s also better to wash them by hand as they might be damaged by the dishwasher.
Pyrex bakeware, however, is a bit more robust as its glass surface is naturally non-stick. In fact, you can even use a Pyrex pan as a cutting surface should the need arise. Glass surfaces heat up more slowly than metal ones, however, so Pyrex pans are not recommended for baking bread. What’s more, non-stick surfaces don’t always live up to their billing, so you still may need to grease your nonstick baking pans just as you’d grease a non-stick frying pan.
If you typically line cake pans with parchment paper, you’ll know this involves a lot of cutting and shaping to get the perfect fit. With aluminum foil, however, you can just pinch it into place as it’s wonderfully malleable. In fact, you can even use your trusty roll of foil for makeshift pan dividers to shape cakes or separate batter colors and flavors. While you may need to use a few layers of foil for this, that’s no problem since it tends to be significantly cheaper than parchment paper, and you can probably even pick some up at the dollar store.
If you’re using foil in place of parchment paper, though, be advised that it’s not nonstick so you may need to grease the surface. A foil-lined pan will also heat up more quickly than a paper-lined one, so if you’re using foil to line a cookie sheet, it’s advisable to bake your cookies at a temperature five degrees lower than specified. You’ll also want to remove the cookies two minutes before the recipe says they’ll be done to avoid over-browning the bottoms.
There is one area in which foil has it all over parchment paper: If you are lining your broiler pan for easier cleanup, never, ever use parchment paper! Broilers can get up to 550 degrees, at which temperature parchment paper could catch on fire. Foil, on the other hand, will be perfectly safe for broiling.
Wax paper may resemble parchment paper to some extent, but it’s a lot less expensive, so it may be tempting to use it everywhere you’d use the latter. There’s one pretty significant problem with this, however: While parchment paper isn’t heat-proof, it is heat-resistant enough to withstand most typical baking temperatures. Wax paper, not so much.
This doesn’t mean it can’t be used for baking, though. Wax paper is fine for lining pans used to bake cakes, bar cookies, or anything where the entire surface of the paper will be covered. This type of indirect heat won’t pose a problem, but using wax paper to line a cookie sheet is a no-no since the oven will melt the wax and the paper might burn. If you’re cooking in the microwave, though, there’s no reason not to use wax paper in place of its pricier cousin. Microwaves don’t get nearly hot enough to melt the wax and even if any of it were to melt, the coating is actually pretty safe to ingest.
Other uses for wax paper include rolling it into a funnel for dry ingredients, using as a surface for rolling out dough, or to separate frozen hamburger patties. In fact, most of what parchment paper can do, wax paper can do just as well at a fraction of the price — as long as you keep it away from direct heat.
Unai Huizi Photography/Shutterstock
One of the primary uses of parchment paper is to help prevent food from sticking to the pan. Well, there’s a much simpler, cheaper solution that doesn’t involve any cutting, shaping, or other crafting — nor does it create any waste that will wind up in a landfill. What is this miracle substance, you might ask? Why, it’s just cooking spray. A few quick squirts and voilà! Your pan is non-stick.
Cooking spray comes in different types to suit any purpose, ranging from butter-flavored to olive oil. It can also help with handy kitchen hacks like keeping hamburger patties from sticking to your hands prevent water from boiling over. You can make a DIY cooking spray by using cooking oil in a mister or pump bottle. No bottle? Just apply the oil to the pan with a brush or even a paper towel.
One thing that cooking spray shouldn’t be used for, though, is to lubricate non-stick pans. The reason for this is because many commercial ones contain lecithin. This substance can build up over time and make your pans even less non-stick, as well as be a real pain to clean.
Grease and flour
Arina P Habich/Shutterstock
Sometimes there really is no substitute for doing things the old fashioned way. With a little bit of elbow grease, plus some actual grease such as butter, shortening, or coconut oil, you can create a nonstick surface in any type of cake pan, no matter how many nooks and crannies it might have. Adding a layer of flour helps ensure that your baked goods come out in one piece. Greasing and flouring works for a cast iron and cookie sheets, as well. Although, with some recipes the grease alone may be enough. If you’re looking to do things the quick and easy way (and don’t mind spending just a little more), you can use Baker’s Joy cooking spray that comes with the flour already in it.
The main disadvantage of greasing and flouring a pan is the fact that yes, you’ll need to spend a minute or two scrubbing the pan clean rather than simply crumpling up the spent parchment paper and tossing in the trash. You may, however, sometimes see recipes that call for greasing and flouring (or just greasing) a pan in addition to using parchment paper. In most cases, this is pretty redundant, with the only advantage being that greasing the pan may help the parchment paper stay in place. You’ll still need to scrub that baked-on grease out of the pan, so you might as well skip the paper and just use flour instead.
If you’re committed to a zero-waste kitchen, you probably look for every opportunity to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Well, here’s a little tip that will help you reduce your use of parchment paper: reusing butter wrappers. If you do a lot of baking, you probably unwrap a bunch of butter sticks, but did you know that the paper can be put to good use? Butter wrappers, which are designed to be grease-proof and waterproof, typically have a silicon coating that makes them destined to wind up in the landfill. Before you toss them, though, why not use them in place of parchment paper? As it turns out, they may well be made of the stuff.
To be on the safe side, you may not want to use butter wrappers for direct-heat baking since they haven’t been tested for heat resistance as has parchment paper. They can, however, be used to line cake pans. Besides being essentially free (with the purchase of butter), these wrappers also have another advantage over parchment paper: The residual butter clinging to the paper can be used to grease a baking pan with the butter wrapper itself making a handy applicator. You can also use butter wrappers to separate baked goods for storing, freezing, or even to cover warm bread. In this instance, the butter inside will melt and add some extra flavor.
Leaves or husks
In addition to being used for baking purposes, parchment paper is often put to use in a cooking technique called “en papilotte.” This phrase literally means “in paper” and is typically used for baking fish, but can also be used to cook chicken, vegetables, and fruits. The reason why so many foodies are fans of the en papillote method is because the paper pouches keep all the flavor from evaporating while cooking the contents to tender perfection.
Despite the name, paper isn’t strictly necessary for cooking en papilotte. Foil actually works quite well and even though your pouches will be less elegant, they’ll have a nostalgic camping vibe to them. If you’re concerned about presentation, though, you can go one better here, too, by using leaves. Bamboo, banana, grape, plantain leaves, or even corn husks, all make a fine parchment substitute. Although, with drier leaves and husks you should soak them in water first so they don’t get too crispy in the oven.
Nothing at all
There are certain circumstances when the best substitute for parchment paper is nothing at all — just ditch the paper and go with a naked pan. With many types of cookies, there’s enough butter in the dough that the cookies are unlikely to stick and a number of recipes will even specify baking on an ungreased cookie sheet. Angel food or other egg white-based cakes, on the other hand, actually need to cling on to the sides of the cake pan in order to rise properly.
You should also skip the parchment paper when you’re roasting vegetables. Vegetables cooked on paper just won’t brown properly, so you’re better off cooking them on a plain pan or even directly roast on the floor of the oven. Pass on the parchment when using a pizza stone, as well. These work best at very high temperatures (500 F), whereas parchment paper is not designed to withstand such heat. It should also go without saying (though we’ll say it anyway, for safety’s sake): Never deep-fry foods in parchment paper! Not only will this cause the paper to overheat in a dangerous way, but the whole point of frying is to have the food in direct contact with the hot oil. Crunchy deep-fried paper on a stick is something that wouldn’t even fly at the wackiest state fair concessions would stand on the midway.
What to Use Instead of Parchment Paper
Wondering what to use instead of parchment paper? Luckily, reusable baking mats exist! You can easily make the switch, reducing the amount of waste that comes with baking yummy treats.
This is your sign to swap your single-use parchment paper for a reusable option. And you’re in luck—Silpat’s
Reusable Silicone Baking Mat
This reusable mat is made from a dedicated silicone with reinforced fiberglass mesh—and nothing sticks to it. That means you’ll spend a lot less time cleaning up after baking a batch of cookies. Plus, using this non-stick sheet eliminates the need for butter, baking sprays, and oils.
You can use this silicone mat in the oven, the microwave, and even the freezer. And it’s
! What’s not to love?
Substitutes for Parchment Paper
Best: Silpat Premium Non-Stick Silicon Baking Mat
Even though this is an expensive silicon baking mat, it’s without a doubt also the best choice to make. What makes it a great substitute for parchment paper? No matter what you’re baking, there’s absolutely no need to grease the Silpat Premium Non-Stick Silicon Baking Mat. That’s the whole point of using these kind of baking mats. They also save you from frequently buying new rolls of parchment paper and having the best substitute always in the kitchen is what attracts people to these mats. Once you’re done baking, simply wash it with soapy water and let it dry. It can withstand temperatures of up to 500 degrees F and it’s made for 13″ x 18″ pans.
Best Silicone Baking Mats as Substitute for Parchment Paper
If I’ve made you interested in silicone baking mats, let’s see which are some of the best silicone baking mats that can be used for years to come.
There are many on the market but some can emit unpleasant odors or they can’t withstand very high temperatures.
That translates into the fact that I decided to only recommend one best silicone baking mat. You might find others that work for you but this suggestion is what works for me.
My second recommendation is actually a bit different but I thought it would be fun to include it here.
Silpat Premium Non-Stick Silicon Baking Mat
The Silpat silicon baking mat is one of the most expensive best silicone baking mats but it’s also truly great.
There won’t be any greasing needed no mater what you’re baking or roasting. Once you’re done with it, just rinse it with soapy water and let it dry.
You can then store it by laying it flat or rolling it.
Its main attribute, besides the very good quality, is the fact that it can withstand temperatures of up to 500 degrees F. You will not find many that are capable of withstanding such high temperatures, most are only good for up to 450 degrees.
It also withstands freezing temperatures, it covers the whole wide range.
The price is pretty high and you only get one mat but this one has the potential to last for many years to come, saving you the expenditure on parchment paper.
It’s made for 13″ x 18″ pans and the mat measures 11-5/8″ x 16-1/2″. It also seems that Silpat is the original non-stick baking mat, it’s no wonder why the name is so easily recognizable by some.
These are products made in France. And the manufacturer assures us that their mats are made with fiberglass mesh and the highest quality food grade silicone.
They also have the Silpat Perfect Pastry Non-Stick Silicone Countertop Workstation Mat. It’s a mat with measurement inscribed on it, used for making dough and rolling it just the right needed size. This type of non-stick silicone mat cannot be used in the oven, just for kneading the dough and rolling it.
Where to Buy?
Gucuji 4Pcs 10 inch Non stick Silicone Steamer Liners
These are made for steaming Asian foods, like dumplings, and can be used to line bamboo steamers.
They’re not exactly silicone baking mats but silicone steamer liners so, they don’t fit exactly fit into this category but I found them interesting and if you want non-stick silicone round liners for steaming buns, dumplings, these work perfectly.
For a pretty affordable price you get 4 pieces, which makes this quite the nice set to have around if you use bamboo steamers often. They withstand temperatures of up to 220℃ (approx. 420F).
Parchment Paper Substitutes for Baking Stones
You must keep in mind that you can’t use oil or butter on a baking stone.
It’s best to sprinkle either flour or cornmeal.
Although, the parchment paper has one major advantage: there’s no cleaning to be done afterwards.
But at least cornmeal works very well to prevent loaves or pizza from sticking to the baking stone. And if you don’t have any cornmeal, flour will work just as well.
I just love using parchment paper because it’s easy, quick, and there’s no cleaning to be done afterwards. No dishes to wash or scrub, that’s the beauty of it.
Its non-stick quality and the ease of use make it an absolute must-have in the kitchen. It is coated with silicon in order to confer it its non-stick heat-resistant qualities.
Can parchment paper go in the oven?
The fact that parchment paper can go in the oven and it’s non-stick ability are two of the most important features for this wonderful kitchen essential. Unlike wax paper, it won’t burn in the oven due to its silicone coating. It’s designed to be oven safe.
Moreover, there is also a cookbook called the The Parchment Paper Cookbook by Brette Sember where all the recipes are actually cooked in parchment paper packets. It’s an absolutely interesting idea and it can save us from washing many dishes. It’s the clearest example that parchment paper can not only go in the oven but can totally replace cookware and bakeware.
The fact that it has so many purposes is what makes it great but, as you saw, there are plenty of substitutes for parchment paper. From all those replacements that I have suggested above, I’m sure that you’ll find one for all the situations that you find yourself in.
What Not to Use As Parchment Paper Substitutes
I just want to make one thing clear because when we talked about my favorite substitutes I left some options out.
Although paper grocery bags and wax paper can be considered parchment paper substitutes, I strongly advise you against it. Let’s see why is that.
With paper grocery bags the reason is simple: they can catch fire and they don’t have any nonstick property. They’re simply a bad idea.
Wax paper gets its name because it has wax on it and it should not be used in the oven. This is definitely not a proper parchment paper substitute since it can’t be used in the oven where it can cause smoke but parchment paper is the perfect substitute for wax paper.
Wax paper is suitable for storing food. Both wax paper and parchment paper can be used for freezing.
Wax paper is a cheaper alternative if you’re into the habit of covering countertops with something to prevent making a mess.
Instead of attempting to use wax paper or paper grocery bags, choose greasing-the-pan option instead because you can be 100% sure that nothing will stick to your baking products to ruin them.
Plus, grease of any kind (oil, butter etc.) enhances the flavor and, in the case of breads, it can create a very nice crust.
There’s nothing to lose with grease as a substitute for parchment paper, which also makes it my go-to parchment paper alternative, even though baking mats are extremely nice, too.
FAQs on Substitutes for Parchment Paper
If you’re still not sure about which substitute for parchment paper is best for you, let’s answer some frequently asked questions. It’s a good way to make sure that I haven’t skipped on including all the needed info.
Is it okay to bake without parchment paper?
It’s totally fine as long as you are sure that your tray/pan is non-stick. Most of us use parchment paper when we want to make sure that our baking goods won’t stick to the tray/pan or to the pizza stone. Another reason for using parchment paper is to ensure a very easy cleanup. Basically, no cleanup will be actually needed. An easier removal of the baking good is another reason for using it.
I will admit that it’s not my recommended substitute for parchment paper. If we’re talking about wrapping or freezing or storing foods, then you can use wax paper. But wax paper can’t go near anything hot, especially not in the oven, because it melts. You can also use wax paper when you’re grating cheese or peeling vegetables to prevent making any mess.
Can we use butter paper instead of parchment paper?
The same situation applies to butter paper as it did to wax paper. It’s totally fine to use it if you’re only using it for wrapping or storing foods.
Aluminum foil is heat-resistant so it can definitely go in the oven. However, it’s not non-stick. You’ll have to grease it really well to make sure that it won’t stick to baking goods. Moreover, if you line your baking sheet with aluminum foil, the bottom of your goods will cook faster and the bottom can even burn. It’s why we can use it for crisping up bacon but we don’t use it for baking cookies. In those situations, a silicone baking mat is one of the best substitutes for parchment paper.
Is Parchment Paper Recyclable?
facilities say you can’t recycle parchment paper due to the silicone coating. However, the cardboard box can be recycled as long as you take off the metal teeth that line the edge of the box.
differ by city and state, many facilities have the same advice: Throw parchment paper in the trash, not the recycling bin. To learn how to correctly dispose of parchment paper in accordance with your town’s regulations, you’ll want to check in with local facilities. Some may tell you to just throw it in the trash, but others may have alternative options.
Napa Recycling & Waste Services
accepts parchment paper in a curbside composting bin that can be picked up. For wax paper, it’s recommended to use a petroleum-free wax paper alternative. You can look for wax paper that uses soy wax—a
renewable sourceparaffin wax
. However, wax paper isn’t heat resistant like parchment paper, so this isn’t a swap that can replace parchment paper.
Even still, if your local recycling facility prefers you to throw parchment paper or wax paper in the trash, that product is getting sent to the landfill. And research shows that
nearly five pounds of trash
per person are discarded every day in the U.S.—roughly 1,800 pounds per American each year. Plus,
about 62% of waste
discarded by American homes and businesses ended up in landfills or in incinerators.
However, there’s an alternative solution that helps curb kitchen waste: a reusable baking mat.
7 Substitutes for Parchment Paper
There are plenty of substitutes for parchment paper. I must say that using parchment paper is still my favorite but the alternatives are really good, too.
There are actually 7 parchment paper substitutes, you’ll be able to find a replacement easily enough.
Greasing the baking surface remains my favorite substitute for parchment paper. It works every time for most baking surfaces and tools.
Even so, you should know about all these substitutes for parchment paper for situations where you can’t grease the baking surface. One exception to that that comes to my mind are pizza stones.
Or when you want a substitute that can be used over and over again for years to come without the inconvenience of replacing it.
Any type of oil works. I prefer olive oil because that’s my favorite to add when making bread dough and for cooking in general but whatever type you have or like works.
Grease the bottom of the baking sheet or loaf pan or Dutch oven and you’re good to bake delicious breads or roast vegetables and so on.
Coconut oil works better as a substitute for parchment paper when you’re making desserts. That’s in case you don’t want to use butter.
Just don’t use oil on a baking stone.
It’s the same as using oil only for spreading the oil you have to use your fingers or a paper towel. The cooking spray with its mist quality is very easy to use.
Cooking spray, oil and parchment paper can be used interchangeably in most cases.
However, there are exceptions, like don’t spray a baking stone with cooking spray. On a backing stone, you should just use parchment paper because it will keep your baking stone clean. It will save you a lot of work.
You can also use flour or cornmeal if you don’t have parchment paper but be prepared to do a bit of cleaning afterwards.
Our last option for greasing the pan is using butter. Just like the oil and the cooking spray, it works perfectly and easily as a substitute for parchment paper.
Sprinkling flour works for all kinds of baking goods. When it comes to breads, you can just sprinkle flour on the bottom of the pan and it will be a failproof parchment paper substitute.
The good news is that flour can also be used on a baking stone. It’s either flour or cornmeal.
If you’re using baking molds, first grease the mold by using butter/oil/cooking spray and then sprinkle flour. Move the mold around until the flour sticks to the grease. Then tap the mold gently on the side to release the excess flour.
Works great for breads and pizzas but I don’t always have it in the house. People especially associate cornmeal with making pizza.
It’s definitely not my favorite because, unlike with parchment paper, aluminum foil doesn’t have a non-stick surface.
You still have to grease the aluminum foil to prevent sticking or you can end up with bits of foil stuck to the food, which means that I only use aluminum foil for steaming and not as a parchment paper substitute.
Can you put aluminum foil in the oven?
It’s called aluminum foil so it’s definitely heat-resistant. What you must absolutely pay attention to is that food will absolutely stick to it.
Aluminum foil is heat-resistant but it’s not non-stick. That’s where it’s different. You need to great it really well if you don’t want food sticking to it.
Can you put aluminum foil in a microwave?
Microwave ovens and aluminum foil are not the best of friends. In fact, sparks will pop up if they interact.
The electric fields in a microwave oven can heat up aluminum foil so quickly and so intensely that it heats up. You can also cause damage to your device.
However, the exception is made by aluminum products that are labeled as microwave safe. In those instances, those can be used safely, without any aftereffects.
They work great and are reusable, read just below to discover what exactly silicone baking mats are and if they’re worth buying.
Let’s talk a bit about the fact that I left out silicone baking mats as my last option when it comes to substitutes for parchment paper.
Why is that?
It’s actually very simple: not everyone owns silicone baking mats. And many people aren’t even aware that these kind of nonstick mats that are also heat resistant even exist.
So, silicone baking mats are nonstick surfaces that can withstand high temperatures. They are a great substitute for parchment paper.
High quality silicone baking mats can withstand temperatures as high as 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) or even up to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C). It varies from model to model so, make sure to check out the maximum temperature that the mat works for.
They are non-stick so you don’t need to grease the mats.
You can actually put a baking mat directly on the oven rack but it will be a trick in getting a good stability, it depends what you’re actually baking on it. Placing them on a baking sheet is the safer way to do it.
Which is the biggest advantage of silicone baking mats?
That you only pay for them once and get to use them for years to come. You just simply wash the mats with warm soapy water and they’re good to be used again.
The price can be a bit high but the fact that you don’t throw them away after a single or multiple uses, makes up for it.
A sheet of parchment paper can only be used once or, I guess you can use the same sheet of parchment paper a few times when it comes to baking breads or some pastries.
Even so, parchment paper is a consumable, which can get a bit pricey, and that it’s main disadvantage for parchment paper. One that silicone baking mats definitely don’t suffer from.
Which is the biggest disadvantage for silicone baking mats?
That they can only be used on baking sheets.
Parchment paper can be used absolutely everywhere, it’s not constricted only to flat baking surfaces and it can be easily cut to fit absolutely everywhere, it molds to every surface, no matter its shape.
It works on baking stones, loaf pans, baking sheets, Dutch ovens, and the list can go on to include all baking surfaces. It’s not restricted to any material, shape or form.