There are plenty of alternatives to parchment paper for cake pans, whether you’re out of stock or looking for an environmentally friendly solution.
There are several ways to prepare cake pans or baking sheets without using parchment paper. All these prevent cake and dessert batters from sticking to the pan. Here are five foolproof methods!
5 Baking Paper Substitutes
If you tend to run out of parchment paper, try silicone baking mats, so they are always available. They are more environmentally friendly and incredibly convenient.
They are flexible, durable and easy to clean. Silicone baking mats are also dishwasher safe which means cleanup is a breeze.
I use the half-sheet size by Silpat very often when making vegan chocolate chip cookies but they are also useful for sheet cakes or Swiss roll cakes.
They don’t transfer weird flavors and are available in different sizes.
To use a baking mat, simply place it on the bottom of the sheet pan. Pour the batter right on top, spread evenly and bake.
Once the cake is made, it will slide right out. It’s mess-free and relatively easy, as long as the baking mat fits your pan well.
Baking mats can be a little pricey, so they are definitely an investment.
However, the investment may be worthwhile for avid bakers. There may be cost savings relatively quickly depending on how long it takes you to go through every roll of parchment paper!
Go for the original Silpat brand or another high-end brand, rather than a knockoff.
The knockoffs available at extremely low prices are not as well-made and may transfer off-flavors into foods.
Image courtesy of JodiJacobson via Canva.com
Baking sprays are a quick and easy way to apply an even layer of oil to cake pans without a brush or using your hands.
They contain additional ingredients along with oil to help form a nonstick coating. This allows cakes to slide right out of the pan without sticking.
There are a number of brands available on the market. They can be pretty expensive, particularly if baking cakes are not a regular part of your routine.
Most are already vegan; however, you should read the label to be sure.
To use, spray generously onto every side and crevice of the cake pan. Any bald spots will cause the cake to stick!
Greasing and Flouring
This is a classic alternative to parchment paper. When done correctly, greasing and flouring work well.
Use oil, vegan shortening or vegan butter. Generously apply it onto the cake pan with a pastry brush, paper towel, or your fingers.
Add a tablespoon or two of flour to the cake pan for a white or vanilla cake. For a chocolate cake, add cocoa powder to the pan instead.
Gently shake the flour or cocoa powder to stick to the greased pan. It should coat the bottom and the sides of the pan.
Remove any excess flour or cocoa powder. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake as directed.
Image courtesy of DebbiSmirnoff via Canva.com
Aluminum foil works well as an alternative to parchment paper but it’s best suited for thicker batters such as brownies or bars.
Cakes made with thinner batters may be challenging to remove from the foil.
Foil isn’t non-stick but can still be a good choice if all other options are unavailable. Make sure you grease it generously to prevent brownies from sticking.
Start by measuring and cutting off a rectangular piece to cover the bottom and sides of the width of the pan. Place in the pan and press into shape.
Next cut a piece large enough for the length of the pan. Press and shape in the pan.
If you’re using a small square cake pan, turn it upside down and mold the foil over the bottom. Remove and fit the mold into the pan.
Add your batter and bake as directed.
Homemade Cake Pan Release
You can make a vegan cake pan release with ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen.
I use it very often for layer cakes but it’s also perfect for bundt cake pans with many nooks and crannies.
This combination of oil and flour in the mixture provides a nonstick coating without imparting any flavors onto your cake.
It’s easy to make and it works! Check out the recipe below:
- , or an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend
- vegan butter or margarine (not unsalted),
- Add the margarine or shortening and flour to a bowl. Mix until combined1/2 cup (112 g) vegan butter or margarine (not unsalted) ,1/2 cup (60 g) all-purpose flour
- Gradually stir in the oil and mix to a smooth paste. 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
- Use a pastry brush to generously apply the mixture to every square inch of the cake pan. Use two coats to ensure the cake does not stick.
- Use the stick version of vegan butter and not the spreadable kind. Spreadable margarine has a higher water content which can make the pan grease too runny.
- If you’re using gluten-free flour, ensure the blend is made without nuts as they can burn easily while baking.
- You may add more flour, if needed, to thicken the mixture made with margarine.
- Soften the vegan butter to room temperature for easier mixing.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.It may be stored for a few months longer if you used shortening which has little to no moisture compared to margarine.
- If the mixture separates at any point while using, simply give it a stir before returning it to the fridge.
- If it’s too cold and thick to spread, bring it to room temperature.
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Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Vegan cake recipes to try
Like most people, you probably have a few rolls of parchment paper lying around your house. But do you know which side of parchment paper goes up?
If not, don’t worry – we’re here to help.
In this blog post, we will discuss the proper way to use parchment paper and explain why it’s important to get it right.
The silicone side should always be facing up. If the silicone side is facing down, it will stick to the pan, and the food will not release easily.
Parchment paper is coated with a thin layer of silicone, which gives it a nonstick surface. It is also heat resistant and can be used in the oven.
When using parchment paper, knowing which side to put up is important. Parchment paper can be reused several times before it needs to be replaced.
Is There A Right Way To Use Parchment Paper?
Well, it depends on what you’re using the parchment paper for. If you’re baking cookies or another food item that is likely to stick, spraying it with oil can help prevent sticking.
However, if you’re using parchment paper for something that isn’t likely to stick, such as roasting vegetables, then there’s no need to bother with the oil.
In general, parchment paper is a convenient and versatile kitchen tool. Whether you’re using it for baking, roasting, or even just lining a baking sheet, it can help to make your life easier.
Is Parchment Paper Wax On One Side?
Many people believe that parchment paper is coated with wax on one side. However, this is not the case. Parchment paper is made from a type of asbestos fiber treated with chemicals.
The treated fibers are then coated with a nonstick substance, such as silicone or Teflon.
This coating helps to prevent food from sticking to the paper and makes it easy to release baked goods.
Bleached vs Unbleached Parchment Paper
Regarding parchment paper, there are two main types: bleached and unbleached.
As the name suggests, bleached parchment paper has been treated with chemicals to make it white. This parchment is typically used for light-colored baked goods, giving them a bright, clean appearance.
Unbleached parchment paper, on the other hand, has a creamy color and is made without harsh chemicals.
This type of parchment is often used for dark-colored baked goods, as it helps them to retain their rich color.
In terms of performance, bleached and unbleached parchment paper work well for tasks like lining baking sheets and rolling dough.
However, some bakers prefer unbleached parchment paper because they believe it produces a tastier end product.
Ultimately, deciding which type of parchment paper to use is a matter of personal preference.
Read: Can You Use Parchment Paper In A Dehydrator?
Is Parchment Paper The Same As Wax Paper?
No. Parchment paper and wax paper are both widely used in the kitchen but are different products.
Parchment paper is made from a type of heavy-duty paper that is treated with an acid to make it nonstick.
On the other hand, wax paper is coated with a thin layer of wax. This gives it a slightly greasy feel and makes it better suited for tasks like wrapping food.
When it comes to baking, parchment paper is the preferred choice. The heat-resistant material helps to prevent sticking and makes cleanup a breeze.
On the other hand, wax paper can melt in the oven, making it a less-than-ideal choice for baked goods. So, while parchment and wax paper have their uses, they are not interchangeable. But can you also use parchment paper on the grill?
One-Sided vs Two-Sided Parchment Paper
However, more than one-sided parchment paper is needed for tasks that require maximum heat transfer, such as broiling.
On the other hand, two-sided parchment paper is better for tasks requiring maximum heat transfer. The coatings on both sides help to conduct heat more efficiently, making it ideal for tasks like broiling.
However, two-sided parchment paper is only sometimes necessary – in many cases, one-sided parchment paper will work just fine.
Can parchment paper go in the air fryer?
Yes. Parchment paper can go in the air fryer. It will help keep the food from sticking to the basket and make cleaning easier. But can parchment paper also be used in a toaster oven?
Can parchment paper go in the freezer?
Yes, parchment paper can go in the freezer. Frozen things on parchment paper is a good idea because it prevents sticking and makes for easy cleanup.
When you are finished freezing the food, peel off the parchment paper and discard it.
How do you fold parchment paper for directional flow?
There are a few ways to fold parchment paper for directional flow. One way is to make an “X” with the help of scissors. Another way is to make accordion-style folds, then twist the folded paper into a cone- or tulip-like shape.
Whichever folding method you choose, be sure that the open end of your cone or tulip is pointing in the direction you want the oil or sauce to flow. Find out if you can use parchment paper in the microwave here.
In conclusion, there is a right and wrong side to parchment paper.
The shiny side should always be facing up when baking because it creates a better seal and results in a more consistent bake. If you use the dull side of the parchment, your food may stick or burn easier.
Now that you know which side of parchment paper goes up put it to good use the next time you bake.
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If you are wondering do you have to grease parchment paper when baking a cake, the answer is no. Parchment paper is already treated with a silicone coating that prevents it from sticking to things. That’s why bakers often use it line cake pans and baking sheets. It also helps to prevent scorching and makes cleanup much easier.
So if you’re making a cake, there’s no need to grease the parchment paper. Just make sure to line your pan with it and you’ll be good to go. Happy baking!
What Is Parchment Paper?
Parchment paper is a type of paper that is treated with a silicone coating. This coating prevents the paper from sticking to things, which makes it ideal for baking and cooking. Parchment paper is available in both bleached and unbleached varieties.
Parchment paper can be used in a variety of ways, but it is most commonly used for lining baking pans and sheets. This prevents the food from sticking to the pan and makes cleanup much easier. Parchment paper can also be used to prevent scorching and to make rolled out dough easier to work with.
When using parchment paper, it is important to note that it should not come in direct contact with food that is very hot. Parchment paper has a low smoking point and can catch on fire if it comes in direct contact with a flame or high heat.
No, you do not need to grease parchment paper. The silicone coating that is applied to the paper prevents it from sticking to things, so there is no need to add any additional grease or oil.
Do You Spray Parchment Paper?
No, you do not need to spray parchment paper.
There are a few substitutes you can use if you do not have parchment paper. Here are a few options:
- Wax paper: Wax paper has a similar non-stick surface as parchment paper. However, it is not heat-resistant, so it should not be used in the oven.
- Aluminum foil: You can use aluminum foil to line baking pans and sheets. However, you will need to grease it with butter, margarine, or cooking spray to prevent the food from sticking.
- Silicone baking mats: Silicone baking mats can be used in place of parchment paper. They are non-stick and heat-resistant, making them ideal for baking.
When it comes to baking, parchment paper is a helpful kitchen tool that can make your life much easier. There is no need to grease it, and it can be used in a variety of ways. If you do not have parchment paper, there are a few substitutes that you can use.
How to Line a Baking Sheet With Parchment Paper?
- Preheat your oven to the desired temperature.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit your baking sheet.
- Place the parchment paper on the baking sheet and then put your food on top.
- Bake as usual and enjoy!
- When you’re done, simply remove the parchment paper and discard it.
As you can see, lining a baking sheet with parchment paper is quick and easy. Just make sure to cut the paper to fit your sheet and then bake as usual.
Ways to Use Parchment Paper
- Line baking pans and sheets: As we mentioned, one of the most common uses for parchment paper is to line baking pans and sheets. This prevents sticking and makes cleanup much easier.
- Make rolled out dough easier to work with: If you’re working with rolled out dough, you can place it on a piece of parchment paper. This will prevent it from sticking to your countertop and make it easier to work with.
- Prevent scorching: When cooking things like chicken or fish, you can place them on a piece of parchment paper on your baking sheet. This will help to prevent them from scorching.
- Pack up food for the freezer: Parchment paper is a great way to pack up food for the freezer. Just place the food on the paper, wrap it up, and then place it in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat, simply remove the parchment paper and cook as usual.
Parchment paper is a versatile kitchen tool that can be used in a variety of ways. Next time you’re in the kitchen, reach for a roll of parchment paper and see what you can do with it!
Parchment paper is a versatile tool that can be used in the kitchen and beyond. It is non-stick and heat-resistant, making it ideal for baking. You do not need to grease parchment paper, and it can be used in a variety of ways. If you do not have parchment paper, there are a few substitutes that you can use. When it comes to baking, parchment paper is a helpful kitchen tool that can make your life much easier.
When you start cooking, a question might come into your head, do I need to grease my parchment paper for baking? Many people don’t know and they sometimes use grease on their parchment paper. But do you really need grease? Let’s find it out.
When you first start cooking, you may wonder, “Do I need to grease my parchment paper for baking?” Many people are unsure, and they occasionally use grease on their parchment paper. But do you really need grease? Let’s find it out.
Do you need to grease parchment paper? Parchment paper is basically non-stick baking paper. Usually, there’s no need to use grease on parchment paper. You can use parchment paper without any grease or oil on the pan. But it also depends on what you’re cooking.
You can grease the paper to make the surface even smoother, or you can use it as usual without any grease. The surface of parchment paper is coated with silicone, making it slippery (non-sticky). Your baked cookies will easily come off the paper even if no grease is used; they will not stick to it.
Greasing parchment paper can be useful for a variety of tasks. Before laying down the parchment paper, grease the pan or plate. It will prevent your parchment paper from curling or moving around in pan or plate while you pour in dough or mixture.
Greasing the pan, on the other hand, can be a chore at times. If you bake with grease, cleaning the pan will be more difficult, requiring more time and effort on your part. Grease parchment paper when baking a cake
If you want your cake to come out perfectly from the pan, cut the parchment to fit the size of your pan and line the bottom with it. You can do some extra work like using both grease & flour, or making sure you spread the oil spray evenly. It will make your cake easier to remove and, hopefully, in one piece.
Do you spray parchment paper? When using parchment paper, there is no need to spray your bakeware with nonstick spray. It is silicon-coated and prevents food from sticking to bakeware. However, there are times when you can use it to your advantage. For example, the spray will help hold parchment paper in place.
You don’t need to use any cooking spray if you’re using parchment paper. It will aid in the cleaning of your bakeware. There will be no grease on your pans or baking sheets if you do not use cooking spray. As a result, cleaning them will be easier.
The parchment paper will adhere to the pan more gently if you use nonstick spray on it. It will keep the paper from moving around inside the pan. And it will keep the batter from leaking between the paper and the pan when you pour it. This isn’t required, but you can use it for added benefits if you want.
Please let me know if you grease or spray your parchment paper, and if you have any suggestions or questions in the comments section below.
Line your pan with parchment and your cake will love you for it. Here’s how to line loaf and cake pans with parchment paper for worry-free release of cakes and breads, every time.
Lining a cake pan with parchment paper isn’t strictly necessary for every cake recipe. But when I make a cake, it’s usually a special occasion for family or friends. I already feel the pressure to wow the crowd with a nicely decorated cake. I definitely don’t need the added stress of cake layers sticking to the pan and tearing before I even get to the frosting.
A habit I brought home from working in a bakery is always lining my cake pans, even when a recipe doesn’t expressly call for it. Lining your cake pans provides some stress-reducing confidence: the cake layers come out of the pan cleanly every time. And for loaf cakes, you can even use the parchment as a convenient handle to lift the cake out easily.
Why Should You Line Cake Pans with Parchment Paper?
In addition to greasing cake pans with butter and flour or non-stick baking spray, parchment paper ensures your cake layers will release easily. Sometimes, even when you grease the pan, cakes stick anyway. For many cakes, it’s almost essential to line the pans, especially with carrot cakes or delicate cakes. Cakes can also stick when left to cool in the pan too long. If you tend to forget about your cake while it’s cooling in the pan, parchment paper can eliminate that problem too.
In addition to its non-stick properties, parchment paper contributes a few extra benefits to cake baking. Parchment paper adds just enough insulation on the bottom of the pan to slow down the Maillard reaction, the chemical reaction responsible for caramelization and browning. Cakes baked without parchment often have a darker, harder, and thicker crust, but baking with parchment produces softer, more tender cakes. Parchment also prevents you from scratching up your pan when trying to free a stuck-on cake and makes cleanup a breeze.
Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm
The Best Paper for Lining Pans
Make sure the paper you’re using is parchment paper. It may also be labeled kitchen parchment paper or parchment baking paper. But one thing is for sure, wax paper will not work. The wax could melt or worse, ignite. And aluminum foil doesn’t have the non-stick coating or the insulation benefits that parchment paper does, so it’s best left for other roasting and baking projects.
Pre-cut rounds of parchment paper are the most convenient way to line cake pans. But that added convenience comes with a higher price, and they’re typically only stocked in specialty stores or online. Storage can become a problem as well if you often bake various sizes of cakes.
Parchment paper is easily sourced in the grocery store, and most home cooks already have a roll in their kitchen. Cutting your own rounds of parchment not only saves you money but also ensures you have the right size round no matter how big of a cake you’re making.
How to Line a Round Cake Pan
- Grease the pan.
Cut or tear off a piece of parchment paper slightly larger than your cake pan.
Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm
- Fold the piece of parchment in half, then in half again to make a square.
Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm
- Fold the square of parchment in half diagonally to make a triangle. Then, fold the triangle in half to make a narrower triangle.
Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm
- Simply Recipes / Mark BeahmSimply Recipes / Mark Beahm
Once unfolded, you should have a round of parchment that fits perfectly in the bottom of the cake pan. If it’s not quite perfect you can trim the edges a bit.
Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm
How to Line a Loaf Pan
My favorite method for lining a loaf pan creates a sling that not only prevents the cake from sticking to the pan but also creates handles to help you lift out the baked loaf.
- Grease the pan.
- Press the parchment into the bottom of the pan and up the long sides of the greased pan so that there’s an equal amount of overhang on each side. Crease the corners so the paper lies flat along the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Depending on the width of your parchment paper, you may want to trim the edges. I like to leave an inch or two of overhang so I can use them as handles to lift the loaf out after baking.
Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm
Get Out Your Parchment and Bake Away!
No kitchen is complete without an arsenal of papers such as parchment paper, wax paper and aluminum foil, which each come in handy for a variety of applications in cooking and baking. If you’ve ever tried to swap one for the other and ended up with inedible results (wax paper for parchment for baking chocolate chip cookies? Never again.) it’s time to get schooled on exactly when to use each type of paper.
Of course, while these three types of paper often seem like essentials, they aren’t eco-friendly. If you’re aiming for greater sustainability in your home kitchen, you can invest in a few silicone baking mats, which can replace parchment paper, wax paper, and foil in many different uses. (Plus, you can throw them in your dishwasher!) Read on for expert recommendations on exactly when to use parchment, wax paper, and foil in baking and cooking—including a few tips you probably haven’t thought of—and equally as important, where not to use each of the three.
Best Uses for Parchment Paper
When it comes to baking, a roll of parchment paper is one of the most versatile tools you can have in your kitchen. Not only is it non-stick, it’s also heat resistant (up to a point), resulting in perfect texture for all your favorite baked goods. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper to ensure your cookies cook evenly and the bottoms don’t get too brown, or place a piece inside your square or round pans for brownies and cakes that will pop out easily after they’re baked, says Kristen Tomlan, founder and CEO of DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections. (A pro tip when using parchment for baking: Spritz your pan with nonstick spray before laying the parchment down, which will help prevent it from rolling up.)
In cooking, parchment comes in handy for making easy, healthy dinners in the form of individual packets (like these can’t-miss parchment packet dinners). This is a method used by the French known as “en papillote.” For instance, you can use parchment to wrap a fish filet with herbs, lemon slices and chopped vegetables, then slide it into a hot oven. “This allows for a hybrid of baking and steaming, keeping moisture and flavor concentrated in the fish without having to use oil or butter,” says Jessica Rothacker, owner and head chef at Heirloom Café in Athens, Georgia.
Another surprising use for parchment paper? It works beautifully in helping to keep your kitchen clean as you bake and cook, says Tomlan. Simply add a small piece to the top of your kitchen scale, panini press, waffle maker, or any other kitchen gadget to avoid scrubbing that innards of that item later.
When Not to Use Parchment Paper
Parchment paper is not designed for high-heat cooking. Avoid using it in your oven or on the grill if temperature will exceed 400 degrees, says Michelle Weaver, chef at Charleston Grill in South Carolina, as there’s a chance it could catch fire.
Best Uses for Wax Paper
Working on a messy project, such as decorating cookies (especially with kids)? Put down a few sheets of wax paper to cover your table or countertop, says Weaver. That way, when you’re done, you can roll up any excess and simply toss it. This comes in handy particularly if you’re decorating with sprinkles! You can do the same thing when rolling out cookie dough or bread dough to avoid covering your countertop in flour and dough, says Rothacker. Wax paper is also an ideal surface when you’re dipping something in chocolate, like strawberries or pretzels, and need a place for the chocolate to harden before you remove it, says Tomlan.
Packing a picnic? Wrap individual sandwiches in wax paper instead of plastic wrap or plastic bags, says Weaver. Not only will it look adorable, especially if you tie it with a pretty string, it will protect your sandwich from getting soggy (and you can save the piece to wipe off and reuse later, too!).
Outside the kitchen, wax paper has a magical way of helping things glide more easily—think loosening a stuck zipper or making a can opener operate more smoothly. “Just rub it along the edge, and the wax will transfer and help glide things along,” says Tomlan.
When Not to Use Wax Paper
Whatever you do, don’t put it in the oven! While wax paper can be used for many things around the kitchen, getting near any kind of heat is not one of them, says Weaver, as the wax coating will melt off and into your food.
Best Uses for Aluminum Foil
A basic saying to guide your use of papers in the kitchen: “Sweet treats need parchment sheets; grill or broil, go with foil,” says Weaver. Foil conducts and distributes heat, making it able to withstand high temperatures from baking, broiling, roasting, or grilling. For anything above 400 degrees, use foil.
Similar to parchment, aluminum works well for individual foil packs for dinner, but since it’s more heat resistant, you can cook a wider variety of items using foil this way, especially on the grill or over an open flame. Rothacker recommends chicken with summer squash, onions, garlic and tomatoes for an Italian meal, or steak with bell peppers, jalapeño, onions and lots of spices to make fajitas. To make them, cut about an 18-inch square of foil; place your items in the middle and tent the foil, pressing the shiny sides flat together; then rolling up the sides toward the center.
Additionally, you can use heavy-duty foil to line large roasting pans or sheet pans for roasting meats or vegetables, making for easy cleanup later. Weaver even lines her oven with a double layer of foil to help keep it clean if something like a juicy fruit pie drips.
Aluminum foil can also be great for food storage. “It molds easily around bowls, food, and tops of containers of all shapes and sizes, ensuring a snug fit to keep out air while locking in smell and freshness,” says Tomlan. She also uses bits of crumpled-up foil to clean cast-iron pans, which helps to remove any extra food bits left behind. (BTW, here’s how to care for your beloved cast-iron skillet.)
When Not to Use Aluminum Foil
While it may seem obvious, make sure you never put anything with foil in the microwave. Even a tiny speck of remaining foil can cause a spark that leads to a fire.
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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.
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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
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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.
Now I have parchment for every situation: rounds for pie plates and cake pans, half sheets and full sheets for baking and roasting pans, and a large roll I trim down to the desired size. I’m always watching baking and cooking shows for innovative uses of parchment, and in the process, I’ve found that other home bakers are just as obsessed as I am.
“I’d say I use parchment 90 percent of the time,” says Jason Goodenough, a veteran New Orleans chef and proprietor of The New Culinarian, a cooking school and private dining business. “I only use silicone for really sticky things like tuilles”—paper-thin wafer cookies that are often rolled and dipped in chocolate. “Sheet trays leave that aluminum dust on things, so I make my cooks use parchment if they’re putting anything on a sheet.”
However, Nancy Pesses, a home baker who started Challah Creations By Nancy during the pandemic, says that silicone liners play a part in her baking.
You can reuse parchment in certain cases, however. More on that in a moment.
Which parchment paper should I use?
At the very least, bakers and cooks should own a box of pre-cut parchment liners called half sheets, which generally measure about 12 inches by 16 inches and fit a conventional cookie sheet. (, in case you’re wondering, measure are 16 inches by 24 inches, and are used for big cakes and by professional chefs.) Some half sheets come folded in two, which makes them easy to split for a half-sized pan. Some are helpfully folded in fourths, useful for small-batch oven tasks.
If you bake cakes or pies, you can use some tricks to fit a regular sheet of parchment in the round cake pan, or you can simply buy made to fit. These come in various sizes ranging from 6 inches in diameter to about 14 inches (the latter are used for those big base layers of wedding cakes).
A conventional roll of parchment, meanwhile, lets you adapt to large and small projects.
Is it worth shelling out for premium parchment paper?
I always smile when I get emails from King Arthur Baking encouraging me to stock up on parchment paper. As parchment goes, the baking brand’s offerings are on the pricey side: $24.95 for a box of 100 half sheets or $19.95 for 50. To be sure, King Arthur’s sheets are made from “professional grade” parchment and have a light silicone coating, making them the Lexus of baking liners. Most high-end parchment is coated with a nonstick surface, which drives up the cost.
I most frequently buy Reynolds parchment sheets in a pop up box, which cost about $13 for 120. Some people prefer to purchase unbleached paper, without any coating, similar to unbleached coffee filters; those are a little more expensive than basic sheets. If you go this route, check to see whether they are advertised as “oil proof.”
Do you need to grease parchment paper?
Parchment is supposed to eliminate the need for cooking spray or butter on your pan. However, there are some truly sticky recipes that might benefit from greasing the parchment paper. I recently made macaroons from a recipe by author Virginia Willis that might have adhered to the paper if I hadn’t greased it first. If you want crispy skin on fish or chicken or a crust on crab cakes, consider giving your parchment a thin coating of oil.
What does parchment paper do in baking?
Parchment paper prevents your recipes from sticking to the pan or burning from the direct heat as they bake, but there’s a secondary benefit to parchment as well. I’m fascinated by the “criss-cross” method that I’ve seen used by British baking icon Mary Berry, and other bakers competing on the Great British Bake Off. Usually deployed in loaf pans, this method involves cutting a strip of parchment long enough that it fits into the bottom of the pan, runs up the walls, and drapes a little over each edge. A second strip of parchment is then laid in the pan perpendicular to that one, draping out over the opposite sides. This four-cornered approach lets you easily lift the finished cake or bread out of the pan for cooling.
For the cake bakers out there, manufacturers are now selling rounds that have lifting tabs on either side.
Can you get multiple uses out of a single sheet of parchment paper?
As I’ve discovered in my baking and roasting adventures, parchment can absolutely be reused. Inspect it after your food comes out of the oven: If cookies/vegetables/etc. come off the sheet cleanly, then simply wipe down the parchment with a barely damp cloth or sponge and let it sit out to dry before using it again.
If the parchment has turned a deep brown or singed black color during the baking process, it’ll likely be too brittle to use again.
When is it better to use aluminum foil instead of parchment paper?
Parchment isn’t perfect, especially in high oven temperatures around 425 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Uncoated parchment in an empty part of a pan can get very crispy. If you are cooking something that will emit a significant amount of fat or liquid, you might be better off with aluminum foil, which is sturdier and can be molded upward to cover the pan edges and prevent seepage.
I cook small pieces of fish on parchment, but for anything larger, I use foil. The same is true if I am roasting chicken or any kind of red meat; the juices are likely to overrun the parchment and give you a messier pan than you might get from foil. Especially if you are aiming for pan drippings, stick with foil.