The Ultimate Guide to Using Baking Parchment Paper

If you’ve ever wondered, “Can you put parchment paper in the oven?”, you’re not alone! It’s a very common question. Read on for the answer to it, and many other questions around the topic of baking parchment and how to use it safely.

rolls of parchment paper on a counter with the text "the ultimate guide to Parchment Paper - what, where, & how to use it safely for cooking"

All your Questions about Baking Parchment Paper Answered

Parchment paper has become one of my favorite and most often used kitchen tools. I admit I reach for my roll of it nearly every day.

It has saved me countless hours of messy pan clean up, and saves so much frustration by providing a way to get baked goods out of pans without sticking!

But, the day I had a piece of it burst into flames was the day I started paying attention to the details of the product! It’s absolutely brilliant, but parchment paper needs to be used properly for it to be safe. It’s certainly not indestructable!

What is parchment paper?

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.

It should be noted that there are two types of parchment paper.

One type of parchment paper is a thick paper product made from cotton, flax, or wood and is used to write on. That is NOT the type of parchment paper that should be used for cooking!

Instead, baking parchment paper – which is now sold in rolls or sheets – was invented in the 1800s as an alternative to the parchment that had been previously made with animal skin.

French scientists Jean-André Poumarède and Louis Figuier came up with a chemical treatment process for plant-based paper that kept many of the qualities of parchment.

SOURCE

Parchment paper is made to to be heat, moisture, and grease resistant, and provides a non-stick solution for cooking and baking purposes. It can be used to line cookie sheets and baking pans- enabling the baker to easily remove baked goods from pans, and helps to make clean up easier.

Although parchment paper was developed years ago, many people – including me! – had never heard of parchment paper until the 2000s. I certainly never saw it in my mother’s kitchen when I was growing up.

Mainstream parchment paper as we know it now is thanks to our friends Martha Stewart and other Food Network show hosts and thier demonstration of it on tv shows, cookbooks, and magazines.

Parchment paper is now readily available in almost all local grocery stores and many online sources.

a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper with baked cookies on it
Parchment paper can be used on baking sheets to prevent cookies from sticking and makes for easy clean up.

Can you put parchment paper in the oven?

Yes, you can! The parchment process gives the properties of parchment paper the ability to withstand the heat of baking and oven use. However it is important to keep in mind the following facts so that it can be used safely:

  • Parchment paper is made to withstand an oven temperature up to a certain temperature – usually 450 degrees. If your oven is hotter than that, it may start to scorch around the edges.
  • Make sure the parchment paper isn’t draping over the baking sheet or cake pans and touching the oven rack. If so, it may start to scorch.
  • Do not let the parchment paper touch the element of the oven. If it does, it will burst into flames. I have first hand experience with this. As I was sliding a pan of cookies into the oven to bake, the non-stick parchment paper slid off the pan and went directly on to the bottom element of my electric range. It burst into flames very quickly and then burned itself out just as fast. It scared me good, but all ended well! (And I even was able to save the cookies.;)) – So let my story be a caution to you. Hang on to that paper as you slide your cookies into the oven…

Parchment paper vs wax paper – What is the difference? Which one is better?

I wrote a detailed article answering the question “Can you put wax paper in the oven?” which touches on this answer in great detail.

Wax paper and parchment paper are NOT the same thing.

In short, wax paper isn’t designed to be used in the oven the way baking parchment paper is. Generally, wax paper isn’t used for baking purposes – except if it is used for lining a pan with batter covering it. Wax paper is a great solution to use with cold storage of food.

a baking pan lined with parchment paper
Parchment paper can be used to line the bottom of the pan – and even up the sides of the pan – making it easy to remove whatever is being made- whether it is baked or not.

Can you use parchment paper in an air fryer?

Yes, parchment paper can be used in an air fryer – if caution is used when doing so.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Consult the manual for your specific air fryer for its instructions regarding parchment paper.
  • Check the specifics on your parchment paper box for the suggested temperature limit. Do not use a higher temperature than what is recommended for it. (Most brands of parchment paper can be used up to 425 degrees.)
  • Cut your parchment paper so that it is smaller than your air fryer basket. You don’t want the edges of the paper to be draping over or filling up the space so much that it prevents the air flow of your air fryer. You never want to smother the flow of air and cause it to over heat.
  • Never preheat your air fryer with parchment paper in it. Add parchment paper to your air fryer basket after it is already preheated and the food can weigh it down. Likewise, don’t add parchment paper without anything on top to prevent it from flying up and hitting the element – causing it to burn. If the food you are cooking isn’t heavy enough to weigh down the parchment, do not use it in that instance.

What parchment paper should I use in an air fryer?

As wonderful and convenient air fryers are, the cleanup of a sticky mess left behind isn’t fun!

Being able to line it with parchment paper, then, provides a great solution to that problem.

There are now parchment sheets specifically designed with perforated holes for air fryers. Some are conveniently precut in 8.5 inch squares or 11 inch squares and come in packages of 100 or 200 disposible sheets. They are a convenient option that isn’t overly costly.

If, however, you’d like to use regular parchment paper in your air fryer, you certainly can. You can make your own perforated sheets by cutting baking parchment and punching holes with a hole punch.

Another great alternative to parchment paper for non-stick purposes is perforated silicone mats. They can be reused over and over again. They come in 9 inch round size, 8.5 inch square, and other sizes.

turkey burgers on a grill

Can parchment paper be used on a grill?

No. Parchment paper is designed to be used for temperatures up to 450 degrees – not the higher temperatures of grilling. Putting it on a grill with high temperatures is a fire hazard.

Can parchment paper be used in the microwave?

Yes, it can. Parchment paper is microwave safe.

parchment paper lining a cookie sheet
Cookie dough placed on parchment lined cookie sheets is the method many commercial kitchens and professional bakers use.

Can sheets of parchment paper be used more than once?

Parchment paper is a disposible product. However a piece of parchment paper can be used several times if it is being used for baking cookies or other dry products. It should be changed out when it starts to get stains or starts to become brittle.

If you are looking for a reusable alternative for parchment paper, a great substitute would be silpat silicone baking mats.

Besides baking, what else can parchment paper be used for?

I use parchment paper as a divider between layers of cookies when I freeze them. I also recently discovered when making rolled sugar cookies that rolling the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper is a great solution. It doesn’t stick to the dough and keeps my counters clean!

Where can I purchase parchment paper for baking?

You should be able to find parchment paper in your local grocery stores or even a dollar store. There are also sources for it online. Reynolds kitchens is the most popular brand of parchment paper.

Unbleached parchment paper is the color of a brown paper bag, or parchment paper also comes in a white color. You can purchase it in precut sheets or rolls. Choose what the best choice is for you and your needs. I’ll put links below for amazon for your shopping convenience.

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3 Comments

  1. This is SUCH a helpful article! I always get confused about when to use wax paper when when to use parchment and what can go in the oven! I am actually making bagels today so I really need this! 🙂

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