Parchment paper is non-stick paper coated with silicone or Quilon. Its primary purpose is to keep food from sticking to baking sheets while in the oven. But you can also use it for food preparation and storage and even as an alternative to baking sheets. Parchment paper comes in bleached and unbleached varieties and is sold in a number of ways:
- Rectangular sheets
- Round sheets
The type you choose will depend on your personal preferences as well as what job you’re planning on using it for. Most parchment paper does an excellent job of preventing sticking, whether it’s a premium or store brand, so any parchment paper you can find will do in a pinch. That said, there are a few things to keep in mind when parchment paper shopping to improve your experience:
- Roll cutter quality
Taking all those factors into account, our favorite parchment paper is unbleached parchment paper sheets that are the perfect size for the average baking tray and store flat to prevent creases.
Parchment paper substitutes
Sometimes you’re not able to get to the store before a baking session, and you have to make do with what you have at home. In that case, you might be wondering, “what can I use in place of parchment paper?” Well, you’ve come to the right place! Below, we’ll cover what to use instead of parchment paper depending on what you’re trying to do and the materials you have on hand.
Most kitchens have a roll or two of aluminum foil lying around, so it’s usually people’s first choice when it comes to finding a substitute for parchment paper. “So, can I use foil instead of baking paper?” you might be asking. In general, aluminum foil is an excellent substitute for anything that requires heat. In a bind, you can even use it as a baking sheet alternative, as long as it’s strong enough to hold what you’re baking.
However, foil has a few characteristics that make baking with it a bit different than using parchment paper:
- Foil transfers heat more readily than parchment paper
- Most foil isn’t stick-resistant, so you’ll need to coat it with oil
In terms of non-stick foil vs. parchment paper, parchment paper prevents sticking better. But foil is more versatile since you can use it to wrap food or form pouches as well as lining baking sheets. Overall, aluminum foil is a convenient and effective parchment paper substitute for cookies, pastries, and more.
Wax paper looks and feels very similar to parchment paper, so many people assume that they can be used interchangeably. However, it’s important to know that wax paper, unlike baking paper, isn’t heat-resistant. That means you can’t use it as a substitute for parchment paper in baking cake, cookies, or anything else requiring heat. Wax paper does make an excellent parchment paper alternative in terms of:
- Food preparation: rolling dough, easy cleanup
- Food storage: store cheeses, wrap sandwiches
In short, use wax paper when you need to do anything at room temperature or cooler, but never when using the oven, microwave, or stove. Exposing wax paper to heat can cause it to melt, releasing harmful chemicals, or even catch fire.
A silicone baking mat is a durable baking paper substitute that you can use indefinitely, making them eco-friendly compared to disposable alternatives. These mats line baking trays to reduce mess and sticking without the need for parchment paper or oil.
These mats can withstand temperatures of up to 450℉, so you don’t have to worry when using them in the oven. You can also use a silicone mat to line food preparation surfaces for easy cleanup. As you might expect, silicone baking mats won’t work in place of parchment paper for things like food storage and wrapping.
Flour is an excellent replacement for parchment paper when it comes to food prep, like rolling dough. When making bread or biscuits, sprinkling a little flour on your work surface and your hands beforehand will keep the dough from sticking as you work with it. Flour doesn’t really work to prevent sticking during baking. But for working with sticky doughs, it can’t be beat.
Oil or shortening
Oil is perhaps the most traditional replacement for baking paper during baking. Spraying cooking oil on baking sheets or rubbing shortening into baking pans can help with sticking, but there are a couple of drawbacks:
- Using oil adds unnecessary fat, calories, and cholesterol to your baked goods
- Oil can make the cleanup process more difficult
Oil and shortening aren’t our favorite substitutes, but they’ll work if you don’t have any of the other suggestions listed.
So what’s the best alternative to parchment paper? Each suggestion on this list can be a great option depending on the use but the most versatile option has to be aluminum foil. It’s inexpensive, convenient, and you can use it for baking, easy cleanup, and food storage. As such, it’s the best parchment paper substitute overall. However, if you want a long-term substitute for baking only, a durable silicone mat is well worth the investment.
We get asked a lot of questions about parchment paper and its alternatives. Below are some of the most common questions people have.
Is parchment paper the same as baking Paper?
Yes – parchment paper and baking paper are the same thing. The term ‘parchment paper’ is more common in the US, while the UK favors the term ‘baking paper.’
What is the difference between bleached and unbleached parchment paper?
Bleached parchment paper is treated with chlorine to turn it white, while unbleached parchment paper is unbleached and completely chlorine-free.
What is the difference between parchment paper and wax paper?
Parchment paper is treated with heat-resistant silicone or Quilon, so it’s safe to use in the oven. On the other hand, Wax paper is treated with wax, which will melt or catch fire when exposed to heat.
What is the melting point of wax paper?
Depending on the brand and the chemicals they use, the melting point of wax paper will vary. A general rule of thumb is that it’s unsafe to use wax paper in temperatures above 130℉.