As you might already know, parchment paper is great for a lot of things, including wrapping sandwiches and even keeping cookies warm. One thing you might also know about parchment paper is that it doesn’t burn very easily. So, is it safe to put parchment paper in the oven?
Parchment paper will not burn in the oven. In high temperatures, parchment paper will not melt or release toxic chemicals. Parchment paper can normally withstand temperatures of up to 500°F in indirect heat, making it great for lining baking sheets when baking bread or pizza.
In this guide, I’ll explain what parchment paper is, its various uses, and common mistakes when using it in the oven.
What Is Parchment Paper?
If you spend enough time in the kitchen, you’ll eventually hear about parchment paper. It’s a type of food-safe paper that’s used in packaging and decorating. It has an ultra-thin coating of silicone, which is naturally nonstick to prevent your foods from adhering to the paper’s surface.
Like tin foil, you can purchase rolls of parchment paper from your local grocery store or restaurant supplies store. You can also get pre-cut sheets of parchment paper in various sizes for wrapping and decorating. Some of the more high-end parchment paper sheets have circles for spacing cookies and macrons during the baking process.
Parchment Paper Uses
Parchment paper is one of the most versatile materials out there. It has over a dozen uses, both in and outside the kitchen, but I’ll explain the various uses of parchment paper when working with foods.
If you want to mess around with dough but don’t want to risk the doughball picking up debris from your kitchen counter, simply tape a sheet of parchment paper on the kitchen counter to create a safe, clean work surface.
Since the surface of parchment paper is impermeable, you don’t have to worry about eggs, oils, or syrups leaking into the paper and ruining it. When you’re done, roll the parchment paper into a ball and toss it away.
For some reason, it’s impossible to pour dry ingredients into a stand mixer’s bowl without getting half of it all over the appliance’s base. Instead of scooping flour and starch into the bowl, create a tiny funnel with a sheet of parchment paper and pour the dry ingredients into the top.
One of the greatest kitchen hacks is turning Ziploc bags into piping bags. But if you don’t have any resealable bags on hand, you can use parchment paper. Simply create a cone by bending the sheet until the opposite corners meet, drop in your piping tip, and get to work. You might also want to tape the seam to prevent your cream from leaking out.
If you want to make sandwiches ahead of time, wrap them in parchment paper and store the sandwiches in your freezer. You can also use parchment paper to separate individual burger patties, cookies, and sticky candy from each other. Also, parchment paper adds a bit of flair to cookie jars!
Lining baking sheets
But perhaps the most popular use of parchment paper is lining baking sheets. The great thing about parchment paper is that you can bend and crease it to create any shape, making it the perfect liner for round cake pans and flat cookie sheets. When you’re done, just toss the disposable paper in the waste basket.
Will Parchment Paper Burn in the Oven?
Since parchment paper can be used to line baking sheets, that means it won’t burn in the oven, right? That is, indeed, correct. So, what temperatures can parchment paper withstand?
The temperature tolerance of parchment paper varies from brand to brand. Some parchment paper rolls can withstand temperatures of up to 420°F, but the majority of them will retain their shape and non-stick surface in ovens of up to 450°F. However, in my testing, I’ve found that some brands, such as Reynold’s, can be used to super-heat loaves of bread at 500°F without burning in the oven.
Can You Use Parchment Paper for Broiling?
The key to getting the most out of parchment paper in the oven is not to expose it to direct heat. Parchment paper will retain its shape and anti-stick surface in extremely hot temperatures as long as it is not placed directly above or underneath an open flame.
Broilers typically reach temperatures of 500°F and beyond. While certain parchment paper brands may be able to withstand that much heat, the flames of a broiler will undoubtedly cause the parchment paper to catch fire. The same principle applies when using parchment paper as a liner for barbecue pits.
White vs. Brown Parchment Paper
If you take a look at parchment paper rolls at your local grocery store, you might find some rolls are white in color, while others are brown.
White parchment paper is bleached, whereas brown parchment paper is unbleached. Bleached parchment paper is treated with chlorine to give it a slightly off-white color. If you want to limit your chemical intake, you should opt for brown parchment paper made from virgin wood pulp.
In terms of baking outcomes, there is no difference between the two. You can use one in the same exact applications as the other, so don’t stress too much about whether or not white or brown parchment paper works best for baking or packaging food.
Is Parchment Paper the Same as Wax Paper?
Even though parchment paper and wax paper can be used in the kitchen, they are not the same.
Wax paper is usually not as expensive as parchment paper. It comes with a paraffin wax coat that, like silicone, is non-stick, making it great for packaging sandwiches and baked goods. You can even turn it into a funnel for transferring syrups and honey from one container to another.
The main difference between wax paper and parchment paper is that wax paper is not oven-safe. Its paraffin wax coating will begin to melt and contaminate your food. Even pouring hot water over wax paper can cause it to shrivel and leak its wax coating.
So, wax paper and parchment paper are interchangeable in many ways, but you should never use wax paper in an oven. To help you understand why imagine what would happen if you placed a candle inside your oven at over 200°F.
Common Parchment Paper Mistakes in the Oven
Although parchment paper is extremely forgiving, that doesn’t mean people don’t make mistakes when using it. Here, I’ll share some of the most common baking mistakes involving parchment paper and how to avoid it.
Using parchment paper under a broiler
Earlier, I explained how parchment paper could not withstand the heat from an open flame, especially in broilers and grills. You can swap out parchment paper with aluminum foil.
Not laying the parchment paper flat
Parchment paper is supposed to be completely flat when lining a cake pan or cookie sheet. That way, the paper will not affect the distribution of heat and cause some parts to heat up quicker than other parts. What you can do is cut a sheet of parchment paper from the roll and lay it down, so the curled sides are pointed downward, assuming both sides of the parchment paper are non-stick.
Laying the parchment paper glossy side down
Some parchment paper brands have two distinct sides. One has a slightly greasy, glossy side and a dull side. Whenever you line a baking sheet with parchment paper, you want the glossy side to face up. The glossiness on parchment paper is the non-stick silicone finish. So, if your cookies or cake stick to the parchment paper, it’s probably because you didn’t use the correct side.