While many of us are familiar with using parchment paper in the oven, what many of us would like to know is can parchment paper go in the microwave? With so many types of parchment paper and cooking papers in general out there, we’ll be doing much more than just answering this question.
By the end of this article, you’ll know all about the many types of parchment papers out there. Then, you’ll know what is microwave-safe and what is best for you!
Can parchment paper go in the microwave?
It largely depends on the types of parchment paper in question. In a nutshell, parchment paper that is covered in silicone coating is absolutely not microwave-safe and can cause a hazard due to melting or even burning.
On the other hand, uncoated parchment paper made from natural ingredients and materials is safe for microwave use. However, you have to be sure to ensure a microwave-safe label is present.
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What is parchment paper?
Parchment paper is a special type of paper made from running sheets of paper pulp through sulfuric acid or zinc chloride (1). The result is a combined material made of cellulose fibers that are highly dense, stable, heat-resistant, grease-resistant, and water-resistant.
In addition, parchment paper is free of loose fibers and has low surface energy, giving it a nonstick surface that is great for use in cooking.
For this reason, parchment paper is often called “baking paper” for its great compatibility with oven-related tasks such as baking cookies or cakes. Grease-proof nonstick surface and its incredible heat-resistant properties can withstand temperatures up to 428 degrees Fahrenheit.
As such, you can bake things like pizza, cheese pastries, or crispy chicken without worrying about dirtying or damaging your pots, pans, and baking trays.
Safe practices for using parchment paper
Fortunately, many types of parchment paper are free of silicone coating. These are microwave safe. Regardless of whether you use parchment paper in a conventional oven or a microwave oven, there are a few safety practices you should abide by to minimize the chance of a hazard occurring.
The following safety tips will guide you using parchment paper in the microwave. They are designed to avoid risking any damage to your dishware, microwave, and, most importantly, to yourself!
1. Avoid silicone-coated parchment paper
This is the most basic rule of microwaving parchment paper. The greatest of care must be used to ensure you do not use silicone-coated paper. The number one factor that will make parchment paper catch fire is using silicone-coated paper in the microwave.
Sometimes, it is not enough to avoid parchment paper with silicone coating. So, I would advise you to use parchment papers with a microwave-safe label to ensure it is completely safe.
2. Do not use aluminum foil with parchment paper
As mentioned, using parchment paper that is microwave safe is not enough to avoid the possibility of it catching fire. After all, paper is paper! Thus, you should avoid metallic materials used in the microwave such as aluminum foil, especially in combination with parchment paper.
While some argue that small amounts of aluminum foil is okay for microwave use, when combining it with parchment paper the risk of a fire starting is magnified and should be avoided!
3. Ensure parchment paper is flat
Once you’ve ensured there are no metallic materials accompanying your parchment paper in the microwave, you need to ensure the paper is flattened in position before heating. This is to avoid hot spots on your parchment paper, which could compromise the results of your food.
On that note, you should also avoid wrapping food with parchment paper when cooking in the microwave. The steam generated could cause the paper to bend and warp.
4. Be cautious when removing your food
This may seem like an obvious tip, but it is essential to be careful when removing cooked food from the microwave. This is especially true when parchment paper is involved. Despite the non-stick properties of parchment paper, when used in a microwave this quality may be compromised because of the build-up of steam caused by the microwave.
As such, the paper may stick to your food and can be quite hot, so take extra care when removing the paper from your food upon completion.
5. Closely monitor the situation
As a precaution, you should be on standby when using parchment paper in the microwave just in case you need to make an emergency stop to the cooking. If left unattended, your parchment paper could still catch fire if you put it in for too long or underestimate your microwave’s heating power.
Upon completion, you should remove your items from the microwave without delay. This is to keep it away from an enclosed steaming environment.
Types of cooking papers
There are many types of cooking papers out there. Each is used for a variety of cooking tasks. Such uses include baking, grilling, pan-frying, and microwaving, and many cooking papers have more than one use. It is also important to know that many cooking paper names often overlap, so we’ll be covering that too!
Parchment paper is often known as baking paper, particularly in the USA, but is also known as vegetable parchment for its plant-based materials (2). This type of cooking paper is multi-purpose in nature. It can be used for several applications, such as baking pastries, cooking food, and even in boiling water.
The benefit of parchment paper is its non-stick surface, which eliminates the need for seasoning oils and makes cleanup easy. It also ensures flawless results with your recipes!
This type of paper is unsafe for oven or microwave use, as it has no heat-resistant properties like parchment paper. However, it has water-resistant and non-stick properties, making it ideal for lining countertops for pre-baked goods. In addition, this is great for kneading dough or preparing pastries.
In truth, parchment paper can be used for many of the tasks you would use wax paper for, though the reverse in not true, making wax paper a somewhat outdated paper product.
Related: Can Wax Paper Go in the Microwave?
This type of paper is often referred to as sandwich paper and, as its various names suggest, is ideal for wrapping butters and sandwiches. However, this type of paper should not be used in oven baking or microwaving as it does not contain any non-stick properties.
On a positive note, butter paper is grease-proof and free of toxic chemicals just like parchment paper. So, it works well in wrapping fatty foods for storage in the fridge or pantry.
Related: Can You Microwave Cardboard
Bleached vs unbleached parchment paper
If you’ve ever wondered why we have brown and white parchment paper, it’s because some are bleached and some are unbleached. As a general rule, bleached parchment paper is white, while unbleached parchment paper is brown.
This color difference is because bleached parchment paper is treated with chlorine, while unbleached parchment paper is untreated and chlorine-free.
From a cooking standpoint, both bleached paper and unbleached paper are equal in their capabilities and are completely interchangeable. However, remember that unbleached parchment paper is free of chemicals and comprises only natural ingredients.
While studies have shown no harm in using bleached parchment paper, many choose unbleached paper for peace of mind. This is regarding themselves and the environment.
Related: Can You Put Plastic In The Microwave and Can You Put A Plastic Bag In The Microwave
Which parchment paper is best for you?
After reading this article, you’ve likely concluded that wax paper or butter paper is not quite what you’re after. Particularly if you intend to use your cooking paper in the microwave. The high temperatures of the microwave and oven call for heat-resistant paper products, and only parchment paper is microwave safe.
Of course, you will need to avoid silicone-coated parchment paper and adhere to the safety practices listed above to avoid dangers such as an open flame occurring.
My personal recommendation for you is to go with unbleached parchment paper for optimal use with microwaves and ovens. You can use it as a baking sheet for cakes, cookies, and pastries, defrost food, or cook fatty foods while protecting your cookware.
This chemical-free, eco-friendly parchment paper is safe for cooking food on the stove, in the oven, and in the microwave.
Can parchment paper go in the microwave FAQ
Is it safe to put parchment paper in microwave?
Putting parchment paper in the microwave is safe, provided no silicone coating is present in the product. To ensure this is the case, read the product descriptions, and as an extra precaution, you should look for a microwave-safe label.
Is Reynolds parchment paper microwave safe?
Yes, Reynolds advises that their parchment paper is safe to use in the microwave as its nonstick surface and chemical-free thin layer is able to withstand high temperatures. Ideal for reheating leftovers, the Reynolds parchment paper can take on high heat and microwave radiation without burning or catching fire, making it safe for the whole family.
How long can you microwave parchment paper?
Parchment paper can be used in the microwave for a maximum of two minutes before it reaches the danger zone, that is, the temperature at which it ignites. Contrastingly, parchment paper can last for several hours in the oven without a problem.
Will parchment paper catch on fire in the microwave?
The paper should not catch fire as long as you only microwave parchment paper designed for microwave use. This is provided you follow the general safe practices involved too. Ensure that your parchment paper does not contain any silicone. This is the most dangerous type of paper to use in the microwave and will certainly catch fire.
Is parchment paper the same as baking paper
Yes, parchment paper is essentially the same as baking paper. The two terms are often used interchangeably. Both terms refer to grease-proof paper used for baking and cooking via microwaves and ovens.