Substitutes for Parchment Paper: Recommended Alternatives

Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Nadya Spetnitskaya

People often try and find substitutes for parchment paper because it is a disposable product that can’t be recycled due to its coating. This is why we’ll take a look at some parchment paper alternatives.

Let’s set the record straight: parchment paper, while made out of paper, is not recyclable. Why? It’s treated with acid during production to give it high stability and high heat resistance and then coated with silicone. 

According to the manufacturers, you can use baking paper between two and six times. This depends on quality, how long it’s in the oven, and at what temperature. Long story short: Baking paper is not durable and creates unnecessary waste, which is why we’ll look at substitutes for parchment paper.

If you want to buy classic parchment paper, make sure it’s unbleached, compostable, and FSC-certified. One brand that fits the bill is If You Care Parchment Baking Paper (available on Amazon**).

Replacing Parchment Paper: Possible Alternatives

parchment paper alternative
Clay baking dishes are the original way of cooking and baking. These get seasoned over time with your baking and can last for ages. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - Security )

Of all the parchment paper alternatives, only a few are ecologically sound. Some are very resource-intensive to produce, while others are difficult to recycle. There is no perfect substitute for parchment paper, but these are definitely better alternatives:

  • Grease your baking sheet or tin: this is still and always will be the most environmentally friendly option. You can use butter, coconut oil, rapeseed oil, or any other vegan fats. You can also sprinkle the greased baking tray with breadcrumbs or flour to prevent the food from sticking to it.
  • Use a silicone mat: though silicone isn’t biodegradable and can’t be recycled, you will get many uses out of it. It’s a good parchment paper substitute because it saves hundreds of single-use items from going to the landfill. Be sure to follow instructions to get the longest life you can out of your silicone baking mat (available on Amazon**)
  • Don’t use anything: with certain types of bakeware, you don’t need to do a single thing to prevent food from sticking. Pampered Chef‘s Stoneware collection, for example, uses clay mined in the USA and is made with 100% natural materials. They develop a non-stick coating over time and can be handed down from generation to generation. Find some on Amazon**

Things You Shouldn’t Use as A Substitute for Parchment Paper

  1. Wax Paper is actually a wonderful substitute for parchment paper, depending on what you’re using it for. What you should absolutely never use it for is cooking or baking. Not only could you potentially start a fire in your oven, you could also have wax melt all over your delicious baked goods.
  2. Aluminum Foil is very often used as an emergency solution when we run out of parchment paper. But aluminum foil is an ecological disaster because aluminum ore bauxite is needed for its production. To mine this substance, rainforests are cleared, whole stretches of land are contaminated and a ton of energy is required for the production process.

Ready to get baking? Try some of our wonderful recipes:

This article has been adapted and translated from German by Karen Stankiewicz. You can find the original here: Backpapier-Ersatz: Alternativen fürs Kochen und Backen

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