Now that everyone is cooking and baking more than ever, parchment paper sales are off the charts. While many use parchment paper for baking purposes, there are moments when it becomes extremely necessary but unavailable.
What can you do if your grocery store is running low of it? Other kitchen tools can save the day and maybe even save you some money.
What Is Parchment Paper?
Let’s talk about this first: what is parchment paper and why should you use it?
Also known as baking paper, this cellulose-based paper is non-stick and is often used for baking cookies, or other baked goods, such as muffins and bread. Usually, people cover their baking sheets or pans with parchment paper to prevent the baked product from sticking to it.
Since it is flexible, some people also use it in baking fish, specifically in a dish called “en papillote,” which means the fish is steamed inside the parchment paper, and there is no need to add fats or anything else—this a very healthy method of cooking and often popular in the Mediterranean.
What Can I Replace Parchment Paper With?
If you are low on it or can’t find it anywhere, these are the best substitutes you can use when you have no parchment paper:
#1. Wax Paper
Also coated to be non-stick, this paper, as the name suggests, is covered with wax, usually from soybean or paraffin. Usually, wax paper is reserved for lining tables and rolling pie crusts or bread on it. Wax paper can also be used to divide items in the freezer and prevent them from sticking together.
Keep in mind though that wax paper is not heat resistant, which is why it can only be used in the preparation method, but not in the actual cooking portion. Consider using wax paper in storing cheese, rolling dough, and freezing items. You can buy wax paper in any grocery store, usually by the storage section or baking aisle.
#2. Aluminum Foil
This thin layer of aluminum has unlimited uses, but it can certainly save the day if you run out of parchment paper. The only downside to this alternative is that it is not non-stick, which is why it would need to be coated with an oil or fat of some sort.
Aluminum foil is used to keep leftovers in the fridge or outside, to prevent spills in the oven by catching all the fat or sauce, and even to cook fish and vegetables “en papillote” style.
This option is heat resistant, so feel free to use it in baking or whatever your recipe calls for, but make sure to use oil to prevent sticking. Aluminum foil can be bought in any grocery store, but it is also common in convenience stores.
#3. Silicone Pad
Often called Silpat, silicone pads are an excellent replacement for parchment paper. All you need to do is line your baking sheet with one of these, and that’s it, your baking product will come right off. Though they are a bit on the expensive side, they are reusable and worth having in your kitchen for little cleanup and mess.
If you are baking, silicone pads are a great option to prevent sticking and to remove extra fat. However, you may need to go to a specialty store or homeware store to find them. These are also great to roll out dough for bread, and they don’t have to be cleaned every time.
#4. Grease Your Pan
The oldest method in the book is to grease up the pan you are using with some butter or oil before baking.
All you have to do is pick the pan you are using, rub some room temperature butter on it or an oil spray, place your dough or batter, and put it in the oven. This method does add more fat, but it is the cheapest and easiest choice.
You can add flour on top of the grease in some cases, as some pans tend to cause more sticking. The batter will cling to the flour instead of the pan, and you can remove the final product.
#5. Paper Bag
Now, this is not an option for baking or cooking in high temperatures, as paper bags are highly inflammable.
However, if you are using parchment paper to keep things fresh, then this is an eco-friendly choice that will do its part in keeping your food fresh and safe. You can use paper bags to store your lunch, your baked products, and to replace Ziploc bags.
You can buy paper bags in every grocery store, usually by the storage area, or Tupperware section. Keep in mind that this choice is only for keeping food fresh and storing properly, not for cooking.
For baking, we recommend you grease your pan with cooking spray, butter, or oil. If you want to try another method, you can use aluminum foil to line your baking sheet or pan, but remember to grease it too to prevent sticking. Finally, if you have one, a silicone pad is the easiest option that requires no extra grease and cleans up easily.
Yes, you can use wax paper in place of parchment paper for certain purposes, including rolling dough, storing food in the freezer, or keeping food wrapped. However, we don’t recommend this option for anything related to heat because wax paper does not withstand heat as parchment paper does.
You can grease the bottom of the pan you are using with butter, and then some flour. This way, the batter won’t stick to the pan. You can also use aluminum foil, but you will also have to grease it to prevent sticking.
Baking and cooking without parchment paper can seem complicated in certain situations, but there is no need to worry as these options are all easy to find and can be used in different situations.
Make sure you know exactly which choice to use in high-temperature baking or cooking and which one to use in storage. There are no more excuses, let’s get baking!
*Photo by VadimVasenin/depositphotos