When we think about using parchment paper in the kitchen, we usually think about baking. But parchment paper’s use goes far beyond the cookie tray! We’re here to explore this simple question: Can you microwave parchment paper?
The short answer is yes; you can microwave parchment paper. However, there are a few things you need to know to do so safely…
To prevent risk, always use paper labeled microwave safe and avoid cooking fatty foods from scratch on parchment paper, to name a couple.
This article will walk you through how to safely microwave parchment paper.
What Is Parchment Paper and How Is It Used?
Before we get into whether you can microwave parchment paper or not, it’s essential to understand what parchment paper is and how it works—
Parchment paper, sometimes called baking paper or bakery paper, is a paper covered in silicone, making it nonstick and heat-resistant. These properties make it a popular choice for any cooking or baking that needs a nonstick surface, such as lining cookie trays. It’s most commonly sold as a roll, making it easy to tear off precisely the length you need.
People use parchment paper for various functions, including baking and protecting countertops. It is grease-resistant, making it a popular way to package food or separate sticky items. It’s also used as a surface to heat food in the microwave.
Types Of Parchment Paper
There are two types of parchment paper: bleached and unbleached.
Bleached parchment paper is white because of a chlorine treatment, while unbleached is brown. They’re often used interchangeably, and the difference will not affect your recipe.
You can microwave both unbleached and bleached parchment paper.
But, it’s important not to confuse parchment paper with wax paper, which is covered with wax, not silicone…
Wax paper begins to melt even at temperatures as low as 200℉. So, you shouldn’t put wax paper in the microwave or oven.
Double-check the packaging to ensure you have parchment paper, not wax paper.
Can Parchment Paper Go in the Microwave? Yes, but Follow These Guidelines First:
While you can safely microwave most parchment paper, checking the label is still essential to ensure it’s microwave safe.
Check your package for microwave-safe labels or logos. These “labels” may include a written notice, a small picture of a microwave, or three wavy, horizontal lines.
If unsure, you can check the manufacturer’s website, contact the manufacturer, or even check government websites like the USDA for food safety information.
Also, check recycled parchment paper packaging for a microwave-safe label. Recycled may differ slightly from regular parchment paper.
Parchment Paper’s Heat Tolerance
Most parchment paper brands are oven-safe up to roughly 420℉ (215.5°C). This is good news for microwave users since food in the microwave rarely exceeds that temperature. It also means that you can safely use parchment paper in an air fryer under this temperature.
While parchment paper won’t burn in the microwave, it can get hot to the touch. Be careful when removing it.
However, if you’re using parchment paper in the oven, make sure not to go above 420℉, as it can burn.
It’s also important not to bake with parchment paper near a heat source in the oven, as it can scorch if too close.
But there is one exception to parchment paper microwave safety: Cooking fatty (think: greasy) foods like bacon.
Fatty foods can get extremely hot when cooked, causing the parchment paper to burn. It’s safest simply to avoid cooking greasy foods on parchment paper in the microwave.
Is It Safe For Your Health To Microwave Parchment Paper?
There is some debate on the health impacts of parchment paper.
Unbleached parchment paper is completely non-toxic, as it is just silicone-coated paper.
Some sources report that bleached parchment paper contains the toxin dioxin, although scientific research has not confirmed this.
Other parchment papers may also contain PFAS, a class of toxic chemicals that can have serious adverse health effects when ingested in large quantities. However, according to a Safer Chemicals report, most parchment papers do not contain PFAS. Or, it’s present in such small amounts that health impacts are unlikely.
Finally, some non-silicone parchment papers contain Quilon, a coating that some argue can become toxic when heated. The label will usually note if a paper is Quilon-coated rather than silicone-coated.
Can You Microwave Other Types Of Paper?
Although this post is about parchment paper, it’s good to know about other paper products’ safety.
Not all types of paper can go in the microwave. It’s important to always check the packaging for a microwave-safe label.
If you’re not sure if something is microwave-safe, follow this rule of thumb: when in doubt, leave it out!
These items are okay to put in the microwave:
- Paper towels: At medium power for ~2 minutes.
- Uncoated, white paper plates: At medium power for ~2 minutes (Read more about microwaving paper plates).
Don’t put the following paper items in the microwave:
- Wax paper: This is different from parchment paper and may catch fire.
- Newspapers: Newspapers may catch fire. They also contain ink that can contaminate food.
- Paper bags: These are more likely to catch fire in the microwave.
- Paper plates or paper napkins with designs on them: These may contain flammable or toxic inks.
- Coated paper plates: Some paper plates are coated with a waxy plastic or PFAS substance to prevent moisture absorption. If your dish is shiny or feels a little waxy, or if it has any design on it, don’t put it in the microwave.
Other types of food packaging, including paper food packaging, may also contain dangerous chemicals that can leach into your food.
While some international regulations govern what chemicals companies can use in food packaging, you should avoid microwaving anything not labeled “microwave-safe.”
Conclusion & Recap
So, can you microwave parchment paper? When it comes down to it, the answer to this question is pretty simple: Yes, but carefully!
Always make sure you follow these four safety tips to prevent mishaps:
- Check for microwave-safe labeling or logos.
- Do not microwave parchment paper with fatty, greasy foods like bacon.
- Do not microwave wax paper or other similar materials that might melt or burn.
- Never use parchment paper above 420℉ (food in the microwave will stay below this temperature, so that’s safe).
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