It’s Not Totally Safe To Put the Parchment Paper In the Microwave! Be Careful of These Precautions.
Parchment paper is one of the most useful things in the kitchen when it comes to cooking. The paper provides a nonstick surface that ensures your food does not stick to cookware and makes cleanup easier afterward.
But as handy as it can be, can you microwave parchment paper? Is it microwave safe? Will it catch fire when you put it in your microwave oven? It’s safe in most cases but sometimes it’s not! So you need to pay attention to the precautions that we will talk about later.
As a home cook that is always experimenting with new microwave recipes, I will tell you the detail you need to know about microwaving parchment paper, more pro tips and precautions when using parchment will be revealed!
But first, a quick answer to whether using parchment paper in the microwave is safe or not.
Can you put parchment paper in the microwave?
The quick answer is Yes! You can put parchment paper in the microwave. Many home cooks are constantly using parchment paper in microwaves when cooking and reheating food.
Although parchment paper is a flammable material, it has been designed to be microwave-safe.
Most types of parchment paper will handle temperatures of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. And since most microwaved foods and liquids will typically reach a maximum temperature of around 212 degrees Fahrenheit, there is little risk of the paper catching fire.
But, with that in mind, things are still not that straightforward as there is still a lot more to it than just temperature. Several other factors like the quality of the parchment paper and what you are cooking will determine whether it will be microwave-safe or not.
Read on to find out the exceptions you need to know about using parchment paper in a microwave.
What is parchment paper, and where does it come from?
Parchment paper is baking paper made by coating paper with silicone to create a non-stick surface and increase its heat resistance. Parchment paper comes in two main types: bleached and unbleached.
The paper is made from wood or flax cellulose fibers. It undergoes parchmentization that helps intertwine the fibers and seal them together, which explains where it gets the name.
Besides providing a non-stick surface, parchment paper makes the cooking surface grease-proof. Parchment paper has several uses in the kitchen besides lining cooking sheets, such as covering a work surface when preparing food. More on these other functions later.
How does a microwave work
As the name suggests, a microwave oven cooks using microwaves. Unlike the conventional oven, a microwave oven will not transfer thermal heat to the food.
Instead, a microwave oven uses a magnetron to produce radio waves. These waves are then blasted into the compartment with the food, where they pass right into the food.
The waves then cause the food molecules to vibrate fast, producing heat to cook or warm up the food. The spinning turntable inside a microwave ensures the food heats up more evenly.
will it catch fire when you microwave parchment paper?
Parchment paper is safe to use in a microwave, and you should not have any issues with it catching fire, provided you take a few safety precautions. We will look at some safety tips for using parchment paper in the microwave with no issues later.
That said, there are some incidences when parchment paper can burn when using it in a microwave and pose significant risks.
A good example is heating or cooking foods with high-fat content, such as ground beef or bacon. The parchment paper will absorb the fast from these foods. Since they cook at a temperature higher than the 450 degrees Fahrenheit threshold the paper can handle, it can ignite.
Additionally, parchment paper can catch fire in a microwave oven if it is very near the heating element. Even just one loose end near the heating element is enough to set the parchment paper on fire, given its flammable nature.
How long should you keep parchment paper in the microwave?
How long you can keep parchment paper in your microwave oven typically depends on your cooking. There are no strict time limits since the paper is microwave safe and can handle more heat than the cooking temperature of most foods.
Moreover, most cooking in a microwave only takes a few minutes, meaning you hardly ever have to keep the parchment paper in there for long.
Still, it is essential to remember that while the parchment paper is heat resistant, the longer you keep it in the microwave, the hotter it gets. And hence the higher the likelihood of catching fire.
The bottom line is that it is best to microwave parchment paper for the shortest time possible. Around 3 to 5 minutes should be safe enough.
5 safety precautions when microwaving parchment paper
While it is safe to microwave parchment paper, it is important to note that it still poses some significant risks, hence the need to take precautions.
Here are 5 safety tips to keep in mind:
- 1. Start by ensuring you have high-quality parchment paper
There are different types of parchment paper and almost countless brands you can buy. However, it is vital to make sure whatever you choose is of good quality.
Good quality parchment paper from a reputable brand will be thicker and contain a good silicone coating that will not absorb grease from the food and catch fire.
- 2. Check whether the parchment paper is microwave safe
Using only parchment paper labeled microwave-safe is perhaps the best thing you can do to ensure safety.
All parchment paper is okay to use in a microwave, but you should still check whether it is labeled microwave-safe as an extra precaution.
A microwave-safe label indicates that the parchment paper is high-quality and less likely to get burned when heating or cooking food.
- 3. Never place the paper very close to the microwave’s heating element
Even if you have the best quality parchment paper, it is crucial to remember that, like all other paper products, it is still flammable.
And so, if you place the paper very close to the microwave’s heating element, it can still catch fire, and this is more so when cooking fatty foods. Always ensure the paper is as far from the heating element as possible.
- 4. Fold and seal the parchment paper leaving no loose ends
Always fold and seal the parchment paper properly before placing it in the microwave. There should be no loose ends as they are easier to ignite, especially after contacting the grease from fatty foods.
- 5. Keep a close eye on the parchment paper as you microwave
Even if you follow all the safety tips above, you still need to keep a close eye on the food as it is cooking. Ensure you check the food through the view window as often as possible.
This way, it will be possible to know when the parchment paper is burning early enough and intervene before it causes a more serious fire.
What are the other typical functions of parchment paper?
There are countless ways of using a roll of parchment paper in your kitchen. Here are some of the most common ones:
- 1. Lining baking sheet
The heat-resistant property of parchment paper makes it perfect for lining cake pans and baking sheets when baking. The paper helps prevent the food from sticking and gives you an easy time cleaning up afterward.
- 2. Separating food when baking
Parchment paper will be very useful when baking foods like candies and cookies that you do not want to stick together. Using parchment paper helps prevent sticking without affecting how they cook.
- 3. Transferring ingredients to containers
You can also use parchment paper to funnel ingredients into containers. Whether you are transferring dry ingredients like flour or spices into containers or grated cheese, you can create a simple parchment paper funnel to help you do it easily.
- 4. Protecting kitchen countertop
If you are preparing food that is likely to leave a mess on your counter, such as when baking or forming meatballs, you can use parchment paper to protect the surface. And once you are done, you only need to peel out and discard the paper leaving behind a clean counter.
best 3 parchment papers
1. Katbite Unbleached Parchment Paper Roll
- Heavy-duty material
- Tears easily
- Holds up well at high cooking temperatures
- Size fits baking trays and bins well
- The box it comes in is not very good quality
The Katbite Unbleached Parchment Paper Roll should hold up well regardless of what you intend to cook in your microwave oven, which is why it is our first recommendation.
The microwave-safe paper is made from a thicker and heavy-duty wood pulp material and with a food-safe silicone coating. This high-quality material allows it to handle temperatures up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can also be sure of an easy time fitting the parchment paper on any baking tray or tin. The 15-inch width is broad enough for most home bakeware. Moreover, you will also have an easy time tearing the parchment paper with a nice slider cutter.
The only gripe with this parchment paper roll is that the box does not seem very good quality, but this should not be a deal-breaker.
2. Hiware 200-Piece Parchment Paper Baking Sheets
- Extra thick paper
- Pre-cut for use convenience
- Easy to work with as the sheets do not roll up
- A little shorter for some users
If you want pre-cut parchment paper you can use in the microwave without worrying about absorbing grease from fatty foods and catching fire, these Hiware baking sheets are perfect.
The all-natural wood pulp sheets are made from a thicker material, at least 45gsm, making them thicker than regular baking sheets.
Many home cooks also love that they are easy to work with since they lay flat on a tray without ever rolling up. Also, they come with a microwave-safe label and are heat resistant up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although some users complain that these parchment papers are a little short, the 16-inch length is still enough to fit most standard home bakeware. Moreover, it is still enough to use with any utensil you typically use to heat/cook food in the microwave.
3. SMARTAKE 200 Pcs Parchment Paper Baking Sheets
- Superior water and grease blocking qualities
- High-temperature resistance
- Good bargain for a 200-piece box
- Packaging needs some improvement
The SMARTAKE parchment papers are another good solution if you want something to use in the microwave.
To start with, they offer superior water and grease blocking qualities. And so when you put food in the microwave, you never have to worry about them absorbing grease.
Also, they have superior heat resistance as they can withstand up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, this parchment paper is a good bargain for a 200-piece pack.
The packaging needs some improvement as it makes managing the sheets a nightmare. But, besides this, they are of great quality and should serve their purpose well.
Best Parchment Paper Alternatives for Microwave
Parchment paper is microwave safe, so it should be good enough for heating and cooking food in the microwave. However, if you prefer not to microwave parchment paper, here are a few good alternatives you can use
1. Microwave plastic wrap
Microwave plastic wrap is perfectly safe for use in the microwave as it can withstand high temperatures.
However, it is important to ensure that it does not come into contact with the food when cooking, as the hot plastic can adhere to the food.
2. Paper towels
A paper towel should be safe to use in a microwave, provided you do not place it very close to the heating element.
Also, keep the paper unfolded to ensure heat does not accumulate between the creases and burn the paper. And like any other paper product, avoid microwaving paper towels for long periods.
3. Wax paper
Wax paper has a thin paraffin wax coating that can withstand temperatures up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for microwaving various foods.
Provided the wax paper has a microwave-safe label, you can use it to steam vegetables or even as a splatter guard for bowls when microwaving food.
4. Cooking bags
Cooking bags can withstand a lot of heat, and they provide a simple and convenient way to steam your vegetables in the microwave.
As a precaution, you must ensure the cooking bag you are using is labeled microwave-safe and is not the type that releases toxins when subjected to high heat.
5. Paper plates and bowls
Heating food on paper plates and bowls is convenient as you can also use them when eating. However, just like when using all types of parchment paper and other alternatives, the most important thing is to ensure they are microwave-safe before use.
Parchment paper vs wax paper
Parchment paper and wax paper are common paper products for kitchen use that are often used interchangeably. Both provide a non-stick surface and are safe to use in microwaves for short periods.
The main differences between these two are the coating and heat resistance. While parchment paper has a silicone coating, wax paper has a thin wax coating.
The thin coating of wax means wax paper cannot withstand high heat as it will ignite or melt. Therefore, you cannot use wax paper in a conventional or microwave oven for longer periods as it is not heat resistant enough to withstand high temperatures.
Wax paper is cheaper than parchment paper, but it will not offer you the same level of flexibility as the latter.
Parchment paper vs. aluminum foil
Both parchment paper and aluminum foil can withstand high heat, making them very useful for lining cookware. Parchment paper can withstand up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, while aluminum can take up to an impressive 1,220 degrees Fahrenheit.
The only gripe with aluminum is that, unlike parchment paper, it does not have good nonstick properties. Also, you can not use it in a microwave oven as it blocks microwave waves and can cause a fire.
Can you put paper plates in the microwave?
Yes, you can put paper plates in the microwave, provided they are labeled microwave-safe. Also, they are safe to use if they do not contain any toxins that can be released when the plates are exposed to high temperatures.
Can silicone go in the microwave?
Yes, silicone is a microwave-safe material. The material is one of the reasons parchment paper is safe for use in a microwave. It is used to coat this paper product, which increases its heat resistance and makes it greaseproof.
Can you put napkins in the microwave?
Both cloth and disposable napkins are safe to use in microwaves. Besides being able to withstand high temperatures, they do not leak any toxins into the food. However, both can still burn when you microwave them for long periods.
Can you put greaseproof paper in the microwave?
Greaseproof is not affected by microwave radiation, so it is safe to use. And you can use it when the food is wrapped completely or placed on a sheet.
Can you put butter paper in the microwave?
Butter paper is only suitable for wrapping and packing food and not for cooking. It will not be safe to put in a microwave oven as it is thin and will ignite easily, it has many differences from parchment paper.
In a nutshell
So, can you microwave parchment paper?
The short answer is yes; you can microwave parchment paper as the material can handle temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. This is almost double the typical cooking temperature of most foods.
However, it is still important to take precautions, especially when cooking fatty foods like bacon and ground beef.
Also, make sure that you use high-quality parchment paper labeled microwave-safe. And all you need to do now is pick one option from our recommendations above.
That should be all you need to know about using parchment paper in the microwave!
My love for food was influenced by my brother, a chef at a 2-star Michelin restaurant, and we often exchange food knowledge together. It’s been 12 years since I first stepped into the kitchen, and with my vast experience and expertise, I will share many ideas on how to make dishes more delicious!