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Can You Reuse Parchment Paper for Baking Cookies?

Can You Reuse Parchment Paper for Baking Cookies?

Can You Reuse Parchment Paper for Baking Cookies? There’s nothing quite like a freshly baked tray of cookies. You imagine it as you arrange your ingredients on the kitchen counter. Sugar, eggs, flour…get out the cookie sheets.

But suddenly you realize…you’re out of parchment paper! Can you reuse parchment paper for baking cookies?

Read on to find out what parchment paper actually is, why it’s used for baking, how it compares to other similar products, what happens when you bake it, and whether you can reuse it to salvage your cookie dreams.

Can You Reuse Parchment Paper for Baking Cookies?

You can reuse parchment paper, which is actually coated with silicone. As long as the parchment hasn’t become ripped, greasy, or wet with something that might burn and change the flavor of the food, it can be reused up to six times.

Can You Reuse Parchment Paper for Baking Cookies
Can You Reuse Parchment Paper for Baking Cookies

Parchment Paper: More than Implants for your Baking Sheet

Parchment paper is paper coated with silicone, a substance that makes the paper non-stick, heat-resistant, and even waterproof. It comes in bleached (white) and unbleached varieties.

According to research, silicon is safe.

Like paper, it can be cut into different shapes and sizes to fit your pan or to meet your other kitchen needs. In addition to lining your baking sheets for easy cookie removal, parchment paper can be used for many purposes:

  • Slip it between sticky treats like candies or tortillas for non-stick stacking
  • Spread it on the counter when rolling out messy, wet dough
  • Roll it into a cone to funnel ingredients or pipe icing
  • Line your baking pans for lifting out brownies and other traybakes
  • Wrap food in it for steaming in the oven
Parchment paper can be reused for baking cookies
Parchment paper can be reused for baking cookies

Parchment Paper for Baking

Also called baking paper, parchment is especially useful for baking because it not only creates a non-stick surface but also creates a thin layer of hot air across the baking sheet.

This airy, hot layer distributes the heat more evenly, reducing hot spots on your baking sheet. It also gives the dough something to hold on to. These qualities can improve the shape and texture of your cookies.

Because the silicone coating is non-stick and doesn’t hold on to grease or liquid, you can wipe off the crumbs and reuse parchment paper.

This is especially great for baking, since you re-use pans of the same shape and size, and the paper doesn’t usually get crumpled or torn.

For recipes that involve baking at higher temperatures—unlike most cookie recipes—parchment paper wears out more quickly. Once it starts to get brown and stiff, it’s time to retire it and get another sheet.

Parchment Paper vs. Other Products

1. Wax paper

Parchment paper is a multi-tool, not a single-use kitchen item, but it’s not the cheapest of products.

Wax paper is usually cheaper, it works equally well for lining your counter or your containers to guard against moisture and stickiness, and like parchment paper, wax paper creates a non-stick surface that can be reused if you wipe off crumbs, grease, or liquid.

However, wax paper melts in the oven and can even catch fire, so it’s not a good replacement for baking.

Wax paper is cheaper than parchment paper
Wax paper is cheaper than parchment paper

2. Aluminum Foil

Aluminum foil is another common product for lining cookie sheets. Less expensive than parchment paper, it works just as well for reducing countertop messes, steaming food, and lining baking sheets.

However, it’s not non-stick like parchment paper, so unless you’ve sprayed it with oil, it might stick to your cookies.

What’s more, because it isn’t non-stick, aluminum foil can’t be wiped off and it tears easily, so it doesn’t reuse quite as well after baking.

Aluminum foil is a cheaper alternative to parchement paper
Aluminum foil is a cheaper alternative to parchment paper

3. Silpat Mats

Silpat is a silicone mat that, like parchment, creates a non-stick, water-resistant surface that is ideal for baking. Even better, the Silpat mats can be reused for years and washed in the dishwasher.

Silpat might be better than parchment since silicone-lined paper can’t be recycled and so can be bad for the environment. On the other hand,

Silpat mats can’t be used for steaming food and can’t be folded or cut as easily as parchment, which means buying different sizes for different cooking sheets and pans–not very convenient, and definitely more expensive.

Silpat Mats
Silpat Mats

Frequently Asked Questions About Can You Reuse Parchment Paper for Baking Cookies

Is silicone safe for eating?

The coating on parchment paper is made from silicon, the same element that appears in microchips and sand. According to research, silicon is safe for use with food and drink: it doesn’t react with food and beverages, and it doesn’t release fumes, so for now, your cookies are safe. But, although more research is necessary, some studies have shown that silicone can leach into food, especially when cooked at higher temperatures.

What if I don’t have any liners for my baking tray?

If you can’t afford a Silpat mat or parchment paper and you’re all out of wax paper and aluminum foil, don’t despair. Good ol’ fashioned grease (butter, oil, shortening) is still a good way to turn your aluminum baking sheet into a non-stick surface for cookies that can also be cleaned and reused.

Can I use a brown grocery bag in place of parchment paper?

Although it might look like unbleached parchment paper, a brown grocery bag is absolutely NOT a good substitute. It’s not coated in silicone, so it won’t provide a non-stick surface, and it’s not made for baking, so the chemicals that go into the paper and ink could end up in your food. Greasing the paper bag won’t help because it’ll just soak into the paper.

Conclusion On Can You Reuse Parchment Paper for Baking Cookies

Silicone-lined parchment paper is a great kitchen multi-tool that’s ideal for baking because it’s non-stick, and the water-resistant surface can be wiped and reused for multiple bakes.

Not as cheap or as expensive as some of the alternatives, like foil or Silpat, parchment paper is readily available and reusable for multiple bakes!