Can You Microwave Parchment Paper?

If you’ve ever made cookies, you’re probably familiar with good old parchment paper. Parchment paper is a disposable liner found in most kitchens and is used by bakers worldwide. It’s a versatile tool that creates a nonstick barrier between the baking pan and the food. On top of that, it is heat resistant and oil resistant.

Parchment paper, or baking paper, is silicone-covered paper. It’s made from cellulose pulp that undergoes a particular process that gives it its well-known properties. Despite being used interchangeably, wax paper and parchment paper are not the same things. They have different coatings, and parchment paper is oven safe while waxed paper is not. 

Parchment paper has diverse uses. It can be used to cook, bake, reheat, or pack foods. Though it is most often used for baking in an oven, many people wonder if they can stick parchment paper in the microwave as well. 

So, can you microwave parchment paper? Yes, you can! Unbleached and bleached parchment paper is suitable for use in microwave ovens.

In this article, we’ll be diving into parchment paper’s use in the microwave, along with things you should watch out for. Let’s learn how to use our favorite silicone-covered sheet in the microwave properly.

Is it Safe to Microwave Parchment Paper?

A while ago, I wanted to reheat some food covered with a sheet of parchment paper. For all things reheating, I enjoy the practicality and efficiency of the microwave oven.

However, as I was about to place the food in the microwave, a rush of panic hit. Should I not be putting parchment paper in the microwave? So, I did my research, and this is what I found.

Parchment paper has several properties, and being microwave-safe is one of them. It is a suitable material to stick in the microwave when undergoing multi-step cooking or when you run out of containers to heat your food. No matter if you have bleached or unbleached parchment paper, it can be used for microwave cooking. 

Parchment paper is 100% microwavable, thanks to its silicone coating. This paper is not affected by the actual microwave radiation because it is transparent to it. The sheet doesn’t absorb the radiation admitted, so it doesn’t heat up directly from the energy but instead heats from the food content it is holding.

Parchment paper is able to withstand temperatures as high as 400 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (or 204.5 to 232 degrees Celsius). This high temperature is not a concern because it is far beyond the heating capability of a standard microwave oven. So, parchment paper is safe to microwave under normal circumstances.

All of that said, there are some things you should look out for.  If you want to use parchment paper, avoid microwaving it with specific types of food (mentioned in the next section). 

Does Parchment Paper Burn in the Microwave?

No one wants to see smoke coming out of their microwave. Personally, the first time I tried microwaving parchment paper, I was worried that it would burn.

Generally though, parchment paper won’t burn when microwaved. There are some cases where that is possible. 

It is not easy to heat parchment paper from 400 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. It is possible with superheated foods, though. Parchment paper burning is possible when microwaving it with certain types of foods. 

Specifically, cooking fatty and oily food can lead parchment paper to burn.

Fatty foods can easily heat beyond the high temperatures the paper withstands. The heat energy will then directly be transferred to the parchment paper that is in contact with the food. It is not able to handle such high temperatures, so it might burn. 

If you want to reheat leftover fatty food, don’t worry too much. Just make sure not to heat it for too long in the microwave.  

Burnt foods can also cause browning and smoking of the parchment paper. This is due to the fact that burnt food passes the 450°F threshold. Sugary foods have similar effects. 

Only food, and not the microwave radiation, is able to heat parchment paper past its heating threshold and cause it to burn.

However, parchment paper can burn when it is put very close to the heating element of the microwave.

Uses for Parchment Paper in the Microwave

We already know that parchment paper is a versatile tool every kitchen needs. This microwave-friendly paper can have many uses in the microwave. 

The most basic use for parchment paper, and something we do all the time, is reheating cooked food. You can reheat your food by covering the dish with a sheet of parchment paper so that it can hold in moist heat. This will help destroy bacteria and ensure that the food is evenly heated.

Parchment paper can also be used as a wrap or packet for cooking particular foods, such as potato chips, corn, salmon, hot dogs, etc. It could also be used for roasting garlic. Parchment paper can also cover food in order to avoid food splatter. This is useful when melting butter.

Since the parchment paper is oil resistant, it can be used to line the plate of the microwave when you’re heating something greasy.

Another use for the paper in the microwave is to cover the frozen food with the sheet when defrosting. This holds the moisture leading to even heating.

How Long Can You Microwave Parchment Paper?

If you’re in the mood for some delicious sweet potato, wrap it in parchment paper and place it in the microwave for 20 minutes. Yup, you heard that right. 20 minutes.  

You can clearly understand that there isn’t really a time limit for parchment paper in the microwave. Therefore, cooking time in the microwave isn’t much of a concern.

The microwave time of parchment paper depends on the recipe you are preparing or the cooking techniques you are following. 

So, if you came here looking for a strict time limit, I can’t give you one.

The one thing you should keep in mind is that there is a maximum heat allowance for parchment paper.

When you are cooking fatty foods, the temperature gets higher than 450 Fahrenheit. So, be careful not to cook the food for too long to prevent the parchment paper from getting burned.

How to Safely Microwave Parchment Paper

Safety is the number one priority in the kitchen. And yes, you need to ensure safety even with parchment paper.

Start by ensuring that the parchment paper you use is from high-quality and reputable brands.

Most parchment paper is indeed microwave safe, but you should still check the manufacturer’s note and look for the microwave-safe label on the packaging.

Bonus tip, never put any paper-based items in the microwave before checking the microwavable status. You don’t want a fire hazard to occur.

Make sure that your parchment paper is not placed close to the heating element of the appliance or near any open flames. It’s true that it is heat resistant, but it is highly flammable and can spark up when it’s close to the heating element. So please don’t risk it. Just adjust it so that it is far away from any danger.

Despite being microwave safe, parchment paper can heat up significantly when microwaved due to the heat of the food items in contact with it. Just be careful not to burn yourself as you take the parchment paper out after heating.  

When You Should Avoid Microwaving Parchment Paper

There’s a limit to everything, with microwaving parchment paper being no exception. As mentioned earlier, parchment paper can burn in the microwave in certain scenarios. 

These scenarios include cooking fatty foods, such as bacon and hamburgers, and extremely sugary foods. You should avoid cooking these foods in the microwave with parchment paper as they could burn the paper. 

Overall, you can microwave parchment paper safely. Just avoid cooking fatty or sugary foods (reheating is usually okay), and you’re all set!