When it comes to cooking, parchment paper provides a convenient and nonstick surface. Parchment paper, or baking paper as it’s also called, is basically paper treated with silicone. Many people use parchment paper to line baking sheets before baking or to wrap meat for grilling. But, what about microwaving? Can you use parchment paper in microwaves?
Can You Microwave Parchment Paper?
In general, you can microwave parchment paper. Although the thought of parchment paper in a microwave may concern some people, as long as the paper is approved for microwaves, it will be fine.
What You Should Consider Before Microwaving Parchment Paper
When microwaving parchment paper, there are two things to keep in mind before sticking the paper in the microwave.
First, although parchment paper is technically approved for use in the microwave, it can heat up tremendously during microwaving. So you want to be careful when taking it out of the microwave and handling it.
Second, fatty foods may cause the parchment paper to catch fire if you cook it in the microwave. Therefore, make it a rule to never cook fatty foods with parchment paper in the microwave.
Let me explain.
All brands of parchment papers are treated to resist catching on fire when exposed to high heat. Parchment paper is rated to resist flames at 450 degrees Fahrenheit, which is perfect for use in ovens and microwaves.
As long as you don’t heat up your parchment paper to a temperature higher than 450 degrees Fahrenheit, it will not catch on fire.
With most foods rarely exceeding this cooking temperature, I can generally say that parchment paper is safe to use in microwaves. As a reference, the boiling point of water is 212 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can see how hard it is to pass the 450 degrees Fahrenheit mark.
But, fatty foods, such as hamburgers and bacon, are different. The fat content in these foods has the ability to exceed the 450-degree threshold and, as such, can cause parchment paper to catch on fire.
If you’re just simply heating up your food with parchment paper in the microwave, you should be fine as the temp won’t likely exceed even half of what you need to worry about.
But, if you’re cooking food like burgers and bacon with parchment paper, make it a rule not to use this method and cook without the parchment instead.
Different Types of Parchment Paper Products
All parchment papers in the market can be divided into two main types: bleached and unbleached. The main difference between the two is the color.
As the name suggests, the bleached type is bleached to white while the unbleached is brown in color. Whether it’s bleached or not, both types of parchment papers are safe to use in the microwave; there’s no difference in which one you use.
You might be concerned about possible toxic chemicals used in the bleached paper. Rest assured that they are all safe to use under USDA standards.
What Are The Uses of Parchment Paper in the Microwave Oven?
There is a wide range of uses for parchment paper in the microwave. Here are some of the most popular ways you can use it:
- You can use it to reheat any leftover food.
- You can use it to wrap your fish or other meat for cooking in the oven.
- You can also use it to line your baking sheet.
- You can use it to cover the food you are microwaving to keep it from splattering.
- You can use it to separate the food that you want to freeze.
- You can use it to defrost food in the microwave.
How Do You Know If a Paper Product Is Microwave Safe or Not?
Now you know that parchment paper is microwave safe, but not all paper products are safe for microwaves.
To be sure, always check the packaging for the microwave-safe label or markings. If the package says nothing about being microwave safe, do not assume it is.
Look for any label that shows a microwave with some wavy lines on it accompanied with words such as “microwave safe,” “microwaveable,” or “for microwave use only.”
You can also check the manufacturer’s website or contact them to inquire about the product.
In particular, visit the product’s FAQ page. If no claims are made on either the package or the company website, it’s best not to risk using them in microwaves as they could pose a danger.
Lastly, you may want to check the government’s food safety website. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a list of paper products that are safe to use in microwaves.
Safety Tips for Using Parchment Paper in the Microwave Oven
Here are some tips to help you use parchment paper in the microwave oven safely:
1. Always Check If the Parchment Paper is Microwave Safe Before Using
A simple scan of the packaging would give you a clear idea of whether the paper product you’re using is safe to use in microwaves or not.
Look specifically for microwave-safe or microwaveable logos and read the manufacturer’s instructions. Usually, the manufacturer will state clearly if the paper is microwave-safe or not.
If you can’t find any clues on the packaging, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid using parchment paper in microwaves. There are other alternatives available if you want to reheat food in the microwave oven. Here are some of them to choose from:
- Baking mat
- Wax paper
- Silicone Molds
- Microwave safe plastic
2. Check Regularly During Microwaving
You should check the parchment paper at regular intervals to be sure it doesn’t catch fire or spark.
3. Don’t Put the Parchment Paper Close to the Heating Element
Parchment paper is heat resistant but not fire retardant. Avoid placing the paper close to the heating element as it may catch fire and damage your microwave oven.
While you don’t need to worry about putting parchment paper in solo microwave ovens, it’s a different story if you’re placing it near convection or grill microwave ovens, as both are equipped with heating elements.
Why Should You Consider Using Parchment Paper for Your Cooking in a Microwave?
As we have reached the end of the article, here are some reasons why you should consider using parchment paper in your microwave oven for cooking food:
1. It is Versatile
You can use parchment paper for a wide range of applications. For example, you can use it to store meat and fish, wrap your food before cooking it in the oven, line baking sheets to prevent messes during baking, or even use it as a cover for microwaving.
As you gain more experience with using parchment paper, you will discover new and exciting ways of using it.
2. Is It Non-Stick
One thing that makes people fall in love with parchment paper is that it’s non-stick. You can avoid the stress of having to wash the sticky pan or try by simply lining it with parchment paper before cooking.
3. It Doesn’t Burn Easily
Unlike regular wax paper, parchment paper has a high melting tolerance. It can withstand up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit of heat without burning.
To summarize, it’s safe to cook or reheat food using parchment paper in a microwave oven. The only exception is when you want to cook fatty foods like bacon as it needs to reach a very high temperature to cook well.