Parchment paper has become a staple in many home kitchens. Its non-stick surface makes it perfect for baking cookies and roasting vegetables. It also makes for easy cleanup. But is it safe to put parchment paper in the microwave?
The short answer is yes. Parchment paper is completely safe to use in the microwave. In fact, its heat resistance makes it ideal for microwave cooking.
What Is Parchment Paper?
Parchment paper, sometimes called bakery paper, is paper that has been treated with silicone to make it non-stick and heat resistant. The silicone coating allows it to withstand temperatures up to 420°F. It’s used for everything from lining baking sheets to folding into packets for steaming vegetables.
Regular paper is made of cellulose fibers derived from wood. Parchment paper starts as regular paper, usually made from wood pulp or cotton. It then goes through a special manufacturing process to give it non-stick properties.
There are a few ways this is done:
- Silicone coating – The paper is coated with silicone for non-stick purposes. This also makes it heat resistant.
- Saturated with sulfuric acid – The paper is immersed in sulfuric acid. This process causes the cellulose fibers to gelatinize, giving the paper a translucent appearance.
- Running through hot zinc chloride – The paper goes through a bath of hot zinc chloride, which gives it a glassine appearance.
No matter the exact method, the end result is a paper that is heat tolerant and won’t stick.
Is It Safe to Microwave?
Parchment paper is specifically designed to be heat resistant. It’s commonly used in oven cooking and works great in the microwave too.
The silicone coating allows parchment paper to withstand temperatures up to 420°F. Most microwave ovens don’t get nearly that hot. The highest temperature most microwaves reach is around 200°F.
So parchment paper is perfectly safe to use in the microwave as it won’t combust or release any harmful fumes when heated.
One exception is if the parchment paper packaging specifically says it’s not microwave safe. Certain coatings or inks used in the manufacturing process could potentially contain metals or other substances not intended for microwave use. As long as the product doesn’t state “not microwave safe”, you can rest assured standard parchment paper is 100% ok for microwave cooking.
The Benefits of Microwave Parchment Paper
Using parchment paper in the microwave offers several advantages:
The non-stick surface of parchment paper prevents food from sticking when microwaved. This makes cooking meats, fish, and veggies easy. Foods lift right off the paper with no hassle.
Parchment paper can go straight from the microwave to the trash when cooking is done. No need to scrub stuck-on foods from plates or containers. This makes cleanup a breeze.
Parchment paper is excellent for steam cooking in the microwave. Place food in the center of a parchment paper sheet, then fold up the sides. The food steam cooks in the pouch quickly and evenly.
Food Stays Moist
Without direct contact to cookware, microwave cooking on parchment paper allows food to retain more moisture. This keeps meats juicy, vegetables crisp-tender, and bakes soft and moist.
Using parchment paper lining the turntable or walls prevents splashes and splatters during microwave cooking. No more scrubbing sauce off the inside!
Microwave Cooking Uses for Parchment Paper
Parchment paper can be used in a variety of ways for microwave cooking:
- Line plates or trays
- Fold into steam pouches
- Make parchment packets for meats and fish
- Use as a splatter guard lining walls or turntable
- Roll up food in “logs” to heat evenly
- Place under bowls or mugs as a heat barrier
It’s also handy for reheating leftovers, thawing foods, and making quick snacks like pizza rolls or egg rolls.
Here are some specific ideas for using parchment paper in the microwave:
Leftovers often dry out when reheated in the microwave. Parchment paper helps keep food moist and prevents it from sticking to the plate or container. For quick and easy reheating, place leftovers like slices of pizza, mixed vegetables, or leftover meat and potatoes directly onto a parchment paper lined plate.
Microwave in 30 second intervals until heated through, stirring if necessary. The parchment paper will keep leftovers from drying out so they taste freshly made.
Making Breakfast Sandwiches
A breakfast sandwich is a great grab-and-go option in the morning, but can be messy and time consuming to make. Parchment paper simplifies the process. Layer meats, cheeses, and eggs on parchment paper as you assemble the sandwich.
Then microwave just until the eggs are cooked and cheese melted, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. The parchment paper keeps everything neatly contained so no filling drips out. In just a minute, you’ll have a hot delicious breakfast sandwich ready to wrap in foil and go!
Forget boiling a pot of water – you can actually poach eggs right in the microwave with parchment paper. Line a small microwave-safe mug or ramekin with a circular piece of parchment paper. Crack an egg into the parchment paper lined mug, being careful not to break the yolk.
Pierce the yolk in a few spots with a toothpick. Microwave the mug for 30-60 seconds on high until the egg white is set but the yolk is still runny. Season and enjoy your perfect poached egg, no stovetop required!
Crisping Pizza Slices
Leftover pizza often ends up limp and soggy after a stint in the fridge. But you can use parchment paper to make leftover pizza slices taste freshly delivered. Place the cold slice on parchment paper and microwave for 30 seconds.
Check crispness and continue microwaving in 30 second intervals until the slice is hot and the crust is crisped to your liking. The parchment paper will prevent splatter and help reflect heat to get that nice crunch back.
Steaming is one of the quickest and healthiest ways to cook vegetables. Parchment paper makes microwave steaming a breeze. Chop vegetables into bite sized pieces. In the center of a parchment paper sheet, place them in a pile or single layer. Season as desired.
Pull the parchment paper up around the veggies and fold the open ends together to seal, leaving room inside the pouch. Microwave 3-5 minutes until tender-crisp. The parchment packet keeps all the moisture and nutrients in the vegetables.
Baked potatoes can take over an hour in the oven, but you can make microwave baked potatoes in minutes with parchment paper. Wash and dry potatoes, then pierce skin several times with a fork. Place directly on a parchment lined plate or tray.
Microwave on high 5 minutes, flip and microwave 5 more minutes. The parchment paper will reflect heat and steam to bake the potato evenly throughout. Let stand 5 minutes before topping as desired.
Microwaved s’mores are gooey goodness in under 30 seconds. Place graham crackers on parchment paper and top one with a square of chocolate and a toasted marshmallow. Top with another graham cracker to make a sandwich.
Microwave 10-15 seconds until the chocolate gets melty and marshmallow starts to puff. Enjoy this late night treat even without a campfire!
Is Parchment Paper Better Than Wax Paper?
Parchment paper and wax paper are often confused for one another. While they look similar, they have very different properties when it comes to cooking. Wax paper is coated in a thin layer of paraffin or soy-based wax. It is moisture resistant and non-stick, making it ideal for food storage and covering surfaces.
However, wax paper is not designed for cooking. It cannot withstand high temperatures. At about 200°F, the wax will start to melt. Exposed to microwave heat, wax paper is likely to melt, smoke, or potentially catch fire.
Parchment paper has a silicone coating that is specifically engineered for high heat cooking. It can withstand temperatures up to 420°F, far higher than appliance cooking temperatures. The silicone gives it non-stick properties that make it ideal for baking cookies, roasting veggies, and now microwaving. While wax paper is beneficial for storage, opt for parchment paper for cooking.
When microwaving, parchment paper maintains its integrity and prevents sticking. Wax paper could melt, make a mess, or present a fire hazard if placed in the microwave. Any time you need to cook or reheat foods, parchment paper is the clear winner.
From the stovetop to oven to microwave, you can feel confident parchment paper will stand up to the heat. Parchment paper is reusable too as long as it stays clean and intact. For safe, convenient microwave cooking, always reach for parchment paper over wax paper.
Microwave Parchment Paper Tips
Follow these tips when using parchment paper in the microwave:
- Avoid cheap parchment paper which may contain fillers not intended for microwave use. Purchase quality name brand parchment paper.
- Cut sheets to fit plates, trays, or line walls. For packets, leave extra space for folding.
- For folding packets, make tight creases and fold seam under. This seals in steam.
- Watch microwave time carefully. Parchment can blacken or burn if cooked too long.
- Never reuse parchment paper. Use fresh sheets for sanitary cooking.
- When steaming packets, use caution when opening as steam will release.
With proper use, parchment paper is a handy and safe cooking tool for the microwave. It makes for faster, easier, and cleaner microwave cooking!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is all parchment paper microwave safe?
Most standard parchment paper is safe for the microwave. Check packaging to be sure it does not state “not microwave safe”. Avoid non-name brand parchment paper which may contain fillers unsafe for high heat.
Can parchment paper catch fire in the microwave?
Parchment paper is designed to be heat resistant up to 420°F, higher than most microwave temperatures. As long as recommended cooking times are followed, it will not combust. Never microwave empty parchment paper.
Can I reuse parchment paper after microwaving?
It’s best to use fresh parchment paper each time. Reusing paper could transfer bacteria and also risks overheating areas that may have begun to break down. Always start with a new clean sheet for the best results.
Is bleached parchment paper safe for microwave use?
Bleached parchment paper goes through an additional process to whiten it but is still considered food safe. The bleaching agent does not compromise the silicone coating or heat resistance. Bleached parchment paper is perfectly fine to use in the microwave.
Should parchment paper touch food during microwaving?
It’s best to fully wrap or tent food in parchment paper during microwave cooking. Direct contact ensures steam cooks the food evenly. Leaving space between the food and paper can lead to uneven cooking.
What happens if you microwave wax paper?
Wax paper should never go in the microwave. The wax melts at low temperatures and can smoke or catch fire. Always opt for parchment paper which is specially designed for high heat safety.
Parchment paper is a versatile kitchen tool that makes cooking easier and more convenient. From its non-stick surface to its heat resistance, parchment paper is an ideal liner for the microwave. It prevents splatters, steams foods perfectly, and cleans up easily after use. Never substitute wax paper, which cannot withstand microwave heat.
With just a few sheets of parchment paper on hand, you can whip up a fast weeknight dinner or perfectly baked treats without any hassle. Parchment paper is affordable, reusable, and safe for nearly any microwave cooking task you can imagine. Keep some in your kitchen drawer for quick and easy microwave meals anytime.