Parchment paper is an unsung hero of the holidays — and any other time you’re doing a lot of cooking and baking. That’s essentially every day in the Chatelaine Kitchen, where one parchment has come to rule them all: No Name. It tears nicely, is the right weight and texture — and is also reasonably priced.
(Editor’s note: Reynolds parchment came very close — and we still use it regularly — but its heavier weight bumped it down a notch to second place for ease of use when creasing the paper to fit your cookie sheet.)
Aside from its many applications, parchment paper also saves on heavy scrubbing during kitchen clean-up, as it won’t stick to the baked goods (we’re looking at you, wax paper), and it won’t melt or flame up in the oven (still looking at you, wax paper). How is that? Paper goes through a special treatment process that increases its density and resistance to heat, while imparting serious non-stick properties.
Ready to break out that roll and put it to use? Here are seven time-and-money saving uses for parchment paper:
Cover a cookie sheet
To start, parchment will keep the pan clean, so you can say goodbye to crusted-on cookie crumbs, roasted vegetable residue and more. Not only does it keep the sheet much tidier, your baked goods won’t stick to it, so you can rest easy if the cookies are left cool on the pan a little too long. (They’ll slip right off when you need them to.)
Cover that cookie sheet … again
Don’t throw it out just yet. It can be reused through multiple batches of cookies. As long as the paper is dry and relatively debris-free, that sheet will last until you’ve finished baking for the day.
Fold it up — for dinner
Cooking en papillote is a great (and easy) technique for every cook’s back pocket. It’s a fast and relatively mess-free way to get dinner ready, and in one packet, no less! Watch how to cook fish en papillote to see how it’s done.
Fold it up, again — for decorating
Our resident cheese expert recommends using parchment to wrap your cheeses before storing them in the fridge. The parchment extends the life of your cheese by allowing it to breathe and release moisture. (Tip: Put wrapped cheese into an open plastic bag, covered container or loosely wrapped plastic to manage strong cheese scents or prevent too much moisture loss.)
Line pans with it for easy-release squares and cakes. For round cake pans, we recommend cutting to fit, and for square pans, to leave overhang on each end, so you can lift the cooked squares out of the pan before slicing.
Parchment is a handy tool for freezing duplicates. If you’re stacking cookies (or portioned cookie dough), the paper keeps everything neatly separate so you don’t get stuck trying to pry frozen cookies or dough balls apart before thawing/baking.
Originally published December 2017; Updated November 2018.