The thought of baking a batch of gooey, chocolatey brownies is enough to make anyone’s mouth water. But what if you’re missing one crucial ingredient: parchment paper?
Many recipes call for lining the baking pan with parchment paper, but what if you don’t have any on hand? Can you still bake brownies without them?
The answer is yes, you can! In fact, there are several alternative methods to parchment paper that you can use to achieve the same delicious results.
Let’s explore some of these methods and share tips and tricks for baking perfect brownies without parchment paper. So, grab your mixing bowl, and let’s get started!
What is Parchment Paper?
The nonstick quality of parchment paper is due to its silicone coating, which gives the paper its surface. Besides being heat-resistant, the silicone coating is also water-resistant. Additionally, it ensures even heating during baking by regulating temperature.
As with aluminum foil and wax paper, parchment paper is usually packaged in a roll, which can be found in your grocery store, but it can also be found in pre-cut sheets, which can be found in cake supply stores more likely to fit standard-size sheet pans, cake pans, and muffin tins.
Why Do We Use Parchment Paper For Brownies?
Due to its nonstick, heat-resistant surface, parchment paper is a popular cooking and baking paper. To prevent baked goods from sticking, parchment paper is typically used to line baking sheets or cake pans; to wrap fish or vegetables.
Create a makeshift counter to reduce mess when storing brownies, bars, and other sticky treats, or use it to roll out pastry dough or separate brownies, bars, and other sticky treats.
The following alternatives can be used in place of parchment paper. The majority of these options can be easily and quickly replaced with things you already have at home. You can find the best substitute for your baking and cooking needs below.
Best Substitutes for Parchment Paper
Besides being a versatile kitchen workhorse, parchment paper is an important part of baking because of its nonstick properties, which make it perfect for lining baking sheets.
Furthermore, it can be used for grating cheese, sifting flour, and steaming delicate fish in addition to baking cookies.
Since parchment is a single-use item, it can end up being expensive and wasteful. However, there are many advantages to using parchment.
If you don’t have parchment paper on hand, or if you want a more sustainable option, there are plenty of other options you can choose from, depending on what you’re doing.
In case you’re out of parchment paper or want an alternative that’s more environmentally friendly, there are many options available to you. Using all of these methods prevents the batter from sticking to the pan. Listed below are some foolproof methods!
1. Aluminum Foil
If you’re making thicker batters like brownies or bars, aluminum foil works well as an alternative to parchment paper. If you are making a cake with thin batter, you might have trouble removing it from the foil.
It’s not nonstick, but foil can still work if you’re out of options. Grease it generously before baking brownies to prevent them from sticking.
The bottom and sides of the pan should be covered with a rectangular piece cut to fit the width of the pan. Press into shape in the pan.
Next, cut a piece long enough to cover the pan. Then shape it in the pan.
You can use a small square cake pan by turning it upside down and covering the bottom with foil. Take the mold out of the pan and fit it into the pan. Follow the directions for baking your batter.
2. Greasing and Flouring
There is no better alternative to parchment paper than this. The process of greasing and flouring works well when done correctly.
Vegan butter, vegan shortening, or oil can all be used. Put a generous amount onto the cake pan using your fingers, a pastry brush, or a paper towel.
Make sure the flour or cocoa powder sticks to the greased pan by gently shaking it. In order for the pan to be coated, it should cover the bottom as well as the sides.
Make sure there is no excess flour or cocoa powder. After preparing the pan, pour the batter into it and bake it according to the instructions.
3. Nonstick Sheet Pans: Good For Baking
Another good substitute for parchment paper is a high-quality nonstick sheet pan. It will also be easy to clean if the sheet pan is truly nonstick.
The performance of some nonstick sheet pans can be improved by adding more oil to the coating. The nonstick coating may wear off after a couple of years, so you may have to replace them.
It’s a good idea to invest in a nonstick sheet pan in case you run out of parchment paper. You don’t want to worry about baking your cookies in a pan that sticks as they bake in the oven, so opt for one with positive reviews when researching.
4. Baking Spray
Cake pans can be oiled easily and quickly with baking sprays without using a brush or your hands. The nonstick coating is formed by combining additional ingredients with oil. In this way, cakes can be removed from pans without sticking.
On the market, there are several brands to choose from. The cost of baking cakes can be pretty high, especially if you do not do it regularly.
The majority of these products are already vegan; however, it is always a good idea to read the label first. Spritz generously over the entire cake pan, including any crevices and sides. If there are any bald spots on the cake, it will stick!
5. Greased Baking Sheet: Good for Baking
You can substitute parchment paper for a greased baking sheet quickly and easily. Most of the time, this method will work unless your ingredient is particularly sticky.
There is a subtle impact on the food resulting from both additional fat and direct contact with the baking sheet. A parchment paper bottom might result in slightly darker cookies, for example.
Grease a baking sheet generously with oil or butter to replicate parchment paper’s nonstick surface. If you grease a baking sheet, you will need to scrub it deeper afterward.
6. Baking Mats
Make sure you always have parchment paper on hand by using silicone baking mats. Moreover, they have a higher level of environmental friendliness and are easier to use.
Besides being flexible and durable, they are also easy to clean. In addition to being dishwasher-safe, silicone baking mats are also easy to clean.
Whenever I make vegan chocolate chip cookies, I use Silpat’s half-sheet size, but I also use it for Swiss roll cakes and sheet cakes.
Besides not transferring weird flavors, they are also available in different sizes. You can use a baking mat by placing it on the bottom of the sheet pan. The batter should be poured right on top, spread evenly, and baked.
The cake will slide right out once it is made. The process is relatively easy and mess-free as long as the baking mat fits your pan correctly. A baking mat can be quite expensive, so it’s definitely worth the investment.
However, avid bakers may find the investment worthwhile. If you go through every roll of parchment paper fairly quickly, there may be significant cost savings!
Instead of buying a knockoff, buy Silpat original or another high-end brand. Foods made from knockoffs may have off-flavors because they are not as well-made as the originals.
7. Wax Paper: Best for Room Temperature Storage and Makeshift Work Surfaces
In most cases, wax paper shouldn’t be heated above room temperature since it has a paraffin coating that melts around 120°F.
According to USDA guidelines, wax paper can be heated if it is fully covered (for example, if the cake batter completely covers the wax paper when it is baked).
If the wax paper is not used properly, it can melt, smoke, or even ignite. If you want to bake, use another alternative.
The use of wax paper is great for storing food at room temperature (wrapping cheese, brownies, and bars) and rolling out dough.
It’s best to keep wax paper for short-term use rather than freezing it since it’s not moisture-resistant like freezer paper.
How is Parchment Paper Different From Wax Paper?
Unlike parchment paper, wax paper is coated on both sides with a thin, waxy coating, making it both moisture-resistant and nonstick.
As parchment paper is usually twice as expensive as this substitute, it’s a great money-saving alternative.
Wax paper is an excellent alternative that works just as well when it comes to prepping food, layering between desserts, or covering your work surface.
The wax in the wax paper may melt if heated, which could cause a fire hazard when used for baking or oven cooking.
What Is the Best Substitute for Parchment Paper?
Nonstick cooking or baking spray works great if your goal is to prevent sticking. Many cake, muffin, and quick bread recipes call for merely greasing and flouring the pan instead of parchment paper to prevent sticking.
A good alternative to baking or roasting savory foods is aluminum foil, which is easy to clean. However, the foil is not nonstick, so your food may need to be coated with nonstick spray or oil to avoid sticking.
Investing in silicone baking mats and molds is a great sustainable solution, though they can be pricey. You might be able to save money in the long run if you’re an avid baker who uses silicone for a long time.