In baking, we have a number of different types of specially treated paper for different purposes. A prime example is parchment paper. But, when it comes to sticking any kind of paper in the oven, many people have reservations, which is understandable. People frequently ask us if it is okay to place parchment paper in the oven or air fryer.
The short answer is – Yes, you can. Parchment paper is designed to be placed in the oven. However, there are safety considerations to be taken into account which we will cover here as well as tips on how to use parchment paper.
What is parchment paper?
Parchment paper is paper for cooking that is coated in silicone so as to render it non-stick and heat resistant. Also known as baking paper or bakery paper, it comes in brown and white. Brown parchment paper has not been chemically treated to change its color. White parchment paper has been bleached or otherwise chemically treated to render it white in appearance as some people prefer it. Baking paper of this kind can be used at temperatures up to 420 F. However, we recommend checking the manufacturer’s temperature recommendation since heat tolerances may vary from one product to the next.
Parchment Paper: Silicone coated paper meant to tolerate temperatures up to 420 F. It is an odorless and flavorless paper used primarily as a pan liner when baking or to wrap foods in for cooking.
Like most paper, parchment paper is made using a chemical pulping process in which wood is shredded down to nearly powder form, mixed with an adhesive, and then shaped into sheets. The tiny wood chips are pressure cooked or mechanically pulped. Water is added for flexibility and it is later coated with wax or silicone to render it non-sticking.
Naturally, there are good reasons to use parchment paper. Here are some of the reasons people love it.
- More even baking: There are many different types of baking sheets and some are better than others. Parchment paper inserts a nice layer of air between the food and the sheet. This makes it easier to regulate the temperature and gets rid of unwanted hot spots.
- Less unwanted spreading: Sometimes, placing cookie dough right on the sheet will cause it to melt and spread. Parchment paper gives it something to cling to without sticking, making it better able to retain its shape.
- No sticking: Of course, the elimination of sticking is the number one reason people use parchment paper when baking. It works better than oil or butter because it won’t go thin, vaporize, or burn.
- Easier cutting & cleanup: Since your food won’t be sticking to the paper or to the baking sheet or pan, it will be easier to cut and serve. It is especially helpful in cleanup since little to nothing will come into direct contact with your sheet or pan.
- Insulation: Wrapping meat in parchment paper gives you a handy steam pocket that helps everything to cook evenly. It also helps retain moisture so that your cooking comes out nice and juicy.
- Ventilation: Plastic wrap and foil lock air out, which can be counterproductive. Parchment paper does not create a seal, which is sometimes necessary for certain recipes.
How to use parchment paper in an air fryer
First, make sure you have the right kind of paper. Check the recipe if it mentions it and read the labeling on the paper packaging to make sure you have the right kind. Measure your paper twice before use and cut it once. Don’t use it when you reheat your food, and always follow the best safety practices.
Placing parchment paper in the air fryer
You can buy parchment paper that is ready for your air fryer. Make sure you get paper that is properly sized for your fryer and simply place it in the bottom. Alternatively, you can cut ordinary parchment paper to fit your fryer. You will have to make perforations in the paper, which is easier than it seems. Use a razor on a cutting board and cut little triangles into the paper and throw away the perforation leftovers.
Enhancing flavor with parchment paper
For meat and fish, wrapping it in parchment paper helps retain the flavor and gives you more control over what happens to the surface of meats. It will also help prevent waste since your food won’t stick. As mentioned above, parchment paper is also great for cookies since it helps keep them from spreading and scorching.
First, make sure your parchment paper is rated for the amount of heat you intend to use. Most parchment is made to withstand up to 420 F. Do not use parchment on the bottom of a broiler as it will burn and become a fire hazard. Unbleached parchment is often more heat resistant than bleached parchment and it can sometimes be cheaper. Do not use parchment to protect your hands from hot metal and food. It is not thermally insulating enough for that purpose. Finally, you can reuse used parchment paper. Just make sure it is in good condition before cooking with it a second time.
Remember, you can also use aluminum foil in your air fryer – we have an article on that too.
If you reuse damaged parchment paper, there may be potentially hazardous fumes and risk a fire hazard.
Cleaning the air fryer
The most important thing is to clean your air fryer right away. Do not let crumbs and liquids sit overnight. Use warm soapy water to clean the removable parts. Use wooden spoons and wooden skewers to scrape and poke out food, as using metal will ruin your air fryer. Clean the inside of the fryer with a cloth dipped in warm soapy water. Finally, wipe down the exterior.