Since childhood, you have had a great interest in baking cookies. It all started when you saw your grandma gathering all the ingredients, mixing them passionately, and putting the cut-out shapes inside the oven until they turn brown, followed by a sweet aroma filling the entire room.
Growing up, you would always have your homemade cookies stored inside your jar. But one day, you find found them running out and so prepared batter for a couple of batches.
As you were planning to line the tray, you noticed that there’s no parchment paper in the box! Would you rather drive to the nearest supermarket or look for an alternative?
You’ve probably picked the latter option, and if you did, you’re welcome! Follow our guide to learn how to bake cookies without parchment paper.
What’s The Use Of Parchment Paper?
Bakers always have a pack of parchment paper with them, because this silicone-coated sheet prevents food from sticking into the oven tray.
Not only that, the paper is heat-resistant, so it can withstand high temperatures as you bake goodies.
Parchment paper also lets you transfer the baked goodies without causing a mess in your workplace.
Although some of the alternatives described here might not work as great as parchment paper, they can still come in handy during the baking process.
If sustainability is your concern, since you throw away parchment paper after every use, these are the best options to look for.
Parchment Paper Alternatives For Baking Cookies
1. Greased Tray Or Pan
While parchment paper allows for a non-stick surface, applying grease to the baking surface also does the trick.
You can either apply some oil, butter, or cooking spray. All you need to do is grab a paper towel (you can also use a pastry brush or your fingers), apply a thin amount of either ingredient and then apply it evenly onto the baking surface, including corners.
When using a pastry brush, you might find bristles on the pan, so it is essential to keep an eye on the pan to ensure it remains clean. And here’s a good post If you’re interested in purchesing brownie pans for perfectly baked cookies.
2. Heavy-Duty Aluminum Foil
Another good option is to use heavy-duty aluminum foil. Like parchment paper, aluminum foil is also heat-resistant and can be used in the oven.
Cut out a piece of aluminum foil to fit your baking tray or pan. Then place it on the baking surface while ensuring the inner corners are smooth.
Since aluminum foils aren’t non-stick, you will need to lightly apply some oil, butter, or cooking spray in order to prevent the cookie dough from sticking to the surface.
If you want to go for this option, make sure the aluminum foil you choose is heavy-duty because regular foil paper will tear apart during the transfer of cookies.
3. Silicone Pans
While silicone pans are a must-have in every kitchen, these are also a reusable option for baking cookies. Unlike parchment paper, which you would throw away after use, silicone pans allow unlimited use as well as easy cleaning.
You may think of silicone pans as non-stick, but many recipes call for greasing the pan. In the case of cookies, whether they’ll stick or not depends on the amount of content in the dough.
For example, if your cookies are lightweight and have lower fat content, they are more likely to stick to silicone pans. But, if they are a bit heavier and contain more fat, such as butter, chances are that they won’t stick easily.
When greasing the silicone pan, keep in mind to use either oil or cooking spray. If you use butter, you will find it difficult to apply to the surface, so it is better to avoid using it.
Another thing to note, if the silicone pan has grooves and ridges, it is likely that the crumbs of the baked cookies will get caught inside them. For best results, it is recommended to use a silicone pan having a flat surface.
4. Silicone Mats
Although pricier than parchment paper, silicone mats can go a long way before needing replacement. These mats are heat-resistant, reusable, flexible, and might require greasing depending on the recipe.
Silicone mats come in different sizes, so you will need to choose the size that works best for your cookies.
All you need to do is place the mat on top of the pan or baking tray, apply grease if needed, and then place the cookie batter.
Apart from baking, you can use silicone mats for rolling and kneading dough.
5. Wax Paper
Wax paper is similar to parchment paper because of its non-stick properties. However, that doesn’t mean you should use wax paper for baking because the heat can cause the wax to melt and catch fire inside the oven!
If you need a parchment paper substitute mainly for protecting your workspace from getting messy, you can use wax paper instead.
Not only that, you can even measure out dry ingredients with it. Basically, there are no boundaries in using wax paper as long as you are not using heat.
Wax paper is cheaper than parchment paper, and you can save it for next use.
Related: Wafer paper buying guide.
6. Homemade Anti-Stick Spread
If you don’t mind getting a bit creative, you can make your own anti-stick spread with simple ingredients!
There’s no need to run to the superstore to buy parchment paper, or take out kitchen utensils from the cupboard. Here’s how you can make it:
1. Put equal parts of vegetable oil, flour, and shortening in a bowl.
3. Pour the mixture into an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator.
And, that’s it! Whenever you’re out of parchment paper, you can take out the spread from the refrigerator, dip a pastry brush, and then lightly apply it onto the baking surface.
7. Homemade Anti-Stick Cooking Spray
Besides spread, you can also make your own cooking spray and use it for baking cookies.
1. Take two tablespoons of oil (you can use healthy oil, like canola oil and extra virgin olive oil, seasoning oil) and put it into a measuring cup from which you can easily pour into a bottle.
2. Take 1 cup of water into a measuring cup and discard two tablespoons from it.
3. Pour oil into a clean spray bottle.
4. Pour water into the bottle.
Note: When filling the bottle with contents, avoid filling them to the very top.
5. Add lecithin. (optional)
6. Shake the bottle well.
7. Label the bottle so that you can tell it’s your homemade cooking spray.
8. Store the bottle in a cool, dry place away from light.
That’s how you can make your own non-stick cooking spray. You can make as much as you want so that it comes in handy every time you start a baking session. Also, don’t forget to shake the bottle before each use!
Can I Use Notebook Paper Or Grocery Bag?
The answer is a big NO. You should never use notebook paper or a grocery bag for baking in general.
The reason is- these items tend to ignite quickly at very low temperatures, hence result in a fire inside the oven. On top of that, the presence of ink in the items can cause the food to become toxic.
With regards to baking, all you can do with notebook paper or a grocery bag is to wrap your baked goods. There’s nothing safer than parchment paper or any of the alternatives mentioned above.
Parchment paper can really come in handy at times, whether you’re baking cookies, covering your workspace, or wrapping food.
However, it might not always be available- either it’s out of stock in your nearest grocery store, or you don’t have the time to go out and grab a pack.
In such cases, the best option is to look for alternatives involving the items you already have at home.
While the above parchment paper substitute for cookies might not be as effective as parchment paper, it is better to use them than to use nothing at all!
At the end of the day, you’ll be getting to enjoy deliciously-baked cookies, aren’t you?