Tips & Techniques

The Big Secret About Parchment Paper

September  2, 2013

Every week, baking expert Alice Medrich will be going rogue on Food52 -- with shortcuts, hacks, and game-changing recipes.

Today: Never rip parchment paper from a roll again.

The Big Secret About Parchment on Food52

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If you are an avid baker, you probably love parchment paper as much as I do -- for lining cake pans and cookie sheets, as a landing place for sifted flour, to make paper cornets for piping, cut stencils, and so on. Nothing more need be said, right? 

But if you are a new baker or occasional baker, maybe you've had a rocky time with parchment. After struggling to tear a sheet neatly (yeah, sure) from the roll and wrestling it onto a cookie a sheet, only to have it roll up and shoot across the room, you may wonder why we love the ornery stuff.

More: Crispy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. Cleanup made easier, by parchment.

The Big Secret About Parchment on Food52

The big secret is this: You have to buy parchment in sheets or rounds! Professionals take this for granted. Pre-cut sheets and rounds are a dream, rolls a nightmare. I'd choose water torture rather than be forced to use parchment off of a roll.

Sheets lie flat in or on pans, there is no need to chase them (across the room), weight them, or trick them into submission and never a need to grease the pan to glue them down. You can order 12x16-inch sheets (perfect for half sheet pans and cookie sheets) online or at a baking supply store, or cajole a friendly local baker to sell you handful of commercial sized sheets (16x24-inch) which can be cut in half: fold several sheets in half at once, crease the fold, then slip a knife into the crease and cut through the sheets.

Store a stack of sheets flat in a rimmed baking sheet. If you don't have drawer or shelf space for a baking sheet, clip your parchment sheets to an old-fashioned clip board and hang it on the inside of a cupboard, pantry, or closet door. There is no excuse not to keep parchment sheets instead of rolls!

The Big Secret About Parchment on Food52

Alice's most recent book, Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts, doles out delicious dessert recipes that don't take hours of prep (a lot of them don't even require turning on the oven) -- everything from lattice-free linzer to one-bowl French chocolate torte.


Photos by James Ransom

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Ken Krone
    Ken Krone
  • Daniel Rensing
    Daniel Rensing
  • shelagh
  • Luvtocook
  • Rhonda35
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).


Ken K. June 4, 2015
Does anyone have any suggestion for brands to look for in restaurant supply stores for the sheets? There seems to be different quality levels, based on reading reviews on amazon for smaller quantities... Thanks
Daniel R. January 10, 2015
We are partial to The Smart Baker's Perfect Parchment!
shelagh May 13, 2014
It is very easy to make parchment fit any pan by running it under water and crumpling it into a ball. It doesn't tear, and can be pushed very easily into corners or round pans. Try it -you will be amazed how much easier is to position in the pan.
Luvtocook April 27, 2014
I'll stick to using parchment paper from a roll. Easy to line round cake pans, what?, once every other month or so since I seldom bake layer cakes; even easier with square/rectangular bakeware. Parchment paper is great stuff!
Rhonda35 April 8, 2014
Over the years, I've been able to collect quite a bit of Silpat or similar products (almost exclusively in discount places such as TJ Maxx, etc.) and have fitted them to my various baking sheets, cake pans, etc. The initial cost is more than a roll of parchment paper, but they've had a lot of use and paid for themselves threefold. It works great, the clean-up is a cinch and I'm not adding anything to the landfills of the world. (Except the occasional baking flop!)
Grayce April 7, 2014
Guffaw........... yes, always use parchment paper....... don't be so foolish as to buy the 3 0r 4 sheet packs. I buy a roll at a time and it lasts. The inconvenience of dealing with the rolled paper is minimal. Fold it once, in the middle and it will lie flat, especially after you have placed your dough on it
ArtoriusRex April 7, 2014
I think I'd still rather use a roll, that has many more uses and is cheaper, than buy a single-use, more expensive item.

This is my inner Alton Brown talking.
carswell February 13, 2014
I like the idea of the bulldog clip on the inside of the cupboard door. I store my baking sheets upright along with other trays, my baking stone and muffin pans so laying parchment in them as storage isn't an option.
GardenStater December 30, 2013
Totally agree with this. King Arthur Flour had a sale a few weeks back on parchment paper, and I bought a ton of it. It's so much easier to deal with than those pesky rolls! But seeing these comments, I think I'll check out the local restaurant-supply place next time. I might save money.
Nancy M. September 9, 2013
Kirkland parchment from Costco is heavier than other brands and tears perfectly every time. (They also have the best plastic wrap.)
SapphireIce September 24, 2013
I agree! I started using them 4 years ago, and won't use anything else now. They're far superior to "Name Brands" in the stores. I have no problem with them, and if the parchment is a bit rolly, I just roll it up lightly the opposite way and it lays down fine.
Alice M. September 5, 2013
I usually do cut my 8 and 9 inch rounds and square from sheets. I buy sheets from restaurant or bakery supply shops, probably a 1000 16X24" sheets for less than the price of 100 sheets from Amazon, and a fraction of the cost of rolls as well. I find it worth doing, even if you have to share a box with a couple of other baking friends! All that being said, if something is working perfectly for you, that is what counts
tstar September 5, 2013
i bought myself a hug stack of sheets and it's made my baking life so much better. next purchase is for the round pre-cut ones for my cake pans.
MissNewEngland September 3, 2013
That was pretty silly, actually. I buy rolls of parchment and have never had a problem. It's easy enough to pre-cut a few sheets and rounds and keep them right inside the round pans and the cookie sheets. I don't like wasting money better spent elsewhere.
starface80 September 3, 2013
This will change my life! Great tip!
Hilarybee September 3, 2013
If you live in the midwest, Gordon Food Service is a restaurant supply that is open to the public. They have a fantastic price for commercial sheets of parchment. 50 full size sheets (100 sheets if you half them) for 3.99.
GreenChef September 3, 2013
Just priced the Parchment Paper Pan Liner - 12" x 16", 100 Pack at The price of $45.99 has driven me back to the rip and tear routine with parchment. The rounds are a much better price.
Alice M. April 7, 2014
Talk a local baker(y) into ordering a box of full sheets for you and you will get 1000 sheets that are double the size of the 12 x 16 sheets (thus 2000 sheets) at less cost than the 100 pack from amazon. Share with a few friends and you will not have to by parchment again for years.
Alice M. September 3, 2013
I have to admit, I can't deal with crumpled or creased parchment, I want it lying flat flat flat on the pan! But if it's working for you, what can I say, right!?
Leith D. September 3, 2013
To flatten out parchment paper from the roll, cut off a sheet, crumple it in a ball, then smooth it out onto the baking sheet. Works every time.
Rhonda35 September 3, 2013
Brilliant! I crease mine, but crumpling it is way better. Thanks for sharing.
fhp September 3, 2013
I can't wait to crumble up the ornery little critter....and to think I always had to cajole the willful thing to make it lie down.
Rhonda35 September 2, 2013
Although I've never had a difficult time with parchment paper, I really like this idea. I never thought about it before, but it makes sense that someone manufactures these for bakeries, etc.
Lemongrass&Lime September 2, 2013
Didn't know there was such a thing. Thanks for the tip!