Can You Microwave Parchment Paper?

Ever had one of those days where you just don’t feel like doing the dishes? Imagine you are having one of those no-dish-washing days, but you really want to reheat that tasty, flavorful leftover chicken in your microwave, how do you accomplish this without being stuck with dishes?

(Cue in Pink Panther intro music…)

I have two words for you: Parchment. Paper. 

Yes, parchment paper can be used in the microwave, and as promised no washing up is required after.

You can reheat your fish, chicken, veggies, and fruit purees in your microwave with parchment paper BUT there are guidelines for this. In this article, we break down these guidelines in detail.  

Read on and become your very own expert on how to use parchment paper in the microwave.

What is parchment paper made of?

Parchment paper also called “baking paper” is treated with silicone making it non-stick; this means that the silicone prevents food from sticking to it during cooking.

It is made with grease and moisture-resistant paper. Using parchment paper for meals ensures that your food is kept moist and flavorful. Though specially made for oven use, it works equally well in the microwave.

Some people confuse parchment paper with Wax paper. Wax paper is also non-stick thanks to the wax coating on each side. It is also proven to be a less expensive substitute compared to parchment paper.  However, unlike parchment paper, which is suitable in the oven and microwave, wax paper is only safe in the microwave and not in the oven due to its lack of heat resistance.

Parchment paper a super-handy item for your kitchen comes in different variations.

Different types of Parchment Paper 

Parchment paper comes in two forms, bleached and unbleached. The bleached is white in color and processed with chlorine. The unbleached is brown in color. But it really doesn’t matter if you are using bleached or unbleached, both are suitable and safe for the microwave.

Can you microwave Parchment Paper?

Yes, you can microwave parchment paper. The Food Safety and Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture states that parchment paper is microwavable. However, bearing in mind that items with paper composition can be flammable, there are some points to note:

  • Microwaved parchment paper can REALLY heat up, so be careful when removing it from the microwave, it will be very hot!
  • Parchment paper is estimated to resist flames at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything higher and it goes up in flames! However, this temperature zone for parchment paper is WAY beyond what a standard microwave can offer making it suitable for microwave use.
  • When using parchment paper with fatty/oily foods do not overdo its time in the microwave. Keep an eye on it at intervals. This is important because such foods can exceed 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The parchment paper will take on the heat of the fatty food it’s in contact with; this can make it burn.

How long can you microwave parchment paper?

This depends on the food you are microwaving. Parchment paper can be used to microwave a variety of meals such as (but not limited to) fish, shellfish, chicken (chicken breasts, tender chicken), veggies (cauliflower, asparagus, squash, tomato), fruits (apples, pecans, pears). 

And because of the variety of foods parchment paper can be used with, timing is then dependent on the particular food.

Fish for example; a popular dish to make on parchment paper should be put in the microwave for at least 30 minutes, to cook through at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Whereas, with vegetables on parchment paper, you are to cook them in the microwave for 15 to 20 minutes, a similar timeframe with chicken.

So depending on the meal being prepared, there can be a difference in the microwave time of parchment paper.

How to microwave parchment paper?

Parchment paper is an easy and safe way to reheat food in the microwave. However, it should never be put in the microwave alone (never). Instead, it should always go into the microwave with food (always). 

Don’t place parchment paper next to the heat source in the microwave.

Although parchment paper is heat resistant it can burn when near a heat source.

Tightly seal your food in the parchment paper. This does not only eliminate microwave splatter, but it also holds in your food’s moisture and seals the flavor in.

Parchment paper is brilliant for individual servings, use a sizable portion of the parchment paper, put food in the center, wrap it, and pop it into the microwave.

Can you reuse parchment paper? 

Yes, you can reuse parchment paper multiple times before throwing it out.  

Several people assume parchment paper can only be used once but that is false. 

There are times when parchment paper cannot be reused, like when some food has gotten stuck on it or it was previously used on food that had a strong flavor and you don’t want the lingering flavor transferred to another food (think chicken tasting like fish).

And though it comes as good news that used parchment paper can be reused over and over again (money well spent + money saved); parchment paper cannot be recycled. 

Parchment paper is coated with silicone, to make it non-stick, therefore making it difficult to recycle. Another hindrance to recycling is the fact that parchment paper is also frequently contaminated with food oil and grease, which cannot be extracted from it.

Tips to microwave parchment paper:

Parchment paper also called ‘baking paper’ is a nifty addition to any kitchen, including yours. Though it is mostly associated with baking, it is also very effective for use in the microwave. 

Folding food up into parchment paper packets (en papillote in French) not only frees you from the chore of washing dishes but also guarantees your food will be moist and full of flavor.

Below is a list of things to bear in mind when using parchment paper in the microwave:

  • Use high-quality parchment paper from a reputable brand.
  • Ensure the parchment paper to be used is cleared as microwave safe.
  • Parchment paper comes in two forms bleached (white in color) and unbleached (brown in color). Both can be used in the microwave irrespective of their composition.
  • The length of time parchment paper can stay in a microwave is dependent on the food being cooked/ reheated.  So tune your microwave timer to what is suitable for your food and check on it at intervals.
  • Parchment paper is highly flammable due to its composition. So, do not place it next to the heat source of the microwave or near an open flame.  Failure to do this will likely result in a fire hazard.
  • You can reuse parchment paper, but it cannot be recycled because it’s coated with silicone and also it’s contaminated with food oil and grease.
  • Parchment paper is designed for use at temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it completely safe for the microwave because most foods do not cook through to that temperature in the microwave.
  • Fatty and sugary foods tend to heat beyond the 450 degrees Fahrenheit threshold of parchment paper; therefore one must be cautious and alert when microwaving such food groups. 

Wrapping up

Parchment paper makes cooking and meal prep time so much easier. The fact that it can be used for cooking/ reheating a variety of foods in the microwave adds to its superpower.  With parchment paper, you are guaranteed a tasty, flavorful meal.

Another bonus is that Parchment paper reduces waste because you can use it repeatedly. Like its paper counterparts, it is flammable and so must not be exposed to excessive heat or open flames.

Now that you know how to use parchment paper in the microwave, give it a go and spread the word. 

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