Can You Reuse Parchment Paper?

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Parchment paper is a multi-use kitchen accessory — it is non-stick and heat resistant (under 400 degrees Fahrenheit), and good for easy clean-up on counters or in waffle machines, parchment pack dinners, and of course, baking. A 60-square-foot roll of parchment paper costs in the neighborhood of six dollars, which isn't too cost-prohibitive.

However, if you have grand baking plans that involve making cookies or fancy layer cakes on a daily basis, you'll be rotating through parchment paper rather quickly. And every time you cut and line a cake pan with parchment paper, that means usually you're also throwing out the said paper. This isn't great for the environment, especially since most bleached parchment papers also contain a bit of silicone or wax that makes them non-compostable. In an era where minimizing food waste is more important than ever, we've to be more conscious about everything.

If you have ever wondered, as you crumpled up a bit of parchment paper and threw it into the trash, could I have reused it — the answer is simpler than you think.

Scrape and reuse your parchment paper

First things first: not only can parchment paper not be thrown in the compost, it usually cannot even be recycled. This means that in 2020 alone, the waste from the 1.75 million Americans that used over 10 rolls of parchment paper is likely sitting in a landfill.

One handy trick to save the parchment paper from your latest cake bake is a bench scraper. Use it to remove the residual cake to wipe it clean and voilà, you have perfectly clean and cut parchment paper for your next baking endeavor. If you don't have a bench scraper in your kitchen accessory repository, you may want to invest in one — it's the tool that Michael Symon calls "the greatest". If you don't have a lot of sticky residue on the paper, you can also just wipe it down with a sponge or cloth.

This hack can be repeated again and again, or until the paper falls apart basically. That said, there are a few caveats. Don't reuse parchment paper that's held meat or fish, nor dairy that wasn't exposed to heat to kill any potential bacteria. If you've run out of paper and are looking for another option, baking mats are a great non-toss alternative that will last a lifetime.