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Can You Put Paper Towel in the Oven? (And What to Do Instead)

Can You Put Paper Towel in the Oven? (And What to Do Instead)

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The way we cook and heat our food isn’t always as straightforward as it might first seem. For example, many people would expect paper to catch fire in a microwave, but due to the way a microwave works, that’s unlikely to happen.

Many people would expect paper towel to set fire in a microwave but that is unlikely to happen

However, just because paper towel can go in the microwave doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe in the oven. An oven heats your food in a completely different way, and as expected, leads to different results.

In this article, you’ll find out whether or not it’s safe to put paper towel in the oven, as well as some safer alternatives to consider.

Can Paper Towel Go in the Oven?

While paper towel will surely fit in the oven, that’s not really the question at hand. What you likely want to know is whether or not it’s actually safe to do so.

This one is pretty straight forward. No, it is not safe to put paper towels in a hot oven. Paper burns very easily and is a major fire hazard when exposed to the heat generated by an oven.

While the ignition point of paper is 451 F, there are other factors to consider. For one, while the air in the oven may not reach that temperature, the same cannot be said for the heating elements.

You also have to consider that paper towels are often made of recycled materials and may contain metal or other ingredients that you wouldn’t want leaching into your food.

Although some recipes do call for paper towel to be used at low temperatures, and low enough temperatures shouldn’t be an issue, there are much safer alternatives you can consider. Let’s take a look at a few of these next.

What Are the Potential Reasons for Putting Paper Towel in the Oven?

If you’re wondering whether or not you should put paper towel in the oven, you probably have a certain benefit that you’re trying to obtain. So, what are some of the reasons that people consider putting a paper towel in their oven?

One common reason is to soak up grease when cooking things like bacon. While the concept makes sense, the better approach in this scenario is to transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels after you pull it out of the oven.

Another reason someone might consider using paper towel in their oven is to place a layer between their food and the pan. Typically, the goal here would be for quicker and easier cleanup. Instead of using paper towel, a better alternative would be to use parchment paper, which can withstand temperatures up to 450 F (some brands are less).

One last reason that you might consider using paper towel in a pinch is as a substitute for a baking sheet. This is not an uncommon thought, but paper towel should never be used for this purpose. Instead, use aluminum foil, as it works well for this purpose.

Final Thoughts

While paper towels technically shouldn’t catch fire at low temperatures in the oven, due to the factors I mentioned above, it should still be avoided. Instead, consider an alternative, such as parchment paper or aluminum foil.

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