Parchment isn’t just for the world of Medieval manuscripts and handwritten holy texts. It remains hugely popular today for a variety of uses, not the least of which being as paper stretched over cooking pans or wrapped up around things as part of an arts and crafts project.
There are plenty of reasons to cook with parchment paper, but what if you don’t have any on you, you find it too expensive, or you wish to abstain from using it for other reasons?
If so, have no fear – there are plenty of potential parchment replacements you can turn to for your cooking and crafting needs.
Parchment Paper 101
Before we get into those replacements, however, let’s first take a quick look at what makes parchment work so well in the first place.
Parchment paper is typically coated with silicone. It is available both bleached and unbleached, and the silicone helps make the paper water-resistant, heat-resistant, and non-stick.
One alternative to silicone is running the paper pulp through sulfuric so that it gelatinizes, resulting in that all-essential non-stick surface.
That alone should be an indication as to why parchment paper is so popular for cooking. Its resistance to water and heat means it doesn’t get soggy or burn easily, while its non-stick nature lets you pile on food without having to worry about getting it off again.
This makes it especially popular for desserts and dough.
In addition, its non-stick nature also makes it ideal for wrapping food since it does not absorb toxins.
Parchment paper can also be bent into a neat funnel to trap spices, and it is also popular for steaming chicken, fish, and other dishes.
This is also what makes it good for crafts. Parchment paper is sturdy, sleek, and can be used in a wide range of crafts.
1 – Leaves and Husks
These natural and unprocessed alternatives are a great option for those people who prefer all-natural choices compared to the manufactured nature of most of the other options on this list. If you’re someone who likes to take all-natural cooking as far as you can, cooking with leaves and husks as replacements for parchment paper can open up exciting new possibilities.
What’s more, you can use these leaves for a wide range of arts and crafts projects that require a natural touch, especially those that require parchment-style wrapping. Some examples of leaves that can be used for this purpose include banana leaves, corn leaves, grape leaves, fig leaves, lotus leaves, and bamboo leaves.
2 – Wax Paper
One thing needs to be established right away about wax paper as an alternative to parchment. While it is a popular choice, and we’ll see why in a moment, it nevertheless lacks parchment’s heat-resistant properties. As such, it cannot be used for baking the same way.
That being said, it can still be used to help keep kitchen projects from becoming too messy, especially thanks to their non-stick design. You can cover the countertop with wax paper and prevent splattering messes just as you would with parchment paper.
It is also ideal for use when you need paper on which to measure out food before placing it in pans or other receptacles for cooking.
In short, if it’s a project that doesn’t require heat, wax paper may be a good alternative.
3 – Aluminum Foil
No, it isn’t the most glamorous or exciting of options, but this is probably the most affordable and accessible parchment replacement you’ll be able to find at a store, so in a pinch it’s better than nothing.
A word of warning – the metal may interact with acidic food, giving it a metallic smell. In addition, covering the entire dish with aluminum foil can cut off the circulation and affect the taste of whatever you’re cooking.
In terms of arts and crafts usage, aluminum foil has great potential because it can be used in a wide range of arts and crafts. That’s due in no small part to the fact that it can withstand heat and cold, whereas that isn’t always true with a lot of parchment paper replacement ideas for arts and crafts on this list.
Aluminum foil is especially great for arts and crafts projects that require you to wrap something, since it can cling to the shape around which you are wrapping it even more steadily than parchment paper.
For example, aluminum foil can be twisted into a funnel just as easily as parchment paper. This can be good for funneling ingredients into a recipe or creating funnel-shaped crafts.
4 – Plastic Wrap
On the one hand, this is definitely not an alternative for those looking for another non-stick option. On the other hand, that’s precisely what makes it a good choice for those looking for an arts and crafts alternative to parchment paper because it makes it ideal for watercolor work.
Food does not absorb the polythene in plastic wrap, but watercolors properly applied can nevertheless stick to it well enough to make for great transparent plastic wrap craft ideas for kids.
5 – Rice Paper
The thinness of this material makes it ideal for cutting, thus, making it a natural choice for those looking for arts and crafts projects involving cutting out designs. You can fold the rice paper together, cut a few shapes, and produce a dazzling chain of intricate designs.
In terms of cooking, Asian cooking traditions often make use of thin rolls of dough, which in turn are a natural match for these thinner rice paper sheets. They also work well as wraps for steaming up fried meat and veggies.
They are also a good non-stick replacement, making them good for arts and crafts as well as recipes requiring that. As a result, they are sometimes used as liners for muffins and cupcakes.
6 – Kampyo
These can be used for a variety of Japanese-inspired art projects for kids. For example, you can use this wrap to make a small model kimono or small anasema dolls.
The material itself can be likened to dried gourd strips. That said, proper kampyo materials require rehydration and soaking before they can be used properly.
Once you have soaked them adequately, you can use them as a wrap for traditional Japanese foods such as sushi.
7 – Silpat Baking Mat
Silicone pads, also known as silpats, are excellent for emulating the non-stick nature of parchment paper. On the one hand, silpats tend to be more expensive than parchment, but on the other hand, they can also last longer – a good quality if you’re planning to use them for arts and crafts.
The silicone in these mats lends it a flexible, heat-resistant nature as well, making it great for all the baking jobs for which parchment paper is traditionally favored.
You can also use it to wrap up the materials for which you would typically use parchment, lending these projects a more durable yet still sleek surface.
Parchment paper is an incredibly versatile material for both cooking and arts and crafts.
However, if you cannot use it for whatever reason, one or more of these wraps can make for a noble replacement, lending their own upsides to your next burst of crafting creativity.