Hassle-Free Baking: Which Is Better, Parchment Paper Or Silicone Baking Mats?

A non-stick surface is essential if you want flawless results from baking, regardless of whatever recipe it might be. Now that we've got that established, we are going to pit two of the most common tools used to achieve this, parchment paper and silicone baking mats, against each other. Below, we discuss the pros and cons of both tools, in order to reach the ultimate verdict of which tool really is the holy grail of non-stick baking.

By Cookist
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Whether you're a rookie baker or a professional chef, you'll require a method that prevents food from sticking to baking pans. This is why parchment paper, silicone baking mats and other lesser known non-stick tools are considered essentials in the food industry.

This article is only concerned with parchment paper and silicone baking mats:

Parchment Paper

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Parchment paper is a paper made up of cellulose that has an ultra-thin silicone coating, giving it its non-stick quality. It is very affordable and is sold in packs of sheet or rolls for around $5.

The most attractive feature of parchment paper is the convenience of its use and being able to fit it into any pan, regardless of shape and size. With parchment paper, you can be sure that your meals will cooked to perfect crispness without sticking to the pan. However, they are not reusable, which makes them a lot less green even though it promotes efficient cleaning.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Versatility: can be used in different pans
  • Available

Cons

  • Not reusable

Silicone Baking MatsĀ 

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Just like the name indicates, these baking mats are made of food grade silicone and fiber glass, which makes them reusable and very flexible. Unlike parchment paper, these come in various sizes and shapes to fit different pans. Even better, they can hold well to the surface of your counter or marble slab, so they can also be used as a non-stick surface for kneading sticky dough.

On the downside, however, silicone baking mats are more expensive, costing around $20-$30, and only come in fixed shapes. That means you'll have to buy as many silicone mats as you'll need for your various pan shapes. They also don't allow browning so you may want to rethink getting one if you prefer your baked meals crisp and golden.

Pros

  • They are reusable
  • Excellent for kneading sticky dough

Cons

  • Don't crisp up foods
  • Expensive
  • Limited use because they only come in certain shapes
  • Difficult to clean

FINAL VERDICT: Parchment Paper wins

From the outline above, you'll observe that the cons of silicone baking mats outnumber the pros. Although they efficiently prevent foods from sticking to baking pans, they are much more expensive and difficult to clean. On the other hand parchment paper is cheap, allows browning, is easy to find and can fit into any baking pan!

Overall, parchment paper should be your go-to tool when you want non-stick cooking. However, you may also choose to own a silicone baking mat for more delicate recipes like chewy cookies.

Which of these tools are your favorite?

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