Parchment Paper

Parchment Paper

Although it’s nothing more than paper dipped in sulfuric acid (which renders it all but impermeable to grease and heat) and coated in silicone (which makes Teflon look sticky), parchment paper is something I just can’t live without.

It does everything wax paper can and much, much more. It’s the ultimate cookie pan liner. Newborn cookies fresh from the oven are amazingly vulnerable to physical mishandling. By lining your pans with parchment you can simply pull the paper off, cookies and all, allowing them to cool on racks or the counter unmarred by spoon or spatula.

By placing a strip around the inner wall of the pan and a round in the bottom, even cheesecake can be easily de-panned (like this pumpkin version). Here’s how to cut it (and see diagrams below):

  • First measure and cut the bottom: Cut a piece of roll parchment 9 inches long.
  • Fold it over into a triangle six times, as in the first six illustrations below.
How to Cut Parchment Paper for a Round Pan Step 1

How to Cut Parchment Paper for a Round Pan Step 1

How to Cut Parchment Paper for a Round Pan Step 2

How to Cut Parchment Paper for a Round Pan Step 2

How to Cut Parchment Paper for a Round Pan Step 3

How to Cut Parchment Paper for a Round Pan Step 3

How to Cut Parchment Paper for a Round Pan Step 4

How to Cut Parchment Paper for a Round Pan Step 4

How to Cut Parchment Paper for a Round Pan Step 5

How to Cut Parchment Paper for a Round Pan Step 5

How to Cut Parchment Paper for a Round Pan Step 6

How to Cut Parchment Paper for a Round Pan Step 6

  • Align the tip with the center of the pan. Snip off the excess and bingo, you’ve got a nonstick bottom for your pan.
How to Cut Parchment Paper for a Round Pan Step 7

How to Cut Parchment Paper for a Round Pan Step 7

How to Cut Parchment Paper for a Round Pan Step 8

How to Cut Parchment Paper for a Round Pan Step 8

  • To cut the side pieces: Since the diameter of the pan is 9 inches and most roll parchment paper is 15 inches across, I just cut two 3-inch-wide pieces across the roll and call it a day. Math worked out below to find circumference of pan.

Parchment/Circumference Math


Add yours
  1. 1

    Love a great multitasker! Glad to get rid of one more special unitasker pan from clutter of stuff! Grateful for friend who told about PP 20 years ago!

  2. 4
    Jennifer Taylor

    If you’re doing a graham cracker crust and a sour cream top layer on the cake, I’m not sure the cake is flippable? The sour cream topping (which conforms to the shape of the cake in a springform pan) is very soft and would goosh out everywhere if flipped onto. I use my grandmother’s cheesecake recipe and that sour cream top layer is essential.

  3. 5

    Linda, you absolutely can flip it upside down! After spending overnight in the fridge, do a quick dip in a hot water bath, remove the parchment from the edges, and then invert it onto a (flat) pan or cardboard cake circle. Then flip it back over onto your serving dish. It works! I’ve never lost a cheesecake this way and I probably make them 6-8 times a year.

  4. 8

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  5. 9

    Great trick! This makes my obsessiveness take a nap. Cutting a circle that is a great circle takes too much time if you want balance. I also used to squirm when a chalkboard wasn’t completely erased…
    Anyway, love the show, love your personality and all shows you touch.

  6. 10
    Irving Bonds

    I used to watch my mother make liners for her cake pans by folding wax paper and then making an arced cut, and a perfect circle would emerge. Unfortunately I did not watch closely enough as I could not remember how to make the folds. When I started searching online for a guide, all I could find were people making parchment paper circles, never wax paper ones. Yes, I know, same principle, but it is just so pretentious, and if there is anything I hate it is a pretentious cook, (“I never use green onions for my recipes, I only use scallions”; “I want the best for my family, so I pay extra for brown eggs”). Of course, I have to remember that these are the same people who think nothing of dropping $7 for basically the same cup of coffee that their grandfathers carped for years about because they could no longer get it for ten cents. People, for cake pans, use wax paper, it is far, far cheaper, and works just as well. To be sure, wax paper in ovens is normally a no-no because of the fire hazard, but if your wax paper, under an inch of wet cake batter bursts into flames, then you are doing something seriously wrong. The worst that will come of it is a minute amount of food grade wax will get on your cake, but I will take that over a minute amount of silicone any day.

    Alton, my apologies for ranting on your post. I admire your work as you are a great source of information, including information about the use of parchment paper. This one just caught me with my fuse a little too close to the match.

  7. 12

    I like the IDEA of parchment paper. Everybody says how wonderful a kitchen aid it is, but I find that whenever I use it, especially for cookies, that it SMOKES beyond belief! It makes so much smoke that it sets off my smoke alarm. I have used at least two different brands with the same issue. Am I doing something wrong?

    • 13

      Are you using Waxed Paper? If you are Waxed Paper and Parchment Paper are not the same thing. They’re both pretty much interchangeable with each other unless heat is involved, waxed paper can’t handle heat.

  8. 17

    Just place the pan on top of the parchment paper and draw around the pan. Then cut out the center. Works great for cake pans. Put a dab of oil in the pan before you place the parchment paper so the paper will stay in place while the batter is poured in. The sides are as easy as finding the circumference and height of the pan and cutting a strip to those lengths and putting a little oil to make the ends stick when they overlap(at least a little overlap). Oil and flour the parchment paper like normal. Works like a charm

  9. 22
    Heather Shanks

    I acquired from a former place of employment a box of 5,000 sheets of parchment paper they were throwing out. It has to be on of the best work place bonuses I have ever gotten.

  10. 24

    this just totally made me smile, thanks for that. i have been using this trick of yours ever since you showed us on Good Eats. the drawings are pretty spiffy, but you peeking thru is kinda disconcerting 😉

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