Is It Safe to Fry Food In Parchment Paper?
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Is It Safe to Fry Food In Parchment Paper?

May 26, 2023

This TikTok trend promises an easier cleanup—but is it a good idea?

Kirsten is a freelance writer for

When it comes to handy kitchen tools we always have on hand, parchment paper is certainly on the list. It can be used for myriad tasks, including lining cake pans and wrapping food to cook en papillote. Now some home cooks are using parchment paper in their frying pans in the name of easy cleanup. Is this a good idea and one you should try? We asked experts to weigh in on the technique, plus what to keep in mind when using parchment paper in the kitchen.

As with many cooking tips and tricks, there are certain factors to consider before lining your frying pan with parchment paper. (Note that this trend is about parchment paper, not wax paper, with which it is often confused.) Parchment paper is designed for oven use, not stovetop use, and it is heat-resistant, but it is not flame-retardant. This means it's safe to use at high temperatures, such as those used in baking, but it can catch fire if it's exposed to an open flame. (For context, an item that's "flame-retardant" is one that prevents or slows the spread of fire.) With that in mind, it's worth noting that frying food isn't a one-size-fits-all affair. Some stovetops are electric and flameless, while others use gas to produce a flame. The type of stovetop you have will be one of the factors that determine whether you should try this method.

In general, it's not recommended to fry in parchment paper—especially if you have a gas stove, says Traci Weintraub, chef and founder of Gracefully Fed, a meal delivery service and restaurant in Los Angeles. Gas stovetops produce an open flame, which can spread to parchment paper. It might be safe to do on an electric stove, but even then, it's essential to avoid filling the pot or pan to the top, says Shawn Matijevich, lead chef of online culinary arts and food operations at the Institute of Culinary Education. Otherwise, if the oil bubbles over the side, it can lead to a grease fire.

Additionally, the method is not very practical. As Matijevich points out, if you accidentally poke just one hole in the parchment paper, you'll be left with a greasy pot and dripping oily paper. Said hole can also lead to ripping and breakage, potentially resulting in pieces of paper in your meal.

Although the concept of frying in parchment may seem like a clever time-saving trick, there are better ways to make post-frying cleanup easier. The most important tip, of course, is to use nonstick pans. Give your pan time to heat up before adding oil, and if you're cooking foods like meat or vegetables, pat them dry as best you can before placing them in the pan. If you're deep frying food, use a vessel that's "at least two times the volume of what you're frying so the oil doesn't bubble onto your stove," says Matijevich. Also, "use a good-quality deep fry thermometer that stays in the pot at all times. If you're frying at the right temperature, you won't [have] bits of food sticking to the bottom and sides," he adds.