Parchment Paper Vs Foil: Which Is Better?
If you spend any time in your home kitchen, chances are you are still wondering which one works best - parchment paper or foil, as there are so many useful options with both.
When I am in the kitchen, I try my best to use the best tools and kitchen staples I can find. I always take a lot of things into consideration as I am a mother. Yes, my boys are big now, but a mother’s duty never stops!
That is why I tend to find the best options for every element of cooking, whether it is the cooking itself, utensils, pots or, in this case, staple items.
Further Reading: Silicone Baking Mat
Parchment paper is paper that has a thin layer of silicone on it. The layer of silicone gives it non-stick properties, as well as making it resistant to high temperatures of the oven.
I personally like parchment paper because I have no fear of it burning my food or becoming almost burnt itself.
When I was only beginning my cooking journey, I used to experiment a lot. What I found very useful about parchment paper is that it is the absolute best for baking.
All the ways you can use parchment paper
I already mentioned baking, but, that is certainly not the only good thing parchment paper provides for us.
- Parchment paper allows more air and moisture to escape, so it is suitable for wrapping up leftover baked goods. It assures fresher cookies, muffins or bread.
- As it doesn’t contain metal and it’s heat resistant, you can cover dishes in the microwave to eliminate splatter. This was important for me when I was a young woman living alone in a small apartment - that tiny microwave was my savior.
- Parchment paper is also great for rolling out pastry dough. You simply roll your dough between two sheets for less mess and easier transport to your plate.
- It is also great for freezing or storing. Parchment paper makes life much easier for me, for example, when I want to thaw one burger at a time, or I need to put two layers of brownies in one container.
In rare occasions when I am not at home to cook for my husband and sons, I make sure to leave some meat (usually already shaped frozen burgers), and I always separate it with parchment paper so they don’t struggle with taking it out.
Aluminum foil might be your primary choice for ease and convenience when cooking (and cleaning up!), but people often use it out of habit as it has been around for so long. I was the first one to use foil whenever and wherever until I explored a bit more about other options.
Surely, foil is pretty versatile, and accordingly, people use it for a lot of things. That said, aluminum doesn't offer any unique non-stick properties, besides generally being smooth and thin.
What is absolutely amazing about foil is that it can also be reused or recycled. So if saving the planet is on your mind or you’re on a tight budget, foil is the choice for you. My family is really big on recycling so we enjoy using foil for this reason.
I use foil for other reasons as well, but the thing that bothers me is that foil can impact the taste of food, as it is metal. And, in addition to the chemical reaction that can happen when used with acidic foods, it can also add a “tinny” or metallic taste to foods.
However, it is a fundamental thing you learn when you cook often - which food doesn’t go well with foil. Once you got that figured out, you’re ready to roll.
All the ways you can use foil
Because aluminum foil distributes heat without becoming hot to the touch, it’s amazingly versatile for all sorts of uses.
- The first thing that comes to mind must be reheating - especially any kind of meat, like pork or beef. This is useful when you cook for three men, you know? 🙂
I always need to prepare large amounts of food, and surely my boys love meat. Foil is great for reheating because the meat isn’t in direct contact with the heat (which is distributed evenly because of the characteristics of aluminum).
- If you enjoy grilled meat and veggies, then foil is your best companion. You can make foil packets for vegetables, fish or meat, so they remain tender while roasting. If you are grilling small or delicate items like shrimp, mushrooms, asparagus and so on, line the grill with foil so nothing falls through the grates.
- You can also use foil in a regular or a roasting oven, if you are roasting anything where you don’t want the top to brown too quickly - simply use sheets of foil to cover the meat or pie.
- Additionally, you can wrap almost anything (leftover slices of pizza, quiche, or frittata) to keep oxygen and light out. A great bonus is that foil is extremely thin and you can shape it to fit basically anything.
Parchment Paper Vs. Foil - Which one is healthier?
As I already mentioned (and I am sure all of you mothers understand where I am coming from), I always want the best and healthiest options for my family. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of controversy with foil.
A research in the International Journal of Electrochemical Science informs us that when we use aluminum foil during cooking, some aluminum leaches into food. Leaching increases with higher heat (roasting and broiling) and acidity (tomatoes, vinegar, vitamin C–rich produce).
This was a significant factor in the increase of usage in parchment paper, and the decrease in usage of foil. But do not be afraid - the amount of aluminum that we would intake this way is way smaller than what we intake every day through our diet, so it’s actually quite reasonable and safe to use.
On the other hand, parchment paper is covered in silicone, so it is also not a guilt-free choice. Of course, if you use bleached parchment paper (which is white), there are higher risks as it might contain toxic chemicals. That is why you should always go for the natural, brown-colored parchment paper.
Parchment Paper Vs. Foil - Which one is better?
I know some people strictly use the one, and some the other, but the truth is, both the parchment paper and the foil have a purpose and a proper usage in our kitchens.
Sometimes, they can even be used at the same time.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t use parchment paper more often, but foil too has some great pros, and I would not be able to cook without it.
Both options are a must-have in my opinion, and I personally use them both almost equally. I consider them true kitchen staple items.
I have been using parchment paper and foil regularly for more than 20 years, and I have cooked in many homes for some special occasions like holidays or various celebrations.
You know how there are always huge groups of people and they all like to comment on things? Well, I have never received a complaint about which one I use - parchment paper or foil.
Even the older women with more experience in the kitchen (and you know how they get when you do something differently!) never bothered me when I used foil (or vice versa).
If you are into an eco-friendly lifestyle, then parchment paper is probably a better choice, but nothing bad ever happened to anyone for using foil, so don’t be afraid. Like everything in life, they have pros and cons, but with no regret, you can use them in your homes every day.
I can freely say that I have been using both for a couple of decades now, and they are truly irreplaceable.