Which Side of Parchment Paper Goes Up?

Parchment paper is used frequently when baking cookies and other items, and it is often used in place of aluminum foil. This type of baking paper is non-stick and can usually handle temperatures of up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can feel free to use it in your oven when baking. That being said, you might be wondering which side of parchment paper goes up.

Parchment Paper: Shiny Side Up or Down?

The shiny side that is coated with silicone is the side of parchment paper that goes up. In most cases, both sides are coated this way. Some brands coat only one side of the paper, so if you’re using that sort of brand, you’ll have to check the paper first.

Fudge assembled on the side of parchment paper which goes up
Parchment paper is often used to bake desserts—it keeps your goodies from sticking to the tray.

What Is Parchment Paper?

Parchment paper is also called vegetable parchment. It is a cellulose-based composite, but as it’s being processed it becomes heat-resistant, grease-resistant, and non-sticky. It also does well in high humidity, and its most common use is as a non-stick coating for baking cookies and other items. Parchment paper is designed to be able to get very hot for baking. It is different from wax paper, which is of course coated in wax. More often than not, parchment paper is coated with silicone on both sides.

In less-expensive brands, this type of paper is coated on only one side. If you’re unsure which side this is, just hold the paper up to the light. This will make the shiny side more visible, and that is usually the side that goes up.

To make things easier on yourself, always use a parchment brand that has silicone coating on both sides, such as the well-reviewed and affordable Reynolds Kitchens Parchment Paper:

Some parchment paper products can be reused. In fact, the Reynolds paper above can be reused up to three times.

Does It Matter Which Side of Parchment Paper You Use?

Again, most parchment paper is coated with silicone on both sides, which means it won’t matter which side goes up. This type of paper is perfect for baking cookies, cakes, and even pizza.

It is usually the cheaper brands that are coated on just one side. If you’re using one of these brands, make sure you keep the shiny side touching your cookies and facing up on your baking tray. Fortunately, these brands that coat parchment paper on one side only are not that common.

Cook holding baking paper under the light to see which side goes up
You can try holding the paper under the light to find the shiny side, but usually you won’t have to worry, since most products have the non-stick coating on both sides.

What Happens if You Use the Wrong Side?

If you end up placing the paper with the dull side up, your baked foods will likely stick and be difficult to remove from the paper.

Do yourself a favor and buy the type of parchment paper that is coated on both sides, or …

Use a Silicone Baking Mat Instead

Rather than fussing over what kind of parchment paper you buy every time you need to restock, consider grabbing a silicone-coated baking mat that you can use over and over again. The extremely well-reviewed Silpat non-stick baking mat is heat-resistant up to 480 degrees and rolls up for compact storage:

Can Wax Paper Go in the Oven?

As mentioned earlier, wax paper is not the same as silicone-coated parchment paper. Wax paper is generally used for baking preparation, not for baking in and of itself. If the paper you’re using is coated with wax, you should never expose it to the heat of an oven, since this paper can potentially ignite when exposed to high temperatures.

However, many wax paper products are microwave-safe. Always check your product’s packaging for safety information before you put the wax paper in the microwave.