cookies on parchment paper lined tray

Reasons to Use Shiny Side Up Parchment Paper

Parchment paper is a staple in any kitchen, prized for its nonstick properties and ability to facilitate easy cleanup. It lines our baking sheets, prevents messes, and keeps our baking pans in good shape. But did you know there’s a secret to using parchment paper for optimal results? It all boils down to that seemingly insignificant detail — the shiny side of the paper. While the choice might seem trivial, the orientation of parchment paper can definitely affect your cooking results. 

First, let’s address the composition of parchment paper. The handy roll boasts a smooth surface that prevents food from sticking. This coating, made of a vegetable fiber called cellulose, is usually applied to one side of the paper, resulting in one shiny and one dull side. The coating prevents food from sticking and provides a barrier against moisture and grease. As a result, when you place the shiny side up, you maximize the benefits of this nonstick surface, ensuring that your food releases easily without leaving residue behind. The shiny side prevents residue and baked-on bits from adhering to your baking sheet, making cleanup a breeze. No more scrubbing and soaking — just peel off the parchment paper and enjoy your pristine pan.

How to spot the shiny hero

baking tray with parchment paper

While some parchment paper may appear uniform, many brands boast a subtle difference: One side gleams, while the other remains matte. This seemingly minor detail is key to unlocking the paper’s full potential. Not all parchment paper brands advertise the coated side. But fear not — hold the paper up to the light. The shimmering, slightly translucent side is your nonstick champion. If unsure, a quick touch test can reveal the smoother, slicker side. 

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When the shiny side faces up, it can also help to reflect heat away from the food, preventing the bottom from becoming too browned or overcooked. This placement can be particularly beneficial when baking delicate pastries or items prone to burning on the bottom. 

So, the next time you reach for that roll of parchment paper, remember: Shiny side up for baking bliss. For extra insurance, especially with delicate items like fish or sticky desserts, lightly grease the glossy side with oil or cooking spray before placing your food. Now go forth and conquer the kitchen, armed with the knowledge of the mighty shiny side.

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Look's editorial team comprises seasoned writers and editors who specialize in the food and drink, hospitality, and agriculture sectors. We also collaborate with external experts to ensure the delivery of accurate, current information and unique recipes.

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