One Simple Tip That Prevents Your Parchment Paper From Curling

Parchment paper can be a godsend when it comes to lining baking sheets and pans. Heat resistant and non-stick, the kitchen essential also makes cleaning up after cooking a breeze. It's one of the key reasons you shouldn't roast bacon without parchment paper, as it stops the grease from sticking to the pan, and it can simply be discarded afterward, meaning much less mess.

But if you've ever cut the right-sized piece from the roll and laid it into the pan, then watched it immediately curl up again, you might be thinking it's more of a hindrance than a help. Luckily, it's possible to stop this annoying habit the paper has — and it only involves one quick step: You need to screw it up before you place it in the pan.

Part of the reason parchment paper is so eager to keep the shape it had in the roll is because it'd been tightly wound for so long. Often one side is coated in silicone, giving it its heat resistance — and it's why using the shiny side of parchment paper matters. Its structure means that when you unroll it, it just wants to roll back up again. Crumpling the paper up before you lay it down gives it more malleability and makes it easier to mold into a flat shape.

Scrunching parchment paper helps it lay flat

To try the tip, just remove a section from the roll that's the appropriate size for the tray you want to line and scrunch it up into a ball. Then smooth it out flat again, and lay it down on the tray. It might look a little creased, but it will at least hold a flatter shape. Then it's much easier to position your food on top, without having to awkwardly try to hold the parchment in place with the other hand at the same time.

Alternatively, there are another couple of tips that also help the parchment to stick to the surface of the pan you're lining. You can lightly oil the tray before putting your paper down, or place a little butter in the corners to help it stick. Or you can just use water to gently moisten the surface of the pan before lining it. They'll all act like glue to keep the parchment firmly in place. Or if you're baking a cake, try Ina Garten's brilliant parchment paper hack for round pans, which involves repeated folding rather than scrunching.

Of course, you could just buy flat pre-cut sheets or circles rather than a roll, which removes the issue altogether. But with the scrunching tip, you can choose the exact size you need to fit your pan every time. Plus, you get to show that pesky parchment who's really in charge, which is immensely satisfying.