cookie sheets vs sheet pans
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Ever struggle to line a circular cake pan with parchment paper? There’s an easy way to do it and have it fit perfectly every time! There’s also an easy way to line a small square pan with parchment, without dealing with wrinkly corners, and a few tricks for preventing rolled parchment paper from curling up on your sheet pan.

How to Line a Cake Pan with Parchment Paper

A lot of cake recipes call for lining your pan with parchment paper.  You can do that by tracing around the pan with a pen and cutting along that line, but more often than not, you’ll still need to trim off bits—and that’s annoying.

Former Chowhound Senior Food Editor Jill Santopietro demonstrated this trick for home cooks who have trouble sizing parchment paper for a round cake pan. Instead of trying to guesstimate the radius of your circle, fold the paper into a smaller triangle and cut it to fit. That way, when you open the paper into a circle, it should match your pan perfectly:

Related Reading: The Best New Baking Books for Fall

How to Line a Brownie Pan with Parchment Paper

What about a small square pan, say for brownies or bar cookies? There’s still a little origami involved, but the real trick lies in using two pieces of parchment to make a sling, instead of trying to make a single sheet fit and ending up with awkward, crinkly corners. (And while you can line your pan with more malleable foil, many prefer parchment.)

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Apichat Thongmalai / EyeEm / GettyImages

You’ll cut both pieces of parchment longer than your pan by at least a couple inches, but only as wide as the pan itself (even a little narrower is fine). You brush the pan with softened butter or melted coconut oil before pressing in the first layer of paper (that helps it stick), then grease the parchment to help the second layer of paper (which you place in the pan running the other direction) stick to that. The overhanging parchment is folded out of the way; you can also trim it with scissors, or secure it with binder clips.

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See it in action courtesy of Thomas Joseph:

The above method also works for deeper rectangular baking pans, as long as you adjust the sizes of your two pieces of parchment paper according to the length and width of your particular baking pan.

Related Reading: Glass vs Metal Baking Pans

Alternatively, you can simply cut one piece of parchment that’s larger than your pan, and cut slits into each corner so they fold naturally when you place the paper in the pan.

How to Line Cookie Sheets with Parchment Paper

cookie sheets vs sheet pans

Denis Tevekov / GettyImages

Shallow sheet pans and cookie sheets are easy to line—just lay down a single piece of parchment (which you can even buy in pre-cut sheets) and you’re done.

Related Reading: Parchment Paper vs Silicone Baking Mats | What Is the Difference Between Sheet Pans, Cookie Sheets, and Baking Pans?

However, if you cut it from a roll, sometimes it likes to curl up at the edges. To keep it flat, you can clamp it down with binder clips as above, or even use small magnets (no plastic, paint, or glue, obviously) to stick them to your metal baking sheets.

Or simply grease the baking sheet before pressing the parchment down on top. Too messy? Crumple the paper up before smoothing it out and placing it down; yes, it will be wrinkly, but it should lay relatively flat.

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Header image courtesy of Denis Tevekov / GettyImages

Jen is an editor at Chowhound. Raised on scrapple and blue crabs, she hails from Baltimore, Maryland, but has lived in Portland (Oregon) for so long it feels like home. She enjoys the rain, reads, writes, eats, and cooks voraciously, and stops to pet every stray cat she sees. Continually working on building her Gourmet magazine collection, she will never get over its cancellation. Read more of her work.
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