SWEET DECADENCE: Mats vs Paper vs Foil – Aren’t They All Interchangeable?

by | In the Kitchen, Recipes

Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms

Silicone Mats, Parchment Paper, Wax Paper, Aluminum Foil – Aren’t They All Interchangeable?

To that question I respond with a resounding NO!


Pastry Chef Maria Kemp demonstrating a silicone mat.


Understanding the Pros and Cons

Once you understand some of the pros and cons of each as shown below, then you will be able to make an informed decision which will work best for your intended use.


Too Expensive?

Many may think silicone mats or parchment paper are too expensive. Well, to that I say, remaking things because they burnt, stuck to the pan or started a fire are pretty costly too. So in my opinion, some things are simply worth the investment when they save considerable time and yield predictable results.



Silicone mats should be rolled, not folded.


Silicone Mats

Silicone mats rose in popularity many years ago. I was first introduced to them at the French Pastry School over 14 years ago. If properly cared for they will last for years. A silicone mat is made of high-quality, food-grade/food-safe silicone with fiberglass encased.

Cons: You can’t put them in the dishwasher. No abrasive cleaning chemicals, no folding them and no using them as a cutting surface. Any of these actions can damage the fiberglass woven into the mat.

Pros: They are reusable, can withstand oven temperature up to 428-450 degrees, can be used in the refrigerator or the freezer. They come in a variety of different sizes, so it’s imperative to purchase the correct size for the intended pan since cutting or folding the mat will prove to be a very unwise decision.

If you are using a convection oven (with a fan in the back) these mats are preferred over parchment paper. Why? Because the fan will cause the corners of the parchment paper to blow and potentially fold or “hit” the item being baked.  Silicone mats have enough weight to them that they don’t move, period.

Baked items will release from the silicone mat with ease, followed by a gentle wash in the sink, and hang to air dry.


No need for non-stick oils or sprays

Remember, the mat is non-stick so there is never a lot of scrubbing required. I read in a post that one lady was spraying her mat with a non-stick spray before each use! Everyone asked “WHY?!” The entire purpose of the silicone mat is the non-stick quality. Trust me, it doesn’t need any help from Pam, Baker’s Joy or any other aerosol.



Pastry Chef Maria Kemp using parchment paper. Click on the image to view her YouTube video.


Parchment Paper vs. Wax Paper vs. Aluminum Foil

Parchment paper

Is sprayed with silicone making it a non-stick surface as well. Some people will reuse a sheet of parchment paper, but unlike the re-usable silicone mat it is a single-use item. Parchment paper can be folded, ripped, cut to size, crumbled up and thrown to chase disrupters out of your kitchen. It can be purchased in pre-cut sheets or on a roll like plastic wrap. And most importantly, it can be use in the oven up to 420 – 450 degrees F. Remember that nugget and keep reading.


Wax paper

Just as it’s name implies, wax paper it’s coated with soybean or paraffin wax. Sure it can be cut, folded, ripped, but it’s really not intended for use in the oven. Why? Because wax melts in the oven and it can ignite a fire.


Do not use aluminum foil to line your baking trays. Use it to cover something that you want to hold in the heat like the roast in this photo.


Aluminum foil

Foil facilitates easy clean-up by serving as a liner to keep a pan clean. However, foil has ZERO non-stick properties. Also, since it is very thin, aluminum prevents proper air circulation and conducts additional heat which can alter the final product. Don’t ask about the burnt bottom of my brownies, because I didn’t have any parchment paper and lined the paper with foil. 


Happy Baking!


Maria Kemp photos courtesy Maria Kemp
Baking equipment photos courtesy Pixabay.com


In 2017, Maria established Beyond Decadence as Lake Norman’s first and only pop-up bakery specializing in American, gluten-free, and French desserts. As Pastry Chef and Owner of Beyond Decadence, Maria Kemp wears many hats on any given day. In her words, “At the end of the day, awards, accolades, recognition, being a French Pastry School alumni simply don’t matter if I don’t consistently produce a remarkable product or craft a memorable private virtual baking experience. My goal is to exceed my clients’ expectations on every level and/or tantalize their taste buds. I thrive on and gain inspiration from building relationships with my clients and finding ways to share my knowledge to demystify the art of baking. I don’t deviate with every latest fad; I stay focused in areas where my skills can truly shine. I am deeply humbled and proud to have earned the privilege of becoming a thought-leader/speaker in the entrepreneurial community and private baking instructor for several corporations.”

You can connect with Maria at https://linktr.ee/beyonddecadence or contact her directly at pastrychef@beyonddecadence.com.



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