Cooking and heating foods may require different challenges. This also goes out when we use a microwave or an oven. Naturally, we may wonder if paper may catch fire in it.
Since microwave or oven vibrates water molecules at high frequency, it does not burn the paper as a regular stove does. How about a paper towel? Can you put a paper towel in the oven?
Although it is possible, the safety issue needs to be addressed here. Since it is very different from using a regular stove, an oven or a microwave will give you a different result when it comes to heating foods.
Read also: Can You Microwave Cardboard?
What Safety Issue?
Yes, a paper towel will fit in fine in the microwave or oven. However, it is not a safe thing to do. Paper is still paper, no matter what. It still burns very easily in a very hot environment. Since paper comes from trees, you must also remember that forest fires often occur in the heat of summer.
Paper has an ignition point of 451 °F (or 232.778 °C). Surely, the air inside the oven or microwave may not get that boiling. However, the heating elements are another story in this case.
Regular papers are made of trees. However, paper towels are made of a mixture of materials from trees and other ingredients. For example, there are paper towels that contain metal as part of their materials. Surely, that is not something you would like to have mixed with your food in the oven.
Can paper towels go in the oven safely if you turn it on at low temperatures? Maybe, but that does not mean it is still not risky. Yes, there are some recipes where you can have paper towels like that in the oven. Still, there are other, much safer options that you can follow.
Why Do You Even Need Paper Towels in the Oven?
Hmm, this has something to do with some recipes. For example, if you would like to air-fry or bake some meat, things can get really oily. Thanks to a paper towel, you can soak up some grease.
Still, you can choose a much safer option than that. Instead of covering your bacon or beef sausage with paper towels, put them on a plate instead. The plate has to be lined with paper towels.
Do not do this before you put the meat in the oven or microwave, though. Put the meat on that plate lined with paper towels after you take it out. Of course, cover your hands with paper towels to avoid getting them burned when you touch the heated cooking.
Paper Towels Are Not the Only Option Here
Can you put paper towel in the oven? Yes, you can—but it is not really safe. As mentioned earlier, you can still use it to cover your heated meat after you take it out of the oven or microwave.
The good news is, paper towels are not the only things you can use as a cover. Another alternative for this method is to use parchment paper. According to Cooks Illustrated, some parchment papers can withstand up to 420 °F and 450 °F. However, some of these liners can put up with heat as much as 500 °F.
This is why parchment paper is often recommended for baking bread and pizza. Based on several manufacturers’ testimonials, using parchment paper for baking something that needs such heat is much safer than using a paper towel. It does not release toxins or chemicals. The best part of using this is that the paper does not burn.
However, parchment paper can still turn dark and brittle. If you only bake pizza or bread for 20 minutes, it still does not turn dark and brittle easily. That is still a good thing. The issue occurs when you bake something for 30 minutes with parchment paper as the covering. It will crack and fall apart easily, which means a problem in the kitchen.
Another thing to avoid when using paper towel in a pinch is to make it a replacement for a baking sheet. Aluminum foil is a better option for this.
So, can you put paper towel in the oven? Now you know the answer, but it is better not to do it. Use it as a covering after that. Choose parchment paper instead.