Can You Put a Paper Towel in the Oven? Safety Tips and Alternatives

In the world of cooking, many questions arise, and one such question is, “Can you put a paper towel in the oven?”

The short answer is no, you should not put a paper towel in the oven.

Paper towels are not designed to withstand the high temperatures of an oven and can pose a fire risk.

Putting paper towels in the oven is generally not recommended due to safety concerns.

Paper towels are made from highly flammable cellulose fibres.

Exposing them to high temperatures in the oven can lead to combustion and potentially cause a fire hazard.

Additionally, burning paper towels can release harmful chemicals and toxins into the air, posing health risks.

However, if you need to absorb excess oil or grease from food while cooking in the oven, it’s better to use alternatives such as parchment paper, aluminium foil, or a baking rack.

These materials are designed to withstand the oven’s heat and are safer cooking and baking options.

In summary, it’s best to avoid putting paper towels in the oven to prevent accidents and ensure the safety of your kitchen and home.

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Can You Put a Paper Towel in the Oven? Safe Alternatives for Oven Use:

Can You Put a Paper Towel in the Oven

Paper towels primarily comprise cellulose fibres, a natural polymer found in plants. These fibres are generally safe for microwave use.

However, several factors can influence the outcome:

  • Moisture content: Wet paper towels readily absorb microwave energy, generating steam for reheating or softening food. However, excessive moisture can also create hot spots that could scorch the paper.
  • Folding and bunching: Folded or bunched-up paper towels create uneven heating, potentially leading to ignition.
  • Additives and Dyes: Some paper towels contain recycled materials, dyes, or metallic embellishments. These can spark or melt inside a microwave, posing a fire hazard.

Now that you know paper towels are a no-go, here are some oven-safe options to keep your kitchen safe and your food delicious:

1. Parchment Paper:

This champion of baking is your undisputed best friend for lining baking sheets, preventing sticking, and creating easy cleanup.

Parchment paper is specially treated with a silicone coating that can withstand high oven temperatures, often reaching up to 450°F (232°C).


    • Prevents sticking to baking sheets
    • Easy cleanup
    • Heat resistant


    • Not reusable (disposable)
    • It may not be suitable for all cooking applications (it won’t provide structure for some dishes)

Parchment Paper understanding the properties and best practices:


There are two main types of parchment paper: bleached and unbleached.

    • Bleached parchment paper undergoes a process to remove some of the natural brown color, resulting in a lighter appearance.
    • Unbleached parchment paper retains its natural brown colour. Both types are generally oven-safe up to their specified temperatures.


Consider buying pre-cut parchment paper sheets for convenience or parchment paper rolls for more versatility when customizing sizes.

Beyond Baking:

Parchment paper isn’t just for baking! You can use it to:

Wrap delicate fish or vegetables for steaming.

Create little packets for individual portions during roasting.

Make candy or caramel without worrying about sticking to the pan.

2. Silicone Baking Mats:

These reusable mats are a popular choice for their versatility and eco-friendly nature.

They can handle high heat, typically up to 500°F (260°C), prevent sticking on baking sheets, and are incredibly easy to clean.


    • Reusable (eco-friendly)
    • Non-stick surface
    • Heat resistant
    • Easy to clean


    • It may be more expensive than parchment paper upfront

Silicone Baking Mats understanding the properties and best practices:


Silicone baking mats are typically made from food-grade silicone, a non-stick and heat-resistant material.

Shapes and Sizes:

These mats come in various shapes and sizes to fit different baking sheets and pans. You can even find silicone baking mats with raised edges for creating crusts on quiches or pizzas.

Cleaning and Care:

Most silicone baking mats are dishwasher safe, making cleanup a breeze. However, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific care guidelines.

Multiple Uses:

Like parchment paper, silicone baking mats can be used for various cooking applications beyond baking, such as roasting vegetables or making candy.

3. Aluminum Foil (Use with Caution):

Aluminium foil can be a helpful tool for covering dishes to trap moisture or prevent browning during roasting. However, it’s essential to use it cautiously.

Avoid direct contact with heating elements, which can melt or warp at high temperatures.


    • Versatile (can be moulded for various uses)
    • Traps moisture
    • Prevents browning


    • Not ideal for all cooking applications (it won’t provide structure for some dishes)
    • Can melt or warp at high temperatures if not used carefully
    • Not reusable (disposable)

Aluminum Foil understanding the properties and best practices:

Heavy Duty vs. Regular Foil:

Heavy-duty aluminium foil is advisable for better heat retention and durability in the oven.

Double Up for Extra Strength:

When covering large dishes or for particularly long cooking times, consider using a double layer of aluminium foil to trap moisture more effectively.


Aluminium foil is generally recyclable. Check your local recycling guidelines for proper disposal methods.

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Additional Tips:

  • Always preheat your oven before placing your food with any of these alternatives.
  • Don’t reuse parchment paper that has been heavily used or burned.
  • Let silicone baking mats cool completely before cleaning or storing them.
  • Remember to fold aluminium foil loosely over your dish to allow for steam to escape.

The best alternative depends on your specific needs.

Parchment paper is a great all-rounder for baking cookies, pastries, and delicate dishes.

Silicone baking mats offer a reusable and versatile general baking and roasting option.

Aluminium foil is best used for trapping moisture or preventing browning, but handle it carefully to avoid melting.

Choosing the suitable oven-safe alternative ensures your baking and cooking endeavours are successful without fire hazards.

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Conclusion: Can You Put a Paper Towel in the Oven?

In conclusion, can you put a paper towel in the oven? Putting paper towels in the oven is unsafe due to their flammability nature.

However, alternative materials such as parchment paper, silicone baking mats, and oven-safe bakeware can be used safely.

Understanding the risks associated with specific materials and following best practices for oven use will help you maintain a safe and efficient kitchen environment.

Always prioritize safety when using kitchen appliances to prevent accidents and ensure enjoyable cooking experiences.

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