Parchment paper or silicone mat? Looks like 50% of the macaron bakers prefer parchment paper and the other half love using silicone mats.
I used parchment paper for a long time when I first started making macarons, but now years later I can say convincingly, that using silicone baking mats is a much more superior experience and I like them a lot more. Nevertheless, I still recommend trying both of them to find out what works best for you!
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How to choose between a silicone mat and parchment paper?
I have put together an informative table with all the features silicone mat and parchment paper have. It makes it easier for you to get the information fast and to decide, what works best for you!
|Silicone Baking Mat
|Macaron spreads more evenly
|More likely to wrinkle – can cause lopsided and spread macaron shells
|Times of use:
|Can be used 2000-3000 times
|Can be used only once
|Macaron’s bottoms success rate:
|Prevents burning the bottom of the macaron
|Can brown the bottom of the macaron
|Needs to be a few extra minutes in the oven
|Bakes more quickly, no need to hold it in the oven longer
|Perfect size for the baking pan
|It May need to be cut into the right size for the baking pan
|Trickier to clean the mess – mats need to be cleaned and dried
|Easier to clean the mess after baking – just throw the papers away
|Higher chance to get the perfect macarons
|Lower chance to get the perfect macarons
|Silicone Baking Mat
Using parchment paper for baking the macarons
When I started making macarons, I used parchment paper for years and loved it. I probably had no idea silicone macaron mats even existed back in that time.
There are many different kinds of parchment paper, all with varying thicknesses and qualities. The thinner the paper is the quicker it will become wet. The batter makes the parchment paper wet and it causes macarons batter to spread unevenly.
Once the thin parchment paper gets wet, it can turn wavy. If that happens too fast, your macaron’s batter doesn’t have time to dry and form matte skin, which can cause it to spread unevenly. This is why it is important to use high-quality and thick parchment paper that won’t get wet and wavy that fast.
TIP: If your macaron batter has developed skin, it won’t spread anymore. Once the matte skin is formed, the macaron batter is dried and won’t change its shape.
The skin must be formed before the parchment paper gets wavy. If it happens after the macarons are dried, you can end up with lopsided macarons.
Always prefer the thicker parchment paper if possible and make sure it is straight without any wrinkles! I recommend using similar products like this Katbite 200PCS Heavy Duty Flat Parchment Paper as these parchment papers are nicely packed flat in the box and have no wrinkles. The papers are also pre-cut which makes them super easy to use – just take one out of the box and directly use it, no need to cut.
Using silicone mats for baking the macarons
As I got more and more macaron orders over time, I wanted them to look perfect and be identical in size every time I take these cuties out of the oven.
When using parchment paper, it is hard or even impossible to make all of your macarons 100% the same size. One time, the batter can be a little bit runnier and the other time, it is slightly tighter – this small thing can change a lot in your output. That is why I started looking for other options and found many different types of silicone mats.
Why do macarons stick to the silicone mat and parchment paper?
Sometimes macarons will stick to the silicone mat and it is hard to get them off without breaking them.
There can be several reasons why it can happen:
The main reason your macarons will stick to the silicone mat or parchment paper is that they are under-baked. When you bake macarons, they start to harden and form skin pretty fast in the oven. They may look ready outside but they are actually still under-cooked. This is why people sometimes take the macarons out of the oven too soon.
When the macarons are under-baked, the inside of the macaron is soft and wet, and the macaron’s bottom can easily stick to the silicone mat or baking sheet.
To prevent this from happening, make sure your oven is hot enough. Usually, a typical oven needs at least 30 minutes to preheat properly. I recommend using an Oven Thermometer to be sure the temperature is right!
Make sure you check the macaron’s doneness before taking them out of the oven. Before you take them out of the oven, gently poke one of the macarons. If the top moves off the foot, give it another minute or two to bake.
Oily or greasy silicone mat
Another reason why your macarons will stick to the silicone mat is that the mat is not cleaned well. When the surface is oily and greasy, the macarons can stick to it and can break easily if you are trying to get them off the mat.
That’s why it is super important to always thoroughly clean your silicone mats! Also, it is good for your health to be as hygienic as possible in the kitchen! I have made an informative blog post on How to Clean Your Silicone Mats (4 Best Methods) and I highly suggest reading it.
Macarons are not cooled down
Once you take your beautiful macarons out of the oven, you would love to start ripping them off from the parchment paper or silicone baking mat right away!
The correct way is to wait at least 10 minutes before taking them off as macarons need to cool down. Once they are completely cooled down, start trying to get them off of the sheet or mat.
Once you remove the macarons from the oven, slide them from the baking pan to the table or kitchen counter to cool down. Do not let them stay on the hot baking pan as they keep baking on it and can over-bake easily.
Which is cheaper to use, silicone mats or parchment paper?
On Amazon, you will get 2 Silicone Baking Mats with the template rounds on them just for $10.99. It makes one silicon baking mat worth only ∼$5.5.
Using silicone baking mats is easy and you can use the same mats for a very long time. I think my oldest silicone mats are at least 7 years old and they still look like new!
On the other hand, a pack of 200 Parchment Papers costs $15.99 on Amazon. It means one sheet is worth $0.08.
I have put together a table to compare the costs between using a silicone mat and parchment paper in one year. The difference is even bigger when you take into count that a single silicone mat can last for many years if taken good care of.
|Times used per year
|Silicone baking mats cost
($5.5 per mat)
|Parchment paper cost
($0.08 per sheet)
Which is easier to use, silicone mats or parchment paper?
When it comes to cleaning after the baking is done – it is way easier when you have been using parchment paper! You can just throw them away after you are done with baking and you don’t have to spend time cleaning them.
If you were using silicone baking mats, the “fun” only begins when the macarons are ready! Getting the silicone mats clean takes time and to be honest, it is quite an annoying process.
I have shared many tips and tricks on how to clean the silicone baking mats the easiest way in another blog post. If you have decided on using them, make sure to read that post. It makes your life a lot easier!
On the other hand, the macarons will look more beautiful once baked on the silicone mat than on the parchment paper! It is a difficult decision between saving time and getting the perfect end product.
The best solution for making same-sized macarons
If you need your macarons to be identical in size, silicone baking mats with templates on them are your way to go! In my opinion, this is the only way to get all your macarons to look exactly the same in size. That is what all the biggest bakeries are also using in their everyday business.
Using parchment paper, you can get still get your macarons to look great and similar in size, but not identical. To make it easier for you, you can always use templates under the parchment paper sheet to make your macarons as identical as possible.
I will always aim for making the same-sized macarons so when I switched to silicone mats with little round shapes I found them so much easier to use. The little edges are there to stop the batter from spreading and this is why your macarons will look identical!
Keep in mind, that these kinds of mats are a lot thicker and have edges, the macarons need to be in the oven a little longer than baking them on parchment paper. It takes a little longer for them to bake. Every mat is a little different and you need to experiment with various baking times to get your recipe perfect!
After baking, you need to let them cool down completely before removing them. Remove the macarons by gently pushing the macaron from the bottom of the silicone mat.
TIP: When you can’t get your macarons off from the silicon mat – put it into a freezer for about 5-10 minutes and then you should remove them a lot easier.
There are also basic silicone mats without the macaron rounds in them. These mats can be used as reusable parchment paper for any food as well.
Basic silicone mats are good to use when you want to make macarons in different sizes and shapes. As there are many see-through mats available you can always put the template under the mat for macarons if needed.
Is it possible to make macarons without silicon paper or parchment paper?
When baking macarons, you need to line your baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Both provide a heat-resistant and nonstick surface which helps the macarons retain their shape, not spread out too much, and not stick to the tray.
Placing the macaron batter directly on the tray doesn’t work – the macarons will stick to the tray and you are not able to get the macarons from it without breaking them.
If parchment paper or silicone mats aren’t available, you are not able to bake perfect macarons.
Can you use aluminum foil instead of parchment paper or a silicone mat?
Some people recommend using aluminum foil for baking macarons but unfortunately, it does not work in the real world.
The aluminum foil can be used for many other things you bake in the oven but for baking macarons it is a big NO. Your macarons will spread, burn and stick to the foil. Do not waste your time and ingredients on this.
Can you use coffee filtersinstead of parchment paper?
The short answer is no – you can’t use coffee filters as parchment paper for baking macarons. It might seem like the paper cups on the bottom of your coffee machine would do just fine, but they’re not designed for this.
Parchment paper and coffee filters are completely different. Parchment paper is coated with food-grade silicone and that’s why macarons don’t stick to it.
Coffee filters should be used for making coffee. As they are porous, macarons will stick to them. Also, coffee filters are not made to handle that much heat and can go up in flames in the oven.
Enjoy your macarons!