What’s the Difference Between Bleached and Unbleached Parchment Paper?

updated Oct 7, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)

Whether we’re lining baking sheets and cake pans, folding tidy cooking pouches, or trying to make cooking projects just a little less messy, you’ll find us reaching for parchment paper on a very regular basis. When it comes to buying this convenient kitchen paper, you’ve got a choice to make: Do you go with the bleached or the unbleached parchment? There’s a difference between the two.

The Difference Between Bleached and Unbleached Parchment Paper

While bleached and unbleached parchment can be used for all the same tasks, they have a fundamental difference that sets them apart. The first thing you’ll notice about these two types of parchment is their difference in color. As you’d expect from the name, bleached parchment is white, while unbleached parchment is brown. This is because unbleached parchment paper is untreated and totally chlorine-free, while its bleached counterpart is treated with chlorine, producing that gleaming white color.

More About Parchment Paper

Parchment paper is a type of kitchen paper that’s treated with an ultra-thin silicone coating, which makes it nonstick, as well as moisture- and heat-resistant. It’s commonly used in cooking and baking because it creates a nonstick surface between the food and cookware and makes for easier cleanup.

While both types of parchment paper are readily available at grocery stores and online, unbleached parchment paper tends to be the slightly more expensive of the two.

But Does It Matter Which One You Use?

The type of parchment paper you use really comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer to limit the number of chemicals that find their way into home kitchens and consider unbleached to be healthier and safer. (Although it’s worth noting that we don’t know of any studies that prove bleached parchment to be a health risk of any kind.)

From a cooking perspective, bleached and unbleached parchment paper can be used interchangeably for all the same tasks. The color or treatment of the papers will not affect the expected outcome of a recipe.

All the Ways to Use Parchment Paper

Which do you use: bleached or unbleached?