How To Make Cakes Without Parchment Paper

There are plenty of alternatives to parchment paper for cake pans, whether you’re out of stock or looking for an environmentally friendly solution.

Three buttered and floured cake pans.

There are several ways to prepare cake pans or baking sheets without using parchment paper. All these prevent cake and dessert batters from sticking to the pan. Here are five foolproof methods!

5 Baking Paper Substitutes

1. Baking Mats

Side by side images showing balls of chocolate chip cookie dough on silpat.

If you tend to run out of parchment paper, try silicone baking mats, so they are always available. They are more environmentally friendly and incredibly convenient.

They are flexible, durable and easy to clean. Silicone baking mats are also dishwasher safe which means cleanup is a breeze.

I use the half-sheet size by Silpat very often when making vegan chocolate chip cookies but they are also useful for sheet cakes or Swiss roll cakes.

They don’t transfer weird flavors and are available in different sizes.

To use a baking mat, simply place it on the bottom of the sheet pan. Pour the batter right on top, spread evenly and bake.

Once the cake is made, it will slide right out. It’s mess-free and relatively easy, as long as the baking mat fits your pan well.

Baking mats can be a little pricey, so they are definitely an investment.

However, the investment may be worthwhile for avid bakers. There may be cost savings relatively quickly depending on how long it takes you to go through every roll of parchment paper!

Go for the original Silpat brand or another high-end brand, rather than a knockoff.

The knockoffs available at extremely low prices are not as well-made and may transfer off-flavors into foods.

RELATED: Baking Essentials For Beginners

2. Baking Spray

Lady spraying baking tray with cooking oil
Image courtesy of JodiJacobson via

Baking sprays are a quick and easy way to apply an even layer of oil to cake pans without a brush or using your hands.

They contain additional ingredients along with oil to help form a nonstick coating. This allows cakes to slide right out of the pan without sticking.

There are a number of brands available on the market. They can be pretty expensive, particularly if baking cakes are not a regular part of your routine.

Most are already vegan; however, you should read the label to be sure.

To use, spray generously onto every side and crevice of the cake pan. Any bald spots will cause the cake to stick!

3. Greasing and Flouring

Close up of three buttered and floured cake pans.

This is a classic alternative to parchment paper. When done correctly, greasing and flouring work well.

Use oil, vegetable shortening or vegan butter. Generously apply it onto the cake pan with a pastry brush, paper towel, or your fingers.

Add a tablespoon or two of flour to the cake pan for a white or vanilla cake. For a chocolate cake, add cocoa powder to the pan instead.

Gently shake the flour or cocoa powder to stick to the greased pan. It should coat the bottom and the sides of the pan.

Remove any excess flour or cocoa powder. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake as directed.

4. Aluminum Foil

Foil lined pan filled with brownies
Image courtesy of DebbiSmirnoff via

Aluminum foil works well as an alternative to parchment paper but it’s best suited for thicker batters such as brownies or bars.

Cakes made with thinner batters may be challenging to remove from the foil.

Foil isn’t non-stick but can still be a good choice if all other options are unavailable. Make sure you grease it generously to prevent brownies from sticking.

Start by measuring and cutting off a rectangular piece to cover the bottom and sides of the width of the pan. Place in the pan and press into shape.

Next cut a piece large enough for the length of the pan. Press and shape in the pan.

If you’re using a small square cake pan, turn it upside down and mold the foil over the bottom. Remove and fit the mold into the pan.

Add your batter and bake as directed.

5. Homemade Cake Pan Release

Brushing baking pan with pan grease.

You can make a vegan cake pan release with ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen. 

I use it very often for layer cakes but it’s also perfect for bundt cake pans with many nooks and crannies.

This combination of oil and flour in the mixture provides a nonstick coating without imparting any flavors onto your cake.

It’s easy to make and it works! Check out the recipe below.

Cake recipes to try

Three buttered and floured cake pans.

5 Baking Paper Substitutes: Cake Pan Grease

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 1.5 cups
Print Pin Rate
Make this dairy-free cake release recipe with ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen.  Perfect for layer and bundt cake pans.


  • Stand mixer or mixing bowls
  • Pastry brush

Baking Recipes: For more accuracy, use Metric measurements and measuring spoons.


  • ½ cup (60 g) all-purpose flour, or an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend
  • ½ cup (112 g) vegan butter or margarine (not unsalted), or shortening
  • ½ cup (120 ml) vegetable oil


  • Add the margarine or shortening and flour to a bowl. Mix until combined
    1/2 cup (112 g) vegan butter or margarine (not unsalted) ,1/2 cup (60 g) all-purpose flour
  • Gradually stir in the oil and mix to a smooth paste.
    1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
  • Use a pastry brush to generously apply the mixture to every square inch of the cake pan. Use two coats to ensure the cake does not stick.


  • Use the stick version of vegan butter and not the spreadable kind. Spreadable margarine has a higher water content which can make the pan grease too runny.
  • If you’re using gluten-free flour, ensure the blend is made without nuts as they can burn easily while baking.
  • You may add more flour, if needed, to thicken the mixture made with margarine.
  • Soften the vegan butter to room temperature for easier mixing.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.
    It may be stored for a few months longer if you used shortening which has little to no moisture compared to margarine.
  • If the mixture separates at any point while using, simply give it a stir before returning it to the fridge.
  • If it’s too cold and thick to spread, bring it to room temperature.
Tried this recipe? Upload a photo in the comments below!If you enjoyed it, please consider leaving a rating. It really helps the blog.
Nutrition Disclaimer
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

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