Why DON’T we trace a cake pan and cut out the circle with scissors?  Because its easier faster and more accurate to fold and cut with a knife!

I line a cake pan with a circle so that it comes out clean.

I put a parchment circle with a hole in the middle over braising things like lamb shanks and short ribs to allow some reduction.

Video by Donna using my iPhone (gosh I love my ((G3)) iPhone).


38 Wonderful responses to “How to make a parchment paper circle”

  • bunkycooks

    Wow! That is very cool. I thought you were going for a paper airplane at first, but it is a perfect fit! Thanks for the awesome trick. It is way better than that old trace and cut stuff. 🙂

  • Susan

    When I run out of the cake pan liners I bought (yeah, lazy, huh?) I’ll do it your way.

    I make a cutout to cover pie crust edges, too. I fold foil in quarters, cut the center an inch from the inner edges of the crust, then cut the outter foil ends an inch larger in the same curve. Unfold, (save the center for roasting garlic later) and cover the crust edge in one piece with the foil ring. Much easier than lots of little cuts of foil. (I do this if my pre-formed aluminum pie edge protector doesn’t fit! )

  • Lou Iorio

    I didn’t take the time to count the folds, but this is clearly not a circle; it’s a something-gon. I think I saw this in Emeril 15 years ago.

  • Robyn M.

    Um, yeah, cause that process was completely different than anything my kindergartner does. Yup. (j/k–great technique!)

  • Deb Arnhold

    Accruate? I use the same technique – an excellent one! Love your site.

  • Zora

    Nice. I do avoid making the cake-pan circles till the very last second because it’s fiddly–this could be an improvement. But I like my circles to have a little tab for lifting…maybe there’s some origami-ish flair to add to this fold-and-cut technique, to get the tab?

  • Rhonda

    Yup, this is it. No stencils, tracing or equipment to buy. Takes 5 seconds with two arms. 8 seconds with one.

    However, I think you may now be back in trouble with the Food Network and Martha Stewart may put a Fatwa out on you because you have now obliterated at least 2 hours of “instructional television”.

    You have been there before. 🙂

    Great teaching, Michael.

  • Karen

    Learned that technique in cul school. Also, remember to fold toward the fold or you will wind up with 2 half circles…

  • Tags

    I’ve seen this before but you did it much better. From now on you are the succinctinator. (I never bothered to trademark the name, so you go ahead)

  • Natalie Sztern

    this trick SHOULD be taught in kindergarten – I had a hell of a time with the compass tool. Origami fans all over the world will eyeing this post.

    I understand though that it is a good idea to grease the parchment too.

  • *susan*

    So what do you do with all that parchment paper you cut off? Just feels a bit wasteful [yes, I am frugal.]

  • May

    Michael, please keep up the great teaching/demo videos. I was preparing some poached salmon last weekend and wanted some mayo to go with and I remembered you had one that used a hand blender to whip up some in less than a minute. I got my 8 year old to help and within minutes we were enjoying our potato rosti, salmon and wonderfully thick, homemade mayo! You’re my go-to guy and Ratio is my well used kitchen reference! Thanks!

    • Laura

      That is impressive! Another technique I love is for lining square and rectangular pans. I saw it on Jaques Pepin once and never forgot it.
      Take a piece of parchment bigger than your square or rectangular pan. Cut the parchment in from each of the corners about the same length as the height of the sides of your pan. The cut parts will automatically slip together (one behind the other) forming a corner so you can have parchment on the bottom and on the sides of your pan. Great for caramels and brownies. Less wasteful and more elegant than using extra paper to make a sling.

  • Dennis

    Use this technique all the time, but the video is a really good presentation for folks who haven’t seen it before. Jacques Pepin describes this technique (and the one mentioned for rectangular pans, plus one or two others) in his Complete Techniques.

    Come to think of it, a video companion to Complete Techniques would be a great project…

    • Dennis

      (not sure how much if it Pepin has covered in his own TV shows, though.)

      • Wilma de Soto

        Chef Pepin has indeed shown this in his TV shows, which is where I first learned it.

        Ruhlman, if you love your iPhone 3G you’ll adore the iPhone 4 which takes HD video!

  • Wilma de Soto

    Ruhlman, if you love the iPhone G3, you’ll adore the HD video quality of the iPhone G4. It rocks!

  • Michelle

    At first I thought you were doing some weird origami, but thanks to a fantastic home-ec teacher, back in the days when schools still offered home-ec, I learned this technique. It’s a good one to know.

  • Susan

    How, in the name of all that is holy, have I gone all these years without knowing this? I did it yesterday when I made a cake, and I’m still hitting myself for all the years of tracing and cutting. Thanks!

  • E. Nassar

    My favorite technique is to use Pam for Baking for any cake pan. Works great even with a wierdly contoured bundt pan :-).

    However, if I am makign a cheesecake then parchment is what I reach for. Makes for an easier removal of the heavy finished pie.

  • Tenina

    Your face at the end will stay with me for a while, I am chuckling as I write. (have always done this, but wondered what the video was going to show me…a good laugh, that’s what!) Well done 🙂

  • derek

    Doesn’t this leave you with a hole in the middle of a large piece of parchment paper? I mean, it’s cheap, but this isn’t THAT much faster.

  • NancyB

    Good idea to intersperse recipes w/techniques like this! Let’s have more. What I’d love is a video on sharpening & honing knives!! I’ve read directions 100 times but never seem to get it right. When I see you easily cutting through all that folded parchment…..!


  • Loopy

    A nice trick, but no one’s mentioned that you gotta be pretty darn good at eyeballing the exact center of your pan to really get a good circle…


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