Parchment vs Wax Paper: What’s the Difference?


Toward the middle of the pandemic, it seemed like everyone started to become their own personal chef.

People were experimenting in the kitchen and figuring out how to cook, possibly for the first time. As people started to practice more, they realized that there is a medley of different tools that can be used to make a variety of dishes!

The difference between parchment paper vs wax paper is hard to spot because they look very similar on the outside. However, if you’re like most beginner chefs, you already know that there are differences between these items that need to be examined. They wouldn’t make two types of paper if they both did exactly the same thing!

Keep reading to learn about the main differences between parchment vs wax paper and how to tell when you should use which type.

What You Should Know About Using Parchment Paper

Parchment paper is a very high-density paper that has a coating on it to repel items from sticking to it.

One of the benefits of this type of paper is that you can put parchment paper in oven heat directly. It is safe to use up to 425 degrees F, and it has non-stick properties that make it great for simple clean-up at the end.

There are parchment paper options on the market that come in rolls or pre-cut, so you can choose which option you prefer.

Many people use parchment paper when baking cookies or cakes, but also when roasting vegetables, fish, or even leftovers. If you’re searching for a substitute for parchment paper, you can use a parchment paper replacement for these types of tasks.

It’s important to note that butcher paper is not the same thing as parchment paper. Butcher paper is made more for use with a smoker and to wrap meats. Parchment paper can not be used on a grill or in a smoker.

However, you can microwave parchment paper. It is safe to put into the microwave when reheating foods so that you don’t have to deal with splatters.

What You Should Know About Using Wax Paper

Wax paper is also a thick paper, but it has a different type of coating on it.

If you’re dealing with food that is particularly sticky or makes a mess, wax paper is your best bet. When you’re making candy, chocolate-covered fruits, or wrapping cheese, wax paper is your best bet.

People often use wax paper for rolling out sticky down because you can do so without having to add extra flour. This can be a game-changer for bakers that love to make bread.

Just like parchment paper, wax paper comes either in a roll that you cut yourself or in pre-cut sheets. You can decide which option works best for the task at hand.

Wax paper, unlike parchment paper, should not be put in the oven. It cannot stand that type of heat and can cause issues in your appliance if exposed to the heat directly. However, if your recipe will cover the wax paper in its entirety, you can give it a try.

Parchment vs Wax Paper: What’s the Difference?

Whether you’re a baker or a chef, knowing the difference between these types of commonly used tools is going to help you become more skilled in the kitchen!

While there are many situations in which you could use either of these types of paper for your task, they are not the same thing.

As we mentioned, wax paper melts when exposed directly to the heat of your oven while parchment paper does not.

Both of these are great options for rolling out dough or layering baked goods to store.

The biggest takeaway here is that parchment paper is better than wax paper for use in the oven. Otherwise, they are able to be used interchangeably in most scenarios, as long as direct heat is not involved in the process.

What About Aluminum Foil?

Aluminum foil is also often part of the conversation when talking about the best way to prep and wrap foods. Of course, since it is a type of foil vs a type of paper, it is a totally different thing!

Foil is great for things like grilling, roasting, or baking. It can withstand high heat levels in the oven, and you can find non-stick foils so that one side is non-stick and the other is regular foil.

It’s important to note that aluminum foil should never be put in the microwave. It would get too hot too fast and start a fire.

Parchment paper is a popular alternative to foil for use in the oven. If you need an alternative to foil for food prep, wax paper is a great option.

Become a Pro in the Kitchen With the Right Paper

Are you stuck between trying to figure out which type of paper you need to use? After all, you don’t want to use the wrong one and potentially ruin your dish, wasting food and time.

Now that you know more about the difference between parchment vs wax paper (and aluminum foil), you’re ready to take on your next kitchen challenge. Parchment paper, wax paper, and aluminum foil are all staples that anyone should understand before they start making food.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, you may be interested in learning more about how you can hone your cooking or baking skills with some of our other articles.

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