Wax Paper vs Parchment Paper

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While wax paper and parchment paper are similar, there are a few key distinctions that you should know before using them. Lining your sheet pans with the wrong paper could turn your baked goods into an unappetizing mess and may even start a fire. If you’ve ever asked “is wax paper oven safe?” or wondered which paper to use for freezing, we have the answers for you below. We’ll teach you which mistakes can cause hazards in your kitchen and what each type of paper is designed to do when comparing parchment paper vs wax paper.

What Is the Difference Between Wax Paper and Parchment Paper?

fried chicken on wax paper in a basket

The difference between wax paper and parchment paper is that wax paper is typically coated with paraffin wax to make it moisture resistant, while parchment paper is typically coated in silicone to make it heat resistant. Keep reading for a deeper dive into their definitions and available forms.

Wax Paper Definition

Wax paper is a thin paper that has been coated with a soybean-based or paraffin wax to become non-stick and resistant to changes in moisture. It helps to keep water in or out, so juicy foods stay moist and crunchy foods don’t get soggy. As a result, wax paper is excellent for both storing and presenting food.

Commonly found in rolls, wax paper is also available in flat sheets, pop-up sheets, bags, and specialty cuts like patty paper.

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Parchment Paper Definition

Parchment paper is a thin paper coated in silicone or Quilon to create a non-stick and heat-resistant surface. It generally comes in two styles: bleached parchment paper, which is a translucent white color, or unbleached parchment paper, which is translucent tan.

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Parchment paper comes in rolls, rectangular sheets, and circular sheets.

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Wax Paper vs Parchment Paper for Baking

star-shaped sugar cookies on parchment paper

Parchment paper can be used for baking, while wax paper cannot. Parchment paper is oven-safe, but putting wax paper in the oven can cause it to melt and is a fire hazard.

Can You Put Wax Paper in the Oven?

Wax paper is not safe to put in the oven. The wax coating on the paper can melt or even ignite, so it is not a suitable non-stick barrier when using heat from any source.

Can You Put Parchment Paper in the Oven?

Parchment paper is safe to use while baking and cooking because its silicone coating is heat resistant. For this reason, parchment paper is excellent for lining baking sheets and cake pans. In fact, you can even bake foods en papillote, or enclosed in a packet of parchment paper, to retain moisture in the oven. Similarly, cooking foods a cartouche uses parchment paper to cover food while simmering or poaching on the stove.

What Is Dry Wax Paper?

Dry wax paper is a type of bleached Kraft paper that is treated with a unique dry waxing process. This process effectively embeds the wax into the paper, ensuring that no residue is left on the surface. Unlike regular wax paper, dry wax paper does not transfer any wax residue to your food, even when it is hot. This makes it a superior choice for food wrapping and preparation.

Dry wax paper is oven-safe up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, but should only be used if the paper is completely covered by a batter or dough. It should not be directly exposed directly to the oven’s heat, or else it could smoke or even ignite.

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Wax Paper vs Parchment Paper for Freezing

wrapping a hoagie in parchment paper

Both wax paper and parchment paper can be used for freezing. For example, fold the paper to wrap fruits and vegetables, or use precut sheets as barriers between stacked cuts of meat. You can also write on either type of paper with a permanent marker to label your foods and keep track of what you are chilling to manage inventory.

While cool temperatures do not affect either of these papers’ coatings, some professionals prefer to use wax paper in the freezer because it is more economical than parchment paper, and they choose to reserve parchment paper for heating only.

Wax Paper vs Freezer Paper

The difference between wax paper and freezer paper is that wax paper is typically coated in wax on both sides while freezer paper is usually only coated on one side. Freezer paper is used to keep the juices of a cut of meat contained during the freezing and defrosting process.

Butcher Paper vs Parchment Paper

Similar to parchment paper, butcher paper is durable and oven-safe. Although the two can be used interchangeably, there are some differences between the different types of paper. Butcher paper is thicker and stronger than its counterpart, typically being used to cover raw meat and fish. It’s best to use butcher paper and parchment paper for their primary purposes, but if you find yourself in a pinch, they can be effective substitutes for each other.

Wax Paper vs Parchment Paper for Food Preparation

Wax paper and parchment are also useful in various food preparation processes. You can put either type of paper down on your work surfaces and discard it when you are done, so cleanup is fast and easy. This is especially useful if you are working with sticky foods like ground meat, dough, or pasta. If you are making a recipe with sifted dry ingredients, simply place a sheet of wax or parchment paper on your surface and sift the ingredient over the paper. Then, carefully pick up the paper and funnel the ingredient into your mixture.

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Wax paper and parchment paper can be used for a variety of kitchen tasks, but it is important to remember that wax paper is not heat-safe. These versatile papers come in several forms and can help you save on cleanup time, keep your foods fresh, and even simplify your preparation processes.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>