Is Wax Paper the Same as Parchment Paper

Both, wax paper and parchment paper, are types of coated paper, and the different papers can be used interchangeably for many tasks, but not for all of them. They’re both good for wrapping meats and other foods, for keeping your baked goods separated, and for helping to keep your work area cleaner. So, is wax paper the same as parchment paper? Well, not quite.

So… what is the difference between wax paper and parchment paper? To start with, parchment paper can do one thing that wax paper can’t do… go in the oven. Furthermore, one of the biggest differences between them lies in the coating. Parchment paper is coated in silicone that gives the parchment paper a nonstick, heat-resistant surface. Whereas, wax paper is coated in wax, usually soybean or paraffin wax. The wax offers the paper a moisture-resistant coating.

If used properly, parchment paper won’t melt or ignite in the oven, and can usually withstand temperatures of up to 450°F. It may darken a bit when cooked, but it won’t burn. If you’re cooking en papillote, which is folding your food into a packet and baking it, parchment paper is the one you need. Parchment paper can be used for many things such as lining a cookie sheet when baking, lining the pan when making sheet pan dinners, and lining the pan for roasting vegetables. A couple other uses are lining cake pans and catching drips. This eliminates the more traditional need to grease the pans, in addition to preventing food from being cooked on that you would have to scrub off afterwards.

Most importantly, do not put wax paper in the oven. Wax paper is not heat-resistant and is not meant for that type of use! Wax paper will melt and smoke horribly when exposed to heat. This is definitely something I learned the hard way! Prevent your kitchen from filling up with smoke and your alarm from sounding by not using wax paper in the oven.

Instead, use wax paper for wrapping sandwiches and for wrapping other foods like meats and cheese when preparing them for cold storage. You can also use it for spreading out your homemade candies and chocolates to cool and/or to dry, for doing messy work like icing cookies, for wrapping cookies or other treats to give as homemade gifts, for lining surfaces before rolling out doughs or for wrapping your doughs. Wax paper is generally safe for use in the microwave and can be used to line a dish or to prevent splatters.

You can buy wax paper and parchment paper in most grocery stores by the roll like you would tinfoil or plastic wrap, or you can buy them in precut sheets as well as sandwich bags. Both, wax and parchment paper, are available bleached (white) or unbleached (brown). The bleached papers have been treated with chlorine to make them white, whereas the unbleached, or brown, has been less processed.

If you’re wanting to only keep one or the other in stock, I would suggest keeping parchment paper instead of wax paper. It is, in my opinion, the more useful choice giving the benefit of it being heat resistant.

Substitutes for parchment paper:

  • Aluminum foil, although this is not ideal for baking, and it’s not nonstick.
  • Grease the pan the old fashioned way.
  • Reusable silicone baking mats. They’re thicker, more durable, and best of all, reusable.

Alternatives for wax paper:

  • Parchment paper
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic wrap, depending on the task to be completed.

Recommended Amazon Products:

Parchment Paper
Parchment Paper
Wax Paper
Wax Paper

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