There’s no limit to the tools available for baking or cooking in the kitchen. In fact, there are so many tools out there, it can sometimes be challenging to know the difference between them. Take parchment paper vs. wax paper, for example. While they may look similar, they actually have many differences.
The main difference between parchment paper and wax paper is that parchment paper is heat resistant. While parchment paper is coated with silicone, wax paper is coated in paraffin wax, which starts to melt even under low temperatures. If left in the oven or microwave, wax paper can start a fire.
If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between parchment and wax paper, keep reading to find out more about their key differences.
Parchment Paper vs Wax Paper: What Is the Difference?
Nowadays, there are so many tools we can use in the kitchen to make our lives easier. It’s one of the best parts about living in the modern world–there’s no shortage of ways to make cooking and baking more convenient. Two of the items you should have on hand when you’re cooking or baking are parchment paper and wax paper.
Although they can be used interchangeably in certain circumstances, there are quite a few differences between parchment paper vs wax paper. The main difference between parchment paper and wax paper is what they’re made of as well as how they’re used.
Parchment paper is often used to line baking sheets and for this reason, it’s heat-resistant. You can place parchment paper in a pan or on a baking sheet before placing it in the oven. Using parchment paper keeps your baked goods from sticking and it makes clean-up a breeze. Wax paper, on the other hand, is not oven safe. This type of paper is often used for wrapping leftovers or even for rolling out dough.
The reason why they have different uses is because they’re made of different materials. While parchment paper is coated with silicone to make it non-stick and heat-resistant, wax paper is coated with paraffin wax. This wax is food-grade, making it safe to be used in the kitchen. However, the wax will melt even under a low temperature. This is why wax paper isn’t safe to use in the oven or microwave like parchment paper.
While there are times when wax paper and parchment paper can be used for the same purpose, be sure you grab the right one before you place either paper in the oven or microwave.
2 Key Differences
It’s easy to mix up parchment paper and wax paper, especially because they have a similar appearance. Here are two of the key differences between parchment paper and wax paper:
- They have different coatings
While parchment paper is coated in silicone, wax paper is coated in paraffin wax. This is the same material often used to make candles.
- Parchment paper is heat-resistant
Out of the two, parchment paper is the one that’s safe to use in the oven. The paraffin wax on the outside of wax paper can easily melt and smoke. This can potentially lead to the paper catching fire.
What is Parchment Paper?
Even if you bake often, you might find yourself looking for tips and tricks for making the baking process easier. Parchment paper is one of the best ways to ensure an easy clean-up and keep your baked goods from sticking to the pan.
Parchment paper is a type of paper generally used to line baking sheets to make them non-stick. This tool is a food-safe paper that’s coated with silicone. The surface of it and the coating makes it non-stick, heat resistant, and easy to use so no matter what you’re cooking up in the kitchen, parchment paper is great to have on hand.
While parchment paper is the most common name for it, you also might see the same type of paper referred to as baking paper. You can find parchment paper in the baking section of your local grocery store or in the same aisle as plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
There are generally two types of parchment paper–regular or brown parchment paper. Brown parchment paper is simply an unbleached version. Most brands of parchment paper are safe to use up to 420 degrees. However, be sure to check the instructions on the specific brand you’re using before placing it in the oven.
The main distinguishing factor between parchment paper and wax paper is the coating. Parchment paper is usually made from cotton fiber, but the silicone coating is what makes it non-stick and heat-resistant.
When Should You Use Parchment Paper?
Parchment paper has many uses in the kitchen. Due to the heat resistance and non-stick surface, parchment paper is most often used to line baking sheets or pans to provide a non-stick surface. You can also use parchment paper as a shield to keep sauces from splattering while you reduce them, or as a liner when you’re blind-baking a pie crust.
While parchment paper is the perfect way to provide a non-stick surface for your favorite cookies, brownies, or other baked goods, it can also be used to wrap leftovers or roll out dough.
What is Wax Paper?
While they may look similar in appearance, wax paper is different from parchment paper. Wax paper is a type of paper that’s coated in food-grade paraffin wax. This is typically the same type of wax that’s used on fruits and vegetables to make them shiny and is used in candles as well. It’s generally made of vegetable oils, palm oils, and other materials.
The coating on wax paper makes it non-stick and resistant to moisture. However, it’s not resistant to heat like the coating on parchment paper. This means that wax paper isn’t safe for use in the oven, microwave, or any other heated surface.
If you put wax paper in the oven, the wax coating can quickly melt and it can even catch on fire if the temperature is high enough. You wouldn’t be the only one who has accidentally put wax paper in the oven thinking it was parchment paper. If you realize you’ve used wax paper in the oven instead of parchment paper, you’ll want to remove it immediately.
Can You Put Wax Paper in the Oven?
Since wax paper and parchment paper do look similar, it’s easy to get them mixed up and accidentally use the wrong one. The main problem with this is wax paper isn’t heat resistant like parchment paper. For this reason, you shouldn’t put wax paper in the oven.
Wax paper is coated with paraffin wax that will melt, even under low temperatures. It does have many other helpful uses in the kitchen and you can use wax paper to sift ingredients or roll out dough. However, you shouldn’t put wax paper in the oven or microwave.
When Should You Use Wax Paper?
Since wax paper isn’t heat-resistant, it definitely has some different uses from parchment paper. Wax paper is perfect for when you’re meal-prepping or wrapping leftovers. Like parchment paper, wax paper provides a non-stick surface, which also makes it great for when you’re rolling out dough or need a surface for icing cookies.
While some do say that you can use wax paper in the oven when baking a cake because the batter completely covers the wax paper, it’s best to stick to parchment paper for baking if you’re unsure.
Can You Substitute Wax Paper for Parchment Paper?
The short answer is generally, no. You can’t swap wax paper for parchment paper simply because the wax paper isn’t heat resistant. However, it does depend on what you’re using it for. If you’re looking for a way to roll out dough or wrap your leftovers, you can use wax paper and parchment paper interchangeably.
Wax paper and parchment paper do have many similar uses and one can usually be substituted for the other when heat isn’t involved. But if you plan on using the paper to line a baking sheet or you plan on placing it in the microwave, only use parchment paper. Not only will the wax melt in the microwave or oven, but if it gets too hot, it can also be a fire hazard.
A Quick Comparison of Parchment Paper vs. Wax Paper
The biggest difference between parchment paper and wax paper is that parchment paper is heat resistant. You should never, ever put wax paper in the oven or microwave. Wax paper can easily catch fire, creating a serious hazard. Always double-check to ensure you're using the right paper before putting anything in the oven. Parchment paper's silicone lining helps it stay heat resistant. It's great for lining baking sheets, while wax paper is ideal for wrapping leftovers or covering a countertop.
Ways to Use Wax Paper
Ways to Use Parchment Paper
- Homemade Chocolate Dipped Fortune Cookies
- Chocolate Roll Recipe
- Sugar Coated Pecans
- Easy Pastry Recipe with Pears and Almonds
- 1 cup hazelnuts, ground
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 4 oz white chocolate, finely grated
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- zest of one lemon
- white chocolate shavings
- Line bottom of a 9-inch tart pan with parchment paper.
- Mix crust ingredients and press into pan bottom and slightly up the sides. Chill.
- Melt white chocolate in double boiler over hot but not boiling water. Stir constantly.
- In a separate bowl, whip cream cheese for 3 minutes. Add the melted white chocolate; beat for another minute. Add sour cream; beat until very smooth.
- Using a star tip and pastry bag, pipe filling to the crust in concentric circles, starting in the center. Fill entire crust; chill until firm.
For the topping:
- Toss the blueberries with the 1/4 cup sugar and heap them on top of the filling. Garnish with lemon zest and white chocolate shavings.