While the two might look alike, there's quite a difference between the uses of wax paper and parchment paper. A quick rule of thumb is that parchment paper should be used for baking while wax paper should be used for activities like rolling out doughs, prepping food and any other use outside the oven.
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What is Wax Paper?
Wax paper is a paper is a paper that has been coated in a thin layer of wax. This can help the paper not stick to sticky things, like rolling out a dough. Since there's wax on the paper it's not recommended to put into the oven because the wax will melt.
What is Parchment Paper?
Parchment paper, on the other hand, is safe to go in the oven and should be used for baking. Depending on the brand of parchment paper used it can be used in the oven in temperatures from up to 425-450 degrees. Always check the instructions on the parchment paper's box before using to check what temperature is safe to use.
Parchment paper also comes in convenient precut sheets that fit perfectly on cookie sheets!
Can Wax Paper go in the Oven?
No, wax paper should not go in the oven because the wax coating will melt. Wax paper should be used outside of the oven for rolling out dough, doing arts and crafts, and anything else you'd want to protect your kitchen countertop (or have a non-stick surface).
What are the similarities and differences between Parchment and Wax Paper?
While parchment paper and wax paper look very similar, there are quite a few differences between the two.
- Similarities: both papers can be used outside of the oven and can be used for things like rolling out dough, arts and crafts, and any other application that you might not want to dirty a counter. Both wax paper and parchment paper have non-stick coatings that are non-toxic. They also both come in precut sheets!
- Differences: Wax paper uses a thin layer of wax so is not oven safe. If wax paper is placed in the oven the wax would melt. Parchment paper, on the other hand, can handle high heats and can be used for cooking. Be sure to check the box before using though as different brands can handle different temperates - usually somewhere between 425 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Where can I buy parchment and wax paper?
Parchment and wax paper can be commonly found in grocery stores, mass retailers like Target or Wal-Mart and online (like on Amazon).
What can be used in place of parchment paper?
If you don't have parchment paper on hand, a few good alternatives to use are:
- Silicone baking mat - this is a great eco-friendly alternative to parchment paper and can be reused, which can save you money in the long run. This is my favorite one that I use.
- Aluminum foil - this is a commonly found alternative that many houses have on hand. If using aluminum foil, be sure to grease the sheet before using to make it non-stick (or you can skip this step with non-stick aluminum foil). Sometimes foods will cook quicker on aluminum foil than on parchment paper so keep an eye on cooking times.
- Grease Pan - Food can also be layered directly in a grease pan to cook