Parchment Paper vs. Wax Paper: The Difference Between Them and When to Use Each (2023)

Although they're visually similar, the two shouldn't be used interchangeably.

martha stewart logo

Parchment Paper vs. Wax Paper: The Difference Between Them and When to Use Each (1)


By Martha Stewart Editors Updated December 07, 2022

Woman cutting parchment paper

Parchment Paper vs. Wax Paper: The Difference Between Them and When to Use Each (2)

Credit: Lucy Lambriex / Getty Images

(Video) Ask the Test Kitchen: What's the Difference Between Wax Paper and Parchment Paper?

Both parchment paper and wax paper are kitchen must-haves for people who love to cook and bake. However, despite looking quite similar, there is a distinct difference between the two. One is oven safe and can be used to line cookie sheets and cake pans, while the other is helpful for rolling out dough and wrapping leftovers. When heat isn't involved, parchment and wax paper can be used interchangeably, but there's one key factor that sets the papers apart when it comes to using them in the oven.

Parchment Paper

Parchment is a non-toxic, grease- and moisture-resistant paper specially treated for oven use, and can withstand temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit."I use parchment 100 percent of the time when I cook, even in instances where wax paper would suffice," says chef Ronna Welsh, owner ofPurple Kale Kitchenworkscooking school in Brooklyn, N.Y. "This is to eliminate having two rolls of cooking paper in my kitchen, when just one will do."

(Video) Parchment Paper versus Wax Paper: Home Cooking 101

When to Use Parchment Paper

Parchment paper is very versatile and can be used for everything from lining baking sheets to wrapping fish, and other dishes that are cooked en papillote. In instances when you'd reach for wax paper, parchment paper will also suffice.

Despite its versatility, it's commonly used in instances where high heat is necessary because its silicone construction keeps it from melting in the oven and over the stovetop. Use it to line cake pans and baking sheets, as a soft lid for slowly reducing sauces, and as a liner for blind baking pie crust.

Wax Paper

On the other hand, wax paper is used for cooking or baking-related tasks that don't involve heat. "Wax paper is more like craft paper for your kitchen," says Welsh. "It is also non-stick, but heat intolerant." Because wax paper has a thin coating of wax on both sides, it can melt and catch fire at high temperatures.

When to Use Wax Paper

Wax paper is often used for baking tasks that don't require heat. Due to its non-stick nature it's especially useful when rolling out dough. You can also sift dry ingredients—think flour, sugar, and cocoa—over a piece of wax paper and use it to funnel the contents into your mixing bowl.

"Also, use it to line containers or gift tins and create templates for decorative designs—like letters for chocolate piping or stencils for powdered sugar," Welsh says.

Additionally, the paper is also useful when wrapping leftovers. Use it to safely store cheese, butter, and more without worrying about those items sticking to the paper like they might with plastic wrap or foil.

(Video) Parchment vs. Wax Paper


What is the differences between parchment paper and wax paper? ›

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.

Do you use wax paper or parchment paper for baking? ›

So what's the difference? Parchment paper can go in the oven, but wax paper cannot go in the oven.

Can wax paper be used the same way as parchment paper? ›

Wax paper and parchment paper can be used interchangeably in many applications, but not all. Wax paper melts when exposed to heat, while parchment can withstand temperatures up to 450°F, depending on the brand.

When should you not use parchment paper? ›

When Not to Use Parchment Paper. Parchment paper is not designed for high-heat cooking. Avoid using it in your oven or on the grill if temperature will exceed 400 degrees, says Michelle Weaver, chef at Charleston Grill in South Carolina, as there's a chance it could catch fire.

Why use wax paper over parchment? ›

Both wax paper and parchment paper are coated papers. They're great for wrapping leftovers and food prep, but that's where the similarities end. Here's the best rule of thumb: Wax paper is great for all things cold while parchment paper can be used with heat.

Is it OK to use wax paper in the oven? ›

But wax paper is not heat-resistant. The wax will melt at high temperatures, and the paper itself can catch on fire. Because of this, don't use wax paper to line baking sheets or cake pans or put it in a hot oven.

What side of wax paper goes down? ›

It is the shiny or glossy side of the parchment paper that should be face up on your baking sheet or cake pan. That way the shiny side can be in contact with your food and make the clean-up easy. As to whether you need parchment, aluminum foil, or wax paper, don't worry, we have you covered. Was this page helpful?

Can you put wax paper in the oven at 350 degrees? ›

No, you should not use wax paper in the oven.

Wax paper is moisture-resistant, not heat-resistant. The wax will melt at high temperatures and the paper could catch on fire. Always use parchment paper when it comes to baking.

Which side of wax paper do you use for baking? ›

The shiny side should always be facing up when baking because it creates a better seal and results in a more consistent bake. If you use the dull side of the parchment, your food may stick or burn easier.

Do you grease parchment paper? ›

Baking parchment should not need greasing once it is in the pan, though some people like to grease it as well. Greaseproof paper should be greased once it is in the base of the pan. Melted butter is the best greasing agent. Brush the melted butter evenly on the base and edges of the pan using a pastry brush.

What temperature can wax paper go in the oven? ›

Note that it is recommended to not use in temperatures above 450 degrees. (But, who cooks hotter than that??) I find that baking with parchment paper has 2 main advantages: Cakes come out of pans much easier and cookies don't stick to the baking sheet.

Does parchment paper affect baking time? ›

Using parchment paper to bake cookies can save time and energy. Unbaked cookies are placed directly onto the parchment paper, eliminating the need to grease the cookie sheet.

Why do things not stick to parchment paper? ›

Parchment paper's silicone coating makes it heat-resistant and nonstick. Line baking pans with this paper wonder and food won't stick to the pan. This trick can't be duplicated with wax paper because the wax will melt, which makes it useless as a nonstick barrier and ruins whatever you're cooking.

Should you wet parchment paper? ›

Here's a simple trick to keep your parchment in place. After rolled parchment paper is cut and placed on a baking sheet, it can slide around or curl at the edges. So wet the baking sheet first, then press the paper in place. It will adhere very well, making piping on it or any other task a cinch.

Do I need to spray parchment paper when baking? ›

Do I need to grease parchment paper? Nope! Parchment paper is already non-stick, so there's generally no need to grease your parchment paper. And if you're baking cookies, greasing the parchment paper will likely cause your cookies to overspread and become greasy, so definitely skip the grease.

What is wax paper good for? ›

10 Clever Ways to Use Wax Paper
  • Let Your Cheese Breathe. ...
  • Line Your Refrigerator Shelves. ...
  • Keep Ice Cream Fresh. ...
  • Make a Quick Kitchen Funnel. ...
  • Can Openers Need Cleaning, Too. ...
  • Prevent Messy Microwave Explosions. ...
  • Roll Out Dough Without an Excess of Flour. ...
  • Coat Your Cutting Boards.
May 8, 2022

Should you microwave wax paper? ›

Paper towels, wax paper, parchment paper, paper plates and bowls are fine in the microwave. Newspaper is not sanitary and it leaches ink into whatever you're cooking, so don't use it. Brown paper bags are never safe in the microwave because they can't withstand a lot of heat and can catch fire.

Can parchment paper burn in the oven? ›

The paper won't release noxious chemicals, and will not burn. Most parchment paper is rated for use at temperatures no higher than 420 to 450 degrees. But we occasionally recommend using this liner for bread and pizza baked as high as 500 degrees.

Is aluminum foil safe in oven? ›

Aluminum foil is a thinly rolled sheet of aluminum that's claimed its place as a common kitchen staple. Not only is it safe to cook with aluminum foil in the oven, but cooking with aluminum foil can help transmit heat readily and make cleanup easier.

How do you press leaves between wax paper? ›

Place the wax paper and leaf between two pieces of a brown paper bag. Use a warm iron to seal the two pieces of wax paper. Heat one side for a few minutes. Since it is warm, carefully turn the whole thing over and repeat sealing.

Can you put olive oil on parchment paper? ›

Cut off a large piece of parchment paper ( about 24-30 inches long) and place potatoes, leeks, carrots, thyme in the center of the sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Fold into and twist end of parchment paper to seal.

Can you pour hot sugar on parchment paper? ›

Pour the hot sugar mixture onto a piece of parchment paper laid on a heat proof surface or a flat pan for thinner shards, or into a greased loaf pan for thicker pieces. The sugar needs to reach “hard crack stage” which is around 290 to 300 F / 145 to 150 C.

Can you bake with Reynolds wax paper? ›

Wax paper should not be directly exposed to the heat of an oven. However, Reynolds Kitchens® Cut-Rite® Wax Paper may be used as a pan liner when baking cakes, bread, muffins or any baked food in which the dough or batter completely covers the wax paper lining.

What temp is too high for wax paper? ›

Wax paper is paper with a thin layer of wax on both sides, typically petroleum-based paraffin wax or wax made from soybeans. Wax melts when exposed to high heat, with a melting point of approximately 420 degrees Fahrenheit and higher, so wax paper is best for cold applications in the kitchen.

Why does wax paper smoke in the oven? ›

If you try to bake a sheet of cookies on wax paper instead of parchment paper, it can start to blacken and smoke, and in some cases catch on fire. The wax on the paper is not heat-resistant and it melts off in the oven, which can leave the paper at risk of igniting.

Do you put butter on wax paper? ›

According to the site,, when you line cake pans with wax paper, there is no need to grease and flour the pans.

Do you line cake pan with parchment or wax paper? ›

If you want a level cake that doesn't stick to the pan, then you need to line the pan with parchment paper. If you want a level cake that doesn't stick to the pan, then you need to line the pan with parchment paper. It's an extra step that seriously simplifies things later on in the cake-making process.

How do you keep parchment paper from curling? ›

Lightly grease the baking sheet with vegetable oil or butter, then press down the corners of the paper until they stick. Crumple the sheet, then smooth it out. Place a plain magnet in each corner. (Make sure that the magnets have no paint or glue, which could burn.)

Do you need cooking oil on parchment paper? ›

Parchment paper doesn't need any oil, food simply slides off of it. So rather then poking at a hot pan with a spatula, try parchment paper. You'll be shocked at how easy you can pull those cookies off the pan.

Do you spray parchment paper with oil? ›

Best practices will have you grease the cake or baking pan (to help the paper stay in place), line it with parchment, then grease the parchment to make baked good liberation go as smoothly as possible.

Do you need to grease and flour a pan if using parchment paper? ›

To prevent batter or dough from sticking, it is usually recommended to grease and flour the pan or parchment paper. It is a really easy process that requires only two ingredients: oil (or butter or shortening) and flour (all-purpose or bread flour).

Is wax paper air fryer safe? ›

Can you put wax paper in an air fryer? No, you cannot put wax paper into an air fryer, according to Wax paper is sensitive to heat and, given the air fryer cooking process is dependent on hot air, they do not mix.

Can you put wax paper in a 200 degree oven? ›

So, the short answer to the question of whether you can put dry wax paper in the oven is a resounding no! This is primarily due to the limited amount of heat that wax paper can stand before melting.

Can I put parchment paper in the air fryer? ›

Parchment paper can handle the heat inside your air fryer - up to 428°F (220°C). To get the best results, add the parchment paper to the air fryer basket at the same time as you add your ingredients. This prevents the paper from lifting up and coming into contact with the heating element while cooking.

How many times can you use a piece of parchment paper? ›

Because parchment degrades faster at higher temperatures, its life expectancy is a little shorter here—two uses is about the maximum, and we recommend sticking a four- to five-inch-wide sling of aluminum foil under it to help support the dough on the second use.

Why grease a pan before parchment paper? ›

For a clean release, grease, flour—and parchment—are key. It may sound like overkill, but the most effective way to ensure that a cake releases cleanly from a baking pan is to grease the pan, line it with parchment paper, and then grease and flour the parchment and pan sides.

How do you wrap butter in parchment paper? ›

Here's our step-by-step method for using parchment paper and a ruler to form one easily.
  1. Dollop flavored butter down center of a sheet of parchment paper.
  2. Fold one end of paper over butter. ...
  3. Using your hands, gently roll cylinder of butter forward into a roll. ...
  4. Chill and slice as needed.

Can parchment paper go in the microwave? ›

Yes. You can safely use parchment paper in the microwave. The silicone coating on the paper helps prevent it from catching fire and will not release harmful chemicals into your food. However, you should avoid using parchment paper that is crumpled or torn, as this could create hot spots that could cause a fire.

What kind of glue to use on parchment paper? ›

Perga glue is a glue especially developed for parchment paper. The glue dries transparent and becomes practically invisible after drying. It is the ideal glue to apply strass stones, beads, ribbons and other decorations to your piece. This requires only a minimum amount of perga glue.

Why does parchment paper not get hot? ›

Reason Why Parchment Paper Doesn't Burn

Despite its name, parchment paper is not made from animal skin like its namesake. Instead, it is usually made from wood pulp treated with chemicals. Parchment paper is coated with silicone, which gives it its non-stick properties and helps to prevent burning.

Does parchment paper make things crispy? ›

While foil and plastic wrap seal out air, parchment paper allows foods to breathe a little when wrapped. This means exterior crusts stay crisp, instead of getting soggy.

Can I use Pam spray instead of parchment paper? ›

Since parchment paper is often used to create a nonstick surface, greasing the pan will accomplish the same results. Coat your cookie sheet or pan with cooking spray, butter, or oil. Then, lay the food directly on the pan. This will work for everything but the most delicate or gooey treats.

Can you bake everything on parchment paper? ›

Parchment paper is very versatile and can be used for everything from lining baking sheets to wrapping fish, and other dishes that are cooked en papillote. In instances when you'd reach for wax paper, parchment paper will also suffice.

Can you replace parchment paper with wax paper in baking? ›

The biggest difference between parchment paper and wax paper is that wax paper is not heat-resistant. This means you cannot use it for baking, or even use it in the oven at all because the wax could melt and even catch fire inside your oven.

What can I use if I don't have parchment paper? ›

Silicone baking pads, often referred to by the brand name Silpat, are a great replacement for parchment paper. Just drop one onto your baking sheet, and whatever you cook or bake on it will come right off. There's no need to grease your pan, and there's very little to clean up afterward.

Can I use parchment paper instead of wax paper for crafts? ›

The same qualities that make parchment paper so great for cooking and baking are the same qualities that make it an excellent craft mat!

Can wax paper go in the microwave? ›

Paper towels, wax paper, parchment paper, paper plates and bowls are fine in the microwave. Newspaper is not sanitary and it leaches ink into whatever you're cooking, so don't use it. Brown paper bags are never safe in the microwave because they can't withstand a lot of heat and can catch fire.

What happens if you bake without parchment paper? ›

Many baking recipes for cakes, muffins or quick breads skip the parchment entirely and just call for greasing and flouring the pan to prevent sticking. For roasting or baking savory foods, aluminum foil is a good alternative that allows for a simple clean-up.

Does parchment paper not stick? ›

Caption Options. Because parchment paper is heat-safe and nonstick, it's used constantly in baking to line sheet trays and cake pans. It eliminates the need in many situations to grease the cooking vessel or surface with oil, butter, or another fat.

Should I use parchment paper or aluminum foil? ›

The benefit of using parchment paper vs. aluminum foil in the oven is that the parchment is naturally nonstick. You'll have to spritz an aluminum foil liner with cooking spray to get the same nonstick benefits.

Does hot glue peel off wax paper? ›

Hot glue will not stick to very smooth surfaces, like metal, silicone, vinyl, wax, or greasy and wet surfaces.


1. What’s The Difference? Deli Paper/Freezer Paper/Wax Paper/Parchment Paper/Baking Paper?
(Nina Ribena)
2. What Happens If You Use Wax Paper Instead of Parchment Paper? | Food 101 | Well Done
(Well Done)
3. The difference between wax paper and parchment paper
(Jeaney Collects)
4. Parchment Vs Wax Paper
(Cook Persida)
5. Parchment Paper Vs Wax Paper
(Just A Pinch Recipes)
6. Kitchen Know-How: Foil, Wax Paper, or Parchment Paper?
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Reed Wilderman

Last Updated: 12/23/2022

Views: 5489

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Reed Wilderman

Birthday: 1992-06-14

Address: 998 Estell Village, Lake Oscarberg, SD 48713-6877

Phone: +21813267449721

Job: Technology Engineer

Hobby: Swimming, Do it yourself, Beekeeping, Lapidary, Cosplaying, Hiking, Graffiti

Introduction: My name is Reed Wilderman, I am a faithful, bright, lucky, adventurous, lively, rich, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.