Both parchment paper and waxed paper can come in quite handy for anyone who bakes and cooks frequently. You can line baking pans with parchment paper to make it simple to remove your preferred cookie, brownie, and cake recipes after baking.
Even mess-free vegetables or a superb fish meal can be prepared with it. The nonstick qualities of waxed paper are equally useful for lining your cookie decorating surface for simple cleanup, rolling out pie dough, and packaging sandwiches for lunch.
What happens, though, if you walk to your drawer in search of parchment paper and all you find there is waxed paper? Although they do appear to be fairly similar, they are not necessarily interchangeable.
In fact, using waxed paper to bake cookies instead of parchment can be dangerous. To prevent culinary catastrophes, you should be aware of how to use each of these sheets appropriately.
Wax Paper vs. Parchment Paper
Although both products are used for nonstick reasons, the coating is the main distinction between waxed paper and parchment paper (and the reason they cannot be used interchangeably).
In order to make parchment paper nonstick and heat and moisture resistant, it is treated with an incredibly thin layer of silicone. Parchment paper is created from cotton fiber and/or pure chemical wood pulps. Wax paper is tissue paper that has had a layer of food-safe wax applied to it, if the name hadn't previously made that clear.
Along with being nonstick, it can withstand moisture, but not as much heat. Although waxed paper can be used in a microwave to prevent splatters or to line a dish, it can melt, smoke, and perhaps catch fire when exposed to the heat of an oven.
When lining the bottom of a cake pan that will be entirely covered in batter to prevent smoking, wax paper is the only type that can be used in the oven without risk.
The majority of uses for waxed paper and parchment paper are therefore similar, with the exception of baking with wax paper when it is directly exposed to heat.
Wax Paper and Parchment Paper Substitutes
Because parchment paper may be very expensive, you might not always keep some on hand. Typically costing almost twice as much as wax paper, parchment paper is also not recyclable due to its covering (unless you buy a natural, unbleached brand that is compostable).
You can use nonstick cooking spray in place of parchment paper if your recipe calls for it. Alternatively, if you frequently bake, it could be a good idea to spend your money on a reusable silicone baking mat, which will produce the same nonstick results.
Making your own reusable food wraps from beeswax is a great alternative to using wax paper for wrapping needs.