Wax Paper? Or Parchment Paper? Is There A Difference?

Baking By VMesser Updated 5 Mar 2011 , 4:46am by mandm78

VMesser Posted 3 Mar 2011 , 5:32pm
post #1 of 16

Sorry if this sounds stupid, Newbie here! icon_biggrin.gif

I have seen some recipes call for a cookie sheet to be lined with "wax paper" and others "parchment paper". Also this has been said about lining baking pans for cakes. Since I just saw it for some cookies recently I thought I would put this question in the Cookie section.

I have always just put the dough right on the sheet and spray the sheet if it calls for it. Just ignoring it if it called for either of the papers.

So is there a difference in the two? [besides the price, noticed wax is cheaper & easier to find]
Is one better than the other?
If a recipe calls for "parchment" can I use "wax" safely?

P.S. When it comes to cakes; can you use "wax" instead?
Thanks For any Help solving this Brain Twister that has been in my head for a long long time. icon_smile.gif

15 replies
Shelley51708 Posted 3 Mar 2011 , 5:50pm
post #2 of 16

I prefer the parchment paper when smoothing out my BC icing on the cake, and use the wax paper more to separate things. I have notices the wax paper is thinner and well, waxier, than parchment paper. Sorry, this probably isn't much help!

Sangriacupcake Posted 3 Mar 2011 , 6:06pm
post #3 of 16

The two are completely different, but both can be handy when creating cakes.

Parchment is is great for lining your baking pans when making cakes. You could also use wax in the bottom of the pans, but parchment performs better imo. Parchment is also great to use when making cookies, biscuits, etc. I even use it for things like oven-fries, roasted vegetables, etc.

Wax paper is excellent for making chocolates, FBCT, cake balls. Sometimes I make buttercream flowers on wax paper & freeze them, which gives me a little more flexibility of how & where I position them on the cake. Some people find it helpful to put wax paper on their work surface when mixing cakes & icing for easy clean-up.


KathysCC Posted 3 Mar 2011 , 6:14pm
post #4 of 16

As far as I know, there is a huge difference. I don't think you can put wax paper in the oven. It will burn and the wax will melt off into your food. Parchment paper is for baking.

SecretAgentCakeBaker Posted 3 Mar 2011 , 6:32pm
post #5 of 16

Wax paper will smoke in the oven, and if you don't take it out, can catch fire.

Some people put a round of wax paper on the bottom of their cake pan. It won't smoke or catch fire that way (because it is completely covered by the batter), but the wax will melt into the cake. Some people don't care about that. It is probably food safe wax. I just bought a box of Pop Tarts today and they have carnuba wax in them, which is what is sometimes used to wax cars with.

Parchment is best for the oven. I believe it is coated with silicone. Or, you can buy a silpat and use that whenever parchment is called for. I like lining my pans with either of those because nothing sticks. If a cookie requires a greased cookie sheet, I use the silpat, otherwise I use the parchment so I don't have to wash the silpat.

I like to use wax paper to line my baking sheets that I am using for chocolates, or for decorating cookies on, etc. I also use it to line a new pizza box, then put the decorated cookies in there to dry.

I buy the pre-cut sheets of wax paper. They're in a pop up box, so I bring the box to the table when I am working and can easily grab a new sheet when I need it. They're really cheap, i think they have 500 sheets per box. This kind, though, has a lot less wax on it than CutRite, but so far I have not had a problem.

Sangriacupcake Posted 3 Mar 2011 , 6:39pm
post #6 of 16

If you look at a box of wax paper, it says you can line cake pans with it, cover food in the microwave, and so forth. The amount of wax is negligible and undetectable in the cooked food. However, it will catch fire in the oven if not completely covered by batter!

metria Posted 3 Mar 2011 , 6:45pm
post #7 of 16

i really like using parchment paper or silicon baking sheets for cookies. i don't have to scrub my pans afterward to get those little burnt bits off, just throw the paper in the trash! cookies slide off easily too. no need for PAM spray!

i will use wax paper in the over if there is no direct contact with the heat (e.g. to line the bottom of my cake pans).

besides baking, i sometimes use parchment paper to make piping cones for decorating cakes/cookies with icing. i don't think wax paper can really hold up in that application.

langranny Posted 3 Mar 2011 , 7:01pm
post #8 of 16

About $2 a roll. Seriously though, I use wax paper to line my cake pans and parchment paper for cookie sheets or anything else that isn't covered (by batter) in the oven. As far as wax melting into the cake - Silpats are made out of fiberglass & silicone. I think I'd rather have wax in my cake than fiberglass... Modern parchment paper is made by running sheets of paper pulp through a bath of sulfuric acid. (Wikipedia)
same thought.

Narie Posted 3 Mar 2011 , 7:01pm
post #9 of 16

Parchment paper is worth the extra money. Try it when you are baking cookies. If that doesn't convince you to convert to parchment paper for baking nothing will. Personally, I use it for most baked goods. I didn't use to make jelly rolls because they were a real pain with wax paper, but with parchment paper they are a breeze.

andpotts Posted 3 Mar 2011 , 8:05pm
post #10 of 16

This is the best reference I've found when it comes to this question. It's from Cook's Illustrated, I just love them, such a wealth of information. If you read the top it explains in depth exactly whay they are not the same! icon_smile.gif I buy larg quantities of Parchment paper sheets at Cash & Carry (restauraunt supply store) and I never run out.


VMesser Posted 5 Mar 2011 , 2:03am
post #11 of 16

Thank You Everyone for answering my Questions. Everyone was a Big Help with this Brain Twister.

SecretAgentCakeBaker I think that is a pretty cool piece of info about Pop-Tarts and Car Wax. I will never look at a Pop-Tart the same again. :0) i didn't find the pop up box ones but will look again another day.

langranny I was about to see if you could send me Parchment paper from where you live. But I did do a little deeper investigating and did find the Reynolds for a little over $2 at Wal-mart. Normally they only have the Wilton one for a little over $5. Either they have been out of the Reynolds one or just started carrying it. There were only 5 boxes on the shelf. Kool info it takes sulfuric acid to make it wow. Learn some thing new every day.

andpotts Thank You for the info and link but the link didn't work for me. I guess you have to be a member of Cook's Illustrated to access it or my computer is tripping.

Thanks Again Everyone for all the info. I have my parchment paper :0) and a box of wax paper that I bought for some arts & crafts projects. But if a recipe calls for either I'm prepared and educated on both. Thanks


VMesser Posted 5 Mar 2011 , 2:07am
post #12 of 16
Originally Posted by langranny

As far as wax melting into the cake - Silpats are made out of fiberglass & silicone. .

langranny or anyone else, What are Silpats?

SecretAgentCakeBaker Posted 5 Mar 2011 , 4:19am
post #13 of 16

A Silpat is a brand of silicone baking mat.

Personally, I think they work much better regular silicone mats. I also like the Slpat better than parchment for certain items, especially anything without any fat in it, or really sticky things.

The fiberglass in a silpat will not get into the food if the mat is used and cared for properly. So, you cannot cut directly on the mat and you cannot fold them. They should be stored flat. I just store mine with the cookie sheets.

lilmissbakesalot Posted 5 Mar 2011 , 4:40am
post #14 of 16

I don't like using waxed paper... it leaves a film on your cake pans that is a b***** to clean off. I always use parchment.

Silpats are great too, but expensive. They are the best silicone mat out there though and worth every penny. Yes they have fiberglass in them, but it is the backbone of the mat. It gives it it's structural integrity. The entire mesh is completely covered in food grade silicone. Nothing about it is ominous.

I'd lick my Silpat before I ate a Pop Tart... LOL.

tryingcake Posted 5 Mar 2011 , 4:42am
post #15 of 16
Originally Posted by KathysCC

As far as I know, there is a huge difference. I don't think you can put wax paper in the oven. It will burn and the wax will melt off into your food. Parchment paper is for baking.

Really? It will burn? Been doing this for years, I better stop. hmmm.

I use the two pretty interchangeable, I prefer parchment, but have yet to ever have a problem, including no waxy film left behind, when using wax paper.

mandm78 Posted 5 Mar 2011 , 4:46am
post #16 of 16

I have used both baking sheets and waxed paper (cutrite brand) and have had no trouble with anything burning in my oven. I bake in my home oven. Even used waxed paper to line the sides of cake pans and they extended slightly above cake rims.

Quote by @%username% on %date%