What’s The Difference Between Parchment Paper and Wax Paper?

what's the difference between wax paper and parchment paper

This post contains affiliate links where I will earn a small commission off of your purchase at no cost to you.

Several years ago a very good baker friend of mine made some brownies for a gathering. They were those kind of brownies with cheesecake filling on top. They looked amazing.

We cut into those bad boys and the bottom was a mess of wax paper stuck/baked into the brownies. Whatever recipe she had used had recommended using wax paper to line the pan rather than parchment and the wax paper had baked into the brownies.

Now, we aren’t the type to just trash a brownie because of a little wax paper so we just cut the bottom off and ate them anyway, but I don’t want you to have to learn that lesson the hard way.

What is parchment paper?

Parchment paper is paper that has been infused with silicone. This makes it grease resistant, non stick, and heat resistant.

How do I use parchment paper?

Use parchment paper to line your pans. Line a cookie sheet with parchment and your cookies won’t stick to the pan, no extra greasing necessary. Line a cake or brownie pan with parchment, easy removal.

Parchment also provides a thin layer of insulation between your pan and your cookies/cake/etc to help with more even baking. This is especially helpful if your pan is a little bit old and warped and doesn’t heat evenly all the way around.

Lining your pan with parchment paper also makes clean-up a snap. No greasy pan with stuck on bits to wash.

Where can I buy parchment paper?

You can buy parchment paper at pretty much any grocery store or online. In my experience, grocery stores tend to carry rolls of parchment and can be found with the aluminum foil and wax paper.

Online, you can buy it in large rolls or pre-cut sheets. The sheets are nice because they lay flat on your cookie sheets, however in my smaller kitchen I find them annoying to store. They are also usually more expensive than the rolls. When I can, I buy unbleached parchment, to eliminate unnecessary chemicals.

What is wax paper?

Wax paper is paper that has been coated with wax, either soybean wax or paraffin. Wax paper is grease proof and non stick, but it is not heat resistant so you cannot bake on it.

How do I use wax paper?

Wax paper is excellent for candy making. You can let your candy dipped projects dry on the wax paper and they won’t stick. Unlike aluminum foil which the candy can stick to (and also can leave wrinkly lines in the dried candy).

You can also use wax paper between layers of cookies or candies for storage purposes, so they don’t all stick together.

Where can I buy wax paper?

Also in the grocery store. It’s sold in rolls and is usually in the same aisle as the aluminum foil. Of course you can buy it online too.

Do I really need both?

Actually, no. I often only have parchment because I find that parchment can do everything that wax paper can do for me. The only difference is that wax paper is usually cheaper so if you use a lot, sometimes having both is nice.

Looking to learn more about baking? Try this article about “What does softened butter mean?” or this article about “Baking soda vs. baking powder.”

Happy Baking!


The Pioneer Woman