Have you ever been trying out a new recipe, only to find that it calls for using parchment paper and you don't have any? Don't swap it out for wax paper instead. Using wax paper in the oven is a very, very bad idea. In fact, it might even lead to a fire in the kitchen, and nobody wants that.
What is Wax Paper?
Let's go over the basics first. "Wax paper is triple-waxed tissue paper that is made with food-safe paraffin wax," My Recipes explains. According to the USDA, the wax is pushed into the pores of the paper and spread over the outside as a coating. The coating of wax in question prevents food from sticking to it and makes it moisture-resistant, Southern Living notes.
What is Parchment Paper?
Parchment paper is also non-stick just like wax paper as well as moisture-resistant. But unlike wax paper, parchment paper is heat-resistant up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use parchment paper for kitchen tasks such as lining baking pans and baking sheets for baking recipes, roasting veggies or meats, rolling out dough, and covering your countertop.
You can use wax paper for all of those things, too, but it cannot go in the oven. Waxed paper for cooking can't handle the heat at high temperatures needed for some baking and cooking and "anything significantly above room temperature will cause the wax to start melting, and anything too high will be at risk for catching the paper underneath the wax on fire," Bob's Red Mill reports. Yikes! A kitchen fire is the last thing any cook or baker wants to deal with.
When Can You Use Wax Paper Instead of Parchment Paper?
You can use wax paper for things in the kitchen like sifting dry ingredients onto a large piece of wax paper before pouring the contents into a mixing bowl, Southern Living suggests. The USDA also says it can be used for microwave cooking, but it seems best to stick to using wax paper for tasks that don't involve heat and parchment for things like cookie sheets, cake pans, and as cupcake liners or for making brownies.
When Should You Use Neither Paper?
If you're dealing with temperatures above 450 degrees, you should use aluminum foil instead. That will still take care of splatter and prevent more of a mess than if you just use a pan or sheet without a covering.
You should be able to get wax paper, parchment paper, and aluminum foil at the grocery store or via online retailers like Amazon. Just know when it's best to use each product to avoid a potentially dangerous situation in the kitchen.