HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


parchment paper vs. waxed paper ?

  • b

Is there a difference between parchment paper and waxed paper? Can waxed paper be used to line a cookie sheet? I have always used parchment paper instead.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There is a difference. Parchment is effectively teflon coated. Wax paper is wax coated. Use parchment. You will be much happier.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Louise

      Seriously - what does make parchment paper non-stick? I'm sure it isn't teflon. But now I'm wondering how come it works.

      1. re: Nyleve

        Nyleve, that is a very good point. I just looked on my box of parchment paper . It is made by Reynolds aluminum and is made in France. curiously it says not to use it in a toaster oven, under a broiler or in Halogen light ovens. I guess it will catch on fire under high heat conditions.

        1. re: BJE

          It's important not to have parchment overhang a cookie sheet
          by any amount..for that overhang will also catch fire.

          1. re: serious

            Is this realy true? I've baked a few things recently with some overhang, and I haven't yet had a fire... but I'm wiling to be convinced.

            1. re: serious

              Yikes, I never knew that and have let it overhang. But I'll be careful in the future not to do so.

              1. re: serious

                that's really true, I tried making some profiteroles last week and even though the parchment didn't catch fire, it was burned pretty badly

              2. re: BJE


                If it is made in France, can you tell me how they call it in French. I live in Belgium.

                Thank you,

                1. re: newyorkcollins

                  When I lived in London, the Costco there sold HUGE tubes of "siliconised paper", which is essentially parchment paper. Hope that helps. I wished they sold the large quantities in the US. As for its qualities, I use parchment paper instead of a pizza stone when I make pizzas. The paper withstands 500 degrees and doesn't spill onto the floor of the oven. I also use it to line cakes and cookie sheets. Greatest invention since sliced bread!!!

                    1. re: newyorkcollins

                      Papier parchemin ou papier pour en papillote...

                  1. re: Nyleve

                    I just checked on wikipedia and it says that cooking parchment paper is impregnated with a silicone and the need to grease a cookie sheet is eliminated.

                  2. re: Louise

                    In the UK they call parchment paper "siliconized" paper, so it's much different than waxed paper. As a result it can take high temperature, like silicon scrapers, and it also has a non-stick quality to it. As for the comments about it catching fire in the oven, I'm dubious. I bake pizzas directly on the rack at 500 degrees and while the paper does turn dark, it's never caught fire. I wouldn't cook at higher temperatures than 500, though. Most professional bakers use parchment to line cookie trays too because it promotes even browning.

                  3. I believe parchment is the only one intended for oven temperatures...

                    1. DO NOT line a cookie sheet with waxed paper- it will smoke you out something terrible! Waxed paper is only good for using outside of the oven or in the oven with something that covers it completely, i.e. a cake. I only use parchment now, just because it's more versatile, in my opinion.

                      1. You'll be happier, to be explicit, 'cause the wax on the wp would melt and the whole thing could burn and you'd have a food tragedy on your hands. Parchment doesn't have the coating, is oven-proof, and a blessing for baking things without having them stick.

                        1. Thanks everyone for all the warnings. I figured there must be a difference between the two. I only wondered because of the reference to using either on a cookie sheet for baking biscotti on this web site. http://www.ellenskitchen.com/bigpots/...
                          I'm glad I bought a box of parchment paper to do my 2nd batch of biscotti.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: BJE

                            Believe me, I only know that by experiencing the smoke myself! :-)

                          2. You can use waxed paper when it's completely covered (like lining cake pans), but it will at least smoke if exposed bare to 350F-ish or higher oven temps for very long. If baking something at lower heat, you might well be OK.

                            1. Get a Silpat and call it a day! Easiest way to go and you can use it for everything.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: SChalfant

                                The problem with Silpat is that it doesn't give the cookies anything to grip, so they will spread out more than they would if you used parchment paper.

                                1. re: SChalfant

                                  Great for cookie sheets, but you can't cut it to fit cake pans.

                                  1. re: Amuse Bouches

                                    I saw on another thread that there is something round that works like a silpat.

                                  2. re: SChalfant

                                    Schalfant, are you suggesting building the pizza on Silpat, or preheating it in the oven?
                                    It will not be hot enough if you build it outside the oven. I use parchment; it says to 500, but
                                    it does fine for the 5 minutes that it takes to cook the pizza: however I'm not liking silicon for
                                    cooking at all, even tho it would probably work for just 5 min., same as the parchment.
                                    Silpat temp states that it only goes to 500; i do pizza at 550

                                  3. Ditto on SChalfant comment. Silicon mats are the best for baking. Resuable, easy to clean and will last a very long time if cared for properly (e.g. don't cut on them). They come in a variety of sizes - for the home chef, the 1/8 and 1/4 sheet pan sizes are the best.

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: SanseiDesigns

                                      Silpat is handy but for cookies, one gets a crisper result with
                                      parchment. Throwing out is nicer than washing. One piece of
                                      parchment can be reused for several batches.

                                      1. re: serious

                                        Haven't tried silpat, but I think parchment is pretty miraculous!

                                        1. re: prunefeet

                                          I prefer parchment; a silpat is just one more thing to wash!

                                          1. re: Katie Nell

                                            ah, but parchment is one more thing in the landfill!

                                            1. re: gourmanda

                                              I feel I more than make up for it in my reuse of the parchment over and over and in recycling and reusing everything else under the sun.

                                              1. re: Katie Nell

                                                How do you reuse parchment paper?? Mine is completely brittle when I bring it out of the oven.

                                                1. re: soleilnyc

                                                  When we use parchment paper on a 1/2 sheet pan to bake cookies the parchment is a little brittle after a couple of trips through the oven but certainly not brittle enough so that it cannot be used for cookies again as long as it is not messed up with grease. The biggest problem for us to reuse the parchment paper for the next time cookies are baked is that the interval is usually a long time and the sheet pans might be used for something else where parchment is not needed. Then where do i put the used parchment paper for later use? It's easier juist to throw it away and use a new sheet.

                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                    Store the parchment paper where you store the cookie sheets! I throw mine into the drawer under the oven (storage, not a warmer).

                                                    1. re: pdxgastro

                                                      That drawer is pretty much full. I leave it on the sheet pan, but iit does not always stay there if someone uses the pan. Then it is scrunched up down there. Our baking is so infrequent that this really is not a problem to be solved.

                                      2. re: SanseiDesigns

                                        I feel like I'm late to the party, but I just acquired my first baking mat & made scones on it tonight. It is an absolute dream! No mess with clean up, perfect scones. I feel ready to start baking up a storm again after years away. Just wanted to highly recommend giving these mats a try out!

                                      3. has anyone figured out how to get that greasy feel off the silpats? it seems to build up over time--the ones i bought in france 5 years ago are pretty slick. soap and water doesn't seem to get it...i know they are clean, but i hesitate to use them due to the feel. (i'm mainly a parchment fan!)

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: chez cherie

                                          running the silpat through the dishwasher will reduce the greasy
                                          feel somewhat.

                                        2. Chez Cherie, Some of the greasy feel of a silpat is the silicone coating that gives it its non-stick properties. I wash them in hot water and dish soap , but never use a 3M scrubbie on it , as it will scratch the surface unnecessarily.

                                          Silpats are very nice, but I think all kitchens should have both parchment and wax paper.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Kelli2006

                                            That's pretty much what I do with my silpat and I agree that every kitchen should have both.

                                            1. re: Kelli2006

                                              I agree to having both. I prefer the parchment, in part due to sometimes feeling like all of the butter residue from cookies gets off the silpat. Also, it gets sorta pricey to be lining 3-4-5 cookie sheets with silpats if doing a marathon baking session.

                                              1. re: Kelli2006

                                                I use parchment, wax paper, and Reynolds Release (aluminum foil with an easy-release property) depending on the use. I like to line cookie tins with wax paper, but would use parchment paper if I ran out of wp. For cookie sheets, I usually use Reynolds Release or normal aluminum foil because I find that parchment paper slides around on the cookie sheet when I'm loading/unloading the oven or rotating the trays. For cake baking I use parchment paper or butter and flour.

                                                Another good feature of the Reynolds Release is that it can be reused several times and then can be recycled.

                                                1. re: baker deb

                                                  Use the black&silver type binder clips from office supply stores to hold the parchment in place. They withstand baking temperatures.

                                              2. Try baking soda and water form into a paste for cleaning grease. This trick also works great for cleaning Pampered Chef Stoneware and stainless steal applianes. Rub the paste on with your fingers let set for a few minutes and rinse off. For stainless after the rinse you will need to wipe one more time with a dry clean cloth. You will get the best looking stainless with this trick.

                                                1. Try this link it gives very specific information about both.

                                                  1. I didn't have parchment and used waxed to line a pan before pouring in caramel. The caramel melted the wax and stuck to the paper. I had to slice off everything that was touching the paper. Thinking the parchment probably would have just peeled off.

                                                    1. The last box of parchment I bought (Wilton brand) specifically says it is "silicone treated for better release." I hadn't noticed that before on the other brands I've used.

                                                      I wonder if the quilon and silicone are safe. I use a fair amount of parchment. Not only for baking cookies and cakes but for heating pizza slices or tortilla sandwiches on a cast iron pizza pan. That system works great, because things cook fast and are crispy, and nothing sticks. But I wonder about the safety of those materials.

                                                      Does anyone know anything about that?

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: karykat

                                                        Silicone withstands high heat without melting or transferring to food, hence all the silicone bakeware, oven mitts, etc.

                                                      2. I've been using aluminum foil that 'releases' my baked bread without a problem. And it can be used more than once. I used parchment paper according to a recipe in Cook's Illustrated Jan/Feb 2008 just once. It was not reuseable, but the aluminum foil is.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: ChiliDude

                                                          I had a cookie recipe failure that resulted in carmelized sugar streaming out across my release-foil covered cookie sheets. It came off absolutely efffortlessly from the foil. In the one spot where it got on my "no-stick" sheet -- that took hot water, soap and elbow grease.

                                                        2. wax paper is horrible for actual baking in the oven in terms of sticky cookies and such.. i had a major disaster when none of my macaroons would come off the wax paper.. sad thing is they came off of my non-greased baking pan more successfully than it did off the wax paper! and it ended up killing the entire 2 batches.. so use parchment paper and don't get the two confused. also wax paper burns like crazy if you broil in the oven.. watch out for smoke / fires!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: coconuttygirl

                                                            parchment will also burn in the broiler.

                                                          2. I'd be lost without parchment paper. When I bake cookies, I "stage" the next batch on parchment while a batch is baking, then slide the finished cookies, parchment and all, onto the cooling rack and slide the new batch onto the sheet.

                                                            Being absorbent, parchment also gives a crisper cookie than silpat. Plus, I don't need another "single use" kitchen implement to store.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: jmckee

                                                              I use silpat because it is more environmental but for the reasons you state, I like parchment better. I like the crisper base w/ parchment and the "staging" is so helpful. Silpat is sticks and you can't slide a silpat mat easily onto a cookie sheet.

                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                My thought is this: Parchment paper will biodegrade. And I try not to get every gadget on the planet. Acquisitiveness can be a sickness for me :-)

                                                                1. re: jmckee

                                                                  Good point--and now that I can compost, I could compost it. Since I already have the Silpats, I feel like I should use them instead. I use them often enough outside of baking cookies, anyway.

                                                                  Oops, I meant to say above that "Silpat sticks" now "Silpat is sticks." That's what I get for editing and not rereading.

                                                            2. I just want to know if everyone else is as dumb as I am: I've been using parchment paper for years, and I just realized last year that one side is slicker than the other. Is this maybe a relatively new development with the addition of silicone coating (I don't use it very often so my previous roll of parchment was really old), or have I just failed to notice for 30 years?

                                                              7 Replies
                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                I've not noticed that - though I'm usually buttering one side, so it probably doesn't make a big difference.

                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                  i dunno, but i typically put it "curly side" down in my cake pans...so that it does roll up before i get to put anything on it.....perhaps this inadvertantly makes me choose one side over the other !!

                                                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                                                    I got sick of fighting with curling parchment, even though I hold it in place on the pan with metal binder clips from the office supply store (they are oven-proof to at least 375) so I got a big box of sheets at a paper/baking supply shop several years ago. They are 17x23, 1000 sheets, cost about $35. I've given some of it to friends since I'd have to live to be 150 to use it all, but it's still a more economical way to go than the rolls. Occasionally I've used it in the toaster oven - it scorches but hasn't burned - yet. As far as I can tell, the surfaces on both sides are identical. I rather doubt there's a difference - it would be easier to keep track with a roll if that is the case, and virtually impossible with sheets.

                                                                    Is there any use for wax paper for which parchment can't be substituted? I haven't used the former in ages.

                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                      I use waxed paper for reheating things in the microwave. It's cheaper than plastic and seems safer, and works very well. It is especially good for reheating sandwiches or anything with bread.

                                                                      1. re: danhole

                                                                        Ditto on using wp in the micro. I also use it almost daily when packing sandwiches / burritos / wraps for lunch. Sandwiches wrapped in wp don't get as soggy and don't allow the filling(s) to ooze out onto the plastic bag - thus requiring washing and / or pitching.

                                                                        1. re: JerryMe

                                                                          wax paper works fine for lining cake or bar cookie pans for baking, sifting and moving flour and various other occasional kitchen tasks. A croll lasts me a long time but I just bought a new one. I find parchment much less manageable, and use it less frequently in general,

                                                                      2. re: greygarious

                                                                        When I was a child, we used to press leaves and flowers between two sheets of waxed paper, put it in some newspaper, and iron it. The wax melts enough to stick together and preserve the leaves. But I can't think of a cooking-use for which you couldn't substitute it.

                                                                  2. I learned my lesson with wax paper when i ruined an entire batch of peanut brittle by pouring it out on buttered wax paper, and not one bit of it would come off. I think i've used wax paper to pour out chocolate barks, as temp is lower.

                                                                    Usually i bake with parchment, it goes on the bottom of every one of my cheesecakes, and makes it super easy to get it off the springform bottom, and onto the silvery cake disks. Great for lining not so young cookie pans too.

                                                                    I remember when we used to use wax paper for wrapping sandwiches....back in the day.

                                                                    1. I buy a "Quilon" coated paper from Smart and Final. I used to use Silpats but they were getting greasy. Yes I cleaned them but I think they break down with many uses. Now I use this paper for fine baking. Releasing isn't a problem and it doesn't burn or smoke. And its also cheap. I get about 50 large sheets for $2.99

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: TIRGL

                                                                        I've got to look for that product - this thread is perfect timing! I haven't had the oven on in months. I refuse to until it gets under 100 degrees . . .which I probably won't see this month.

                                                                        But baking season is coming up!! Hip Hip Hooray!!

                                                                        1. re: JerryMe

                                                                          That's so funny that the perfect timing is in response to a thread that is so old!

                                                                        2. re: TIRGL

                                                                          Just looked up Smart & Final and their closest store is 2,129 miles away, so I won't be able to stop in and take a look at the Quilon paper.

                                                                          Any other suggestions on brands of parchment paper? Or are they pretty much all the same?

                                                                          1. re: annulla

                                                                            I've used name brand and store brand parchment paper and haven't found a difference except in price. I think whatever you can find in your local grocery would do fine.

                                                                            1. re: maplesugar

                                                                              Yes, that is my experience as well.

                                                                            2. re: annulla


                                                                              I've never used it - as posted above, I have a case of 1000 larger sheets of parchment that will last me forever. I do recomment parchment in general. Once you have it on hand you'll wonder why you didn't start using it sooner. It saves a lot of clean-up and is more versatile than wax paper.

                                                                          2. I use parchment for all cookies, etc...but I do still use wax paper when baking quick breads, just something my mother did, so I still do it by habit more than anything...there is a faint odor from the piece that hangs over the edge of the pan, but no burning issues, etc...

                                                                            1. After reading that parchment paper is silicone coated, I am wondering if it's healthy. Like the BPAs in plastic that leech into food, I can only assume silcone does too. I would NEVER use the silcone utensils or baking dishes, so I am worried about using this. I have seen organic parchement paper in the health food store. Need to check that out. Has anyone looked into this?

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: saphiresunset

                                                                                I'm pretty sure all silicone is naturally BPA free. BPA is used in the manufacture of (some)hard plastics not soft..

                                                                                1. re: saphiresunset

                                                                                  I have wondered about the health effects of stray silicone as well.

                                                                                  I do love using the parchment that comes in sheets. It's so easy to grab a sheet and flop it onto a baking sheet.

                                                                                2. Don't know if this works on parchment.....but I always wet the surface I put my waxed paper on and it sticks to the surface and helps take the "curl" out of the paper. Also it doesn't slide if you're using it to roll out pie dough.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: dulcimerette

                                                                                    Fantastic tip. I'd never thought of it before, but I'll be using it. Thanks.

                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                      I'll second that. My vocabulary will become much cleaner when I use waxed paper now.

                                                                                    2. re: dulcimerette

                                                                                      If you crumple up a piece of parchment paper in to a ball, and then uncrumple it, the curling problem is gone. I think that was an ATK or CI tip I read on Pinterest a while back. Works like a charm.

                                                                                    3. I made granola bars, and the recipe indicated using parchment paper to line the cookie sheet before baking. Since I had no parchment paper, I used wax paper thinking it would have the same effect. After cooking, then cooling the granola bars, the wax paper stuck to the bottom of the granola so severely that it would not come off no matter what! I ended up throwing the granola bars away. Who wants to eat wax paper??? Next time I'll try the parchment paper!

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: bonnietedder

                                                                                        you need to grease and flour waxed paper when you use it to line a pan. It works perfectly well if you do and will peel off fine. If its a buttery pastry, that is not so necessary.

                                                                                      2. Just to let everyone know, Costco in the US sells their own branded parchment paper. For 200 sq feet, it's just $6. Definitely cheaper than the grocery store offerings!

                                                                                        1. My complaint about parchment paper is that every time it is used it must be cut to fit the baking pan. I realize for cakes with round pans this is needed. However parchment paper should come in the same width as the interior width of a 1/2 sheet pan to minimize the need to cut it to fit. The standard sheet pan is 11-3/4" wide so the parchment paper should be the same width coming off the roll. I realize I could order individual sheets that are the right size. I don't want to do that. I don't do that much baking. I want the ease of just buying the stuff on a trip to the grocery store. Is that too much to ask?

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                            You can buy parchment that is cut to fit both full and half size baking sheets but you will pay for that convenience. Id suggest a restaurant supply store, Sur LaTable or a GFS marketplace that is open to the general public.

                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                              The market where I do my grocery shopping carries If You Care brand unbleached parchment, both in the standard roll and in a box of 40 half-sheet-pan-size cut sheets rolled up, for 75 cents or a dollar more. So you might find out if any supermarkets near you carry them. Of course, you can also get pre-cut rounds (even for tube pans) at cake supply stores; I have a pack of 9-inch rounds that are very handy.


                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                I've never seen anything but the standard rolls at the various grocery stores we go to. We don't do enough baking to make too much of an effort. There may be a cake supply store somewhere around here. I was conned into baking cookies today, that's why the frustration came out. I did figure out an easier way to cut the parchment however. We do have one silpat. I just put it on top of the parchment and cut along the edges. I still find it baffling the standard size does not fit a 1/2 sheet pan.

                                                                                            2. The last time I was in Italy, there was a parchment paper epidemic. They sell it everywhere! But I couldn't find any wax paper to save my life. Isn't that weird?

                                                                                              1. I need some advice. I'm making a BABY SHOWER for my daughter and serving homemade CREPES but it is for a large crowd and will be making several types in those long stainless chafing pans with the sternos warming the hot water pans they are inserted in. I don't like serving crepes in rolled stacked rows when serving a crowd, as when they serve themselves, they end up messing the crepes up, filling falls out, etc. I was thinking of using PARCHMENT PAPER or foil and making individual "boats" like those hot dog boats to lay each crepe into, then put in the long pan, therefore it would be easier for people to serve themselves an individual crepe. Any suggestions?

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: SoozZQZ

                                                                                                  I understand your reluctance about the self-serve rolled up crepes. Heck, I have trouble getting things like enchiladas out of the pan a respectable manner. I don't know if your parchment paper boat would work but I have another idea that might work. Instead of rolling the crepes how about putting some filling in one of the 'corners' and folding the crepes into quarters and then layering them like shingles into the chafing dish. I think they might be easier to self-serve folded in that manner.

                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                    That's an outstanding idea! Will be using it next weekend with enchiladas. The geometer in my life is going to be delighted. Many thanks!

                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                      That's exactly what I do when serving crepes for a brunch. Make the crepes ahead of time. Fill the morning of the brunch, fold into quarters and then it's easy to put them in a dish to reheat before serving.

                                                                                                  2. I have been baking rugalach, a buttery dough with nuts and raisin filling, for at least 30 years on buttered pans. After reading this, I am wondering if I should try baking on parchment...buttered or not? It would make it easier to reuse the pans since nuts and sugars wouldn't get messy for next batch.

                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                      Your thinking is correct. You would not need to butter the pan if you used parchment paper. After cooling, slide the rugalach off the pan, and put a new sheet of parchment down for the next batch.

                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                        Really?! I am planning on using the same piece of parchment for all the batches!

                                                                                                        1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                          It sounded like the pan was a caramelized, sugary mess. That's why I suggested sliding the whole thing off the pan. If it's not too bad, of course use the paper multiple times.

                                                                                                        2. re: John E.

                                                                                                          Or just reuse the sheet that's already there. I can usually get two or three pans of cookies to cook on a single sheet of parchment paper.

                                                                                                        3. re: smilingal

                                                                                                          And don't forget you can turn it over and use the bottom side.