It can happen so easily: you are busy preparing your delicious baked goods and ended up using wax paper instead of parchment paper when you put everything in the oven.
Or you may have simply run out of parchment paper and needed a quick alternative at hand.
But although wax paper and parchment paper are often used interchangeably, they have different characteristics when exposed to heat.
We find out whether you can use wax paper for baking, and what else this paper is good for.
What Is Wax Paper?
Wax paper is the most common type of paper used in the kitchen, and it’s typically an umbrella term for all kind of baking paper, including parchment paper.
Wax paper is a type of paper that is coated in a thin paraffin layer. This makes it resistant to moisture and nonstick.
While paraffin wax was also used for many other dangerous applications in the past, the paraffin wax layer on wax paper is perfectly food safe.
In the Middle Ages, bakers would dip the paper in ear wax to get a similar nonstick effect. With the invention of paraffin, this (luckily!) changed and made using wax paper much easier.
Can Wax Paper Go In The Oven?
No, wax paper cannot go into the oven, and it cannot be exposed to any kind of heat because it isn’t heat resistant. This means you cannot use wax paper for anything that needs baking in the oven.
As wax paper is coated with paraffin, it will burn when exposed to high temperatures over a prolonged time.
If placed in the oven, the paraffin wax will separate from the paper and it will start to melt. This will lead to your food tasting waxy.
Some bakers do place wax paper in the hot oven or microwave at a low temperature but even low temperatures can be enough to make wax melt a little bit.
That’s why, we’d recommend not to take the risk and just use a non-wax alternative, such as parchment paper.
Is Wax Paper Poisonous When Baked?
Dry wax paper is safe to use for food but wax paper that has been heated in the oven or microwave can release toxic wax fumes.
Wax paper can create a surprising amount of smoke when exposed to heat. It will ruin your baked goods, and can even smoke out your kitchen.
If anyone in your household has asthma or difficulty breathing, then these fumes released by the wax paper can cause irritations to the lungs and eyes.
That’s why, it is essential that you use the right type of line baking sheets, and only use wax paper what it was designed for.
What Can You Use Wax Paper For?
If you cannot put wax paper in the oven because it isn’t heat resistant, what can you use it for instead? Here are the best ways to use your waxed paper without melting the wax.
Roll Out Dough
Thanks to its non sticky surface, you can use waxed paper for rolling out any kind of dough. You can also use it for lining your baking pan or pounding chicken breasts or other meat.
Both wax paper and parchment are ideal for covering up your countertop when you are working with any baked ingredients, such as powdered sugar, melted chocolate or decorating cakes.
Sift Dry Ingredients
While the wax coating on wax paper isn’t oven safe, you can still use it for any baking that doesn’t require heat, such as sifting dry ingredients.
As nothing will stick to the wax paper, it can help catch you any ingredients that you can still reuse.
Wax paper is also well known as a food wrap for cheese, sandwiches and many more. As wax paper is a more affordable option than parchment paper, it’s ideal for wrapping your lunch.
What Paper Can You Use For Baking Instead Of Wax Paper?
As long as you do not cook with heat, you can use parchment and wax paper interchangeably.
However, if you want to put your baked goods into the oven or microwave, then you will need to use a lining sheet that is suitable for baking.
Here is our list of the top oven-safe alternatives to wax paper.
Parchment paper has been specifically designed to resist heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Similar to wax paper, this type of baking sheet also has a non-adhesive surface.
You can easily use it as a lining sheet for baking trays and tins. Parchment paper can also be used as a steaming ouch for any of your favorite seafood or vegetables that need to be cooed gently.
While both wax paper and parchment paper have similar characteristics thanks to their non-stick surface, the main difference is that wax paper cannot resist high temperatures.
Silicone Baking Mat
A baking mat made of silicone is another great alternative to wax paper when you want to bake your goods in the oven.
These food-grade silicone layers can withstand an oven temperature of up to 480 degrees Fahrenheit.
This wax paper replacement also has a non-adhesive top which is easy to clean and you can even reuse it plenty of times.
Aluminum foil is the traditional go-to wax paper replacement for every barbecue. It has a non-stick surface and it’s also perfectly safe to put into the oven.
Flour And Oil
Flour and oil are some of the basic ingredients in many cakes and baked goods, and as they create a non-stick surface on your cake pans or baking tray, they are an ideal alternative to wax paper.
While you cannot bake wax paper due to its low melting point, there are plenty of other things you can do with, including wrapping your sandwiches and rolling out dough.
If you need a baking liner that is suitable for high temperatures, then parchment paper is best.