Foil Vs Parchment Vs Wax Vs Freezer Papers

If you spend a lot of time in your kitchen, you will always be on the lookout for things that make your cleanup time shorter and easier.  There are plenty of products available that can help you achieve this. 

However, it can be overwhelming knowing what product is best for different uses. There are four main types of linings and papers that you can use when baking. 

These are aluminum foil, parchment paper, wax paper, and freezer paper.  

Aluminum foil can be used for lining baking sheets and baking pans, it has no coating and can be used in the oven. 

Parchment paper can be used to line baking sheets and pans as well as for assisting in cake decorating.  It has no coating and can be used in the oven. 

Wax paper can be used for rolling out dough, no-bake desserts, and storing baked goods.  It is coated on both sides and cannot be used in the oven. 

Finally, freezer paper can be used for the safe storage of food in the freezer.  It features a coating on one side and cannot be used in the oven. 

Aluminum Foil

Foil Vs Parchment Vs Wax Vs Freezer Papers

What Is It?

Aluminum foil is the lining that you are probably most familiar with.  It is one of those products that is worth its weight in gold for many cooks, including in professional kitchens. 

Unlike the other linings, there is a range of different foils that you can purchase.  The difference between the types of foil relates to the thickness of the product. 

You can purchase standard aluminum foil (0.0101 – 0.01778 mm), heavy-duty foil (0.02032 – 0.0254 mm), and extra heavy-duty foil (0.02784 – 0.04064 mm).  

How Do You Know Which Foil To Use?

The uses for the different types of foil depend on their thickness.  

  • Regular aluminum foil – Because this is the thinnest foil option, it is not very durable.  Therefore, it is best used for covering food for storage or as a replacement lid for a container.  
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil – This is a great option for baking due to its thicker size and its higher heat-resistant properties.  The heat used in baking is considered to be moderate which is perfect for this foil.  Use this to line baking pans and sheets.
  • Extra heavy-duty aluminum foil – This foil can withstand higher temperatures than the others.  This makes it perfect for direct exposure to flames.  If you are looking to cook some vegetables on a grill, you should use this foil.  It can also wrap heavy foods for storage. 

What Is Aluminum Foil Used For In Baking?

The most common uses for aluminum foil in baking are covering or lining baking pans and sheets, lining baking pans for submersion into water such as for cheesecakes, and in the form of disposable pans. 

Aluminum foil is also a great way to ensure easier cleanup after baking. 

Parchment Paper

Foil Vs Parchment Vs Wax Vs Freezer Papers

What Is It?

Ask any baker and they will tell you the one thing they can’t live without is parchment paper. 

This unassuming paper provides a non-stick surface wherever and whenever you need it.  Best of all, it is disposable which makes cleanup a whole lot easier. 

You can purchase parchment paper on a roll or in pre-cut parchment sheets.  You can also purchase bleached and unbleached parchment paper.  

Some people confuse wax paper and parchment paper.  Although these products do have similar uses, it is important to not expose wax paper to heat. 

Parchment paper can be used in the oven, however, with wax paper, the wax melts and can seep into your food.  Always double-check which paper you are using. 

Parchment paper is able to withstand temperatures of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  The paper features a thin layer of silicone and is treated with an acid to increase heat resistance.

What Is Parchment Paper Used For In Baking?

Parchment paper is most commonly used for lining sheets and pans for baked goods.  It is incredibly popular for its non-stick properties. 

If you need to line a baking pan or baking sheet, parchment paper can be a great choice, although sometimes aluminum foil is best.  If you are making cookies you can comfortably use either. 

If you are making brownies, aluminum foil is the best choice.  For cake or puff pastry, parchment paper is the best choice. 

You can also use it to make the cleanup easier after decorating your cakes. 

Wax Paper

Foil Vs Parchment Vs Wax Vs Freezer Papers

What Is It?

As we mentioned above, wax paper and parchment paper are easily confused because of how similar they look.  However, because the wax paper is coated with wax, it is unsuitable for use in the oven. 

The wax will melt when exposed to heat and contaminate your food.  Do not line your baking sheets and pans with wax paper.  

Some wax paper is suitable for use in the microwave but check the packaging first.  The most common types of wax used on wax paper are soybean or paraffin wax. 

The purpose of the wax is to prevent the moisture from your baked goods from being absorbed into the paper. 

What Is Wax Paper Used For In Baking?

Wax paper is best used for rolling out dough.  The wax coating on the paper helps prevent the dough from sticking more so than parchment paper does. 

You can also use wax paper to line baking tins and pans when you are making no-bake desserts. 

It is particularly useful when making chocolate-covered strawberries.

Freezer Paper

Foil Vs Parchment Vs Wax Vs Freezer Papers

What Is It?

Freezer paper is the thicker of the three papers on this list.  The main difference is that only one of the sides is coated with a plastic or wax coating. 

It is also sometimes known as butcher paper due to its popularity with butchers for freezing meat.  The main role of freezer paper is to reduce the risk of freezer burn for your food. 

The waxy side of freezer paper should touch your food as it is moisture-resistant. 

Just like wax paper, freezer paper should not be subjected to heat.

What Is Freezer Paper Used For In Baking?

Freezer paper is used to safely store produce in the freezer.  It is a great option if you want to freeze some roast potatoes or other baked goods. 

You can also use freezer paper for rolling dough, just make sure the waxy side is against the food. 

Freezer paper can also be used in place of plastic wrap to cover food in the microwave.  

Final Thoughts

There are multiple ways that you can use these papers and linings for your baking needs.  Make sure that you pay attention to the types of lining you are using for different applications to avoid health issues. 

Both wax paper and freezer paper should not come into contact with heat because of the wax coating.

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Kathryn Sewell

Hi! I'm Kate and I have been baking and cooking for as long as I can remember. I like to share the most interesting tips and recipes I try here on What Kate Baked for you to enjoy. If you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share send it over on social.

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