Before culinary school, my knowledge of parchment paper was limited to junior high history projects that required me to soak paper in coffee to mimic the stuff our nation’s forefathers wrote on. I’m pretty sure I’d never used parchment and never knew it had a purpose in the kitchen. I certainly didn’t know the difference between parchment paper vs wax paper. Wax paper was a mythical thing I’d never seen in my mom’s or grandma’s kitchen that some people used to line their cake pans. We were oil and flour cake pan people back then.
Parchment Paper vs Wax Paper
Parchment paper is a paper treated to make it nonstick. It’s like wax paper on steroids. Parchment has a thin silicone coating that makes it impervious to both water and grease. Its nonstick properties make it perfect for lining pans and cookie sheets. It costs more than wax paper, but is much more versatile as it can be used safely without being fully covered.
Wax paper is coated with a super thin layer of wax that’s safe to use on food. The wax keeps food from sticking. You can use wax paper to line pans, so long as the paper is covered COMPLETELY by the food. If left exposed, the wax will melt and the paper will smoke and burn.