You’ll find that wax paper is a staple supply for every kitchen.
It’s been an essential part of cooking since the 20th century, and there’s no wonder why: wax paper has a myriad of uses, from wrapping up leftovers to lining baking pans. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
Wax paper, also known as “waxed paper” or “paraffin paper,” is a kind of tissue paper that’s been coated with a thin layer of paraffin wax, making it moisture-proof, grease-proof, and non-stick, but not heat-resistant.
Whenever you have the choice, buy wax paper in sheets or rolls, and skip the rolls. Ripping wax paper off a roll is torture, and the pieces coil onto themselves instead of standing still right where you want and need them.
Yes, wax paper sheets are usually coated with paraffin wax on both sides. In other words, there is no right or wrong side of wax paper, and either side can be used.
Wax paper is typically used to wrap foods for storage in the fridge, line dishes, pans, pots, and baking sheets that aren’t going in the oven, and create airtight seals on food storage containers. Wax paper also comes in handy for lining countertops and kitchen tables for rolling out pizza pies, pasta sheets, pie crusts, and other homemade doughs.
Wax paper sheets can be used to wrap sandwiches, subs, burgers, and burritos for eating on the go or storing in the fridge, thanks to the fact that wax paper’s slick, non-stick coating is resistant to grease and moisture.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, wax paper is tissue paper that’s been impregnated with paraffin wax, which is considered a food-grade material that can safely be used for wrapping foods in. It’s important to note that wax paper isn’t heat-resistant and shouldn’t be used in the oven.
Bleached wax paper is treated with chlorine to have a clean, pearl-white color. In contrast, unbleached wax paper is untreated (and therefore chlorine-free) and has a distinct dark-beige to light-brown color. For the same reasons, health-conscious households prefer to buy unbleached over bleached wax paper.
Wax paper isn’t heat-resistant and should seldom go in the oven, especially when exposed to direct heat. Once it reaches a high enough temperature, the paraffin wax could impart your food with a waxy taste, start to smoke, and, worse, set itself on fire.
In theory, wax paper can go in the oven if it isn’t exposed to direct heat, like lining cake pans for baking cakes since the batter completely covers the waxed paper. In practice, it’s hard to make sure that that’s always the case, so it’s much better to go for heat-resistant parchment paper in the first place.
To make no-bake cookies without wax paper, use aluminum foil, parchment paper, the coated side of freezer paper, or a silicone baking mat instead.
When resting hot caramel on wax paper, the heat of the caramel can melt the wax on the paper, causing it to stick. For the same reasons, experts advise using parchment paper (which isn’t waxed, but coated with silicone instead) for resting hot caramel.
Don’t rest hot foods on wax paper; the wax they’re coated with can melt and stick to them. The next time you make caramel (or other hot foods that need to be laid on paper to harden), use parchment paper instead.
Wax paper makes a good (albeit smokey) firestarter when camping. Carried in rolls by most dollar stores and supermarkets, it’s also sold at a reasonable price of a dollar or two for a 75 or so feet roll.
If you don’t happen to have wax paper at hand, you can use parchment paper for lining cookie pans and baking sheets, as well as aluminum foil or plastic wrap for wrapping foods for storage in the fridge.
In the United States, deli paper is what delis, bodegas, food trucks, and food carts wrap salumi, cheeses, sandwiches, and other perishable foods in. Deli paper is similar to wax paper in weight, texture, and use—and can be either dry or waxed.
Wax paper is tissue paper that’s been coated with paraffin wax on both sides, giving it a slick surface that’s resistant to grease and moisture but not heat. In contrast, parchment paper is cellulose paper that’s been chemically treated to be grease-, moisture-, and heat-proof.
No, wax paper is not the same as grease-proof paper. Grease-proof paper is actually another term for parchment paper which, unlike wax paper, can be exposed to direct heat and is oven-safe up to 425°F (220°C).
Glassine is made from pulp-based material and is a slick, glossy, and translucent paper that’s protected against grease and moisture but is free from coatings or waxes. Wax paper has similar traits as glassine (without the translucency), but it’s been coated with paraffin wax to get them.
Wax paper is coated with paraffin wax, a food-grade, non-toxic wax made from petroleum with a melting point of 125°F (50°C). Paraffin is approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for use in food, cosmetics, and medical applications and is often sprayed on produce as a preservative.
Used by bakeries and food for packaging foods and by home cooks for wrapping fruits and veggies, wax paper is a convenient type of paper to use because it’s resistant to moisture and grease. However, the wax also makes it unsuitable for recycling or composting, as it increases the time it takes for the paper to become biodegradable.
Though using wax paper instead of plastic wrap can significantly reduce your plastic waste footprint, it’s important to keep in mind that wax paper isn’t compostable or recyclable because the impregnated paraffin wax on the sheets slows down the biodegradability of the tissue.
Soybean wax paper is wax paper that’s been coated with soybean wax, obtained from soybeans, instead of paraffin wax, which is derived synthetically from petroleum. Some consumers prefer it because it is the more eco-friendly (sustainable and biodegradable) option of the two.
Walmart, Target, and Publix all carry various brands of wax paper, and so do most dollar stores, including Dollar Tree and Dollar General. By far, the most common wax paper brand is Reynolds Kitchens Cut-Rite Wax Paper, followed by If You Care Unbleached Wax Paper.
Yes, Walmart sells wax paper. The retailer carries several brands of wax paper, including Deli Paper, Dixie, Home Select, Norpro, and Reynolds.
Yes, Costco carries wax paper. The brands include Bagcraft, BakeryWax, Georgia-Pacific Dispens-A-Wax, and MarketWax, though most consumers go for Costco’s Kirkland Signature Parchment Paper instead.
Yes, Target sells several brands of wax paper, including Bee’s Wrap, Juvale, If You Care, Reynolds, and Simply Green.
Yes, Publix carries wax paper, though it doesn’t offer as much variety as other retailers. In most Publix stores, you will find Reynolds Kitchens Cut-Rite Wax Paper and If You Care Unbleached Wax Paper.
Trader Joe’s doesn’t sell wax paper. However, it carries reusable Ditch the Plastic waxed cotton food wraps, which Trader Joe’s shoppers tend to use for wrapping halved vegetables, citrus fruit, and opened cheeses.
Yes, Dollar Tree sells rolls of Bulk Wax Paper 65-square-feet long at the affordable price of $1.00 a piece.
Yes, Dollar General sells DG Home Wax Paper in its Household Supplies aisle. Some stores also carry Reynolds Kitchens Cut-Rite Wax Paper, though availability tends to vary by location.