Many people are often confused about baking paper vs. parchment paper as they are widely believed to refer to the same things. However, a subtle difference between parchment and baking paper could sway you towards one.
This article will discuss the differences and similarities between these cooking papers. It’ll also touch on other similar papers, such as butter and wax paper.
What is baking paper?
Baking paper is a type of cooking paper made with a nonstick surface typically made up of silicone coating. As such, it is often referred to as silicone, bakery, or butter paper, depending on where you are in the world.
Baking paper provides a barrier between your baked goods and your metal trays when you place them in the oven. This makes it easier to clean and optimize the outcome of your recipes.
What is parchment paper?
Parchment paper is often used to refer to the same thing as baking paper. Like baking paper, parchment paper also mostly uses a silicone coating. This creates a nonstick and heat-resistant surface that can withstand temperatures of 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Parchment paper is typically referred to as baking paper in the USA, while in the UK and other parts of the world, it’s more common to call it parchment paper.
How are they different?
In most cases, there are little to no differences between parchment paper and baking paper. They are both made of the same materials and designed to accomplish the same things. In truth, the main difference between parchment paper and baking paper is their names, the former being used more across Europe while the latter in North America.
One small difference is that parchment paper is more commonly brown, while baking paper is more commonly white.
How are they similar?
As you would expect, there are far more similarities than differences between baking paper and parchment paper. Both papers are practically indistinguishable from one another, from their materials to their intended use. Both provide a nonstick surface on your baking trays when you bake things in the oven.
Made of silicone materials that are oven safe for over 400 degrees F. Baking paper and parchment paper are grease-proof paper solutions that eliminate the need for seasoning oil (1). You can use parchment and baking papers with various cookware, such as pans, pots, trays, and more.
Rather than using flour or oils, both papers prevent sticking between your food and pan without adding unhealthy calories to your recipes. Parchment paper and/or baking paper are used to line cake pans or other similar bakeware for baking or grilling in the oven.
Another use for parchment paper and bakery paper is for en papillote cooking. This incorporates wrapping food in an oven-safe material such as aluminum foil or parchment paper and then cooking it in the oven.
This cooking method is typically used for fish and vegetable recipes, and you should avoid using plastic wrap in this scenario.
What’s better about baking paper?
There is technically nothing better about baking paper over parchment paper outside of the name and branding of the product. If you are a fan of American-made baking paper, then finding products of the same name is likely to be in your best interest.
Of course, there is also the argument that baking paper is more common in white colors. So, if that appeals to you, I would recommend seeking out baking paper over parchment paper.
What’s better about parchment paper?
Parchment paper performs all the same tasks as baking paper and only differs by name, branding, and color. For instance, if you are a fan of Simpac, a UK-based brand, then you would purchase parchment paper rather than baking paper (2). That’s how the brand advertises it.
According to customers, parchment paper is more commonly found in brown colors than baking paper.
Who should get baking paper and why?
Baking paper would suit anyone looking for a white cooking sheet for their baking pans that will reduce friction between their food and bakeware trays. This is because baking paper is made of silicone grease-proof paper. It’s highly resistant to heat and strongly non-stick.
While using baking paper in the microwave is not recommended, you can do so for about two minutes before it becomes too dangerous.
Who should get parchment paper and why?
Parchment paper is a great option for those seeking brown baking sheets to improve the outcome of their oven-baked foods. Like baking paper, parchment paper is also made of silicone grease-proof materials. It is also highly heat resistant and non-stick in nature.
If you’re a fan of UK-based brands, you should look for parchment paper instead of baking paper.
Is wax paper a better alternative?
Sometimes people wonder about wax paper as an alternative to parchment paper and baking paper. Waxed paper, also known as butter paper, is used for cold food storage.
Unlike baking and parchment paper, wax paper should not go into the oven. Wax paper will melt and cause a disaster for your food and oven.
That being said, wax paper is still the preferred option for cold storage. This is because it is highly moisture resistant. In addition to cold storage, wax paper is great for preparing oven-baked goods. For example, you can use it for bread dough, as it offers a nonstick surface that won’t compromise the taste of your ingredients.
To ensure the best results, use wax paper in a cool environment, so it doesn’t melt.
Now whether or not wax paper is a better alternative over parchment paper depends on you. Realistically, many homeowners would opt for both parchment paper and wax paper, using them in conjunction for different tasks.
Using wax paper for food storage and apply parchment paper to line baking pans.
Parchment paper vs. Baking paper vs. Wax paper
As mentioned, parchment paper and baking paper are more or less the same thing. There are a variety of names used to refer to either of them. Whether you call it parchment paper, bakery paper, silicone paper, oven paper, or cooking paper, they all refer to the same material. This paper is grease-proof, oven safe, and abundant in nonstick properties.
The main difference is that the term parchment paper is more prevalent in Europe, while baking paper is more common in the USA.
The real difference comes in with wax paper in the discussion. Wax paper can’t be used the same way as parchment paper or bakery paper. It’s quite a different kind of material.
Wax paper and parchment paper provide nonstick properties that help prevent sticking between your food and the platform where the food rests.
The key difference is the materials, meaning that parchment paper can go into the oven while wax paper cannot. This is because the wax paper is coated in a flammable substance known as paraffin wax, meaning it can catch fire if placed in a powered-on oven.
Contrastingly, parchment paper, or bakery paper, is coated in non-flammable silicone. This makes it safe for the oven and allows you to improve the results of your baked goods for most recipes.
When it comes to coating each of these papers, it’s safe to assume baking and parchment paper are made with silicone. Wax paper or “butter paper” has a completely different coating made using a paraffin wax coating that is moisture-resistant and non-stick.
In that regard, baking, parchment, and wax are all non-stick. However, they serve different purposes keeping your ingredients in their best condition.
The distinguishing factor between these papers is their application. Parchment sheets are used in the oven, while wax papers are used in the fridge or cool kitchen environments. You will find parchment paper (or baking paper) exceptionally useful to line pans before placing them in the oven.
Not only does it help to maintain the structure of your baked goods but it also prevents stains on your bakeware, making cleaning and maintenance a breeze.
If you use parchment paper in the same way as wax paper, it certainly won’t be as chaotic as using wax paper as parchment paper. This is because wax paper is made of flammable material and should be kept out of hot environments to avoid disaster.
The best way to use wax paper is to wrap or roll up ingredients for cold storage or use it as a workshop slate to prepare goods that will go into the oven.
Parchment paper and baking paper are typically available in brown or white colors. You may also find patterned designs depending on the brand. The color differences depend on whether they are bleached or unbleached. The former results in white, while the latter results in brown.
On the other hand, wax paper is available in a much wider variety of colors, covering the full spectrum of the color palette for unlimited options.
Baking paper vs. parchment paper FAQ
Is baking paper the same as parchment paper?
Yes, baking paper and parchment paper are essentially the same thing. Differences only occur by brand, color, and name.
When should you not use parchment paper?
You should not use parchment paper for microwave use as prolonged time as it could cause the paper to burn or catch fire.
What’s the difference between greaseproof paper and parchment paper?
Parchment papers are greaseproof by nature, but the greaseproof paper is not safe for oven use unless it is siliconized. The term greaseproof paper is often used to refer to parchment paper and baking paper too.