baked cookies on parchment paper

Parchment Paper vs Baking Paper vs All Other Types (Full Guide)

If you want to know the difference between parchment paper vs baking paper, you’re in the right place. The two seem interchangeable, but they can make or break your cooking results. 

In this full guide, we’ll cover the similarities and differences between all types of paper for cooking — baking, parchment, and more. We’ll reveal everything you need to know to make the best choice for your next baking masterpiece.

Let’s get cooking.

What Is Parchment Paper Made of and Used For?

Parchment paper is made from paper that has been treated with a silicone coating, making it non-stick and heat-resistant. That’s why it’s so invaluable for baking and cooking tasks. 

Parchment paper is used in cooking and baking to line pans, wrap foods for steaming or roasting, and prevent sticking. You can also use parchment paper in the microwave, provided that it has a microwave-safe label.

What Is Baking Paper? And How Does It Work?

Baking paper is paper designed with a non-stick surface. As you can guess from the name, it’s particularly well-suited for baking. When placed on baking sheets or pans, baking paper prevents food from sticking and distributes heat evenly, resulting in consistent results and no mess in the kitchen.

Parchment Paper vs Baking Paper

Parchment paper refers more broadly to paper that has been treated with a non-stick coating. Baking paper is a type of parchment paper.

So, baking paper is perfect for baking, while parchment paper can also be used for wrapping, steaming, and roasting.

All Other Types of Baking Papers: Full Comparison

The choice of cooking “paper” has expanded a lot in recent years, introducing us to wax paper, greaseproof paper, and silicone baking mats. Let’s briefly explore each of these options so that you can make an educated decision about your necessary kitchen tools.

Greaseproof Paper

Greaseproof paper, also known as grease-resistant paper or waxed paper, is a type of paper that is resistant to grease and oil. It’s commonly used in cooking and baking, but it differs from both baking paper and parchment paper.

Greaseproof Paper vs Baking Paper vs Parchment Paper

Here are all the main differences between greaseproof and baking or parchment paper:

  • Grease Resistance: Greaseproof paper is specifically designed to repel grease and oil, making it more suitable for items with moderate fat content or those that require limited non-stick properties.
  • Heat Tolerance: Greaseproof paper has a lower heat tolerance compared to parchment or baking paper. While it can withstand moderate oven temperatures, it may not hold up as well under high heat.
  • Non-Stick Properties: While greaseproof paper offers some degree of non-stick quality, it’s not as effective as parchment paper or baking paper. Parchment paper has a higher heat resistance and superior non-stick surface, making it more versatile for a wide range of cooking and baking tasks.

Overall, greaseproof paper is suitable if you need moderate grease resistance and some non-stick properties. For instance, you can use it for wrapping fatty or oily foods, like buttery pastries or sandwiches containing sauces, as it helps to prevent moisture from seeping through and making the paper soggy. It’s also suitable for microwaving if you want to prevent splatters and absorb excess grease from foods.

But if you’re cooking using high heat, it’s best to use baking or parchment paper.

baked cookies on baking paper

Wax Paper

Wax paper is a type of paper that has been coated with a thin layer of wax on both sides. Comparing parchment vs wax paper, the former is used for cooking or baking, while the latter has other applications, including food wrapping, crafting, or decoration. 

Wax paper has a lower heat resistance than parchment or baking paper, making it unsuitable for most baking or cooking where high temperatures are involved. When exposed to heat, the wax on the paper can melt and potentially transfer onto your food. Still, wax paper is a great choice for putting away leftovers.

Silicone Baking Mats

Silicone baking mats are versatile kitchen tools made from food-grade silicone. They are specifically designed for non-stick baking and cooking, offering several advantages over traditional parchment paper, wax paper, and greaseproof paper. Here’s how they compare:

  • Non-Stick Properties: Silicone baking mats offer excellent non-stick properties, similar to parchment paper, making them suitable for numerous baking tasks.
  • Reusability: Unlike single-use parchment paper, silicone baking mats are reusable and can withstand many baking sessions. That’s why they’re a great option if you want to cut down on some expenses and be eco-friendly in the kitchen.
  • Heat Resistance: Silicone mats can tolerate higher temperatures than some types of parchment paper or wax paper, so you can use them for baking, roasting, and broiling.
  • Durability: Silicone baking mats are more durable than delicate parchment paper, reducing the risk of tearing or sticking to baked goods.
  • Versatility: While parchment paper is versatile and commonly used, silicone mats provide an extra layer of convenience and sustainability due to their reusability.

To sum up, silicone baking mats are a modern alternative to traditional paper options for cooking and baking. They provide a non-stick surface, even heat distribution, and easy cleanup, making them a valuable addition to any kitchen. Plus, you can reuse them multiple times, which is a great alternative to recycling.

Alternative to Consider: Foil

If you don’t have either parchment or baking paper on hand, foil can be a decent alternative. Here are some benefits of using aluminum foil in the kitchen:

  • Heat Reflection: Aluminum foil reflects heat effectively, helping to even the cooking and browning of foods.
  • Versatility: You can shape it to fit various cookware and dishes, making it suitable for a wide range of cooking applications.
  • Food Protection: You can use foil to cover dishes to prevent moisture loss and protect the food from burning, particularly when grilling or broiling.
  • Ease of Cleanup: Wrapping food in aluminum foil can simplify cleanup, as it contains drips and spills, reducing the need for extensive scrubbing of pans or grates.

While all that sounds great, foil also has a few disadvantages you should consider:

  • Non-Stick Properties: Aluminum foil doesn’t have inherent non-stick properties like parchment paper or silicone baking mats. When baking delicate items, using parchment paper or silicone mats will provide better results.
  • Food Interaction: Foil may react with acidic or salty foods, leading to a metallic taste. Parchment paper or baking mats are a better choice for such dishes.
  • Limited Reusability: Aluminum foil for cooking is generally single-use and not as eco-friendly as reusable options like silicone baking mats.
  • Tearing Risk: Foil can tear easily, especially when handling larger or heavier items, whereas silicone baking mats and parchment paper are less likely to tear.
  • Heat Retention: Foil retains heat well and can continue cooking foods after you’ve removed them from the oven. This may require adjusting cooking times to avoid overcooking.

So, while foil certainly has some pros, it lacks the non-stick qualities of parchment paper or silicone baking mats and may interact with certain foods. Plus, it’s not a very eco-friendly option. Still, it’s better than nothing if you don’t have time to run to the store.

How to Choose the Right Paper for Cooking or Baking

Here’s a simple guide to help you choose the right cooking paper:

  • Check the recipe temperature requirements. Opt for papers with appropriate heat resistance for your cooking. Silicone baking mats and parchment paper are generally safe for a wide range of temperatures.
  • If your recipe involves delicate items or requires easy food release, choose parchment paper or silicone baking mats for their non-stick surfaces.
  • For acidic or salty foods, avoid wax paper that may not be compatible. Opt for parchment paper or silicone mats instead.
  • If you care about the environment, go for reusable options like silicone baking mats that can replace disposable paper in your kitchen.
  • Parchment paper and silicone mats offer easy cleanup and minimal mess.
  • Consider the strength of the paper, especially if you’re working with heavy or bulky items. Silicone mats tend to be more durable than delicate parchment paper.

Generally, the best choice for most cooking would be silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Both work well in high temperatures, have non-stick properties, and are easy to clean up. Still, I’d always recommend silicone baking mats as the more environmentally friendly alternative.


What paper can you put in the oven?

Parchment paper and silicone baking mats are safe to use in the oven. They withstand heat and provide a non-stick surface. Wax paper, foil, and some other papers should be used with caution due to potential melting or burning risks.

Can I use baking paper instead of parchment paper?

Yes, you can use baking paper as a substitute for parchment paper. Both are non-stick and have heat resistance, making them suitable for various cooking and baking tasks. Just ensure it’s safe for your intended temperature range and culinary needs.

Can wax paper be substituted for parchment paper?

In most cases, wax paper is not a direct substitute for parchment paper. While they share some properties, wax paper is not as heat-resistant and can melt or catch fire in the oven. It’s safer to use parchment paper or silicone baking mats for baking and cooking tasks.

Is parchment paper non-stick?

Yes, parchment paper is non-stick. It has a silicone coating that prevents food from sticking, making it an excellent choice for baking and cooking. It also helps with even cooking and simplifies cleanup.

When should you not use parchment paper for baking?

Avoid using parchment paper for broiling or grilling at high temperatures. It can scorch or catch fire. Also, don’t use it in situations that involve direct contact with an open flame or a stovetop burner. Parchment paper’s non-stick coating and heat resistance may not be suitable for these intense heat sources.

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