Parchment paper is a food-safe coated paper used in baking and cooking. Its heat-resistant, nonstick surface is ideal for a variety of kitchen tasks, from lining pans to funneling ingredients, and even pipe icing onto baked goods. Professional bakers and chefs have relied on it for years, and home cooks quickly realized how indispensable parchment is when it became more available. Parchment is sold in grocery stores and baking shops as rolls or precut sheets, and its versatility is a great addition to any kitchen.
What Is Parchment Paper?
Parchment paper is coated with silicone, making it nonstick, grease-proof, and heat-resistant. It’s also called baking or bakery paper. Brown parchment is unbleached, while white parchment is chemically treated to remove the paper’s natural color. Parchment can be used in the oven and microwave. Most brands are oven-safe up to 420 F, though you should always check the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Parchment paper is often sold on rolls, similar to aluminum foil, so you can tear off precisely what you need for a particular task. Pre-cut sheets of parchment are convenient and available in various sizes; the most common size covers the average baking sheet. There are also perforated parchment circles that can line bamboo steamers and air fryers and parchment imprinted with rings that help with spacing cookies and macarons.
Parchment Paper vs. Waxed Paper
The coating is the most significant difference between parchment paper and waxed paper. While parchment’s silicone coating can resist high temperatures, waxed paper is coated with paraffin wax, which will melt or even burn in the oven. Waxed paper tends to be less expensive and can handle many of the same room temperature jobs where you would use parchment. The key thing to remember is that you should never use wax paper in the oven or microwave.
Once you have a roll of parchment paper in your kitchen, you’ll find countless ways to use it. Here are some of our favorites:
The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati
Line Baking Sheets and Cake Pans
The most common use of parchment is to line baking pans. A layer of parchment paper on baking sheets eliminates the need to grease them and makes cleanup easier. Cookies will easily slide off the parchment, and you can reuse the paper when making multiple batches.
For cakes or bread, cut the parchment to fit the pan. Greasing then pressing the parchment onto the pan keeps it in place. Leave an inch overhang for square or rectangular pans, and the baked goods will be even easier to remove: just lift the hanging edges! Parchment also works great on baking sheets for roasting vegetables.
Layer Between Sticky Cookies or Candies
Keep baked goods and candies from sticking together or frosting from smearing by putting a sheet of parchment between each layer in your container or box. You can even repurpose the parchment that you used to line the baking pan for this.
Cover a Work Surface
Tape a sheet of parchment onto the counter and your work surface is a breeze to clean up. It’s a great trick when forming meatballs, rolling out pastry dough, and doing similar dirty tasks. When you’re done, loosen the tape, roll the parchment over the mess, and throw it away.
Use parchment to make filling a little shaker with homemade cinnamon sugar, sifting flour and other dry ingredients, or transferring grated cheese into a pan a little easier. Do the work on a piece of parchment, then pick up the sides and bend it into a funnel or a pouring spout. Every little piece will end up in its destination, and there’s nothing to clean afterward.
Cook en Papillote
En papillote is a technique that cooks food and seasonings in a pouch. A piece of fish or chicken in a sealed packet has its own fragrant steam bath, ensuring a flavorful and tender dish. While foil works, parchment makes a better presentation that can go directly onto the dinner plate.
Create an Impromptu Piping Cornet for Icing
Culinary students, especially those learning baking, are usually required to master the art of creating chocolate decorations. Whether to garnish pastries or pipe writing onto personalized cakes, they often do it with an ad hoc piping bag made of parchment paper. The rigid parchment holds melted chocolate or icing without leaking, and it’s stiff enough to form a small aperture for detailed writing and decorating.
Making a cornet from paper is not complicated: Cut a triangle from a piece of parchment paper. Roll it into a funnel, creating an open point at the tip that’s the precise size you need. Tape the seam and fill the piping bag no more than halfway with chocolate or frosting.
Several options are available if you don’t have parchment paper. Use foil or a silicone baking mat for cooking and baking, or simply grease the pan with cooking spray or butter. When you need an easy-to-clean work surface, waxed paper does the trick just fine.
Sure, you already use parchment paper for easy, no-stick baking, but there are a lot of other things you can also use this paper for around the house. GHI/Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
Parchment paper is a jill-of-all-trades, probably best known for its many uses in baking. It can be an efficient barrier between sticky layers of cookies or an easy way to keep countertops clean while baking, and it has a ton of other cool uses as well. But before we get to those, what, exactly, is parchment paper?
Parchment paper is a food-safe paper coated with silicone. This coating makes parchment paper — which comes in brown and white (chemically bleached) versions — nonstick and grease-proof. It’s also heat resistant up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Celsius) which makes it safe and burn-proof in most ovens and microwaves.
But don’t confuse parchment paper with wax paper. While both parchment paper and wax paper can be used for everything from wrapping leftovers to prepping meals, only parchment paper can withstand high temperatures. Wax paper, which is coated on both sides with food-safe soybean or paraffin wax, will begin to melt when exposed to heat and may even catch fire. Parchment paper, on the other hand, can be used in all the same ways as wax paper and it can go in the oven.
So what are the best ways to use parchment paper? Here are eight helpful ideas for using it in the kitchen and elsewhere, including a couple of uses that may be a bit of a surprise.
It doesn’t matter which version of parchment paper you have in your kitchen, either the white or brown paper can serve as wrapping paper for a gift. It may take a couple of layers to prevent the recipient from being able to see what is wrapped in it, especially if it is white parchment paper, which has a bit of a see-through quality. Parchment paper is, on the whole, an inexpensive solution that, when used as gift wrap, can be dressed up with ribbon or decorated with stamped, drawn or painted designs.
Cooking en Papillote
Another use for parchment paper? Cooking en papillote, which, although it sounds fancy, is actually just placing ingredients — salmon and asparagus, for example — in a packet of parchment paper and baking it in the oven. This method works best with foods that cook quickly, such as fish or other seafood, and will benefit from the addition of fresh herbs or seasonings, such as a squeeze of lemon. To make a parchment packet, fold a sheet of parchment paper in half, add the food to one side, then fold the other half of the parchment paper over the food. To seal, roll the edges together, making sure to leave plenty of room for the magic to happen. As the packet heats, steam will gather throughout its interior, creating a lush and succulent meal that stays moist without the addition of oils.
Piping Bag for Decorating
Next time you have uninspired baked goods lying around, remember this: With just a bit of parchment paper and some icing, you could make a piping bag and add some decorative flair. Whether it’s “Happy Birthday” on a cake or a cheerful ring of frosting on a sugar cookie, you could take an occasion from OK to excellent with a turn of the parchment. The process may feel a bit like making a paper airplane, but in the end you’ll have a tube you can squeeze frosting through like a pro. Simply fold a rectangular piece of parchment paper in half diagonally, then cut it down the crease. Take one half and roll it around your hand to form a cone and then wrap the other half to form another cone around the first. Tuck in the exterior end so that it holds together, place it upright in an empty drinking glass with the narrow tip pointing down and fill it with icing.
If you buy meat in bulk, but need to separate it into portion sizes before freezing, parchment paper can keep those cuts of meat in check. Use parchment paper between hamburger patties or chicken breasts when you place them into a freezer bag or freezer-safe container, and as the meat freezes, it will remain separated. This means that when you retrieve the frozen meat, those beef patties or chicken breasts will easily come apart. No more mystery lumps of meat stuck together in the freezer.
Keeping Cabinet Tops Clean
How often do you clean the tops of the cabinets in your kitchen? How about the top of the refrigerator? And when you do, it’s a special kind of kitchen grime, isn’t it? Greasy, dusty and nearly impossible to remove. Enter: parchment paper. Tear off a generous portion (or use pre-cut squares) and line the tops of cabinets and the refrigerator. The parchment paper is an inexpensive way to collect anything that comes its way. The next time you clean, simply lift off and throw away the parchment paper, revealing a clean surface below, then replace the parchment paper to keep the clean vibes going.
Disposable Placemats or Table Runners
Having guests over for dinner? Especially if your guest list includes young children, you may want to make affordable, disposable placemats out of parchment paper. Bonus: Add crayons to the table and it will keep them busy while they wait for dinner to be served. This fun idea could even be used with adults or adapted for a similar use. For a table runner made of parchment, for example, simply unroll a length of parchment as long as the table and add a few decorations for a festive — and inexpensive — centerpiece guests will love.
And last, but not least:
Non-stick Baking for Cookies, Cakes and Brownies
Cakes, cookies and brownies. If it goes in a pan and bakes in the oven, chances are that parchment paper could come in handy. Take cookies, for example. Cut a square (or use a pre-cut square) of parchment paper and use it to line the pan before placing the dough on top. After the cookies are baked and slightly cooled, the cookies can easily be lifted from the parchment-lined pan. Gone will be the days of chiseling cookies stuck to a pan.
Parchment paper makes it easier to remove cakes from pans too. Start by laying one piece of parchment paper in the pan so that it goes across bottom of the pan and up two sides, then lay another piece of parchment paper the opposite direction so that it goes across the bottom of the pan and up the remaining two sides. Pour in the cake or brownie batter and bake. After the batter has baked and cooled, lift the parchment paper on two opposite sides; the whole cake or brownie can then be plated and cut right on the parchment paper. No mess (and no bits of cake left behind in the pan)!
While most people don’t really think much about it, there is an actual ongoing debate between greaseproof paper vs baking paper. But you would find that people who work in the food industry, and even homemakers who are fond of cooking and baking would argue otherwise.
We’re here to demystify everything there is about these two commonly-used cooking materials in the kitchen, and to end the whole debate about greaseproof paper vs baking paper. So if you’re an aspiring cook, baker, or passionate foodie, continue reading to find out more.
Greaseproof paper is a type of paper that is resistant to oil and grease, hence the name. Due to its impermeable properties, it’s the common choice used in cooking and food packaging.
Greaseproof paper sheets are manufactured through an elaborate process that involves refining the paper stock, creating a sheet with low porosity. It’s treated with other substances such as starch, alginates, or carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC)—a common ingredient used in baking and making candy.
In pastry-making, greaseproof paper is used to separate cake layers, cookies, and other baked goods and can be used in the freezer or microwave without any issues.
What is baking paper?
Baking paper comes in various names. Most often, it is also referred to as “parchment paper,” “bakery release paper,” or “silicone paper.” This type of baking sheet has properties that make it non-stick, grease-proof, and humidity-resistant.
Baking paper or vegetable parchment paper is created using a thorough process by running sheets of paper pulp through sulfuric acid, a technique that is done similarly with tracing paper.
Similar to greaseproof paper, it is used to line up sheet pans when baking for minimal clean-up. Baking paper is also used for a cooking method called “en papillote,” in which food is steamed within enclosed parchment paper pouches.
“The sole difference between greaseproof paper vs baking paper is that greaseproof paper is treated with wax.”
Difference Between Greaseproof and Baking Paper
Are you still confused regarding the main differences between greaseproof and baking paper? Distinguishing which is which may be quite confusing, but not when you have the guide below.
- Produced with pulp then tightly beaten to achieve its impermeable properties.
- Used to line cartons or bakery shelves.
- Used for takeaway boxes to avoid grease and liquid from seeping through.
- Not advisable for baking or exposure to extremely high heat.
- Mostly used for packaging and sanitary purposes in food preparation.
- Paper sheet treated with silicone.
- Referred to as “parchment paper” as it resembles old parchment paper.
- Can withstand heat up to 230 degrees
- Has non-stick properties ideal for baking with greasy and sticky items like sugar, cheese, or butter.
Where To Buy The Best Greaseproof Paper in Sydney
Finding the best greaseproof paper near me can be challenging, especially with many inferior-quality and fake products circulating everywhere. The good thing is there are reliable suppliers you can find online where you can source a wide variety of greaseproof and baking papers.
VS Packaging does just that. Starting at only AUD15 (plus GST), you can get premium greaseproof papers for your cooking and food packaging needs. Available in ½ cut, ⅓ cut, and full cut, you can pick the right size for your specific need and purpose.
We’ll explain the difference between waxed paper and parchment paper, and whether it’s safe to substitute one for the other.
For anyone who does a lot of baking and cooking, both parchment paper and waxed paper can be real lifesavers. Parchment paper’s nonstick abilities allow you to line baking pans for easy removal of your favorite cookie, brownie, and cake recipes. It’s even a great tool for mess-free veggies or a delicious fish dinner. Waxed paper’s nonstick functions are just as helpful for rolling out pie dough, wrapping sandwiches for lunch, or lining your cookie decorating surface for easy cleanup. But what happens if you go to your drawer looking for parchment paper only to discover all you have left is waxed paper? Sure, they seem somewhat alike, but they’re not always interchangeable. In fact, it’s potentially hazardous to bake your cookies on waxed paper rather than parchment. Here’s what you need to know about properly using each of these papers to avoid kitchen mishaps.
Both items are used for nonstick purposes, but the key difference between waxed paper and parchment paper (and the reason they’re not interchangeable) is the coating. Parchment paper (Target) is made from cotton fiber and/or pure chemical wood pulps, and is treated with an ultra-thin layer of silicone, so that it’s nonstick and heat and moisture resistant. And if the name hasn’t already given it away, wax paper (Target) is tissue paper coated in food-safe wax. It’s also nonstick and moisture resistant, but is not as heat resistant. Although waxed paper is safe to use in a microwave (to prevent splatters or to line a dish) exposing it to the heat of an oven will cause it to melt, smoke, and possibly catch fire. The only time you can safely use wax paper in the oven is when you’re lining the bottom of a cake pan that will be completely covered in batter, which will keep it from smoking. So, basically, you can use waxed paper and parchment paper for most of the same things, apart from baking with wax paper when it’s directly exposed to heat.
Substitutes for Parchment Paper and Waxed Paper
Parchment paper can get a bit pricey, so it may not always be something you have stocked. (Parchment paper is usually almost twice the cost of wax paper.) And because of its coating, parchment paper is not recyclable (unless you buy a natural, unbleached brand that is compostable). If your recipe calls for lining your pan with parchment, you can substitute nonstick cooking spray. Or, if you’re always baking, it might be a good time to invest in a reusable silicone baking mat (Bed Bath & Beyond) that will give you the same nonstick results. As for a good substitute for wax paper for wrapping purposes, try making your own reusable food wraps out of beeswax.
No kitchen is complete without an arsenal of papers such as parchment paper, wax paper and aluminum foil, which each come in handy for a variety of applications in cooking and baking. If you’ve ever tried to swap one for the other and ended up with inedible results (wax paper for parchment for baking chocolate chip cookies? Never again.) it’s time to get schooled on exactly when to use each type of paper.
Of course, while these three types of paper often seem like essentials, they aren’t eco-friendly. If you’re aiming for greater sustainability in your home kitchen, you can invest in a few silicone baking mats, which can replace parchment paper, wax paper, and foil in many different uses. (Plus, you can throw them in your dishwasher!) Read on for expert recommendations on exactly when to use parchment, wax paper, and foil in baking and cooking—including a few tips you probably haven’t thought of—and equally as important, where not to use each of the three.
Best Uses for Parchment Paper
When it comes to baking, a roll of parchment paper is one of the most versatile tools you can have in your kitchen. Not only is it non-stick, it’s also heat resistant (up to a point), resulting in perfect texture for all your favorite baked goods. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper to ensure your cookies cook evenly and the bottoms don’t get too brown, or place a piece inside your square or round pans for brownies and cakes that will pop out easily after they’re baked, says Kristen Tomlan, founder and CEO of DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections. (A pro tip when using parchment for baking: Spritz your pan with nonstick spray before laying the parchment down, which will help prevent it from rolling up.)
In cooking, parchment comes in handy for making easy, healthy dinners in the form of individual packets (like these can’t-miss parchment packet dinners). This is a method used by the French known as “en papillote.” For instance, you can use parchment to wrap a fish filet with herbs, lemon slices and chopped vegetables, then slide it into a hot oven. “This allows for a hybrid of baking and steaming, keeping moisture and flavor concentrated in the fish without having to use oil or butter,” says Jessica Rothacker, owner and head chef at Heirloom Café in Athens, Georgia.
Another surprising use for parchment paper? It works beautifully in helping to keep your kitchen clean as you bake and cook, says Tomlan. Simply add a small piece to the top of your kitchen scale, panini press, waffle maker, or any other kitchen gadget to avoid scrubbing that innards of that item later.
When Not to Use Parchment Paper
Parchment paper is not designed for high-heat cooking. Avoid using it in your oven or on the grill if temperature will exceed 400 degrees, says Michelle Weaver, chef at Charleston Grill in South Carolina, as there’s a chance it could catch fire.
Best Uses for Wax Paper
Working on a messy project, such as decorating cookies (especially with kids)? Put down a few sheets of wax paper to cover your table or countertop, says Weaver. That way, when you’re done, you can roll up any excess and simply toss it. This comes in handy particularly if you’re decorating with sprinkles! You can do the same thing when rolling out cookie dough or bread dough to avoid covering your countertop in flour and dough, says Rothacker. Wax paper is also an ideal surface when you’re dipping something in chocolate, like strawberries or pretzels, and need a place for the chocolate to harden before you remove it, says Tomlan.
Packing a picnic? Wrap individual sandwiches in wax paper instead of plastic wrap or plastic bags, says Weaver. Not only will it look adorable, especially if you tie it with a pretty string, it will protect your sandwich from getting soggy (and you can save the piece to wipe off and reuse later, too!).
Outside the kitchen, wax paper has a magical way of helping things glide more easily—think loosening a stuck zipper or making a can opener operate more smoothly. “Just rub it along the edge, and the wax will transfer and help glide things along,” says Tomlan.
When Not to Use Wax Paper
Whatever you do, don’t put it in the oven! While wax paper can be used for many things around the kitchen, getting near any kind of heat is not one of them, says Weaver, as the wax coating will melt off and into your food.
Best Uses for Aluminum Foil
A basic saying to guide your use of papers in the kitchen: “Sweet treats need parchment sheets; grill or broil, go with foil,” says Weaver. Foil conducts and distributes heat, making it able to withstand high temperatures from baking, broiling, roasting, or grilling. For anything above 400 degrees, use foil.
Similar to parchment, aluminum works well for individual foil packs for dinner, but since it’s more heat resistant, you can cook a wider variety of items using foil this way, especially on the grill or over an open flame. Rothacker recommends chicken with summer squash, onions, garlic and tomatoes for an Italian meal, or steak with bell peppers, jalapeño, onions and lots of spices to make fajitas. To make them, cut about an 18-inch square of foil; place your items in the middle and tent the foil, pressing the shiny sides flat together; then rolling up the sides toward the center.
Additionally, you can use heavy-duty foil to line large roasting pans or sheet pans for roasting meats or vegetables, making for easy cleanup later. Weaver even lines her oven with a double layer of foil to help keep it clean if something like a juicy fruit pie drips.
Aluminum foil can also be great for food storage. “It molds easily around bowls, food, and tops of containers of all shapes and sizes, ensuring a snug fit to keep out air while locking in smell and freshness,” says Tomlan. She also uses bits of crumpled-up foil to clean cast-iron pans, which helps to remove any extra food bits left behind. (BTW, here’s how to care for your beloved cast-iron skillet.)
When Not to Use Aluminum Foil
While it may seem obvious, make sure you never put anything with foil in the microwave. Even a tiny speck of remaining foil can cause a spark that leads to a fire.
Both parchment paper and aluminum foil are helpful to have in the kitchen. Here’s when to use each one.
Growing up, my mother lined her baking sheets with aluminum foil before putting them in the oven (although she always called it tin foil). It significantly cut down on scrubbing time because those baked-on bits clung to the foil instead of the pan!
It wasn’t until I worked in a professional kitchen that I started using parchment paper instead. The prep cooks at the restaurant used long parchment sheets on every pan, reducing cleanup time while also making it easier to remove roasted vegetables or meat loaf from the paper’s nonstick surface.
Today, I use both, but does it really matter which you reach for? Is it possible to make a wrong choice when considering parchment paper vs. aluminum foil?
When to Use Parchment Paper
First, it’s important to know that while the two look strikingly similar, waxed paper and parchment paper aren’t the same. Waxed paper is made with a nonstick coating made from soybean or paraffin wax, which melts at low heat. That makes waxed paper great for cooking prep tasks, wrapping food or for use in the freezer.
Parchment paper, on the other hand, has a heat-resistant nonstick coating, so it’s safe for use in the oven. The parchmenting process makes the paper greaseproof, durable and heat- and moisture-resistant, too. Here’s when to use it.
Can parchment paper go in the oven?
Parchment paper may darken in the oven, but it’s safe for use at temperatures up to 450°F. Lining your pans with parchment paper is a great way to cut down on cleaning time. You can trace cake pans and cut out circles before lining them or pick up pre-cut parchment paper sheets from the store.
The benefit of using parchment paper vs. aluminum foil in the oven is that the parchment is naturally nonstick. You’ll have to spritz an aluminum foil liner with cooking spray to get the same nonstick benefits.
Can you put parchment paper in an air fryer?
Instead, use store-bought air fryer liners. The liners have pre-cut holes that allow the air to circulate while also cutting down on cleaning time.
When to Use Aluminum Foil
Aluminum foil has many uses, but it’s particularly helpful in the oven. It’s easy to form around any baking vessel, so it protects the pan from grease and burned-on bits better than parchment paper. Use it to line baking sheets for roasted vegetables, make special-shaped cake pans like hearts for Valentine’s Day or trees for Christmas or wrap bread loaves or rolls to keep them from drying out as they reheat. Can you bake cookies on foil? Here’s what experts have to say.
Then, after you’re finished baking, we recommend reaching for another storage method. You don’t want to wrap leftovers in foil because it doesn’t seal the food off from air, allowing bacteria to grow faster.
Can you put aluminum foil in an air fryer?
Yes: Just like parchment paper, you can put foil in an air fryer. Aluminum foil is easy to secure so it won’t fly around because it can mold to the shape of the basket. You’ll want to avoid using aluminum foil when air-frying acidic foods (like tomatoes or citrus), as the metal is reactive and the acids can cause the foil to break down.
Here’s the real reason aluminum foil has a shiny side and a dull side.
Can you put aluminum foil in the microwave?
While you can put aluminum foil in the microwave under the right circumstances, we don’t often recommend it. The microwaves used to heat food can’t pass through the metal. That will prevent your food from heating properly, and it can even cause a fire hazard if the microwaves heat up the pieces of metal too rapidly.
- Use new, smooth foil only. Wrinkled foil can cause sparks.
- Cover no more than 1/4 of the food with foil.
- Shape the foil smoothly to the food so no edges stick out.
- Do not place the foil closer than 1 inch from the oven walls.
You can grab parchment paper or aluminum foil to make delicious sheet-pan dinners!
Taste of Home
Easy Stuffed Poblanos
My partner adores these saucy stuffed peppers—and I love how quickly they come together. Top with low-fat sour cream and your favorite salsa. —Jean Erhardt, Portland, Oregon
Go to Recipe
Need an update? You can buy a Taste of Home nonstick sheet pan on Amazon!
Sheet-Pan Lemon Garlic Chicken
Everyone needs an easy meal. Try this sheet-pan chicken with roasted potatoes for a simple and tasty meal guaranteed to please the whole family. If you use fresh lemon juice, garnish each serving with a little lemon zest for bright flavor. —Andrea Potischman, Menlo Park, California
Sheet-Pan Pork Supper
I created this pork tenderloin sheet-pan dinner to suit our family’s needs. It’s so quick and easy to clean up since you use one pan for everything! Use any variety of small potatoes—fingerlings or other colored potatoes are a fun and delicious option. —Debbie Johnson, Centertown, Missouri
Mini Meat Loaf Sheet-Pan Meal
I grew up with this classic meat loaf recipe, but I adapted it to mini meatloaves so that they would bake more quickly. The sauce topping is always a hit. I added the potatoes and asparagus to make an easy complete meal. —Deanne Johnson, Reading, Pennsylvania
Santa Fe Chicken Pizza Pie
Give your pie a Southwest twist when you slather on the taco sauce and top with black beans, green chilies and kicked-up chicken strips. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Turkey Lattice Pie
With its pretty lattice crust, this cheesy baked dish looks as good as it tastes. It’s easy to make, too, since it uses ready-to-go crescent roll dough. —Lorraine Naig, Emmetsburg, Iowa
Sheet-Pan Chicken Curry Dinner
This sheet-pan chicken curry is a quick way to get a meal on the table without fuss. Everyone loves it, and it’s healthy to boot! Serve it with a side of jasmine rice. —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho
Rosemary Salmon and Veggies
My husband and I eat a lot of salmon. One night, while in a rush to get dinner on the table, I created this rosemary salmon meal. It’s a keeper! You can also include sliced zucchini, small cauliflower florets or fresh green beans. —Elizabeth Bramkamp, Gig Harbor, Washington
Portobello and Chickpea Sheet-Pan Supper
This is a fantastic meatless dinner or an amazing side dish. It works well with a variety of sheet-pan-roasted vegetables. We enjoy using zucchini or squash in the summer, and you can also change up the herbs in the dressing. —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah
Potato and Pepper Sausage Bake
When my family smells this dish baking in the oven, they know they are in for a treat! If you like spice, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or switch the mild Italian sausage to hot Italian sausage. —Ashli Claytor, Chesapeake, Virginia
Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Pizza
I combine two all-time favorites in this recipe: pizza and BLT sandwiches. I brought this fun mashup to a ladies lunch and was met with lots of oohs and aahs. —Bonnie Hawkins, Elkhorn, Wisconsin
Pork and Asparagus Sheet-Pan Dinner
When time is of the essence, it’s nice to have a quick and easy meal idea in your back pocket. Not only is it delicious, but you can clean it up in a flash. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
Shrimp-Stuffed Poblano Peppers
I created this dish for my mother when she moved back to our hometown. Since she really enjoys shrimp and slightly spicy food, I decided to create a shrimp-stuffed poblanos to surprise her. She was delighted.—Tina Garcia-Ortiz, Tampa, Florida
Baked Chicken Chimichangas
I developed this quick and easy recipe through trial and error. I used to garnish it with sour cream, too, but I eliminated it in order to lighten the recipe. My friends all love it when I cook these chimichangas, and they’re much healthier than deep-fried. —Rickey Madden, Clinton, South Carolina
Sheet-Pan Honey Mustard Chicken
This sheet-pan chicken is an easy gluten-free, low-carb meal ideal for busy weekdays. The chicken is tender, juicy and so delicious! It’s now on the list of our favorite meals. You can substitute any low-carb vegetable for green beans. —Denise Browning, San Antonio, Texas
Avocado Crab Boats
These boats are wonderful with tortilla chips, beans or rice. You can also cover them, pack them on ice, and take them to a picnic or potluck. Straight from the oven or cold, they’re always delicious. —Frances Benthin, Scio, Oregon
Hoisin Sriracha Sheet-Pan Chicken
The convenience and simplicity of this chicken dinner make it extra awesome. Feel free to change the veggies throughout the year—the sticky-spicy-sweet sauce is tasty on everything!! —Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland
Sheet-Pan Tilapia and Vegetable Medley
Unlike some one-pan dinners that require precooking in a skillet or pot, this one uses just the sheet pan, period. —Judy Batson, Tampa, Florida
Prosciutto Pesto Pizza
I developed this prosciutto pesto pizza for my young grandson who hasn’t acquired a taste for veggies yet. He scarfs it up and doesn’t even notice the edamame. It’s also a hit with my other grandkids and nieces—not to mention all of their parents! —Don Manzagol, Campbell, California
Sheet-Pan Jambalaya with Cauliflower Rice
Sheet-pan dinners are a busy cook’s dream with quick prep and easy cleanup. This sheet-pan jambalaya is a healthy twist on a classic that uses cauliflower rice for a lower-carb supper. —Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland
Smoked Sausage and Veggie Sheet-Pan Supper
This recipe is tasty and quick, and it can easily be doubled for last-minute dinner guests. Cook it in the oven or on the grill, and add the veggies of your choice. —Judy Batson, Tampa Florida
Chicken Veggie Fajitas
Our family loves the spicy flavor of these fajitas. I also appreciate the fact that they’re fast to fix. —Eleanor Martens, Rosenort, Manitoba
Sheet-Pan Chicken and Vegetables
This sheet-pan chicken and veggies meal tastes as if it took hours of hands-on time to put together, but the simple ingredients can be prepped in mere minutes. The rosemary gives it a rich flavor, and the meat juices cook the veggies to perfection. It’s unbelievably easy! —Sherri Melotik, Oak Creek, Wisconsin
Sheet-Pan Chipotle-Lime Shrimp Bake
I like to make this seafood dinner for company because it tastes amazing, but takes very little effort to throw together. Use asparagus, Broccolini or a mix of the two. It’s all about what’s available for a decent price. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
Sheet-Pan Tandoori Chicken
This tandoori chicken recipe is easy for weeknights since it bakes in one pan, but it is also special enough for guests. The best part? There isn’t much to clean up when dinner is over! —Anwar Khan, Iriving, Texas
Cod and Asparagus Bake
The lemon pulls this flavorful and healthy dish together. You can use grated Parmesan cheese instead of Romano if you’d like. —Thomas Faglon, Somerset, New Jersey
Caesar Sheet-Pan Chicken
In our area we have an abundance of fresh lemons year-round. When I had a few extra on hand, I put together a quick marinade and ended up with a really tasty sheet-pan chicken meal that had a wonderful burst of flavor. I baked it so I could add potatoes, but you can grill the chicken if you prefer. —Kallee Krong-McCreery, Escondido, California
One-Pan Sweet Chili Shrimp and Veggies
This one-pan shrimp and veggies recipe has everything I’m looking for in a weeknight family dinner: quick, flavorful, nutritious and all three of my kids will eat it! My oldest son loves shrimp and I thought it would work well as a sheet-pan supper. —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah
Sheet-Pan Pineapple Chicken Fajitas
For our fajitas, I combine chicken and pineapple for a different flavor. These fajitas are more on the sweet side, but my family loves them! —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada
Lemon-Dijon Pork Sheet-Pan Supper
Most nights I need something that I can get on the table with minimal effort and delicious results. This sheet-pan supper has become an all-time favorite, not only because of its bright flavors but also because of its speedy cleanup time. —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah
Crispy Dill Tilapia
Every week I try to serve a new healthy fish. With its fresh dill and delicious panko bread crumb herb crust, this dish with mild tilapia is a winner. —Tamara Huron, New Market, Alabama
Chicken Veggie Packets
People think I went to a lot of trouble when I serve these packets. Individual aluminum foil pouches hold in the juices during baking to keep the herbed chicken moist and tender. The foil saves time and makes cleanup a breeze. —Edna Shaffer, Beulah, Michigan
Sausage and Pepper Sheet-Pan Sandwiches
Sausage with peppers was always on the table when I was growing up. Here’s how to do it the easy way: Just grab a sheet pan and the ingredients, then let the oven do the work. —Debbie Glasscock, Conway, Arkansas
Sweet & Tangy Salmon with Green Beans
I’m always up for new ways to cook salmon. In this dish, a sweet sauce gives the fish and green beans some down-home barbecue tang. Even our kids love it. —Aliesha Caldwell, Robersonville, North Carolina
Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Since I do not like green bell peppers, I decided to create a filling that would go well with my favorite pepper, a poblano. After a few taste tests with my family, this stuffed poblano peppers recipe is now one of our favorites. I have also added black beans, used Cubanelle peppers and served with cilantro lime rice. —Lorri Stout, Gaithersburg, Maryland
Sheet-Pan Chicken Parmesan
Saucy chicken, melty mozzarella and crisp-tender broccoli—all in one pan. What could be better? —Becky Hardin, St. Peters, Missouri
I recently became a fan of tilapia. The mild taste makes it easy to top with our favorite ingredients. And it’s low in calories and fat. What’s not to love? —Robin Brenneman, Hilliard, Ohio
Garlicky Chicken Dinner
Flavorful bone-in chicken is enhanced by herbs, lemon and hearty vegetables in this savory meal-in-one entree. —Shannon Norris, Cudahy, Wisconsin
Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Fans of spicy chicken wings will love this rendition that turns it into pizza. Serve it up with blue cheese dressing and crisp celery, just like the tasty original. —Shari DiGirolamo, Newton, Pennsylvania
Orange-Glazed Pork with Sweet Potatoes
When it’s chilly outside, I like to roast pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes, apples and an orange. The sweetness and spices make any evening cozy. —Danielle Boyles, Sparta, Wisconsin
Not only do refrigerated breadsticks lend a fun twist to pizza, but they make this dish a weeknight staple at my house. Feeding kids? Slice pieces into small strips and let the kids dip each strip into marinara sauce. They’ll love it! —Mary Hankins, Kansas City, Missouri
Pan-Roasted Pork Chops & Potatoes
An easy marinade gives these chops lots of flavor, the crumb coating packs on crunch and Brussels sprouts add nutrition! —Char Ouellette, Colton, Oregon
Chili Dog Pizza
My girls love it when I make this mash-up pizza with hot dogs and chili. It’s a marvelous way to use up leftover chili. —Jennifer Stowell, Smithville, Missouri
Parmesan Chicken with Artichoke Hearts
I’ve liked the chicken and artichoke combo for a long time. Here’s my own lemony twist. With all the praise it gets, this dinner is so much fun to serve. —Carly Giles, Hoquiam, Washington
Chicken Caesar Pizza
Dressed greens on top of warm pizza may sound a little strange but trust me, it’s fantastic. —Tracy Youngman, Post Falls, Idaho
Quick Pepperoni Calzones
This calzone recipe takes the Italian favorite to the next level with Parmesan and herbs sprinkled on top. —Shannon Roum, Waukesha, Wisconsin
Balsamic Roasted Chicken Thighs with Root Vegetables
I will always remember the way my grandmother’s house smelled when she made these balsamic chicken thighs every Sunday. Ever since she gave me the recipe, the heartwarming flavors always take me back to my childhood. — Erin Chilcoat, Central Islip, New York
Roasted Kielbasa & Vegetables
I like this dish featuring kielbasa and veggies for two reasons: It’s so hearty, and it’s a one-pan meal. That’s a win-win dinner! —Marietta Slater, Justin, Texas
Mozzarella Cornbread Pizza
My sons like pizza but not takeout pies. I pull out my trusty baking pan to make a cornbread pizza with veggies in the crust and everything on top, from pepperoni to leftover ham. —Mary Leverette, Columbia, South Carolina
And that’s just the beginning. To clear up the confusion once and for all, we asked Brown to break down the best uses for wax paper, parchment paper, and foil, plus answer your most Googled questions about them. And because she’s just that good, she even offered up this simple piece of advice for remembering all these tips: “Sweet treat, parchment sheet. Grill or broil, go with foil. Messy prep or sticky candy, wax paper’s handy.”
When to Use Wax Paper
“Wax paper has several great uses,” says Brown. “It is great for food prep with messy or sticky foods. When making candy or dipping sweet treats like strawberries, cookies, or pretzels in chocolate, the food lifts right off the wax paper without breaking into pieces or leaving a mess behind on your countertop or trays.” Wax paper also makes clean-up super-easy when you line the counter with wax paper for coating chicken parmesan.
The best wax paper uses include:
- Making candy
- Dipping foods in chocolate
- Covering the counter when adding crumb coatings to fish or chicken pieces
- Separating layers of cookies or treats for storage
- Prevent splatters to keep your microwave clean
- Rolling and storing pie crusts
- Wrapping hard cheeses
Can you put wax paper in the oven?
“Wax paper should not be directly exposed to the heat of an oven, as it cannot withstand high temperatures that might be needed in certain cooking and baking recipes,” says Brown. “That said, it can be used as a pan liner when baking cakes, bread, or any baked food in which the dough or batter completely covers the wax paper lining.”
What are the best substitutes for wax paper?
“Given the multitude of wax paper uses, it depends on what you’re trying to do,” says Brown. “For storage, you can substitute with freezer paper or plastic wrap, for prepping, foil works well, and for baking, parchment is a great substitute.”
“Reynolds Kitchens Parchment Paper is a natural, high-density paper with a non-stick coating,” Brown explains. “Its versatility makes it perfect for baking your favorite cookies, making parchment packets, or cooking a sheet pan dinner.” Think recipes like roasted vegetables, salmon parchment packets, and classic chocolate chip cookies.
The best parchment paper uses include:
- Baking cookies
- Baking cakes
- Roasting vegetables
- Roasting fish
- Reheating dinner leftovers
Parchment paper is oven safe up to 425 degrees F, and non-stick for picture-perfect baking results and easy clean-up, says Brown.
“While both parchment and butcher paper have wet strength, butcher paper is intended for use specifically with a smoker,” says Brown. “It helps create a breathable barrier which seals in moisture and protects the crisp outer layer when cooking brisket, pork, and other meats low and slow.” Parchment paper, on the other hand, is not intended for use with grills or smokers, Brown stresses.
Can you microwave parchment paper?
Yes! “To reheat foods in the microwave, place a small sheet of parchment paper over foods in order to eliminate splatters and avoid messy cleanup,” says Brown. “For reheating vegetables or casserole leftovers, place at least ½ cup of food in a microwave-safe dish and cover with a sheet of parchment paper.”
Foil is best used for anything grilled. “I love to make chicken wings or shrimp scampi foil packets using our non-stick foil, and ribs or even grilled pizza using our heavy-duty foil,” says Brown. Aluminum foil is safe to put in the oven, making it great for lining baking sheets. But it’s not recommended to use foil to line the bottom of the oven to catch spills and drips because it can melt in high heat and damage the oven.
The best foil uses include:
- Cooking food on the grill
- Roasting chicken or turkey in the oven
- Baking brownies
No. You should not put aluminum foil in the microwave because the material heats so quickly that it can spark and cause a fire.
Which side of the aluminum foil should you use?
If you’re using a non-stick foil, make sure you place your food on the dull, flat finish side which is the non-stick side. This is mentioned on the packaging. “With standard and heavy-duty foil, it’s perfectly fine to place your food on either side,” says Brown.
Can you put foil in an air fryer?
Although they’re visually similar, the two shouldn’t be used interchangeably.
Photo: Lucy Lambriex / Getty Images
Both parchment paper and wax paper are kitchen must-haves for people who love to cook and bake. However, despite looking quite similar, there is a distinct difference between the two. One is oven safe and can be used to line cookie sheets and cake pans, while the other is helpful for rolling out dough and wrapping leftovers. When heat isn’t involved, parchment and wax paper can be used interchangeably, but there’s one key factor that sets the papers apart when it comes to using them in the oven.
Parchment is a non-toxic, grease- and moisture-resistant paper specially treated for oven use, and can withstand temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. “I use parchment 100 percent of the time when I cook, even in instances where wax paper would suffice,” says chef Ronna Welsh, owner of Purple Kale Kitchenworks cooking school in Brooklyn, N.Y. “This is to eliminate having two rolls of cooking paper in my kitchen, when just one will do.”
Parchment paper is very versatile and can be used for everything from lining baking sheets to wrapping fish, and other dishes that are cooked en papillote. In instances when you’d reach for wax paper, parchment paper will also suffice.
Despite its versatility, it’s commonly used in instances where high heat is necessary because its silicone construction keeps it from melting in the oven and over the stovetop. Use it to line cake pans and baking sheets, as a soft lid for slowly reducing sauces, and as a liner for blind baking pie crust.
On the other hand, wax paper is used for cooking or baking-related tasks that don’t involve heat. “Wax paper is more like craft paper for your kitchen,” says Welsh. “It is also non-stick, but heat intolerant.” Because wax paper has a thin coating of wax on both sides, it can melt and catch fire at high temperatures.
Wax paper is often used for baking tasks that don’t require heat. Due to its non-stick nature it’s especially useful when rolling out dough. You can also sift dry ingredients—think flour, sugar, and cocoa—over a piece of wax paper and use it to funnel the contents into your mixing bowl.
“Also, use it to line containers or gift tins and create templates for decorative designs—like letters for chocolate piping or stencils for powdered sugar,” Welsh says.
Additionally, the paper is also useful when wrapping leftovers. Use it to safely store cheese, butter, and more without worrying about those items sticking to the paper like they might with plastic wrap or foil.