Let's cut to the chase and get straight to the point—you cannot put wax paper in the oven or expose it to direct heat. Wax paper cannot withstand high heat and will melt or spark a fire in the oven.
You can use wax paper for baking cakes, muffins, or brownies in the oven because the batter completely covers the wax paper. In this case, the wax paper won't melt or spark a fire. But, it isn’t advisable when baking cookies because the wax paper is completely exposed.
If you want to be 100% safe, it's better not to use wax paper inside the oven. There are other alternatives you can use instead of wax paper. Why risk it?
In this informative post, I want to address any question that may cross your mind regarding the use of wax paper in the oven. In addition, what you can use in the oven instead of wax paper. This is a must-read!
What Is Wax Paper?
So what exactly is wax paper? It is a triple-waxed tissue paper with food-safe paraffin wax coating forced in its pores. It is non-stick and water-resistant but not heat-resistant. As mentioned earlier, the wax paper has a low melting point and may melt in the oven when directly exposed.
There are two instances where wax paper is allowable in the oven, after taking into account careful considerations:
- A moist batter covers the wax paper, so there is no direct heat exposure.
- The oven is at moderate temperature.
Wax paper is safe for microwave cooking, but you must be extra careful when baking in an oven. The oven produces a lot of heat, and you need high heat to bake. You cannot use it for lining cookie sheets to bake in the oven. But for goodies with a wide batter that can cover the wax paper like cake, muffins, and brownies, you can safely use it in the oven.
Why settle with wax paper when there are other substitutes? I know it's relatively affordable and readily available, but why risk it? We will discuss more alternatives below.
Uses of Wax Paper
We all know that wax paper is for baking or cooking, but it also has other purposes. You can use wax paper for arts, crafts, or even in film photography. However, in this article, we will focus on its uses inside the kitchen.
Wax paper has many great uses in the kitchen, but being inside the oven is tricky. Here are several uses of wax paper:
- To wrap candies: Wax paper is a popular option to wrap finished candies. However, never put a hot melted candy on a wax paper as this may only transfer in the product.
- To dry off chocolate-covered foods: You can also use wax paper to dry off chocolate-covered foods like strawberries. After dipping the strawberry in the chocolate, place it on the wax paper to dry off.
- Separating cookie layers for storage: To prevent already-baked cookies from sticking together, use wax paper to separate the layers when freezing them.
- To roll dough: You can use wax paper to roll dough to prevent it from slipping. When rolling or flattening pie dough, place wax paper below to prevent it from slipping without the need for extra flour.
- Prevent microwave oven splatters: To avoid microwave splatters when heating food, place a piece of wax paper over it. Since wax paper is water-resistant, it will prevent splatters all over the microwave. Thus, it can save you more time for cleaning.
- To keep the cheese fresh: After cutting a block of cheese, wrap the remaining cheese with wax paper before returning it to the fridge. The wax paper allows the cheese to breathe without drying it.
- Ice-free ice cream: Don't you just hate it when you want to eat ice cream, but it's rock-solid? You can avoid this by pressing wax paper on the surface of the ice cream before putting it back in the freezer. Some ice cream brands use wax paper to prevent ice cream from freezing rock-solid.
- To do a make-shift funnel: Simply roll wax paper to a cone shape if you don’t have a funnel. Since wax paper is water-resistant and won't turn soggy, it's a nifty hack to remember if you don't have a funnel readily available.
- Easy fridge cleanup: Are you tired of the spill, drip, or splatters on your fridge? You can line the drawers of your fridge with wax paper, especially when storing salsa or liquid foods. Just remember to replace it with a fresh piece from time to time.
What are the best substitutes for wax paper in the oven?
Given the multitude of uses of wax paper, using it in the oven would be tricky. Luckily, there are substitutes you can choose from. Here are the wax paper substitutes you can use:
- Parchment Paper or baking paper: You can use parchment paper in the oven because it can withstand high temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Parchment paper has a non-stick surface and can substitute all use of wax paper. You can use wax paper for the linings of cookies and roast vegetables. In addition, parchment paper can serve as a non-stick surface for frying pans or a steam pouch when cooking salmon. Parchment paper is moisture-resistant, heat-resistant, and non-stick.
- Silicone baking mat: Aside from parchment paper, you can use a silicone baking mat as a substitute for wax paper for oven use. Its material is a food-grade silicone coating, which is safe and non-toxic. A silicone baking mat can withstand high temperatures at 480 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, it's non-stick, heat resistant, easy to clean, and can withstand prolonged use. The best part is, you can use a silicone baking mat up to two thousand times before replacing it.
- Line baking sheets and pans with aluminum foil: Using wax paper in the oven can produce unpredictable results—usually unsafe ones. A better option would be to line the surface of a baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease it with butter or cooking spray. The grease will serve as the non-stick surface barrier.
- Grease and flour baking tray: If you don't have any of the options above, you can follow the traditional way of creating a non-stick surface—grease and flour a baking tray. First, grease the pan with cooking spray or shortening. Then, sprinkle the baking surface with a generous amount of flour. Next, invert the tray and gently tap its back to remove any excess flour. Following this process will form a dusty non-stick surface to make your favorite cookie dough in the oven.
Is parchment paper the same as wax paper?
No, parchment paper and wax paper are different. This is relevant because many people interchangeably use wax paper and parchment paper.
Despite being similar in some ways, they are different. One major factor that differentiates the two is heat tolerance. The material of wax paper is wax which cannot tolerate heat. On the other hand, the material of silicone is parchment paper that can withstand high heat.
Wax paper is ideal for cold cooking, while you can utilize parchment paper for both hot and cold applications. Here are the similarities and differences between parchment and wax paper.
Both wax paper and parchment are non-stick and moisture-resistant. You can use both papers for craft-making, baking desserts at different temperatures, protecting kitchen surfaces while prepping food, or kneading dough.
As mentioned, wax paper cannot withstand high heat. In short, you cannot use wax paper to roast, bake, or toast. Yes, you cannot use wax paper even in the toaster oven. That's the main difference between the two, but it makes a huge difference.
In addition to this, other differences include:
- Affordability: Wax paper is more affordable and widely available in stores as compared to parchment paper.
- To measure dry ingredients: Since wax paper is smooth and non-stick, it is a better option than parchment paper when measuring, sifting, and mixing dry ingredients. You can use wax paper to measure, sift and mix dry ingredients like sugar, flour, and baking powder.
- Availability in sizes: You can buy parchment papers in different sizes and shapes, but that's not the case with wax paper.
If you put wax paper in the oven, it will melt or ignite a fire in the oven. Even if the oven is at 170 degrees Fahrenheit, you cannot use wax paper in it. The baked goods can even stick to the wax paper and alter the taste of whatever it is that you're cooking.
Wax paper may become toxic when used in the oven because of the smoke and fumes that may come out. But generally, wax paper is not toxic in other uses.
No, you can't put wax paper directly on the rack as it will most likely catch fire. It is better to use oven-safe parchment paper inside the oven rack. Even though the oven-safe parchment paper may darken, it won't catch fire.
No, you can't put wax paper in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. As mentioned earlier, wax paper is not heat-resistant and might melt in the oven. Wax paper may ignite a fire inside the oven at any regular baking temperature.
Wax paper may smoke in your oven because it's not heat-resistant. Using wax paper inside the oven can produce black smoke and possibly catch fire. Never use wax paper inside the oven.
Wax paper can substitute many uses of plastic wrap but not all of them. However, environmentalists encourage the use of wax paper over plastic wrap. Wax paper is compostable and more environmentally friendly.
If wax paper catches fire in the oven, do not panic. Do not open the oven door until the fire completely goes off. Next, switch off the oven. Never eat foods from burnt wax paper as this may result in stomach upset.
There you have it! To sum it all up, you cannot put the wax paper inside the oven. Instead, you can use other substitutes like bakery paper or a silicone baking mat. You can also challenge your baking talents by making no-bake desserts.