We were at the in-laws two years back. My wife wanted to heat up some banana bread that had recently been made, so she unknowingly stuck it in the toaster oven on top of some wax paper. Little did we know at the time. We didn’t know if wax paper was oven safe or if it could go in the oven. Next thing we knew, a small flame started, and the wax paper was smoking in the oven soon after. Luckily, we were able to get it under control. But we learned something from the experience.
Can Wax Paper Go in the Oven?
It depends. If the wax paper is exposed directly to the heat, then you cannot put wax paper in the oven or toaster oven. If the wax paper is completely covered by something, such as cake batter, brownies, or muffins, then it is ok to use wax paper. The cake batter will absorb most of the heat and keep the wax paper from burning or melting.
As Reynolds Kitchen says on their Cut-Rite wax paper page,
Wax paper should not be directly exposed to the heat of an oven. However, Reynolds® Cut-Rite® Wax Paper may be used as a pan liner when baking cakes, bread, muffins or any baked food in which the dough or batter completely covers the wax paper lining.
Some people use wax paper at the bottom of a cake pan as an alternative to not using flour or having to grease the pan.
Can You Put Cookies on Wax Paper in the Oven?
No, you can’t put cookies on top of wax paper in the oven. The reason is because parts of the wax paper won’t be covered and those parts will be exposed to direct heat. Wax paper is not heat resistant. Wax paper has wax on it which can melt and burn, just like a candle. The exposed parts can also melt and get on the cookies or food that is being baked, ruining the food. So, if any part of the wax paper will be exposed, then it won’t be safe to use in the oven. This applies to Reynolds wax paper or any brand of wax paper.
Why the Confusion?
I think some the confusion has come from the fact that parchment paper, which is easily confused with wax paper, can be placed in the oven. Parchment paper is made with a silicon lining instead of wax. Both parchment paper and wax paper are non-stick, but only parchment paper is heat resistant. So, when it comes to baking, that’s where the difference comes in.
What is Wax Paper Used For?
You can use both wax paper and parchment paper as a non-stick surface if you need to knead dough or roll out dough. They are also good if you want to keep counters from getting messy for an easier clean up. Wax paper can also be used for storing things in the freezer and also for keeping things from sticking together when being stored.
Can You Use Wax Paper in the Oven Instead of Tin Foil?
No. The wax paper will be exposed to heat and melt or burn. Any application that would use aluminum foil, should not be substituted with wax paper. But you could use parchment paper.
Why Does My Parchment Paper Burn in the Oven?
If you stay under 450 degrees, then parchment paper shouldn’t burn. If you go over 450 degrees, the parchment paper will burn and turn to a dark color, but it shouldn’t catch on fire. But it isn’t advisable to go over this heat. Check the box of the brand parchment paper you are using and it should have instructions with the maximum temperature. Most will say the range is 400 to 425 degrees. Some can go higher and withstand up to 450 degrees of higher. But check with the box of the parchment paper you are using.
Can You Use Wax Paper in an Air Fryer?
No, only use parchment paper in an air fryer. The wax paper would be exposed to too much heat. Wax paper is not meant to be exposed to heat.
Is Wax Paper and Baking Paper the Same?
Baking paper is the same as parchment paper. As discussed before, parchment paper and wax paper have similarities but are not the same.
Is Wax Paper Toxic When Burned?
Wax paper is not toxic, so it’s not toxic when burned. But again, it’s best to avoid baking using wax paper in the wrong situations that cause it to burn. There are some better options I’ll discuss.
Are There Alternatives to Wax Paper or Parchment Paper?
Here’s what I recommend for baking, instead of using parchment paper or wax paper.
Most people use wax paper or parchment paper instead of greasing a pan. I just recommend using an oil in order to grease a pan before baking, or using a non-stick cooking spray. Then, you don’t need to worry about using any parchment paper or wax paper. But, I guess it’s a choice of preference. Some people just prefer using them. Also, there are supposedly some benefits to using parchment paper. I’ve heard that it bakes cookies more evenly and reduces the chance of sticking, although I rarely have had problems with sticking when I use non-stick spray or oil.
Also, parchment paper makes for less mess in the pans and easier clean-up. This can be beneficial. In our case we have a pretty good dish washer which has always taken care of most pots and pans without too much extra scrubbing.
Some people will use aluminum foil in place of parchment paper, but I don’t like this because it does release some aluminum into the food you eat. Whether this is an unsafe amount or if it has any effect on us, I don’t know, but I would rather just stay natural and not use it.