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Butcher Paper Vs Parchment Paper – What’s The Difference?

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Butcher paper and parchment paper may seem pretty similar at first. They are both light, thin, brown (or slightly pink) paper that is used for preparing food.

However, both of these papers have unique properties that make them ideal for different purposes.

Now, it can get confusing to figure out which one of the two is right for you, whether you want to use them for cooking, baking, or wrapping and storing food.

It is important to know the distinction between the two so that you can use them correctly.

So, what is the difference between butcher paper and parchment paper? The main difference is that butcher paper tends to be thicker and more absorbent than parchment paper. Other factors like how they are produced, their types, uses, heat and moisture retention threshold, their cost, and permeability make butcher paper and parchment paper different from each other.

So, keep reading to know which one of the two is right for you!

What Is Butcher Paper? 

Butcher paper is most commonly found at meat shops or fast food joints. It is used to wrap raw meats and sandwiches to protect them from airborne contaminants.

It is porous, absorbent, and helps preserve the flavors and moisture of foods that are wrapped in it.

Butcher paper is also widely used for arts and crafts projects, to act as a cover for utensils and tables, and less commonly, for baking and grilling.

Butcher paper is inexpensive and can be easily found at most supermarkets. It is durable and versatile.

There are several types of butcher paper, such as white butcher paper, peach or pink butcher paper, freezer paper, and so on that serve different purposes.

What Is Parchment Paper? 

Parchment paper is used for cooking, grilling, and baking. Parchment paper has many qualities that make it ideal for being used in high temperatures in ovens and grillers.

This type of paper is strong, non-stick, and retains moisture and heat. It has a low permeability, which helps it retain the juices and flavor of grilled foods while cooking

Moreover, parchment paper also ensures that the food is baked or grilled evenly. It can also prevent overheating or burning.

You can use parchment paper in versatile ways during baking, like lining baking dishes or separating sticky dough.

You can easily find rolls or individually cut parchment paper in nearby supermarkets.

Butcher Paper Vs Parchment Paper

CategoryButcher PaperParchment Paper
ThicknessTends to be thickerTends to be thinner
PermeabilityTends to be higherTends to be lower
Heat RetentionTends to be lowerTends to be higher
UsesWrapping meats and sandwichesCooking and baking
Production ProcessTreated with sizingTreated with silicone
PriceTends to be cheaperTends to cost more
TypesWhite, pink/peach, freezer paper, gardenia, and steak paperBleached and unbleached parchment paper

Butcher paper and parchment paper may look similar, but they have distinct qualities and uses. You need to know these qualities and differences to determine which one of the two is the right fit according to your needs and purpose.

Here are the differences between butcher paper and parchment paper explained in detail!

1. Thickness

The main difference between butcher paper and parchment paper is that the former tends to be thicker than parchment paper.

Although parchment paper is thinner, it is strong and does not tear or melt when it is exposed to high temperatures. You can lay parchment paper on top of your grill and baking dishes, or use it as a wrapper while grilling and smoking.

On the other hand, you cannot use butcher paper in grills and ovens, despite being thicker. It is suitable for wrapping foods after they are cooked or baked.

2. Permeability

Butcher paper is more permeable and absorbent than parchment paper.

This makes it ideal for storing raw meats and foods like subs and sandwiches. The contents wrapped inside the butcher paper can breathe due to its permeability.

So, they do not retain excessive moisture. This helps in keeping the stored foods fresh!

A lower permeability makes parchment paper ideal for cooking and baking. Using parchment paper on grills and baking dishes ensures that the food retains heat and moisture.

This also helps in retaining the juices and flavor of the wrapped food.

3. Heat and Moisture Retention

Parchment paper has a higher heat retention threshold than butcher paper.

This makes parchment paper a better option for grilling and baking. You can use it inside an oven or on a grill without catching fire or melting.

Additionally, parchment paper helps in retaining moisture, which keeps the foods juicy and flavorful.

Using butcher paper inside an oven or grill may cause it to burn. Butcher paper can retain a lower amount of heat, which makes it suitable for storing foods.

4. Uses

Butcher paper and parchment paper have many similar qualities but are not used for the same purposes.

Butcher paper was originally used only for wrapping meats and fish. It is also used for wrapping subs and sandwiches. This is because it helps in protecting foods from airborne contaminants and preserves their flavor.

Butcher paper is also widely used for various arts and crafts projects, and by moving companies for packing delicate items like china.

Some people also use butcher paper while smoking. You can wrap grilled foods while smoking in order to retain the flavor and allow the smoke to be absorbed.

Parchment paper is mainly used for baking and cooking. It keeps the food moist and fresh and prevents it from overheating and burning. Parchment paper can tolerate high temperatures and does not stick to the food while cooking.

You can use parchment paper to line baking dishes. Or, you can use it in between individual cookies and brownies to create a barrier. Moreover, you can also use it to make a funnel for icing your baked treats.

5. Production Process

Butcher paper and parchment paper are both treated to give them unique properties.

Butcher paper is made through a process called krafting. The krafting process retains cellulose fibers and makes butcher paper strong and durable.

It is then treated with sizing, which helps retain the flavor and juices of wrapped food items by creating a moisture barrier.

Parchment paper is made of wood pulp from fig trees or cotton plants. It is treated with silicone, which makes it heat resistant and keeps food from sticking to it.

This makes parchment paper ideal for cooking and baking at high temperatures.

6. Price

Both butcher paper and parchment paper are relatively cheap, but butcher paper usually costs less than parchment paper.

A cheaper substitute for parchment paper is wax paper. However, wax paper is prone to catching fire at high temperatures whereas parchment paper can withstand heat easily.

What Are The Different Types Of Parchment Paper?

There are only two variations of parchment paper: bleached and unbleached.

Unbleached parchment paper is brown in color. It is completely untreated and has no chlorine. Some people prefer unbleached parchment paper as they may wish to reduce the number of chemicals that they are using while cooking.

Bleached parchment paper is white in color. It has been treated with chlorine, which causes it to lose its color. Bleached parchment paper is not any different than unbleached parchment paper when it comes to its function.

Both types can be used for baking and grilling.

Bleached parchment paper does not pose any risks or harm despite being treated with chlorine. It also tends to be cheaper than unbleached parchment paper.

What Are The Different Types Of Butcher Paper?

There are several types of butcher paper, each of which has different qualities. Here are the different types of butcher paper explained in detail:

White Butcher Paper

The most common type is white butcher paper. It is used for wrapping meats and foods like subs and sandwiches. You can also use white butcher paper for smoking meat.

It is absorbent and retains the smoky flavor of the meat. Its permeability ensures that excessive moisture is not trapped inside so that the grilled meat remains crisp.

Wrapping meat inside white butcher paper can also help in keeping its reddish color and freshness for longer than usual.

White butcher paper is uncoated and ideal for covering utensils or tables while cooking and eating. You can also use white butcher paper for different arts and crafts activities.

Pink/Peach Butcher Paper

Pink butcher paper is also known as peach butcher paper. You can find both treated and untreated butcher paper. Its color ranges from a light peach to deep pink.

Uncoated pink or peach butcher paper is strong and breathable. This makes it ideal for wrapping raw meat. It prevents any leaks and keeps the meat fresh by allowing moisture to escape. It also protects the meat from any contaminants.

Pink butcher paper is also the best type of butcher paper to use for grilling. 

This paper has been treated with sizing, a type of treatment that allows the paper to become stronger when you soak it in moisture. It makes the paper good for storing raw meats for longer periods.

As it allows air to pass through, the meat remains fresh for longer and any extra moisture is easily evaporated!

Freezer Paper

Freezer paper is coated with a moisture barrier made of plastic or wax on one side and has a thick paper on the other whereas butcher paper is coated on both sides.

The coated side faces the food and does not allow moisture to escape. This keeps the meat inside fresh. The thick paper side is on the outside.

Freezer paper is suitable for storing meats in the freezer for extended durations of time, ranging between 3-15 months. You can get various kinds of freezer paper depending on how long you want to store the food items.

Steak Paper

Steak paper is used mainly for displaying steak or other meats in butcher shops. However, you can also use it for wrapping meats, similar to normal butcher paper.

Steak paper prevents leaks and protects its contents from being contaminated. It retains moisture and keeps the meat fresh. Some butcher shops have a variety of colors of steak paper to make their product look good and have a clean finish.

Gardenia Paper

Gardenia paper is of extremely fine quality and is used primarily for the same purpose as butcher paper i.e for wrapping meats.

It is more effective than butcher paper when it comes to retaining moisture and keeping meat fresh. Gardenia paper prevents juices and oils from leaking, which helps in preserving the flavor of the meat that is wrapped inside.

Can You Substitute Butcher Paper For Parchment Paper?

Yes, you can substitute butcher paper for parchment paper.

Although butcher paper is intended to be used for wrapping foods and meat, you can still use it for grilling, cooking, and baking in place of parchment paper.

Some people prefer to wrap meat in butcher paper while smoking in order to get a richer taste.

The best substitute for parchment paper is pink butcher paper. Other types of butcher paper may burn when exposed to high levels of heat.

It is easy to replace parchment paper with butcher paper while baking. Simply lay the butcher paper on your baking dish, similar to how you use parchment paper. However, using butcher paper while grilling can be different.

When using butcher paper on a grill, it is advisable to wrap it on the grilled meat after it starts cooking.

Wrapping grilled meat inside butcher paper too early can make it lose its smoky flavor and even make the meat or other grilled foods taste dry. This is because butcher paper is more breathable and retains less heat than parchment paper.

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over all the differences between parchment paper and butcher paper, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!

Are the coatings on parchment paper and butcher paper safe?

Yes, the coatings of parchment paper and butcher paper are safe.

Both butcher paper and parchment paper are FDA approved. Their coatings contain chemicals, but these chemicals cannot transfer into your food or meat.

This also means that treated parchment paper or treated butcher paper is as safe as their untreated versions.

Can you use butcher paper in the microwave?

Yes, it is safe to use butcher paper in the microwave.

Butcher paper is strong and can withstand high temperatures. It starts to burn at 500°F. You can use butcher paper in the microwave without worrying about the risk of catching fire or causing any harm to your food or microwave.

You can also use butcher paper in the oven or on a griller, but you will need to be careful about extremely high temperatures.

Final Thoughts 

Butcher paper and parchment paper can be easily mistaken for each other. They are both great tools for you to make cooking, grilling, baking, and storing food easy.

Before you decide to use butcher paper or parchment paper, it is important to know the difference between the two, including their uses, qualities, and types.

Hopefully, after reading this article, you are able to know which one out of the two you’ll need for your kitchen!

Up Next: Can You Freeze Crawfish?

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