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Which Paper is Best for Food Wrapping?

Overhead view of assorted dishes on a wooden table, including a wrap, vegetable sticks with dip, fruit bowl, and avocado toasts, served in checkered paper containers.
It is clear that there are many options available when it comes to food wrapping paper. Each option has its unique benefits and drawbacks.

We all have to eat. And we all have to buy food at the store. But what kind of paper should you use to wrap your food? Some people say that one type of paper is better than another. So, which paper is best for food wrapping?

When it comes to food wrapping it's important to choose the right one for your needs. In this article, we'll take a look at the different types of paper available for food wrapping. The following is the list of food wrapping with all the details, uses, origin, and other information that may help you decide which one is best for you.

Let’s start with…

Butcher Paper

Butcher paper is a traditional food wrapping product. It is breathable so it holds less steam, allowing food to stay moist but not soggy. It is engineered to protect raw meat and fish from airborne contaminants.

Butcher paper is a special paper product designed for wrapping raw meats and fish to protect against airborne contaminants and flavour contamination. Also useful for cooking and preparing meat and packaging sandwiches and subs, butcher paper is available in a variety of colours and sizes to suit the unique needs of any business.

Types of Butcher Paper

1. White Butcher Paper

White butcher paper is uncoated, FDA approved, and perfect for efficiently wrapping subs, sandwiches, meats, and more. Additionally, you can use white butcher paper as a table covering or to protect tabletops during arts and crafts activities. This breathable paper can be used to wrap meats before smoking because it allows the smoke in but doesn't trap moisture.

2. Pink / Peach Butcher Paper

Pink/peach butcher paper ranges in colour from light tan to dark pink, which works well at masking any blood or juices from raw meats. The paper is strong enough to prevent leaks while still allowing the packaged meat to breathe, preventing sogginess. Peach butcher paper is ideal for wrapping meats for smoking because it allows the flavorful smoke to be absorbed while still protecting the meat from contaminants.

3. Peach Treated Butcher Paper

Peach-treated butcher paper looks very similar to the regular pink butcher paper described above, but it has a key difference. This premium paper is treated with a sizing agent that preserves fresh cut meats for storage. The treated paper allows just enough oxygen to reach the meat so that the meat stays fresh and its bright red colour is preserved.

4. Gardenia Butcher Paper

Gardenia butcher paper is a premium, high-performance paper that offers superior protection and holdout against moisture. Often preferred over plastic packaging, Gardenia paper prevents the leaking of oil or juices but is also breathable to prevent sogginess. It has a unique colour complementary to raw fish and poultry, which also quickly identifies it as Gardenia premium paper.

5. Steak Butcher Paper

Steak paper is commonly used to display beef and pork but works well as a backdrop to display any type of meat in butcher cases. Wrapping your meat in steak paper will seal in the product's juices while also preventing colour loss, thereby allowing you to give customers a clean-looking and fresh product. This paper comes in a variety of sizes and colours, including green, black, white, and peach.

How to Use Butcher Paper

Butcher paper is a multi-functional kitchen tool. Discover its most common uses below:

Meat Prep - Wrap your meat in peach butcher paper while it brines. Use butcher paper as a seasoning surface. Rest meat in butcher paper after it cooks to hold the heat and preserve tenderness.

Serving Customers - Wrap cuts of meat from your deli in butcher paper for customers to take home. Secure subs in butcher paper for them to enjoy on the go. Prevent moist sandwiches from falling apart in customers' hands by wrapping them in butcher paper.

Cooking Meats - Fold butcher paper into pouches to steam delicate seafood inside. Secure tough briskets and pork shoulders in butcher paper before smoking them. Before grilling steaks and chicken breasts, wrap them in butcher paper.

Paper is Best for Food Wrapping

Waxed paper

Waxed paper as the name suggests is any suitable paper as base material on which wax had been coated to improve its barrier property against liquid and gases. The extent of the barrier to liquid and gases is directly proportional to the amount of wax. Fibres act as a path for moisture movement into paper which is inhibited by wax application. Wax layer not only acts as an adhesive but also provides heat sealability.

Wet-waxed, dry-waxed and wax-laminated are the different grades based on the thickness of wax coating. When the wax is augmented on the base paper surface during the beating process of paper making, the coating is least thin leading to lower protection. Wet waxed paper is obtained by rapid chilling of the applied wax web leading to the formation of a continuous layer of wax on both sides and high degree of glossiness.

Bread, biscuits, dairy products (milk and cream), sandwiches, cakes, sunflower oil and breakfast cereals are most commonly packed using waxed paper. Waxed paper containers are extensively used for distribution and consumption of fruit juices and milk.

Dry Waxed Paper

Dry waxed paper is paper that has been coated with paraffin wax. This creates a non-stick surface that resists moisture. By keeping water out, crunchy foods do not get soggy and wet foods stay moist.

Dry wax paper is made from bleached kraft paper that undergoes a dry waxing process. This process drives wax into the paper and leaves no surface residue.  Because the wax coating on dry wax paper is pressed into the paper, no wax residue will be transferred to your foods, even if the foods are hot. This differentiates dry wax paper from other forms of wax paper, which may transfer a wax residue to hot foods.

Can dry wax paper be used in the oven?

Dry wax paper can be used in the oven, but only in specific ways. Dry wax paper should only be used in the oven if it will be completely covered by the batter of the cake, brownies, quick bread, or muffins you are baking. Dry wax paper should not be directly exposed to the heat of the oven because it could smoke or even catch fire. This means dry wax paper should not be used on cookie sheets. For cookies, consider using parchment paper instead.

What are the uses of dry wax paper?

  • Baking cakes, quick breads, brownies, muffins, and any other baked goods where the batter will completely cover the dry wax paper.
  • Wrapping hot and cold sandwiches.
  • Place underneath pizza in a pizza box.
  • Covering foods in the microwave -- it won't stick or become soggy.
  • Freezing food.
  • Sifting.
  • Lining tins and boxes of sweets.
  • Chilling cookie dough.
  • Keeping cheese fresh.

Wet Wax Paper

Wet wax paper is a bleached Kraft paper. Unlike dry wax paper, wet wax has a high gloss, water resistant surface on both sides. This heavy-duty waxing creates a wrap that is excellent for sandwiches, vegetables and meats.

Waxed paper (also wax paper or paraffin paper) is paper that has been made moisture-proof through the application of wax.

The practice of oiling parchment or paper in order to make it semi-translucent or moisture-proof goes back at least to the Middle Ages. Paper impregnated or coated with purified beeswax was widely used throughout the 19th century to retain or exclude moisture, or to wrap odorous products. Waxed paper is commonly used in cooking for its non-stick properties, and wrapping food for storage, such as cookies, as it keeps water out or in. It is also used in arts and crafts.

Paper is Best for Food Wrapping

Parchment Paper

Parchment paper, or vegetable parchment, is a cellulose-based composite that has been processed to give it additional properties like non-stickiness, grease resistance, and resistance to humidity. It is commonly used in baking as a disposable non-stick, grease resistant surface. It should not be confused with waxed paper, which is paper that has been coated in wax.

Parchment paper is paper coated with silicone. The silicone creates a heat resistant paper, making it perfect for both cooking and baking, as well as for holding hot foods.

Its production process was developed in the nineteenth century, firstly used for wrapping butter followed till today and physically similar to vellum, which is made from animal skin.

Vegetable parchment paper is extensively used as a layer between slices of pastry or meat because its grease resistance and wet strength properties makes it easily removable from the food contact surface. Labels and inserts for products with high oil or grease content are often made from parchment paper. High fat containing cheeses coated with food grade mould inhibitors can also be wrapped with vegetable parchment paper.

Parchmentization of Paper

Vegetable parchment paper is made by running sheets of paper pulp through a bath of sulfuric acid (a method similar to the way tracing paper is made) or sometimes zinc chloride. This process partially dissolves or gelatinizes the paper. This treatment forms a sulfurized cross-linked material, with high density, stability, heat resistance, grease resistance, water resistance, no loose fibres as well as low surface energy — thereby imparting good non-stick or release properties. The treated paper has an appearance similar to that of parchment and, because of its strength, is sometimes used in legal documents for which parchment was traditionally used.

Applications in cooking and baking

A common use is to eliminate the need to grease sheet pans and the like, allowing very rapid turn-around of batches of baked goods with minimal clean up. Parchment paper is also used to cook en papillote, a technique where food is steamed or cooked within closed pouches made from parchment paper.

Parchment paper can be used in most applications that call for wax paper as a non-stick surface. The reverse is not true, as using wax paper would cause smoke in the oven and would adversely affect flavour.

Paper is Best for Food Wrapping

Kraft paper

German chemist Carl F. Dahl introduced sodium sulphate for pulping resulting in production of stronger paper and was known as Kraft (sulphate) paper after the German word ‘Kraft’ which means strength.

Kraft paper or kraft is paper or paperboard (cardboard) produced from chemical pulp produced in the kraft process.

Pulp produced by the kraft process is stronger than that made by other pulping processes; acidic sulfite processes degrade cellulose more, leading to weaker fibres, and mechanical pulping processes leave most of the lignin with the fibres, whereas kraft pulping removes most of the lignin present originally in the wood. Low lignin is important to the resulting strength of the paper, as the hydrophobic nature of lignin interferes with the formation of the hydrogen bonds between cellulose (and hemicellulose) in the fibres.


Wood pulp for sack paper is made from softwood by the kraft process. The long fibres provide the paper its strength and wet strength chemicals are added to even further improve the strength. Both white and brown grades are made. Sack paper is then produced on a paper machine from the wood pulp.

The kraft process can use a wider range of fibre sources than most other pulping processes. All types of wood, including very resinous types like southern pine, and non-wood species like bamboo and kenaf can be used in the kraft process.

Kraft paper is used for the packaging of flour, sugar, dried fruits and vegetables. It is machine glazed paper with gloss on one side and a bit coarse on one side. The food grade version is United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) compliant and certified for food consumables which include sandwich wrapper, biscuit bag, chewing gum wrapper, frozen and non-frozen confection wrapper, salt, pepper, sugar packets and tea pouches according to Charta Global.

Greaseproof paper

Greaseproof paper is translucent and hydrated to give oil and grease resistance. The production of greaseproof paper involves prolonged beating of the pulp which breaks down the cellulose fibres enhancing their water absorption capacity and finally leading to their superficial gelatinization and stickiness.

Greaseproof paper can also find its application as an embodiment or inner liner of the microwave double bag food container with outer layer consisting of paper and integral microwaveable heating element.

Greaseproof paper is paper that is impermeable to oil or grease and is normally used in cooking or food packaging. Normally greaseproof paper is produced by refining the paper stock and thus creating a sheet with very low porosity. This sheet is passed between hard pressure rollers to further increase the density, creating a paper called glassine. The glassine is treated with starches, alginates or carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) in a size press to fill pores or treat the paper chemically to make it fat repellent.

Glassine paper

Glassine paper is an upgraded version of greaseproof paper in which extreme hydration has been performed to develop a dense sheet with high density, transparency, smooth and glassy surface. These sets of properties are produced by supercalendering the greaseproof paper where it is wetted by water and pressed in a series of steam-heated rollers.

Glassine is a smooth and glossy paper that is air, water, and grease resistant. It is translucent unless dyes are added to colour it or make it opaque. It is manufactured by supercalendering: after pressing and drying, the paper web is passed through a stack of alternating steel- and fibre-covered rolls called a supercalender at the end of the paper machine so that the paper fibres flatten facing in the same direction.

It is used in foodservice as a barrier between strips of products (for example: meat, baked goods). Glassine is resistant to grease and facilitates separation of individual foodstuffs.

Surprisingly, glassine paper had been used as a water permeable layer in the development of contact dehydrating sheets for drying of products containing protein such as fish and meat.

Glassine paper finds its use as a liner for baked goods, biscuits and cooking fats. It is mainly used as a release liner in meat and baked goods as it facilitates the separation of individual pieces of food products. Glassine paper and kraft paper had been listed in approved packaging materials for the irradiation exposure of either food packed or the packaging material itself.

Paper is Best for Food Wrapping

Which paper product is best for which type of food and other uses?

What paper wrap should I use in pastries?

  • Wax Paper

What paper should I use in wrapping meat?

  • Butcher Paper

What paper wrap should I use in baking?

  • Parchment Paper

What paper wrap should I use in storing my groceries?

  • Kraft Paper

Which paper wrap is safe to use over the microwave for its durable component?

  • Greaseproof Paper

Which paper wrap is best used to separate between strips of product like meat and bread?

  • Glassine Paper


In conclusion, the best paper product for food wrapping depends on the type of food being wrapped. It is clear that there are many options available when it comes to food wrapping paper. Each option has its own unique benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, the best paper for food wrapping will be the one that best meets the needs of the individual or business. They can be used for different purposes such as lining baking pans, wrapping sandwiches, storing food, and any sort of food preparation.