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Is wax paper toxic? No, but… Let’s take a closer look at this kitchen essential.

Thanks to its wax coating, the non-stick and moisture-resistant wax paper is commonly used for wrapping foods. However, the thought of using something with wax on food can understandably create doubts about its safety.

It’s important to know if waxed paper is toxic. What if it gets stuck to our food, and we accidentally ingest some?

is wax paper toxic?

I won’t leave it until the end of the article to tell you that wax paper is non-toxic, and it’s not a cause for concern if you accidentally ate some.

Most manufacturers have foreseen the problem of accidental ingestion and have designed this type of paper to be food-grade.

For additional information about its safety, here is an in-depth breakdown of wax paper, what it is made out of, what it does, and under what circumstances it might become hazardous.

The Wax Paper Facts

is wax paper toxic

Is Wax Paper Toxic?

Wax paper is not toxic because it uses food-grade wax. It can either use paraffin wax, which is derived from petroleum, or soybean wax like If You Care’s wax paper.

For your peace of mind, you can also look for wax paper made with organic wax.

Besides soybean wax paper, the brand If You Care also has wax paper made from FSC-certified unbleached paper and plant-based carnauba wax, making it ideal for wrapping foods.

This particular carnauba wax paper is even chlorine-free, GMO-free, and compostable!

Is Wax Paper Edible?

Asking if wax paper is edible is like asking if you can eat parchment paper, aluminum foil, freezer paper, cupcake liners, and other papers we use with food.

Wax paper is not designed for consumption since it’s for usage with food and not the food itself.

However, if you eat a small portion of wax paper by mistake, you’re likely to not suffer from any adverse effects since it’s food-grade. This means the materials on wax paper are safe to come in contact with food products.

Will I Die If I Accidentally Eat Wax Paper?

If wax paper is NOT TOXIC, what happens if you eat it?

If you accidentally consumed a bit of wax paper, there’s no need to call your loved ones to bid farewell. 😅

First, wax paper isn’t sharp, so there is no risk of cuts once it’s inside the body.

Second, if the wax paper is also made from plant-based waxes like soybean or carnauba (wax made from palm!), you shouldn’t experience any adverse reactions.

Carnauba wax is actually widely used in food and cosmetics because it’s durable, non-toxic, and hypoallergenic!

But what about wax paper made with paraffin wax? Well, paraffin is not harmful in small amounts.

I also doubt you’ll deliberately go out of your way to consume a ton of paraffin wax paper.

But of course, every person is different. If you have another medical condition, call the local poison control center so they can guide you better on what to do.

What Happens If You Burn Wax Paper?

Burning wax paper can result in smoke, and because it’s coated with wax, it can also ignite.

This is dangerous, especially inside the house, so don’t put your wax paper near anything hot or flammable.

Wax Paper – The Pros And Cons Of Using It

Now that we’ve established that wax paper is non-toxic, let’s examine its pros and cons.

This common household material is useful for anything that doesn’t involve heat or fire.

You can use it with confidence unless you’re planning to wrap something hot with it or use the wax paper to line your baking sheet in the oven. These are absolute no-nos! 🚩

is wax paper safe

Wax paper is also incredibly helpful for keeping your kitchen countertops and tables mess-free. For example, you can turn your kitchen table into a non-stick surface to work your sticky ingredients like bread dough or any baked item. 

And while one of the cons of wax paper is you can’t use it in the oven, one of its pros is you can use it for cold storage.

The non-stick and moisture-resisting characteristics of wax paper can help protect your foods from freezer burn or keep them from sticking to each other in the freezer or fridge.

Use a piece of wax paper between your slices of bread and cookies, or wrap your blocks of cheese, fruits, and meats before putting them in a freezer-safe bag or container. 😉

Which Is Better: Parchment Or Wax Paper?

The difference between wax and parchment paper is the substances that coat them. Parchment paper is covered in silicone and comes in both bleached and unbleached varieties.

The silicone and how the paper is processed make parchment paper heat-resistant and oven-safe. What about wax paper?

It is also non-stick, like parchment paper. Sadly, the downside of wax paper is it can melt or even potentially burn in the oven.

You can only use wax paper for storage or to keep your foods from being a sticky mess. It’s often used for bakery items!

The main gist? Choosing between wax paper and parchment paper will just depend on what you need to do.

I highly recommend reading A Closer Look: Parchment Paper Vs Wax Paper? It’s a more in-depth discussion on the showdown between our favorite papers in the kitchen.

How Is Wax Paper Best Stored?

Ideally, it is best to keep wax paper in a room-temperature cupboard. Do not put it somewhere hot where it can melt or catch fire! 😱

Can I Eat Food Baked On Wax Paper?

The wax coating on wax paper means it can melt, smoke or catch fire inside the hot oven.

You’re likely to not even get the food you baked on wax paper because, I hope this doesn’t happen, you’ll just be spending your time trying to put out the resulting smoke or fire. 🧯

Does Wax Paper Melt In The Oven?

Yes, wax paper can melt in the oven.

In case I haven’t said it enough yet, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you use wax paper in the oven.

What Happens If You Bake On Wax Paper?

Wax paper is a fire hazard, so baking with wax paper is a bad idea. If you bake with wax paper, it can smoke, melt, or even catch fire.

However, you can use wax paper during preparations before baking. For example, line your work surface with wax paper to keep the dough from sticking.

Can You Cover Food With Wax Paper In The Microwave?

While I want to emphasize that wax paper is not oven-safe, the USDA mentioned that you can use it for microwave cooking. For example, wax paper can help catch the drippings from foods.

But when buying wax paper, look for a label on the packaging to see if the manufacturer recommends it for microwave use. There are different brands of wax paper in the market, so this extra step is worth it to be on the safe side.

Take note that you should still avoid using wax paper in the toaster oven!

Is Wax Paper Safe At 350 Degrees?

There is a debate about the safety of using wax paper at 350 degrees F.

However, you can just use parchment paper with confidence than risk it with wax paper, which is a known fire hazard.

Is Wax Paper Safe For Freezing?

With all the talk about the dangers of exposing wax paper to high heat, you can feel less anxious when using it for freezing.

Wax paper is safe for the freezer; you can even use it to store your food items for an extended period and prevent freezer burn.

What Foods Should Not Be Stored In Wax Paper?

Wax paper is useful for wrapping and storing food items at room temperature or somewhere cold, like the fridge or freezer.

That being said, you should not store hot foods in wax paper.

They might be too hot and cause the wax paper to melt, rendering it useless, and of course, it’s a real mood killer to have the packaging melt into the food you want to eat. 😑

When Should You Not Use Wax Paper?

Cooking with wax paper is discouraged because wax paper can smoke, melt, or burn. You should not use it for oven baking or any method that involves high heat.

This food-safe paper is best for lining surfaces or wrapping foods, but only if those foods are not hot.

Can You Use Wax Paper In Place Of Parchment Paper?

Wax paper and parchment paper have overlapping uses in the kitchen.

For example, you can use both papers to wrap your baked goods. However, wax paper is not recommended for wrapping anything hot, and you can’t use it in place of parchment paper for baking since wax paper burns easily.

If you’re out of parchment paper and need to put something in the oven, you can just grease the pan instead of reaching for your roll of wax paper.

What Can I Use If I Don’t Have Wax Paper?

If you don’t have wax paper, the best wax paper substitutes are parchment paper and freezer paper.

Food-grade parchment paper offers the same non-stick advantage as wax paper, plus you can use it in the oven, unlike wax paper.

And if you need wax paper to store any frozen food, your next best option, or an even better choice than wax paper, is freezer paper. This heavy-duty paper can withstand the temperatures in the freezer, and it’s actually perfect for storing frozen meats!

Our Final Say

So, is wax paper toxic?

Wax paper is not toxic because even though it’s coated with wax, it’s designed to be food-grade. And while it’s not a food item, you should be safe if you accidentally consume some.

Both paraffin and plant-based wax papers are non-toxic and free from harmful chemicals.

But for peace of mind, you can always look for a type of wax paper coated with soybean or carnauba wax; the latter is even hypoallergenic!

In my opinion, the most dangerous thing about the wax on wax paper is the fact that it can smoke, melt, or burn in high heat.

Wax paper is microwave-safe, but it’s never intended for oven use. So if you need to line your baking pan, use parchment paper instead.

I hope the reminders from this article will keep your kitchen quiet from smoke alarms. And for more frequently asked questions, visit our index of food-related questions and answers. Here are a few suggestions for you:

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