Butcher paper vs parchment paper: what’s the difference?

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Last Updated on: 23rd October 2022, 12:53 am

Cooking is the finest art, and it can take years for one to master it. But there are several accessories that are really effective for cooking anything properly.

One of these accessories is the papers used in different cooking techniques for various purposes.

These papers help you level up your cooking game by making sure you don’t go wrong at any point.

Butcher paper is used for wrapping and parchment paper is used in baking to avoid cookies from sticking to the pan.

Both of these papers resemble each other to some extent, and beginners get confused over which one they should choose for their specific needs.

In this article we are going to explain the difference between parchment paper and butcher paper in detail . So let’s get started.

Difference between butcher paper and parchment paper

Butcher paper is one of the most common papers used in daily life . Even if you don’t recognize them effectively, you might have seen them on butcher shop.

Butchers usually wrap the fresh cuts of meat in butcher paper to store the meat while retaining it’s freshness.

While parchment paper is rarely used in comparison to butcher paper, it is the most ancient type of paper used .

They were used for writing in ancient times, and later people started using them in baking because of their non-stickiness.

Here is a detailed comparison between the two.


Every masterpiece starts with a basic foundation, and so does the cooking papers. The difference in their functionality arises from the way they are prepared.

You should keep in mind the composition of both when deciding which one to go with.

Butcher paper is is a simple Kraft paper that is made up of virgin wood pulp. Usually, It  doesn’t contain any chemicals that are hazardous for food.

It has a pink color naturally but can be modified to white or brown by using different chemicals.

While parchment paper was made up of animal skin in its early days, nowadays it is made up of cellulose .

It is then treated with sulphuric acid and silicone to make it heat resistant and non-sticky ,so that it can be used for baking.

Temperature resistance

Temperature resistance should be kept in mind while using these papers to make sure you don’t have to face any issues during cooking.

Parchment paper is more heat resistant to heat than butcher paper due to the presence of silicone.

Parchment paper is treated with silicone during it’s preparation.

Silicone is a highly heat resistant chemical that makes parchment paper resistant to higher temperatures, even in the range of 400-500 °F.

It doesn’t burn until it is placed until it is placed in direct contact with fire.

Butcher paper on the other hand  is really heat sensitive.

Although it can be used for smoking brisket within a smoker, a higher temperature can cause it to catching fire.

It catches fire quicker than parchment paper on contact with the flame.


The second thing to keep in mind is the thickness of paper. The thickness of paper is really effective in holding the paper in a single piece when exposed to moisture or heat.

In this case, butcher paper is thicker than parchment paper .

Butcher paper is thicker because it is designed for heavy-duty applications such as wrapping and smoking.

thick texture helps it retain it’s shape when left in smoker for several hours. It is also resistant to tearing.

While parchment paper is thinner than butcher paper. It is more delicate and can be easily torn.

Moreover, if it can fall apart if left in the smoker for several hours due moisture. It should be only used in baking or other processes for a short time.


The composition and features of the butcher paper and parchment paper make them appropriate to be used in multiple processes.

Even so, butcher paper is more useful than parchment paper because it is thick and lasts longer.

  • Butcher paper is usually used at butcher shops for packing meat. Furthermore, it is nowadays being used for wrapping meat like brisket and ribs to beat stall and avoid over smoking.

    This trend was introduced by famous BBQ expert Aaron Franklin while smoking brisket.
  • While parchment paper on the other hand, is usually used for lining the surface of the baking pan to avoid the cookies and cake from sticking to the pan.
  • Moreover, it is also used to cover the surfaces of various tables and stovetops to avoid contamination.


Stickiness of paper to various surface while cooking is also an important feature to count.

It helps us to cook out products without the effort of separating them from the pan.

In this case, parchment paper takes the lead because it is non sticky.

Parchment paper is non-sticky because it is treated with silicone during its preparation.

Silicone avoids the attachment of paper to the pan which makes it easier for us to take out our cookies from baking pan without any effort.

While on the other hand , butcher paper doesn’t have any non-sticky ingredients because it is made up of pure natural wood pulp.

It can stick to the surface of pans and other utensils . So it cannot be used as a substitute to parchment paper in baking.

Water permeability

The water permeability of the paper is crucial because it can help you cook food more effectively while cooking with different techniques.

Although both papers are best for their own specific uses, butcher paper can be declared as a winner here.

As mentioned above, butcher paper is made up of wood pulp, so it has a highly porous texture that allows the air the moisture to pass through.

It is really helpful when smoking brisket because it helps us to avoid drying out of brisket while allowing enough moisture to escape, so that the crispiness of bark can be maintained.

While parchment paper is dense in its texture, it is also treated with silicone and sulphuric acid which make it impermeable to moisture.

So moisture is trapped inside when using parchment paper. It might be helpful in baking,but it can result in mushy appearance of food in some cases.


Versatility means the ability of a product to he able to perform different functions.

Versatility is a major factor while comparing butcher paper and parchment paper because the versatile one will be more useful and worth it’s cost .

In our experience, butcher paper is more versatile than parchment paper because it can be used for various purposes ranging from storing meat to smoking meat.

Morever it also has some cheaper versions that can even be used for covering tables.

On the other hand, parchment paper is designed for specific use in baking. although it is also being used for covering stovetops and other things.

It is mainly useful for baking due to its non-stickiness. That is, butcher paper is a jack of all trades, whereas parchment paper is a master of one.

Budget friendliness

We know that good quality products comes at a higher cost. But if we can find something that can be budget friendly and effective at the same time, .

In this case parchment paper is cheaper than butcher paper.

Parchment paper is a simple paper that has silicone coating. It doesn’t cost much to buy a sheet of pack of parchment paper usually when your buy in bulk.

It is much cheaper in comparison to pink butcher paper.

While butcher paper prices can vary from paper to paper, But there are a few cheaper types of butcher paper available that can be used for  different purposes, but the pink butcher paper, which is the most effective butcher paper is a bit more costly than parchment paper.

Food safety

When it comes to the safety of food being cooked , none of the other factors matter.

But you don’t need to be worried about this because both of the papers are food grade and can be used for cooking without any issue.

Butcher paper is made up of pure natural wood pulp without any additives, due to which it is safe to be used in direct contact with food.

Morever it is food grade and FDA approved, ,so you don’t have to panic if it sticks to your meat.

Although parchment paper, on the other hand, contains some silicone and sulphuric acid, it is not dangerous for health.

According to several parchment paper manufacturers, parchment paper can darken at around 450 °F but doesn’t affect the quality of food.

Can you use them alternatively?

The simple and straightforward answer to this question will always be no.

You can’t use butcher paper and parchment paper alternatively in most cases because they are designed for specific purposes.

Butcher paper is designed to smoke brisket for several hours while retaining it’s original texture and effectiveness throughout the smoking process.

While if you use parchment paper in smoking, then it can start to fall apart after some time due to moisture.

Similarly, parchment paper is designed to bake cookies and cakes without sticking to surface of the pan.

Furthermore, it can withstand the temperatures as high as 500°F when preparing pizza. Butcher paper will start to catch fire at this temperature.

Although there are some uses where both of these can be used interchangeably. For example, for wrapping meat for delivery, you can use parchment paper or butcher paper alternatively.

Moreover, ,you can also use both of them for covering tables.

Finally, you should keep in mind that butcher paper is designed to allow air to breathe into the meat, while on the other hand, parchment paper is designed to trap the moisture inside.

That’s why you should preferably avoid using them interchangeably.

What is butcher paper?

Butcher paper is the most commonly used paper in butcher shops.

They were initially used by butchers to wrap the meat for delivery, but nowadays they are in vogue in the smoking space for wrapping brisket to beat stall.

They are made up of natural wood pulp and don’t contain any hazardous chemicals.

That’s why they don’t affect the quality of brisket being smoked They are food grade and FDA approved, so you can place them in direct contact with food.

They are really heat resistant and can withstand the smoking temperature for several hours.

They have a thick composition, due to which they don’t fall apart during the smoking of brisket and keep the brisket tender throughout the smoking process.

It is one of the most effective features of butcher paper that it can stay in its original shape of several hours.

The reason is that they go through a process called sizing, in which butcher paper is treated with different chemicals to improve it’s durability.

Speaking of tenderness, they are primarily used in smoking to smoke brisket. Brisket requires several hours to be smoked properly, due to which there are chances of its drying out.

By using butcher paper, we can avoid it’s drying and retain it’s moisture.

What Is  a Parchment paper

Parchment paper has taken the baking industry to new heights by giving the cooking experts a budget friendly and effective way to keep their cookies from sticking to the baking pan.

It has a non-sticky surface because it is treated with silicone during it’s preparation.

Silicone is the major determinant of the effectiveness of a parchment paper. The treatment of silicone increases the effectiveness of parchment paper in two ways.

First one is that it helps in making it non-sticky. While it helps parchment paper withstand higher temperatures.

Although,it is usually used in direct contact with food, you should be careful about that because parchment paper has two types: bleached parchment paper and unbleached parchment paper.

Bleached parchment paper can produce various hazardous chemicals upon heating.

The final Verdict

Butcher paper and parchment paper are two different papers used in different cooking techniques. Butcher paper is designed to be used in smoking while parchment paper is prepared to be used in baking.

parchment paper is more effective in withstanding the higher temperature while butcher paper is better for allowing breathing to meat.

Jakob miller
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