Butcher Paper vs Foil vs Parchment Paper

Butcher Paper vs Foil vs Parchment Paper – How To Choose?

If you are wondering what is the difference between butcher paper, foil, and parchment paper for baking cookies, I am here to help. A lot of people have asked me this question before and it can be difficult to answer without first explaining some background information on each type of material. This blog post will help explain which kind of paper is best for your needs.

What is Butcher Paper?

Butcher paper is strong, durable paper used in cooking and food preparation. This type of paper is most frequently used as a liner for grills, but it can also be used to line baking pans or mold oven-ready foods like homemade sausage casings. Despite its name, butcher paper has nothing to do with actual meat but rather is named after the thick cotton canvas fabric that is typically used in the same way as this paper. Butcher paper comes in rolls just like aluminum foil, parchment paper and plastic wrap.

Butcher Paper

Originally made from cloth or synthetic fabrics, today butcher paper can be manufactured out of recycled materials or even 100 percent cotton pulp without any additives that might affect flavor. It usually comes on a roll with each sheet measuring 18 inches wide and a yard long, but it can also be purchased in smaller sizes.

The most common side effect of butcher paper is a fire hazard, as the material is highly flammable. This risk is caused by greases or oils from cooking food becoming trapped between layers of paper.

When to use Butcher Paper

Butcher paper is an indispensable tool for barbecue grillers. When grilling with charcoal briquettes, the use of butcher paper can help you achieve the best barbecue possible. Butcher paper helps keep your food moist during long cooking times and prevents aluminum pans from coming in direct contact with the fire. This will cut down on your chances of getting flare-ups, which can char your meat if not careful.

What is Foil?

Foil is a thin sheet of metal used to prevent foods from coming into contact with other surfaces as they bake or grill. It’s made up of aluminum, which conducts heat very well and creates an evenly heated environment on any cooking surface for home ovens, grills and even campfires. Most types of foil are not meant to be reused and should be discarded after use. However, some types of specialty foil such as oven-safe and pizza stone foil can be reused as long as they are carefully washed and cleaned.


Foil is very thin, so it’s important to take some precautions when using this material. Most have a plastic coating or paper on one side that should be removed before cooking. It’s also a good idea to line pans with foil instead of placing the pieces directly on cooking grates for easy clean up. Any grease will drip off food onto the pan underneath helping to make oven clean up easier without compromising flavor.

While aluminum foil conducts heat well, it doesn’t diffuse it evenly across the entire sheet of foil like butcher paper does. This means that your meats may burn or overcook on the edges where there is more heat from the grill or oven. Oven-safe foil is designed to withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it a better alternative to regular aluminum foil when cooking items in the oven that may release grease during preparation.

Foil is commonly used in grilling or smoking different types of meat, but this material can also be used for baking biscotti or even lining cookies sheets before baking cookies. A major benefit of having both butcher paper and foil on hand is their ease of use when making bacon. Line the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil then cover this layer with one sheet of butcher paper. This will prevent any oil splatter while your bacon cooks on the stove top, leaving you with an easier clean-up process after cooking is done!

When to use Foil

Foil has its place during the cooking process. With some types of food, aluminum foil can serve as a great tool in sealing in moisture. When grilling items like corn on the cob or larger vegetables, you might want to wrap them in aluminum foil after piercing with a fork, then placing directly on the grill rack or coals. This is an easy way to keep these goods from falling through the cracks while grilling.

What is Parchment Paper?

Parchment paper acts in much the same way as foil but does not contain any aluminum. While it can be used to line grilling surfaces or pans for baking, its primary use is when cooking fish. By placing a sheet of parchment paper over an exposed surface, there’s little danger of overcooking your fillets. The high heat sears food on top while locking in moisture and flavor on the bottom side.

Parchment Paper

Parchment paper is made from heavy-duty paper that is coated with silicone or other non-stick compounds similar to Teflon. Just like foil, it’s important not to reuse parchment paper because accumulated grease will stick to exposed surfaces which can lead to smoking if exposed to direct heat.

Parchment paper comes in handy when cooking fish but can also be used to make other baked goods such as cookies, muffins and cake pops. The material conducts heat well making it perfect for cooking pies, popovers and even baking brownies in a waffle iron! This last method allows you to bake multiple brownies in just minutes with little cleanup needed afterward since the paper can simply be disposed of.

When to use Parchment Paper

Parchment paper is not designed for direct exposure with hot charcoal fire, but there are other applications where parchment paper performs well when used with barbecue equipment. You can line your barbecue drip pan with it and line your grill rack before putting meat on it for easier clean up after your barbecue session is complete. Parchment paper has a non-stick surface if you need to make sure certain foods don’t stick to the grill while cooking.


While all three materials have their own benefits and drawbacks, butcher paper is the most versatile of the three mentioned above which makes its price tag worth it when purchased on a roll by the yard. However, if funds are tight foil will do the trick when lining pans or grilling while parchment paper is best utilized when cooking fish. If you’re looking to make a healthier version of bacon, parchment paper is the right choice for you!

Take-away from this article: Butcher paper can be used on grill surfaces or in ovens. Aluminum foil can be used as a pan liner but also has other uses such as lining a cookie sheet for baking cookies. Parchment paper is best utilized with fish, but it can also be used for making baked goods that contain flour.

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