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Butcher Paper vs. Parchment Paper: A Comprehensive Guide

Butcher paper and parchment have various culinary uses. They’re also similar in appearance, so some may think they’re the same. However, by comparing butcher paper vs. parchment paper you can see they are different in materials, texture, and heat tolerance, which means they can’t be substituted in all applications.

Butcher Paper vs. Parchment Paper: A Comprehensive Guide
  • Butcher paper and parchment paper are important kitchen tools for baking, cooking, smoking, and storing.
  • Butcher paper is absorbent and used for wrapping meats, while parchment paper is non-stick and used for baking.
  • Both butcher paper and parchment paper can be used for packaging and covering surfaces.

What Is Butcher Paper?

Butcher paper is a strong, durable, and slightly porous paper made from wood pulp. It is designed to wrap raw meats and fish, protecting them against airborne and flavor contamination.

Butcher paper is often treated with sizing agents to make it more resistant to moisture, which is useful for cooking, preparing, and packaging sandwiches and meats.

Butcher paper can be useful in packaging and shipping sensitive products like flowers, plants, and presents. It is also used in the food industry and comes in different types and colors.

Learn More: What Is The Best Meat Slicer? The 10 Best Types for Home and Industry

Different Types of Butcher Paper

There are different types of butcher paper available based on color, thickness, and usage, including: 

  • White Butcher Paper
  • Pink/ Peach Butcher Paper
  • Peach Treated Butcher Paper
  • Gardenia Butcher Paper
  • Steak Butcher Paper

To select the proper butcher paper, you should consider both your budget and your needs.

White Butcher Paper

White butcher paper is uncoated and FDA (Food and Drug Administration)  approved. It is commonly used to wrap sandwiches and meats.

It's also ideal for wrapping meats before smoking, allowing smoke to penetrate without trapping moisture.

Pink/ Peach Butcher Paper

The color of pink or peach butcher paper ranges from light tan to dark pink. The primary function of these colors is to mask or cover blood and juices from raw meats.

This strong and leak-proof paper allows the meat to breathe while protecting it from contaminants, which is an important feature for smoking meats.

It's ideal for wrapping meats for smoking as it absorbs smoke while keeping the meat safe.

Peach Treated Butcher Paper

Peach treated butcher paper is similar to regular pink butcher paper but with an important difference: it is treated with a sizing agent that helps preserve fresh meats for storage.

The treatment allows enough oxygen to reach the meat, keeping it fresh and maintaining its bright red color.

Gardenia Butcher Paper

Gardenia butcher paper offers superior moisture protection and holdout. It prevents the leaking of oil or juices while remaining breathable to prevent sogginess.

Steak Butcher Paper

Steak butcher paper is used to display beef and pork but is suitable for all meats in butcher cases. It seals in juices and prevents color loss, ensuring a fresh and appealing presentation. It is available in various sizes and colors, including green, black, white, and peach.

While most of these types of butcher paper are suitable for butcheries, you can use them in many kitchen activities for wrapping and storing foods.

Learn More: What Is The Best Knife for Cutting Meat? 10 Best Meat Carving Knives

When to Use Butcher Paper?

Butcher paper is used in many applications, such as:

  • Wrapping and Packaging
  • Preparing Foods
  • Barbecue and Smoker

Wrapping and Packaging

You can use Butcher paper to wrap meat, poultry, fish, and various items, such as gifts and flowers. It keeps food fresh and protected from bacteria, serving as a lightweight and easy-to-store alternative to plastic wrap.

It's particularly effective for temperature- or moisture-sensitive items, maintaining their quality during storage.

Preparing Foods

Butcher paper is versatile for commercial and home use, as it can cover food while it cooks, wrap items, and line baking sheets.

Barbecue and Smoker

Butcher paper is commonly used to wrap brisket for BBQ cooking, helping to retain moisture and add flavor.

Peach treated butcher paper allows smoke to penetrate and enhance the smoky flavor of meats during smoking.

Another paper that looks similar to butcher paper is parchment paper, but it serves different purposes due to its unique properties, which can affect cooking and baking results.

Learn More: What Is The Best Meat Dehydrator for Jerky? The 5 Best for Home

Best Butcher Paper Brands

Bryco Goods, Meat Hugger, and Reynolds Wrap are among the best butcher paper brands.

What Is Parchment Paper?

Parchment paper, also known as baking paper, is a cellulose-based paper processed to have non-stick, grease-resistant, humidity-resistant, and heat-resistant properties.

It's widely used in baking and cooking to prevent food from sticking and can withstand temperatures up to 220°C.

Unlike waxed paper, parchment paper does not have a wax coating. Instead, bleached and organic paper is silicone-coated, which makes it safe to use in ovens and microwaves without melting or affecting the taste of the food.

Like butcher paper, parchment paper has different types for various needs and cooking methods.

Learn More: White Meat vs. Dark Meat: Which One Is Better for You?

Different Types of Parchment Paper

There are different types of parchment papers in the market that may look the same but are different products. The most common types of parchment paper include

  • Standard Parchment Sheets
  • Bleached Silicone-Coated
  • Organic Parchment Paper

Standard Parchment Sheets

Standard parchment sheets are readily available at most grocery stores. They are suitable for wrapping food and layering burger patties or lasagna sheets before freezing.

However, standard parchment sheets are not recommended for baking because they lack a silicone coating. This coating is essential for providing the non-stick properties that are needed during baking to prevent food from sticking to the paper.

Bleached Silicone-Coated

Bleached silicone-coated paper is treated with a thin silicone layer, giving it a non-stick surface. It's ideal for baking macarons and meringues due to higher heat resistance up to 480°F (about 250°C) than standard paper.

Organic Parchment Paper

Organic parchment paper is unbleached, eco-friendly, and made without chlorine or bleach. It is thicker than standard paper and ideal for baking. It can perform well at high temperatures without releasing toxins.

Learn More: The Best Meat to Smoke: 15 Best Cuts to Throw into the Smoker

When to Use Parchment Paper?

You can use parchment paper in many applications, such as:

  • Baking: Line baking sheets or pans to prevent sticking and promote even baking for cookies, cakes, pastries, and bread.
  • Roasting: Place under vegetables or meats to avoid sticking and easy cleanup.
  • Cooking: Use for cooking foods like fish in parchment to retain moisture and flavor.
  • Freezing: Separate layers of foods like burger patties, lasagna sheets, or baked goods to prevent them from sticking to each other.
  • Wrapping: Wrap sandwiches or other food items for storage.

You can see that there are many similarities between butcher paper and parchment paper, especially in their use. So can I substitute parchment paper for butcher paper? To answer this question, we need to compare butcher paper vs. parchment paper.

Learn More: What Is The Best Way to Cook Tomahawk Steak: Grilling or Oven-Cooking?

Best Parchment Paper Brands

You can use King Arthur Baking, If You Care, and Katbite products as high-quality parchment paper producers.

Butcher Paper vs. Parchment Paper

To choose the best paper for our needs, we must compare butcher paper vs. parchment paper based on the following features:

  • Material,
  • Appearance,
  • Texture,
  • Uses,
  • Heat Tolerance,
  • Pricing, and
  • Availability

Understanding these differences can help you choose the best paper for cooking, freezing, and smoking.


  • Parchment paper is made from cellulose fibers like cotton or flax and coated with silicone for non-stick properties.
  • Butcher paper is made from wood pulp, giving it strength and absorbency.


  • Parchment paper is thin and smooth and available in brown or white.
  • Butcher paper is thicker and available in various colors, such as white, pink, and peach.


  • The silicone coating on parchment paper gives it a non-stick quality that makes it a good option for baking. This feature allows baked goods to be removed easily from the paper without sticking, maintaining their shape and appearance.
  • Butcher paper is absorbent and clings to moisture, making it great for wrapping and storing meat.


  • Parchment paper is best for baking, lining pans, wrapping foods, and other uses where you need a non-stick coating.
  • Butcher paper is used for wrapping and storing meats, particularly for smoking, as it absorbs moisture while allowing airflow.

Heat Tolerance

  • Parchment paper can handle temperatures up to 420°F (about 220°C) without burning.
  • Butcher paper is less heat-resistant and can burn if exposed to direct heat for too long (More than 10 minutes, depending on the temperature and the heat source).


  • Both are affordable, but parchment paper is usually slightly cheaper due to its thinner layers and wider availability.

The following table summarizes the main differences between butcher paper vs. parchment paper to help you compare them easily.

FeaturesButcher PaperParchment Paper
Materials Treated wood pulp Cellulose materials from trees and other plant types
Appearance Different colors, sturdy and thick Brown or white
Texture Absorb moisture, sticks to wet food Non-stick and greaseproof
Heat Tolerance Up to 420°F Up to 450°F
Uses Best for smoking, roasting, wrapping and storing, table and tray liners, arts and crafts Best for baking, roasting, wrapping and storing, catching food drippings

The final point we need to consider is when you want to freeze or smoke meat. Which one you can use? Butcher paper or parchment paper?

Which One Is a Better Option for Freezing?

Comparing the use of butcher paper vs. parchment paper for freezing, we realize that parchment paper is a better choice due to its non-stick surface and moisture resistance. But it’s better to use bleached or organic parchment paper as they’re silicone-coated.

It helps maintain food texture and flavor by preventing the absorption of excess moisture during thawing.

In contrast, butcher paper is suitable for refrigeration, as its breathable texture doesn’t protect the food against freezer burn or moisture loss.

Therefore, parchment paper can better preserve food quality in long-term freezing.

Which One Is a Better Option for Smoking?

When comparing butcher paper vs. parchment paper for smoking, we realize that butcher paper is a better option as it allows smoke to penetrate the meat’s texture while maintaining the meat's moisture, which is essential for a better flavor and texture.

In contrast, parchment paper is not suitable for smoking as it traps moisture, affecting the quality of the meat.

So, as you can probably see, we can substitute these two kinds of paper in some cases but not in others. Let’s see when they can replace each other.

Can You Substitute Parchment Paper with Butcher Paper?

Using parchment paper as a butcher paper substitute depends on why you want to use these papers. Parchment paper and butcher paper have different features, but there are some situations where you can substitute one for the other.

When to Substitute?

  • Wrapping and Packaging: Both can wrap sandwiches, meats, and baked goods. Butcher paper is sturdy and can handle some moisture.
  • Covering Surfaces: Both can cover countertops or tables during food preparation to keep surfaces clean.

When Not to Substitute?

  • Baking: Parchment paper is non-stick and heat-resistant, so it’s a good choice for baking. But butcher paper is not designed for high heat and can burn in the oven.
  • Cooking: Parchment paper is good for direct heat cooking methods, like en papillote (the food is put into a folded pouch or parcel and then baked). Butcher paper can withstand lower heat for smoking meats but is not ideal for baking or high-heat cooking.
  • Non-stick Needs: Parchment paper is specifically treated to prevent sticking, making it suitable for baking cookies, cakes, and pastries. Butcher paper lacks this non-stick feature.


Your choice of butcher paper vs. parchment paper depends on how you want to use them.

Whether as a business or home cook, you can use either of them in packaging or covering surfaces, but as they are made with different materials, you can’t always use them as substitutes.

Parchment paper is a better option for baking and cooking, while butcher paper is the ideal choice for applications like smoking.

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