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Is Butcher Paper the Same as Freezer Paper? The Differences Between the Two Kitchen Papers

When you go to the supermarket aisle, you’ll be met with a number of different kitchen papers. Parchment papers, wax papers, butcher papers, freezer papers, and so on…there are just too many to keep track!

One might think the technical term doesn’t matter. Paper is paper, right? As long as it’s designed for kitchen use, there shouldn’t be a problem. But that’s not always true, and the wrong application may even be dangerous at times!

Although a lot of the listed papers above might be used for similar purposes, each is designed for specific purposes.

So what’s the difference between butcher paper vs freezer paper?  Read on to learn the distinction between these two kitchen and BBQ accessories.

Butcher Paper vs Freezer Paper: A Comparison Between the Two

A lot of people use butcher and freezer paper interchangeably as they have a lot of shared properties.

Although both start as wood-fiber pulp and are used to wrap and preserve food, these papers serve two completely different purposes.

Butcher Paper

When we talk about butcher paper in this article we are specifically discussing pink butcher paper that’s used for BBQ (wrapping brisket or other cuts of meat you’d smoke).  Butcher papers are the identical twin of kraft papers. They both begin with the same raw material and share the same base. Due to this, some people use butcher paper in arts and crafts if they don’t have kraft paper immediately at hand.

But what exactly is the purpose of butcher paper? Let’s have a look.

Purpose

As the name suggests, butcher paper is used for cold-cut storage and wrapping meat. It’s easily foldable, and is often sold in rolls, so users can tear off appropriately sized strips of paper as needed.

They’re often found to be cheaper than freezer paper, even when purchased in bulk.

Material

As mentioned, butcher paper is primarily made from kraft pulp. It comes in two primary colors, white and brown, with the latter being more commonly bought.

Butcher papers are breathable and, unlike freezer papers, aren’t with wax or polyethylene plastic. Due to this, users may use butcher papers as a replacement for parchment when they don’t have it immediately to hand.

Due to it being made from wood-fiber pulp, the paper feels a bit grainy or coarse to the touch.

Other Uses

While originally marketed specifically to butchers to store and distribute meat, you’ll find that there’s a ton of other users for butcher paper.

Here are a few notable examples:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Children’s artwork
  • Packing china, glass, and other fragile items for safe transport
  • Paper bags
  • Posters and banners
  • Tray and table liners
  • Wrapping deli delights

Freezer Paper

If kraft paper is butcher paper’s twin, wax paper is the freezer paper’s sibling. Wax and freezer papers are commonly mistaken for each other because they look quite similar.

Purpose

Freezer paper is the best option for freezing foods, particularly meat and seafood. The wax/poly coating found in the freezing paper provides a ‘moisture barrier’. It protects it from liquid, oil, grease, or animal blood. This causes the paper to stay solid longer than butcher papers.

Freezer papers also prevent the liquid from the meat/seafood from leaking out and making a mess in your fridge. Butcher paper doesn’t have this quality, which is why it’s not the best for storing frozen food items for long durations.

Furthermore, freezer paper prevents freezer burns and keeps your products fresh by retaining its juice and taste. This is why freezer paper is often used to wrap sandwiches as it ensures the bread remains moist.

Material

Compared to butcher paper that’s thick and coarse, freezer paper is somewhat thin and is coated in a layer of plastic. This is what gives the freezer paper a waxy feel and appearance. Freezer paper is made of heavy-duty material, so it isn’t easily punctured or torn.

As only one side of the paper is coated with wax, people often write a date on its exterior to signify when the product is wrapped, and what’s inside the wrapping. Its moisture-resistant quality adds to the freezer paper’s overall strength.

Other Uses

Other than for freezing food products, freezer paper has a few other applications. This includes:

  • Embroidery template
  • Foundation for English Paper Piecing
  • Help cut shapes out of fabric
  • Lining food baskets
  • Stencils for arts and crafts
  • Wrapping sandwiches

Butcher Paper vs Freezer Paper: Main Differences

Here are some of the primary differences between the freezer paper and butcher paper:

  • Butcher paper is less expensive than freezer paper.
  • Butcher paper comes in a roll similar to kraft paper while freezer paper comes similar to wax paper/parchment paper.
  • Freezer paper has one side coated with wax/poly while the butcher paper doesn’t.
  • Although can be used for freezing meats, butcher paper won’t hold juices as effectively as freezer papers.
  • Compared to butcher papers, freezer papers aren’t heat resistant.
  • While butcher papers are thicker, freezer papers are sturdier.

Ultimately, when asked the question which paper is better, there is no right answer. The two can’t be compared. Both serve their own unique purpose and aren’t superior to the other.

FAQs

Can I Use Freezer Paper Instead of Butcher Paper, and Vise Versa?

Yes, either of these two papers can be used as a substitute if you don’t own the right one for the job. However, parchment paper is the ideal substitute for both butcher and freezer paper as it has the capacity to keep the meat moist.

Can I Use Paper Bags Instead?

We recommend you not to use paper bags as a replacement as it could be unsanitary. Although it won’t necessarily cause you a lot of harm, it’s important to be mindful of what you’re wrapping to prevent cross-contamination or distribution of bacteria onto your food.

Both butcher papers and freezer papers are FDA approved, which means that they’re safe to use in direct contact with food. Paper bags, on the other hand, aren’t.

Can I Use Either in the Oven?

For butcher paper, yes, you can put it in the oven. But under no circumstance should you use freezer paper as a substitute! As the freezer paper is coated with wax/poly plastic, the paper may either melt or burn and generally make a mess of your food and oven.

For a more permanent alternative, you can instead purchase a Silpat silicone mat for lining a cookie sheet.

Freezer Paper vs Freezer Bags: Which is Better for Storing Food?

The answer here is simple. Freezer paper is best used for storing meat and seafood items. Freezer bags, on the other hand, are best used for storing and freezing non-meat items such as vegetables, bread, dough, etc.

To extend the preservation of your food items even longer, we recommend you to use both at the same time if you have them available in your pantry.

Final Thoughts

So, is butcher paper the same as freezer paper? Definitely not. Although they’re made of the same paper base and are both FDA approved, they individually serve different purposes.

Freezer paper is best used for food products you’re looking to store in the fridge. Meat wrapped in freezer paper can last for up to a year, as opposed to other kitchen paper, as freezer paper is coated with a special waxy finish.

Butcher paper, on the other hand, is designed to wrap raw meats and fish. This allows them to be protected from airborne contaminants and flavor contamination.