Is It Really Safe To Microwave Wax Paper?

While we've occasionally experimented with cooking food in the microwave, we usually just use our microwave to reheat leftovers, and many of us rely on wax paper to prevent a mess in doing so. But is it really safe to use wax paper in the microwave?

Wax paper is exactly what it sounds like: a thin sheet of paper that's coated in paraffin wax. Like parchment paper, wax paper is a helpful non-stick surface for doing things like rolling out cookie dough, and can also be useful for wrapping up blocks of cheese before storing them in the fridge. According to Martha Stewart, unlike parchment paper, which is coated in silicone, wax paper isn't oven-safe, and could melt or even catch fire at higher temperatures. The good news, though, is that you can safely use it in the microwave without worry of a disaster.

According to the USDA, wax paper "should be safe to use" in the microwave. You can use it interchangeably with plastic wrap, cooking bags, parchment paper, and paper towels in the microwave, though you should check the product packaging of all of these items to make sure they say that they're microwave safe. The USDA does state that plastic wrap shouldn't actually touch the food that you're cooking in the microwave, but doesn't specify the same for wax paper.

There are a couple of helpful ways to use waxed paper in the microwave. You can steam vegetables or even fish in the microwave by cooking them in a dish covered with wax paper (doing so will keep the steam in and cook the food in a moist environment), or just use a square of wax paper on top of a bowl, plate, or other dish of leftover food to prevent splatters, so you won't have to deep clean your microwave every time you reheat last night's spaghetti (via Reynolds Kitchens). Not that we speak from experience, or anything.