While often underappreciated, wax paper just may be your kitchen's secret weapon.
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Baking paper on wooden kitchen table for menu or recipes, top view
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Chances are, you have an abandoned box of wax paper stashed in the back of your pantry. You know, either from that one time you made chocolate-dipped strawberries for Valentine's Day, or because you mistakenly purchased one, thinking it was parchment. Granted, the wax paper may not be heat-safe (meaning, you should never stick it in the oven), but it still has so many more uses than setting chocolate in the fridge.

When you consider the following possibilities for wax paper, you'll see why it should be a regular suspect on your grocery list, rather than a forgotten box in your cupboard.

1. Let Your Cheese Breathe

You know that fancy paper they swaddle gourmet cheeses in? It allows cheese to "breathe,"  which prevents harmful bacteria from sneaking inside the wrappings but it also helps prevent the cheese from drying out. If you have wax paper on hand, you can always do right by your dairy — even if we're talking about a hunk of plastic-wrapped cheddar from the supermarket. Rewrap your cheeses in wax paper if you're planning to use them in the next three to four days. (Longer than that, and they should stay in plastic until you're almost ready to use them.) Bonus: if you have plenty of fresh cheese on hand, you'll always be ready to make Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip or Home-Style Macaroni and Cheese.

2. Line Your Refrigerator Shelves

Cleaning spills from fridges can be a pain, given that you practically need to empty the whole appliance in order to reach all the drips and drops. But if you use sheets of wax paper as a protective cover, especially for the shelves or cubbies where you keep your condiments, all you need to do is toss it once it gets saturated with leaky pickle juice, sriracha, or glops of mayonnaise.

3. Keep Ice Cream Fresh

We've all been there: you've spent all day craving a bowl of ice cream, only to pop off the top and find it covered with unappetizing ice crystals. Air and moisture trapped between the lid and the ice cream can turn into ice crystals. They might be beautiful, but they aren't tasty or pleasant. To prevent that from happening once you've broken the seal and dished out a scoop, simply cover the leftovers with a layer of wax paper.

Want to make your own ice cream? Check out our Allrecipes guide!

4. Make a Quick Kitchen Funnel

One of the difficulties of deep-frying in oil is figuring out how to dispose of it after. Ideally, you'd just pour it back into its empty bottle, although good luck trying that without making an oily, sticky mess. Once again, wax paper is your friend in a pinch. Since liquids won't leak through the wax, you can form it into a cone and create a tight funnel over bottles. Now, there's no excuse not to try this Triple Dipped Fried Chicken! And needless to say, easy oil disposal is just one benefit; use this trick whenever you need to transfer runny substances from one place to another.

5. Can Openers Need Cleaning, Too

We get it, your can opener is probably on the bottom of your list of priority cleaning projects, but just think of all of the fragments of food and bits of labels that can get caught between the blades. No need to break out the soap and water. Simply wipe with wax paper, and your opener will be good as new. The sticky wax helps trap the bits and pieces stuck around the device's rotating blades and hauls them out easily.

6. Prevent Messy Microwave Explosions

If you thought cleaning can openers was a pain, try wiping soup from the nooks and crannies of your microwave. The next time you zap something, be sure to drop a sheet of wax paper on top of it first, and prevent yourself an evening of scrubbing congealed tomato sauce splatter.

Homemade croissant preparing. Baker rolls the puff pastry stuffed with chopped almonds and hazelnut spread
Credit: Seva_blsv/Getty Images

7. Roll Out Dough Without an Excess of Flour

It's tempting to keep dusting flour on your surface when you're battling a sticky dough, but by the time you're done, you might as well be eating flour directly out of the bag with a spoon. Too much flour, even if you're trying to prevent sticking, can greatly affect the final flavor and texture of a cookie or pastry. However, since wax paper naturally provides a non-stick surface, it's perfect for slipping between your dough and the rolling pin. Go on and give the trick a spin by baking a batch of The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies.

8. Coat Your Cutting Boards

Or anything made of wood, from salad bowls to spoons. Wiping them with waxed paper will give them an excellent protective finish, effectively guarding against nicks and stains. Repeat often for the best protection.

9. Put a Lid on It

Can't find a top for your pot? Waxed paper is a great stand-in, especially if you don't want to over-boil your dish. Cut a circle that fits neatly inside, with a small slash in the center for allowing steam to escape.

10. Convince Stubborn Corks

Don't want that half-empty bottle of Merlot to go to waste, but can't manage to coax the cork back inside? Wax paper provides the perfect grip, for squeezing it in place so it retains that airtight seal. That said, you can always use your leftovers in this Wine-Braised Beef Brisket.

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