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What is Edible Paper?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 16, 2024
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Edible paper is paper which can be safely consumed by people. As a general rule, it has a neutral flavor and texture, and usually it is designed to melt away upon contact with moisture. There are numerous variations on the basic edible paper concept, including flavored versions and varieties with more texture. Cooking supply stores usually stock this product, and people can also make their own, with the right equipment.

Technically speaking, most paper products are edible, in that people will not experience health problems as a result of eating them, but conventional paper is not very fun or easy to eat, because it has a high cellulose content and it is designed to last. Edible paper is classically made from rice and other starches, and the texture is much softer and more giving. While it may not be terribly exciting or fun to eat, it poses much less of a challenge than something like newspaper.

Most commonly, people use edible paper in cake decorating. They can print or paint a design on the paper with edible ink and then apply it to a cake. The moisture from the icing dissolves the paper, causing the image to sink into the frosting as though it has been printed on the cake. Commercial cake appliqués which home cooks can use to decorate their cakes rely on the same principal.

Other types of edible paper are designed to wrap sticky foods so that they do not make a mess before they are eaten. This practice is especially common in Asia, where edible papers are used to wrap candy and confections. People can peel the paper off, or eat it along with the candy. This type of edible paper tends to be a bit more durable, as it needs to be able to resist some moisture, but the heat and moisture of the mouth usually causes it to break up very quickly.

People can also use this type of paper as a novelty product. Edible origami, edible paper flowers, and a variety of other craft projects can be made with paper which is safe to eat, and decorated with safe inks and food colorings. Edible menus are another interesting way to use edible paper; restaurants which like to use edgy or peculiar devices to intrigue customers may offer their menus on edible papers, and in these cases the paper or ink may be flavored to add to the experience.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon128568 — On Nov 19, 2010

Where can I get edible paper for purposes of wrapping candy and confections in the DC, MD, VA area? Thank you in advance.

By anon126580 — On Nov 13, 2010

is a special printer needed for edible paper?

By musicshaman — On Sep 10, 2010

Does anybody know where to buy edible paper in Nashville?

By EarlyForest — On Sep 10, 2010

Where can I buy edible paper in Fort Lauderdale? I really want to make some spring rolls, but I want to make them from scratch, rather than using the pre-made wraps.

Any input is appreciated.

By TunaLine — On Sep 10, 2010

@anon34319 -- It's not too hard. Here's what you do.

Take some rice flour and mix it with water until it becomes like glue. I always start with half a cup of rice flour, and then add in water until I get to the desired consistency.

Then you bring a pot of water to a boil, and place a wooden hoop with cheesecloth held in it over the top of the pot, so that the steam goes through the cloth.

You can use a quilting hoop for this, just make sure that you get one that is the same diameter as your pot of water.

Next, put a thin layer of your rice paste on the cheesecloth, spreading it very thin with a spatula.

Cover the pot and let it steam the rice paste for about 3 minutes, certainly no longer than 5 minutes.

Then remove the lid, and roll the rice paper onto a rolling pin to take it off the cheesecloth -- careful, it's fragile -- and then roll it off onto a cooling rack. You have to let it sit for at least 12 hours after that, though longer is better.

Voila -- you are now able to make your own edible paper, though of course, if you want edible image paper, you probably still have to buy that.

By anon34319 — On Jun 20, 2009

How do you make edible paper?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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