Microwave oven is a great kitchen appliance to cook or reheat your favorite food. One minute is enough to reheat any leftovers if there’s a microwave in your kitchen. But, can you put a ceramic plate in the microwave to reheat those leftovers?
Last week, I threw some leftover fried chicken in a ceramic plate and placed it in my microwave. After two minutes, I opened the door to flip the chickens and became surprised. Chickens were cold but my plate was scalding hot.
I thought my microwave got an issue. So, I sent a mail to the manufacturer describing the details with images and came to know the fact that not all the ceramic plates are microwavable.
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When can you put a ceramic plate in the microwave
Two types of ceramic plates are available in the market. Some are safe to use in the microwave and some are not safe. It depends on the methods and materials used to manufacture the ceramic plate. So, manufacturers label safe ceramic pottery stating “heatproof”, “microwave safe” or “safe to use in the microwave”.
You can put a ceramic plate or bowl or mug in the microwave if you can see this safety label on the back of your pottery. But, all the ceramic products that are microwave safe are not always labeled as such. Sometimes they forget to label their products which can make you a bit confused and this easy test will make you determined if your ceramic pottery is safe to use in the microwave.
How to know if your ceramic plate is microwave safe
Sometimes, using the ceramic plates or mugs in the microwave that come with the label also can be unsafe. It’s because from the lab test, manufacturers become sure that you can use their pottery in your microwave without damaging anything.
But, this label doesn’t ensure that your ceramic plate won’t explode, melt, break, or vomit large amounts of chemicals or get hot while microwaving your desired food. And here you can’t blame the manufacturers as they are not required to test their ceramic products if these are safe to handle after microwaving. So, this simple test will help you determine which ceramic plates are microwave-friendly-
- Place the ceramic plate you want to test inside the microwave
- Put a glass with one cup of drinking water on the plate
- Make sure there’s not even a single drop of water on the glass body
- Set your microwave to high and heat for one minute
- Then carefully test the temperature of the ceramic plate
If the plate is hot after microwaving and the glass of water is cool, your plate isn’t microwave safe. If the plate is cool and the glass is hot, then it is microwave safe. The area of your plate where you placed the glass may feel slightly warm. After having your test result, you can put your ceramic plate in the microwave if it’s microwave safe. Following this same process you can also test any other containers.
Why are some ceramic plates not microwave safe
As a happy owner of a microwave, you already know that ceramic bowls or plates are a great choice to microwave your food. But, sometimes ceramic pottery also feels very hot after microwaving and some of them are also not safe to use in a microwave.
The ceramic pots become hot if instead of passing the pot, microwaves start interacting with the pot itself. Let’s see why it happens to some ceramic pots-
As you know, microwaves interact with the water molecules in the food to heat them and it’s sure that there is no water in the ceramic pottery to absorb microwaves. But because of the manufacturing method, there can be minerals in some ceramic beauty. If a ceramic plate has much of these minerals, it’ll get very hot after microwaving.
Color is another ingredient to make your ceramic pot very hot in the microwave. Microwaves interact with metal and dark color contains manganese which is a type of metal. So, dark color ceramic plates become hot in the microwave. There’s another type of ceramic plate available in the market that you shouldn’t use in the microwave. This type of plate is designed with metallic trim which causes overheating.
Which food containers are safe for the microwave
In general, glass, plastic, paper and styrofoam food containers are safe for the microwave. But, just like ceramic plates, not all the food containers made of these materials are safe to go in the microwave. Some containers are made of such materials which contain chemicals that may leach into food when it’s heated. Anyway, the following food containers are considered as microwave safe-
Plastic food containers
Most of the plastic containers are safe to go in the microwave as microwaves can easily pass through plastics. But, you shouldn’t use a plastic container to reheat your food unless it’s labeled as “microwave safe”.
Moreover, you shouldn’t heat dry foods in a plastic container because it may melt and get mixed with your foods. Also try to avoid one time containers (cottage cheese, margarine or yogurt containers) to use in your oven.
Styrofoam food containers
These types of food containers are specially designed to help you carry lunch from your kitchen to the workplace. So these are actually microwave safe. But when microwaving liquid foods, don’t keep heating once your food boils and don’t use it to heat foods (soup, ramen etc) that contain fat.
Paper lunch bag
Some foods are served in the paper box or paper lunch bag. Paper plates and bowls are also very popular for the go getters as you don’t need to wash them. Just eat and throw. These are also okay to go in the microwave.
But, you shouldn’t keep it for a long time there as they aren’t designed to withstand heat. They can be used to reheat your dry snacks that need only a few minutes to be heated. And never use newspaper in your oven. They are very famous for leaching ink.
Aluminum foil is not used to reheat any food, rather it’s used to cook certain turkey, chicken or duck recipes. It prevents meat from getting overcooked. But, be careful that no part of your aluminum foil should go close to the microwave wall. If it touches the side walls, it’ll start sparkling.
Take-out food containers
Some take-out food containers come with metal handles. So, you can use it in the microwave to reheat your food if you can remove the metal handles. If the handle is not removed, it may cause the container to burn or at least it’ll burn your skin as soon as you touch it.
Metal food containers
Metals can absorb heat, but microwaves can not pass through metal. So, be careful while using metal food containers in the microwave. Food inside this container will not receive enough heat to be cooked. Anyway, you can use this pot to reheat your food. Just don’t forget to remove the lid.
Stainless steel containers
Microwaves can easily heat up this type of container. So, you should not use it for a long time to microwave your food and don’t forget to use kitchen gloves while taking out your container from the microwave.
Easy guide to use food containers or utensil in the microwave
So, you already know that you should be careful while choosing any food container or utensil to use in the microwave. The following bullet points will help you enjoy safe microwaving-
- Test every newly purchased ceramic plates or other utensils to determine if these are safe to use in a microwave and use a marker pen to mark the safe ones.
- Always use microwave safe food containers and utensils to cook or reheat any food into your microwave.
- You can use paper plates to reheat food items but the plate must be unprinted.
- If there’s any metal, gold, silver or platinum composition or decoration in your dinner plates or cookware then you should avoid them to use in the microwave.
- It’s better not to use metal utensils in a microwave. Metal doesn’t allow microwaves to pass and spread heat properly.
- Be careful when using plastic or styrofoam food containers in your microwave. These may melt with heat generated from butter, oils, etc.
- Always ensure that there’s at least a 1″ clearance on all sides including at the top of the food.
Foods you shouldn’t cook in the microwave
You’ve already known which dish and food containers are safe to use in the microwave. But, sometimes unwanted things may happen even after using microwave safe food containers. It’s because some foods are not microwave friendly. These are the most common foods which have enmity with microwave-
No matter it’s cooked or raw, you shouldn’t microwave frozen meat. Microwave can not evenly pass heat through frozen meat. As a result, the centre of your meat will remain frosty while the edge will start scorching. Not only it’ll destroy the taste of your meat, it’s also prone to grow bacteria.
Note: You should let your frozen meat defrost naturally unless you like to eat super delicious bacteria with your unevenly cooked meat.
Anything with a shell or tight skin should not go in the microwave. Because of microwaves, the liquid of the egg will start steaming, steam will create pressure and pressure will cause the egg to explode. Can you imagine what will happen to your microwave after the egg explosion?
Better Alternative: Egg explosion can be one of the earth’s coolest gift ideas to surprise your ex-boyfriend. But, to avoid this viscose explosion, you better use your instant pot to cook the whole egg.
It’s true that microwaves can heat or boil water. But, superheated water is dangerous to handle with bare hands. Moreover, it never shows any signs of boiling. It looks like normal water which may prompt you to touch it. And as soon as you touch it, you’ll badly feel it. It releases heat if it’s moved.
Safe alternative: Use a water heater or pressure cooker or a tea kettle to boil water.
You may need to soften raisins to cook some desserts. So, you may think of microwaving them. Raisins are safe to go into the microwave with other foods. But, it’s not safe to throw a bunch of raisins into your microwave. These are prone to smoke and eventually can cause fire.
Alternative way to soften raisins: Put the raisins into a microwave safe plastic food container, fill the container half with water, lock the container with lid and place it into the microwave. Microwave it for 40 – 50 seconds. After around 5 minutes, drain the water and use your raisins.
You shouldn’t heat any intake packaged food in the microwave unless you see the label stating that the pack is microwave safe. Some are of course microwave safe. But, you should throw the pack after microwaving because those packs are one time usable. Moreover, don’t forget to create a hole on the pack. It’ll save your pack from explosion by allowing steam to escape.
Great alternative: Use a microwave safe food container to microwave any packaged food.
Cooking hot peppers
Nobody usually cooks hot peppers in the microwave and you even shouldn’t try it out of curiosity. Peppers are also prone to explode when microwaved and pepper explosion is much more dangerous than egg explosion.
Peppers contain a spicy chemical named capsaicin which can easily get airborne. So, if it happens in your microwave, within no time it’ll turn into a homemade pepper spray disaster which will keep you crying out loud for hours to come.
Safe alternative: Use stove top to cook hot peppers and don’t forget to use mask while cooking it.
Some ceramic plates come with labels and some don’t. A few also clearly state the heat level. These labels only make you informed that those utensils neither damage your microwave nor get damaged because of microwave.
But they never ensure that they won’t be too hot to touch after microwaving your food. So, never forget to ask yourself whether can you put a ceramic plate in the microwave and test it to get the answer. It’s highly recommended to apply these hacks to test all other food containers before throwing in the microwave.