My Babys Amazing Baby Gears Can You Put Paper Plates in the Microwave – Is It Safe?

Can You Put Paper Plates in the Microwave – Is It Safe?

12. Can You Put Paper Plates in the Microwave1
Read Time:11 Minute, 24 Second

Plastic is handy, resilient, and ubiquitous, but can you put it in the microwave? While a lot of us may be tempted to zap food right in its storage container, with plastic, a little extra time and knowledge can go a long way.

While some paper plates can be microwaved, others have coatings made of plastic or other materials that, when heated, can melt or leach chemicals into your food. You should be able to determine whether something is microwave-safe from the label.

Cleaning up after a party or potluck can be challenging. Consider the aftermath of your most recent birthday or backyard barbecue: dirty dishes are piled high and randomly, silverware is dispersed, and plenty of warm, cold, and appetizing appetizers are required. Now is not the time to serve food on your family’s most expensive dinnerware, if that sounds familiar.

Can You Microwave Paper Plates?

After discussing paper plates and microwaves separately, let’s combine them and answer the question at hand. Is it possible to microwave paper plates?

We apologize if you were hoping for a definitive response, but the answer is both yes and no. The kind of paper plate makes a difference!

In general, using paper or any paper product in the microwave is completely safe. To microwave a paper plate, thus. Newspapers and brown paper bags are a couple of the exceptions because they will likely catch fire and leak ink. But generally speaking, 100% paper plates ought to be microwave-safe.

What about the ones with a plastic coating, then? Well, as we previously stated, it is dependent upon the plastic used for the coating. Some plastics can be heated in the microwave without harming the food; other plastics cannot and will simply melt.

The only way to find out is to examine the packaging information or test the plate for yourself.

Understanding Paper Plates and the Microwave

There are many different paper products available that can make events like meals and parties easier and cleaner.

We can feed large crowds or just ourselves on paper plates without having to worry about the cleanup afterwards.

The best way to know whether a paper plate, bowl, or other paper material is truly microwave-safe is to check the packaging. Of course, there are times when that is not an option. To begin with, it might be difficult to find on the packaging.

Then there are those of us who simply open the packages, throw away the contents, and put the items in our cabinets or wherever. If the packaging isn’t still in your possession, you can’t possibly refer to it!

The real secret is to be aware of the advice for inspecting it as well as resources and what plates are or are not secure before you purchase them.

If you have never thought to ask yourself if the plates you are buying are secure, try to develop the habit of doing so going forward.

Is Your Paper Plate Safe for the Microwave?

A plastic coating may be applied to some paper plates in an effort to increase the plate’s durability or usability. Those plates that boast they can withstand all food without leaking, right?

Those plates might not all be secure. Now, before you go throwing out your plates because you’re concerned you’ve been eating off of dangerous plates, it’s ok.

We don’t intend to group every plate into one of these categories; instead, we merely want to draw your attention to some things to look out for.

Some plates have a plastic coating, while others don’t. Without being coated in plastic, plates can still be robust and long-lasting.

We can’t just telepathically understand what is on our plates. The use of due diligence in this situation is beneficial.

For instance, the majority of us are accustomed to using disposable dishes and plates from the Dixie brand. Both heavy-duty and microwave-safe materials are used in the construction of their lines.

With no worries about risks or chemicals leaking into your food, they can support both hot and cold dishes and be microwaved.

The good news is that most paper plates are made to be microwave-safe but it is still important to check out your plates just to be on the safe side.

Tips for Testing Plates for Microwave Safety

Don’t worry if you are now looking at your plates and getting concerned for their security. Recall that we said that most paper plates are secure. There is a way to test the plates to determine for certain if you want to.

Furthermore, we would like to point out that even microwave-safe plates work best when heated briefly in the microwave.

Be cautious when microwaving these and know that the longer they are microwaved or the higher the power, the quicker things can change.

If you want to try out a play, here is a quick way to do it.

  1. Put a plate and a small bowl next to each other in the microwave, with the bowl filled with water.
  2. For one minute at high power, microwave this mixture.
  3. When the allotted time has passed, gently touch the plate.
  4. The plate isn’t regarded as microwave-safe if it is extremely hot to the touch.

If you have any doubts about whether your plates are truly microwave-safe for your needs, you can test them in this straightforward manner.

We like to use the adage “don’t take the chance” when referring to packages that are not expressly marked as microwave-safe.

Items that can be used in the microwave or that might be mistakenly believed to be microwave-safe are almost always marked as such.

This holds true for silverware, cups, plates, and bowls that are disposable. Even items like paper towels and napkins could have these markings.

Depending on the plates you are using, you might not be able to microwave them.

Will the Chemicals in Paper Plates Affect Your Food?

The presence of chemicals that might leak into your food is another common unknown when it comes to paper products. You’ll hear from many people who advise against microwaving Styrofoam products for this very reason. This is only an illustration.

Some plates contain chemicals like BPA or something that is similar to BPA is something you should be on the lookout for.

You shouldn’t microwave dinnerware that contains BPA or polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS. Even the label “microwave safe” may be present on some of these.

However, it’s a good idea to double-check to be safe. The majority of microwave-safe products won’t have these.

You shouldn’t microwave disposable plates or dishes if they contain these chemicals because doing so could cause the chemicals to seep into your food.

The majority of disposable dishes come with a BPA-free label, which is something to look out for.

What Can You Microwave?

How many things can be microwaved safely may surprise you. The following substances can generally be used in a microwave, though you should always check labels or owner’s manuals to be sure.

Glass and Ceramics

Glass and ceramic dishware are usually safe for microwave use, but there are exceptions like crystal and some handmade pottery. As long as there aren’t any metallic paint or inlays on the glass or ceramic plates, bowls, cups, mugs, mixing bowls, or bakeware, you should be safe.

Plastic, Including Tupperware

While some plastic containers can be used in the microwave without harm, there are some you should stay away from. It is never advisable to microwave food that has been packaged in single-use plastic, such as yogurt, cottage cheese, and other items. The same rule applies to plastic take-out containers that don’t expressly state that they are microwave-safe. Do not use plastic containers that are cracked, worn out, or discolored. The best plastic containers for microwave use are typically those designed for longer-term storage, like Tupperware.

Paper Plates

Although some disposable tableware has a thin plastic coating, plain paper plates can be microwaved. Make sure a paper plate or bowl is clearly labeled “microwave safe” before you put it in the microwave.

Paper Towels

Most paper towels can be used in a microwave. Some foods can even be covered with a paper towel while being cooked or reheated to prevent spitting. If you do microwave with a paper towel, it’s best to use shorter intervals so you can check the food and the towel more frequently. Recycled paper towels, printed paper towels, paper lids, and brown paper bags shouldn’t be used because they could be dangerous to your safety.

Ziploc Bags

According to Ziploc, their food storage bags are safe for defrosting or reheating foods in microwaves, “when label directions are followed.” If you prefer a different brand of bag storage, make sure it is microwave-safe and adhere to all instructions. Keep the bag out of the microwave if you are unsure of the type of bag you are using or if you don’t have access to the instructions.

12. Can You Put Paper Plates in the Microwave2

What Can’t You Put in the Microwave?

There are many items that can and cannot be placed in a microwave, despite the fact that there are many. It is best to avoid using the following items in the microwave and to switch any food or liquid in them to microwave-safe containers.


It must be noted on the packaging that certain varieties of Styrofoam are safe to microwave. It is best to avoid using Styrofoam in the microwave if there is no label indicating that it is safe to do so or if you are unsure of what kind you are using.


Can you microwave cardboard the same way you can paper plates and towels? After all, both are made of paper. Sadly, cardboard sometimes contains glues, waxes, and other substances that can make it a danger in the microwave. Some cardboard takeout boxes even have metal fasteners or handles that can spark and pose a fire hazard. By removing food from cardboard containers and placing it on microwave-safe plates or bowls, you can keep your microwave (and your family) safe.

Metals Including Stainless Steel and Aluminum Foil

Never place anything in your microwave that is made of or contains steel, iron, copper, or any other hard metal. Microwaves are reflected off of metal surfaces, which raises the temperature inside the appliance and increases the risk of fire. Remove any food that is currently being kept in a metal container and put it in a container that can be heated in the microwave.

It can be challenging when using aluminum foil. Although foil can technically be microwaved, its surface must remain as flat as possible. Wrinkles or crumpled foil can cause “arcing”—that is, it can cause electric sparks to shoot across the surface of the foil, potentially damaging your microwave or causing a fire. Aluminum foil will reflect radio waves, so food wrapped in it may not cook or reheat properly in the microwave. Each microwave is different, learn more about how a microwave works or consult your owner’s manual to determine if aluminum foil is safe. Whenever possible, keep all metals out of your microwave.

How to Know If Something is Microwave-safe

There are always exceptions even though there are general rules for containers that can be used in a microwave. If you aren’t sure whether something can go in the microwave, check the back or bottom to look for a microwave-safe label or symbol. If you can’t find one, try to ascertain the item’s composition; this will give you a better idea of whether it is suitable for microwave use. Just keep in mind: if in doubt, leave it out if you can’t tell what a container is made of. It’s the best way to make sure that your microwave will continue to function properly for many years.


We hope that this explanation of the microwave safety of paper plates is clear to you and useful. To guarantee the safety of your plates, there is a lot to know and be aware of.

For some additional information that might be helpful to you, we encourage you to read the question and answer section that follows.

How Long Can a Paper Plate Be Microwaved?

You don’t need to worry too much if your plate is microwave-safe. You shouldn’t have any problems using the microwave to properly heat your food. However, you should exercise greater caution the longer the plate is in the microwave.

To ensure your safety and the durability of the paper plate, we advise against microwaving anything on a plate for longer than three minutes at a time.

What Symbol Means Microwave-Safe?

A microwave symbol or the words “microwave-safe” may be all that is needed to indicate safety instead of the words themselves.

You can check a container to see if it is microwave-safe by looking for #5 as well.

What Other Things May Not Be Safe to Microwave?

Not all surprising items are suitable for the microwave, including paper plates. Although it is common knowledge that metal poses a significant fire risk in the microwave, there are other household items and materials that pose less obvious risks.

Though many substances, such as styrofoam and some plastics, won’t necessarily melt in the microwave, they will silently release toxic chemicals into your food as they heat. When microwave cooking, glass and ceramic are always the best bets.

We’ve found a helpful video from the BuzzFeed Multiplayer channel on YouTube about 13 things you shouldn’t microwave if you’re worried that what you don’t know will hurt you when it comes to microwaving various materials.

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