There are a lot of things that we use in our kitchens because of how incredibly convenient they are. Paper plates are one great example of this! Aside from simply serving on them, it's nice to try and find other places to use paper plates too, like maybe even in the microwave? We have researched what happens when you put paper plates in a microwave so that you can get the most out of these disposable plates.
Paper plates can be used in the microwave. Before putting them in there, you just have to check what kind of paper plate they are to ensure that it's completely safe. For best practices, you shouldn't overuse these plates in the microwave. Some negative things can also happen if you microwave certain foods on a paper plate.
When it comes to convenience, the only thing that makes it better is finding ways to extend it! Before you run to the store and grab some paper plates, you should have all the information available. Continue reading below for all of the ins and out of putting paper plates in your microwave!
Putting Paper Plates In The Microwave
Since they are generally just layers of paper that form the plate, they are ok to heat up in the microwave. However, that doesn't mean that they have the same durability as a standard plate or microwave-safe dish. After all, even those start to break down from being microwaved enough times!
What To Check Before Microwaving A Paper Plate
You should always make sure that any dish is microwave safe before placing it in your microwave. Standard paper plates are microwave safe, but many varieties have plastic coatings and things that make them less safe. That's why you should skim the packaging first for the words "microwave safe" before doing so.
What Paper Plates Are Safe For Microwaving?
Standard plain paper plates are the best for microwaving. This is because they are more simply made and don't have tons of additives that can cause negative reactions when heated in a microwave.
Many paper plates with plastic coatings also state that they are microwave safe. However, you should always check the packaging because some may not be safe to microwave, especially for longer periods.
How Long Can You Put A Paper Plate In The Microwave?
Technically there is no exact point in time when a paper plate has been in a microwave for too long. They won't cross a certain threshold and burst into flames, fortunately. But that doesn't mean that it's safe to leave them in there forever. Experts recommend not microwaving them for longer than five minutes simply because of their disposable nature.
Can Paper Plates Catch On Fire In The Microwave?
Paper plates will not catch on fire in the microwave. That still doesn't mean that they are safe to microwave forever or keep using in the microwave over and over. Thankfully the science behind how a microwave heats things is why they are safe.
However, be on the lookout for paper plates that have a metallic finish or decor on them. These types of paper plates could certainly spark or catch on fire in the microwave.
Paper plates will still definitely catch on fire in the oven.
Can You Microwave All Foods On A Paper Plate?
While the paper plate will be fine in the microwave, that doesn't mean that it's ideal for every situation. Specifically, if you have especially greasy or wet food. This has more to do with how the liquid interacts with the paper plate than the microwave itself, but heating it doesn't help the situation.
When a lot of foods are microwaved, they release grease and moisture. That hot moisture and grease are going to get absorbed by the paper plate and cause it to start falling apart. This means that when you try to take it all out of the microwave, the plate might just fall apart.
A huge mess might be caused, and you might even burn yourself in the process. So always think about how foods will interact with a paper plate when they're heated before microwaving.
Microwaving Other Disposable Dishes
While we have established that paper plates are safe to microwave, that doesn't mean that all disposable plates or cups are.
Can You Put Paper Cups In The Microwave?
Paper cups are made differently than paper plates, so they don't microwave as well. Paper cups hold hot liquids great but being heated up in the microwave can cause issues. They usually have plastic or chemical coatings to hold the liquid in that can break down and mix with your drink if microwaved.
Paper cups also have seams held together by glue that can break down in the microwave eventually. For best practices, you shouldn't microwave them.
Can You Put Plastic Plates In The Microwave?
This really depends on which disposable plastic plates you purchase. Many of them are not safe in the microwave. They will not only melt but will also release toxins from the plastic into your food and make it unsafe to eat.
Some plastic plates are microwave safe, however. When it comes to these disposable plates, only microwave them if the packaging states that they are microwave safe.
Can You Put Plastic Cups In The Microwave?
Unlike disposable plastic plates, where some kinds are microwave safe, most plastic cups are not. Disposable plastic cups aren't built for hot liquids in general, let alone heating liquids in them. Even if they don't immediately melt, they will release toxins into your liquid. They are so flimsy that they won't last long in a microwave at all.
Can Styrofoam Plates Go In the Microwave?
Just like with the plastic disposable plates, it comes down to the microwave-safe label. For your safety, you have to identify that a foam plate is safe before microwaving it!
Some foam plates are made in a way that they are microwave safe. Others are not. Some additives are often added to foam plates that break down in the microwave and can cause long-term health issues.
Can You Put Styrofoam Cups In The Microwave?
Styrofoam cups are built for hot liquids. But just because they hold hot liquids well, that doesn't mean they microwave well. Not all foam cups are microwave safe.
However, many kinds of disposable foam cups are made so that they are microwave safe. As with the other items on this list, if it has the microwave-safe label, then it's fine. If it doesn't have that label, then it's going to cause problems in the microwave!
Can Disposable Bowls Be Microwaved?
Whether they are paper, plastic, or foam, it depends on the kind you purchase. Again paper bowls are built differently than the plates because they generally have a coating to allow for liquids. Before choosing a disposable bowl to microwave something in, check the packaging to make sure it's safe!
Wrapping It Up
Standard paper plates are fine to go in the microwave. They won't catch on fire, but to stay completely safe, they shouldn't be in there for longer than five minutes.
Also, don't forget to think about how the food will react with the paper plate in the microwave to avoid any issues. When it comes to all other cheap and disposable dishes, you need to make sure that they have microwave-safe approval. Now you can make those convenient paper plates that much more useful!
Check out the links below to learn more about the best ways to use your microwave!