Are Paper Plates Microwave Safe? FIND OUT

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You are never cautious when reheating food on stovetops. But when it comes to microwaves, we all are watchful because of the radiation, fire hazards, toxic chemicals leaching into our food, and the fear of cancer.

The bowls and plates that go in the microwave with our food have to be microwave-safe. With the increasing convenience of paper plates, we are often inclined to put paper plates in the microwave.

But are paper microwave plates safe? Or, to be specific, are all microwave plates safe?

Generally, microwave plates are safe to be used in the microwave oven if they are purely made of paper. However, some paper plates can’t be used in the microwave.

Before going into details we suggest you to check our top picks for the best stainless steel microwave and the best 700 watt microwave.

Are Paper Plates Microwave Safe? FIND OUT

To understand this, let’s break down paper plates into categories according to their make and coating to determine their safety in the oven.

  • Paper plate made of natural material
  • Paper plates laminated with plastic
  • A paper plate with printing
  • Paper plate made of recycled material
  • Paper towel
  • Wax paper & brown paper

Paper Plate Made of Natural Material

A paper plate made of 100% natural material without inclusion of harmful chemicals or coating is safe to use in a microwave. A paper auto ignites at 451 degrees Fahrenheit, and since the oven barely gets beyond 212 degrees Fahrenheit, it shouldn’t burn in the microwave.

Paper Plates Laminated with PlasticPaper Plates Laminated with Plastic

Just like plastic is not safe in the microwave oven, any paper plate laminated with plastic is not safe to use in an oven. The reason is; the heat can melt the plastic that can get mixed into the food, making it harmful to consume.

A Paper Plate with Printing

Paper Plate with PrintingA paper plate that has anything printed on it shouldn’t be used in a microwave, as you never know what type of ink was used in printing, and it can leach chemicals in the food. Would you eat the food with ink in it?

Newspaper: Similarly, a newspaper shouldn’t go in the microwave as the ink on it releases itself with heating and can get mixed in the food.

You may also like to check our list of the most affordable microwave.

Paper Plate Made of Recycled Material

Paper plates made of recycled material are also not safe to use in microwaves as they might contain chemicals that may not be safe for your health.

Using Paper Towel in Microwave

Using Paper Towel in MicrowavePaper towels are safe to use in the microwave. But paper towels absorb moisture, and the oil drips or moisture can create a hazard.

Paper towel is fragile, it may get wet due to absorption of moisture and tear out. The food can drop in the microwave when taking it out. So, either use extra paper towels to absorb excess moisture or use them for short intervals.

You can use paper towels or parchment to cover the food to avoid splattering.

Wax Paper & Brown Paper plateWax Paper & Brown Paper

According to USDA, wax paper is safe in microwave ovens and doesn’t cause any harm to the food. However, parchment paper is still the better choice as it can withstand up to 420 degrees Fahrenheit.

Brown Paper is not deemed safe for the microwave.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

How long can a paper plate be in the microwave?

A paper plate marked as “microwave safe” shouldn’t pose any problem. However, considering the fragility of the paper plate, it shouldn’t be used for more than 3 minutes in the microwave. Keep checking on it from the microwave window to avoid any accidents.

How can you tell if a plate is microwave-safe?

Check the manufacturer’s label. If it has a label of “microwave-safe,” you can use that plate in the microwave.

Else, keep a microwave-safe cup filled with water along with the paper plate in the microwave oven for 60 seconds. If the plate is hotter than the cup, it’s not safe to use it. You can use it without any worry if the plate is colder than the microwave-safe cup.

Why does an empty paper plate not heat up in the microwave?

An empty paper plate will not heat up in the microwave because of the microwave’s working mechanism. Microwaves work by vibrating water molecules in the food, which in turn heats the food.

If you keep an empty paper plate, there will not be any water molecules in it, so the plate would be cold to touch.

Are Dixie paper plates microwave safe?

Yes they are microwave safe. However, it depends on the type of food you are re-heating. If the food contain oil, we advise you to don’t use Dixie paper plate for that.

Does using paper plates in microwave cause cancer?

No! using paper plates in microwave oven does not cause cancer.

Wrapping Up!

Even though most paper plates are considered safe, you should always check for a “microwave-safe” label at the bottom or on the packaging. If there is no label on it, then figure it out by analyzing the material. If you are still unsure, then better leave it as nothing is more important than your family’s health.

About Amelia

Hello, I’m Amelia. Welcome to my blog KitchenUnder100.Com. Over here I regularly post kitchen hacks, reviews of kitchen tools, utensils and related articles. My mission is to search and recommend the best kitchen products, so you don't waste your precious time and money on anything that is not worth it.

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