Can You Microwave Things that Say ‘Oven Only’?

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life and inadvertently put something in the microwave that wasn’t meant to go there.

Many of the food you buy these days comes with warnings like Do not microwave, or Oven only.

While some instructions are meant to be taken seriously, others may seem unnecessary.

So can you microwave things that say Oven Only? If a dish is oven-safe, that means it can withstand high temperatures.

So, technically, you could put an oven-safe dish in the microwave. After all, both appliances use heat for cooking food, so it stands to reason that you could use the microwave for cooking something that says ‘oven only.’

However, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Cooking anything in the microwave can result in uneven heating.

That’s because microwaves use waves to penetrate foods at different depths. Ovens use radiant heat, which heats from all directions at once.

With the waves emitted by microwaves penetrating from one direction, any part of your dish thinner than other parts will cook more quickly and be more susceptible to burning.

Also, microwaves often reach a lower temperature than ovens. All these make it difficult to guarantee that the inside of your dish is fully cooked.

Considering frozen pizza, for instance, before you put that frozen pizza in the microwave, it’s important to understand the potential consequences.

Microwaves work by rapidly vibrating water molecules, which generate heat. This process can cause problems for food meant to be cooked slowly, such as frozen pizza.

The rapid heating can cause the cheese to separate from the crust and make the sauce watery. The uneven heat distribution can also result in an undercooked crust.

So, while you may be able to put something in the microwave that says ‘oven only,’ it’s not always a good idea.

If you have any doubt about whether or not your food is safe to eat after microwaving, err on the side of caution and don’t risk making yourself sick with spoiled foods.

What Does it Mean if Something is Not Microwave Safe?

If a dish is not microwave safe, the materials it is made of will not hold up to the microwaves.

This can cause the dish to break or melt and release harmful chemicals into your food when heated.

It’s important to know what is safe in the microwave, so you don’t end up with an expensive mess on your hands.

Therefore, if you have something that is not microwave safe, don’t use it in the microwave.

The unsuitable microwave label applies mostly to dishes made of plastic, Styrofoam, or rubber materials.

These are not recommended for microwaves because they could get hot enough to melt.

Porcelain and ceramic dishes are microwave safe but shouldn’t have a metal lining, as this could create sparks inside the oven.

Glassware is generally fine, but if you’re unsure about anything else, just read the instructions and take the manufacturer’s advice.

If you are unsure if a dish is microwave safe, it is always best to err on the side of caution and not use it.

Many microwave-safe dishes are available, so there is no need to take the risk. When purchasing new kitchenware, look for microwave safe, oven-safe, or top-shelf dishwasher-safe labels.

These items will be safe to use in any setting. For items that do not have these labels, read the directions carefully and follow them accordingly before using them in any cooking appliance.

Most manufacturers will state whether an item is microwave-safe on the packaging.

To avoid any accidents with your new dishware, you can test the said item in the microwave by heating it for only one minute or less at first and wait to see how it reacts.

If there are no signs of damage or melting, then feel free to continue microwaving it.

Always watch the dish while microwaving; if anything starts smoking or burning, then unplug the microwave immediately and leave the door open until everything cools down.

If you are unsure whether something is microwave safe, contact the manufacturer or customer service of the store you purchased it from.

What Containers are Not Microwave Safe?

If a container is not microwave safe, it means the material used won’t be able to withstand the microwaves radiations. This can cause the container to melt, warp, or release toxins into your food.

Some materials that are not microwave-safe include plastic, Styrofoam, metal, glass, aluminum foil, and paper (including cardboard).

If you are unsure if a container is microwave safe, it is best to err on the side of caution and not use it.

You should always avoid microwaving any food in plastic unless it is clearly labeled safe for the microwave.

Doing so can cause harmful chemicals to be released into your food or drink.

They can leach from the containers when heated, releasing compounds like bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, polyvinyl chloride (PVC),  polystyrene, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and benzene. Some plastics are more susceptible than others.

Styrene, for instance, has been linked to cancer, while vinyl chloride is toxic and known to cause leukemia.

There have also been links between benzene and lymphoma, brain tumors, and chromosomal abnormalities.

All these chemicals have also been shown to disrupt hormonal balances, which may result in problems with obesity as well as diabetes.

Styrofoam, a type of plastic, contains harmful chemicals like benzene, which is known to cause human cancer.

This chemical and others get released into food when the Styrofoam is heated in the microwave.

It also has many side effects, like headaches, depression, and hearing loss.

To be on a much safer side, the next time you intend to heat something in Styrofoam, take the content out and put it into a microwave-safe container and heat.

Styrofoam can also cause a fire in the microwave. Containers made of metals are dangerous and not safe to be used in the microwave.

In microwave operations, microwave radiations are generated from the magnetron, which is absorbed by the water molecules in the food or item in the microwave.

Metals cannot absorb these microwaves, but these microwave radiations get bounced off them, creating sparks, which can easily cause a fire.

Aluminum foil is an example of a metal that doesn’t work well in the microwave because it’s designed to reflect electromagnetic waves instead of absorbing them, meaning radiation escapes back out and could cause fires.

And talking of paper, papers generally can’t stand the heat. So putting them in the microwave can cause them to catch fire or the least of emitting toxic fumes.

Paper products such as coffee filters, waxed paper, and parchment paper are all no-nos in the microwave.

Waxed paper typically releases carcinogenic smoke when microwaved, whereas coffee filters release cancerous dioxins, both of which would damage your health.

Parchment paper releases bad-smelling smoke too due to burning too quickly at high temperatures.

Is it OK to Microwave Frozen Food?

When it comes to microwave cooking, there are a few things to consider before popping something in the oven.

Yes, it is perfectly safe to microwave frozen food. Microwaving is one of the best ways to thaw food quickly and evenly.

However, not all frozen foods are suitable for microwaving. Some foods, like pancakes or waffles, can become rubbery or tough when microwaved.

Others, like vegetables, can lose their nutrients when microwaved.

So, when in doubt, check the package or consult a cookbook designed specifically for microwave cooking.

But even if you have no clue whether something is good for the microwave, remember that as long as you’re following some general guidelines about time (microwaves heat unevenly), power (the more power your oven has, the faster it will heat up), and types of containers (you should use something microwave-safe), you’ll be able to reheat any dish with relatively few issues successfully.

Emphasizing the types of containers and microwave-safe dishes is important so you don’t end up breaking your microwave or contaminating your food or drink.

You can find many different shapes and sizes of microwave-safe dishes at home goods stores, so just make sure they are labeled microwave-safe.

Even though not every type of dish may be made for the microwave, using one labeled microwave-safe reduces the risk of harming yourself or causing a mess with your microwave.


Yes, you can microwave things that say oven only, but that does mean it’s a good idea. And in doing so, there are a few things to remember.

Make sure the item is oven-safe, place the item on a microwave-safe plate or baking sheet, cook for a shorter amount of time than you would in an oven, monitor the food closely. In contrast, it cooks, and lastly, use caution when removing the food from the microwave, as it will be hot.

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