Ceramic is simply made from clay that is hardened by heat. The naturally constructed material suggests that exposure to heat is acceptable, but is it safe to microwave ceramic?
Yes, you can use ceramic cookware in your microwave without much worry. It is one of safest products that can be used in a microwave.
Having said this, we must also warn you that there are some precautions that need to be taken while using ceramic products in the microwave.
Any concerns primarily relate to the temperature of the ceramic, presence of water in the body of ceramic cookware and metal embellishments, decoration or support.
Microwave is a very useful modern kitchen appliance but cautions must be exercised while using safely. One of the most important precautions is to decide the kind of containers to use in the microwave.
Ceramic bowls, cookware and dishes may be microwave safe, but there are some types that are not. And if you use containers which are not safe, you are going to damage not only the container in question, but also the microwave, and the food you are cooking.
If not sure, it’s better to be check if a particular bowl, plate, or container is microwave safe. Some of them might crack, break or shatter inside the microwave. Foil-lined containers may even damage the microwave.
These features are hazardous as far as using them in a microwave is concerned. We will provide more details on this later in this article.
Is it safe to microwave ceramic?
Almost all kinds of ceramic cookware can be safely used in the microwave. Still, it is better to check them before using in the microwave because despite being microwave-safe some ceramic pots can crack and the glazing on the body and edges can get distorted.
To check if a ceramic pot can be safely used in the microwave, put the empty ceramic inside the microwave and nuke for about 20 seconds. If it gets too hot, it is not safe to use in the microwave.
The vessel has turned hot because it has higher water content inside the micro cavities on the surface. When the microwave starts the heating process, water in the ceramic vessel gets heated. As heat intensifies, the water starts boiling which can lead to a crack in the ceramic containers.
Furthermore, it is strictly not advised to use ceramics with metal decoration because the metal content may get melted on high heat inside the microwave. Ultimately, the design may lose their shape and delicate beauty.
Worse, metal in the microwave can cause sparks and electrical arcs, which can damage your microwave on a serious note. Sometimes, this can also lead to a fire inside the microwave causing more serious damages to the microwave and surroundings.
It’s advised to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines while using a cookware or a microwave for the safety of both – you and your microwave.
Can you microwave ceramic safely?
Modern ceramic cookware is safe to be used in the microwave because the materials and processes used in modern ceramic production. Nowadays, it is possible for the manufacturers to make ceramic cookware that is labeled as safe for use in the microwave.
When it comes to using ceramic bowls or dishes in the microwave, don’t ignore the potential dangers and hazards. But, is it okay to be so casual about microwaving ceramic?
Most ceramic dishes are safe to use in the microwave. These include ceramics that are hard and less porous.
There can be at least two types of clays:
- Less Refined: The other kind of less refined clay is fired at a low temperature, which results in a delicate and porous surface of the ceramics. This kind of ceramics is not suitable for microwave use.
- Pure Clay: Ceramic items made from pure clays are fired at a higher temperature. It gives a more glassy or vitreous final product. This kind of ceramics is more suitable for microwave use.
For example, vitreous china porcelain cooking products are mostly microwave safe. But if the ceramic products are softer and can absorb copious amounts of water, they may not be safe for microwave use.
There are some exceptions in both kinds of ceramic cookware. Therefore, it is better to remain cautious than casual.
The type of clay used in the making of the ceramic is among many things that can render a ceramic utensil unsafe even though it apparently looks fit for microwave use.
How do you test if a ceramic dish is microwave safe?
If you are not sure about the quality of a ceramic cookware, carry out a test to check if it’s of the right quality for microwave use.
- Place the empty ceramic container inside the microwave.
- Microwave on high heat for 20 seconds.
- Turn off the microwave after 20 seconds.
- Check the external temperature of the container.
If it is too hot to touch, it surely has high amounts of water inside the dish. If you use this kind of ceramic in your microwave for a longer period, it can develop a crack or even explode.
How long can you microwave ceramic?
If the ceramic you are going to use in the microwave is of the right quality, absorbing water less than 2% of its weight, you can use it in the microwave for as long as you need to.
But if it is not of the right quality, meaning it’s delicate, porous, and absorbs water more than 10% of its weight, you can’t even use it safely for one minute.
If it has any metal or glaze element in its design and decoration, you should not take any risk of using them in the microwave. We have elaborated the risks associated with the use of this kind of ceramics in the microwave earlier in this article.
Tips to Microwave Ceramic
It is a common misunderstanding to think that all ceramic dishes are microwave safe. Usually, ceramics are good for use in a microwave but you need to take a few precautions:
- Only use high quality ceramic products from reputable brands. The manufacturer will provide labels saying that the ceramic is safe to be used in the microwave.
- Avoid purchasing substandard ceramic cookware. So even by mistake it doesn’t sneak into your cupboard and end up getting into the microwave. While they are not safe for the microwave use, they can be used for storage of raw or readymade food items.
- Test the ceramic for microwave safety. Heat up the empty ceramic dish for 20 seconds in the microwave to test the external temperature. If the dish is too hot to hold, then there is too much water in the ceramic and it may potentially crack or explode when exposed to extended amounts of microwaving.
- Do not microwave cold ceramic. If the ceramic dish was recently pulled from the refrigerator or freezer, allow the dish to come to room temp before exposing it to heat. Cold ceramic will crack if directly contacted with high heat.
- Do not overcrowd food. Completely stuffing a dish that is overfilled with food will drastically reduce the efficiency of heating.
- Stick with similar foods. When heating food in the microwave, its best to stick with foods that are similar to one another. Time temperature and cooking techniques differ between every food item, therefore you may end up with off flavors or textures when food is mixed together. Heat similar foods to avoid such problems and make sure that all your microwaved food tastes great.
- Stop and stir. Microwave with short durations of time so that you can stir the food inside the ceramic dish. Stirring food promotes even cooking and reduced microwave time.
- Reheat food to proper internal temperature. Reheated food products should be microwaved until they are bubbly or steaming. Reheated food should be heated to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit or 74 degrees Celsius.
Microwaving Ceramic: Final Thoughts
Ceramic is made from clay that has been formed and heated to harden. The resulting ceramic dishes, tools and utensils can be used in common cooking applications with few exceptions.
Occasionally, the ceramic is less refined resulting in moisture being left inside the surface. If the ceramic is too porous or retains too much moisture, then the water inside can boil and split, crack or shatter the ceramic when overheated.
It’s uncommon to keep track of all the ceramic bowls and dishes in the kitchen with regards to where they came from and which ones can be used safely in the microwave. Therefore, it is advised to use high quality ceramic products in you kitchen so they are they only type that makes its way into the microwave.
Here are the best microwave safe containers to solve your cooking and storage needs. This alone can ensure an incident-free and safe use of the microwave involving ceramics.