Do you microwave McDonald’s in the original takeout wrappers? From McDonald’s burger boxes to paper wrappers lined with grease-resistant coating, fast food burgers and sandwiches are served in many types of disposable packaging materials.
Burger wrappers from McDonald’s are coated with grease-resistant compounds, which can contaminate your food and are not safe to microwave for lengthy periods of time.
In general, the type of burger, condiments and ingredients will affect how you microwave a McDonald’s burger. But, is it safe to microwave a McDonald’s burger inside of the paper wrapper?
For starters, it’s important to understand what the fast food wrappers are made out of. Can the wrapper coating melt? What is the paper lining made out of? And, can the chemical compounds leach onto the food?
What are burger wrappers made of?
According to EWG, majority of fast food burger wrappers are coated with grease-resistant compounds that hold the sandwich layers of burgers together to serve cleanly.
The chemical components called PFCs, or perfluorocarbons, are widely used to make grease-repellent coatings. Fluoropolymer coatings and products are used because they resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water.
McDonald’s packaging does contain PFCs. Therefore, you should microwave McDonald’s burger wrappers with food inside for less than 30 seconds.
For example, popcorn bags are also coated with PFCs to prevent grease from leaking out. When you heat the microwave popcorn inside the wrapper for about 4 minutes, the PFC chemicals can easily leach onto the popped kernels.
It is still doable to microwave wrappers for less than 30 seconds. However, it’s best to avoid using extended periods of time if you are going to use a burger wrapper in the microwave.
Are McDonald’s burger wrappers microwave safe?
Microwaving a cold burger in a disposable wrapper is not recommended, but it is doable. It’s best to reduce the power level to medium and nuke for less than 30 seconds to minimize the risk of leaching harmful PFCs onto the sandwich.
The wrapper will heat the burger quickly to almost steaming for a quick turnaround. However, steam has a high heat transfer level which ultimately exposes the integrity of the wrapper.
If your burger is at room temperature, simply switch to a medium power level for a short duration. You may want to substitute the wrapper for a paper towel so that the burger does not get soggy when you reheat it in the microwave.
To be on the safe side, refrigerate the burgers inside an airtight storage container, and then microwave on a plate with a paper towel underneath. If you cover the sandwich with lid while storing, then you won’t lose any moisture causing the sandwich to dry out.
Can you microwave fast food wrappers?
Not every type of disposable packaging is safe to be used in the microwave. The answer really depends on what type of materials are used to make the fast food wrappers.
Wrappers containing metal foil outside the paper are extremely dangerous to use inside a microwave. If you microwave metal, it will create sparks that could ignite the grease inside the burger and cause a fire.
Wrappers containing grease-resistant coatings inside the paper may contain harmful chemicals that can leach onto food if used inside a microwave. The PFC coatings are only designed to hold hot food, and not intended to withstand influxes of high heat from a microwave.
These oil-repellent chemicals that coat fast food wrappers can migrate onto the food and potentially stay in the body for years. As a result, it’s not recommended to microwave fast food wrappers because they are no considered safe to use for reheating food.
Things to know before microwaving McDonald’s wrappers
Simply refrigerating a leftover burger and popping it into the microwave in its original wrap is a questionable practice. Even though the disposable wrapper makes reheating quick and convenient, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe.
From slice of tomato to lettuce pieces, some burgers include toppings and ingredients that are not heat friendly. Therefore, it’s slightly difficult to reheat a burger on a single setting.
Here are essential things to know before microwaving McDonald’s wrappers:
- Always check the wrapper to see if it is labeled as PFC-free paper before you decide to use in the microwave.
- Consider using a microwave safe plate instead of leaving the burger inside the wrapper.
- Add a paper towel to absorb any extra moisture from inside in order to keep the buns dry.
- Reduce the power setting to medium when reheating food in a microwave.
- Avoid over heating burger wrappers in the microwave for more than 2 minutes.
- If the McDonald’s burger is frozen, let it sit at room temperature to defrost before nuking for 30 second increments.
Even though McDonald’s burger wrappers are safe to transport takeout food, that does not make them safe to microwave food inside. Consider properly storing leftover burgers inside an airtight container, and using a microwave safe plate that is lined with a paper towel to prevent a soggy bun.
If you have consistently used a McDonald’s wrapper to reheat burgers in the microwave without experiencing any problems, then proceed with caution. However, fast food wrappers that are lined with grease-resistant PFCs may leach hazard chemicals onto food when heated in the microwave.
When in doubt, wrap leftover food aluminum foil, plastic wrap or place inside an airtight container before storing in the refrigerator. Always use a plate that is labeled as microwave-safe, reduce the microwave power level to medium and use 30 second increments when nuking.