Skip to Content

Can you microwave soup containers?

Sharing is caring!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Is it safe to microwave soup containers? Paper soup cups used to transport hot liquids are not designed to endure the extreme heat inside a microwave. Even worse, you risk the possibility of the paper cup catching on fire!

The recommended method for reheating cold soup is to use a glass or ceramic container that is labeled as microwave safe. The natural materials don’t retain unwanted smells that can transfer undesirable flavors.

Access to a full-sized kitchen isn’t always available. Instead of a takeout soup container, consider reaching for a coffee mug to reheat soup in a pinch.

What are soup cups made of?

Disposable soup bowls and to go soup cups can be made from a number of different materials like paper, plastic and Styrofoam. Nowadays, compostable earth-friendly alternatives can be derived from corn, potato, tapioca, sugarcane, etc.

It can be difficult to distinguish the specific contents of these materials unless they are accurately labels or you are an industry professional. Biodegradable are much better substitutions for the plastic and Styrofoam containers of the past.

Are hot soup cups heat resistant?

When examining cookware, it’s important to distinguish the difference between the terms heat-resistant and fire-resistant.

  • Heat-resistant tolerates temperatures up to 140°C
  • Fire-resistant tolerates heating between 250-300°C.

Styrofoam is a highly combustible material that should be kept away from sparks or open flame. It can with stand the temperatures of hot food, but it will melt if the temperature is high enough.

Technically speaking, Styrofoam melts at 464 °F. However, there are question as to whether or not the chemical compound leach into both hot and cold foods at any temperature.

Plastic bowls are generally not considered microwave safe unless specifically labeled “safe for microwave use.” You can check the bottom of the soup container to see what plastic compound is used. The number on the bottom relates to the type of chemical compound used to make the container.

  • 5 is polypropylene, PP, and is generally considered safe to use in the microwave.
  • 1, 2, 4 are sometimes microwave safe.
  • 3, 6, 7 are not microwave safe

Paper soup cups and to go soup bowls are designed to hold hot foods, but they are not made to withstand the intense heat of a microwave and may catch fire. In addition, the inside coating of the paper cups is usually lined with wax, plastic or a combination of the two.

Can you microwave soup in a paper bowl? All natural and compostable paper products should not be used in the microwave because they are generally coated, sealed, or glued in order to hold liquids and stay in one piece. These additives could leach into your food.

Disposable soup bowls are designed to be:

  • Durable for stacking
  • Prevent leaking
  • Retain warmth
  • Heat-resistant up to 175 °F (80°C)

Although sometimes we feel indestructible, when it comes to specific materials they do have specific functions that react to scientific principles.

In this circumstance, you now learned that a disposable soup container is predominantly heat-resistant and intended for use with that specialized purpose. If you have investigated by using your home microwave to heat up to go hot soup cups, then you can swiftly reheat up leftover or takeout soup.

Blue bowl filled with dumpling soup and clear bone broth. Chopsticks are laying on the side.

Are takeout soup containers microwavable?

Why can’t I put your disposable soup bowls or to go soup cups in the microwave? Styrofoam, plastic, paper and compostable soup containers are not microwavable unless labeled “microwave safe.” They are meant to hold hot foods, but are not designed for use in the microwave.

The glue at the seam can loosen and the cup may start to leak. Worse case scenario, the glue, wax or plastic lining melts and leaches chemicals into your food. It’s even possible for the takeout soup cups to catch on fire!

Although the microwave is a source of convenience, it must be used with caution and manufacturers instructions should be strictly followed. We recommend microwaving in glass or ceramic containers labeled as microwave safe.

Things to know before microwaving disposable soup containers

Microwaving a disposable soup container is an easy way to reheat leftover soup and avoid dirtying a dish in the process. However, it is recommended to microwave soup in a glass or ceramic dish labeled as “safe for microwave use.”

According to the USDA, leftovers are considered a potential food safety hazard and soups should be reheated to 165 °F.

Be sure to heat your soup to the precautions you should take to avoid having soup explode in the microwave.

There are a few things you need to be aware if you choose to microwave a soup container.

  • Disposable soup containers are not designed to heat food in the microwave unless labeled “microwave safe.”
  • Never place an empty soup container in the microwave without any soup. To go soup containers are flammable and can combust when heated using high heat without food to absorb the microwave’s energy.
  • Verify to make sure the soup container does not contain any metal parts. It’s never safe to microwave metal because it may spark and damage your appliance.
  • Check the contents of the soup container because some to go soup cups and disposable bowls contain plastic or wax coating. If the inside of the container feels smooth or glossy to the touch, then it could partially melt and leach chemicals into your food.

The best recommendation is to avoid using a disposable soup container to reheat leftovers. I understand no wanting to dirty a dish, however the probable danger is not worth taking the risk.

Stick to more conventional methods like using a properly designed microwave soup bowl. Furthermore, consider using a pot on the stovetop because the soup will heat up much more evenly and come to a rolling boil, which is considered a safer food handling procedure.

Can you microwave soup containers?