Plates and other dishes have been used for hundreds of years and at that time, different materials have made different plates. The most common ones are plastic, glass, wood, melamine and ceramic plates.
Today, these plates and dishes are used in contemporary warming, baking and cooking appliances such as microwaves and ovens, bringing about the question of safety. Here are some of the questions and their respective answers.
YES, you can put a plate in the oven. Most plates are safe to be used in the oven, but there are some exceptions. These exceptions are based on the type of oven, the type of plate and the oven’s temperature.
Most plates state on the box or at the bottom of the plate if it is dishwasher, oven and microwave safe. In the absence of such language, it is vital to take precautions and study some more before putting a plate in either location. Vintage, hand-crafted and imported plates, for instance, may not offer a clue as to the safety of the plate in an oven, resulting in health risks, as well as the possibility of breakage because of temperature changes.
Ovens can get extremely hot and the type of material that makes the plate will make the difference. If the plate is made of:
1. Plastic or Melamine
Do not put it in the oven. Plastic melts at relatively higher temperatures and will not only mess your dish but your oven as well. Additionally, the fumes from the melting plastic will definitely irritate your lungs and you will end up breathing dangerous chemicals as well as releasing some more into the air.
It is safe to go into the oven, regardless of whether it is stainless steel, cast iron, or coated with enamel. However, take caution when taking the plate from the oven as it will get very hot.
Take additional caution as glass is tricky. Although it is safe to use up to certain temperatures, it could become highly susceptible to thermal shock, or abrupt changes in temperature, causing it to expand and contract at different speeds.
The thermal shock could cause the glass plate to crack. To avoid this, it can be tempered, which allows it to withstand such temperature changes, although is not always foolproof.
It can be used but in low-temperature ovens. If the plate underwent certain procedures post-firing, like printing or branding, there is the risk of things coming off the plate in your food, so take caution as well. Additionally, ceramic can become quite hot and you should also take caution when taking it from the oven.
Are Ceramic Plates Oven-safe?
So, if not all plates are oven-safe, the question becomes, ‘are ceramic plates oven-safe’?
The answer is yes, but of course with some exceptions. Not all ceramic plates are made the same way and some cannot withstand the extreme oven temperatures.
Ceramic is made of clay, powders, water and earthen elements, which are then shaped into the desired form, before being fired in a high-temperature oven.
It means that the glaze on a ceramic plate might not always be oven safe, especially if it is not waterproof and the porous clay underneath is not protected. This will make the plate subject to temperature alterations.
Can You Put a Ceramic Plate in a Toaster Oven?
YES, you can put a ceramic plate in a toaster oven. However, like the point above on what plates to put in an oven, there are exceptions, mainly because of changes in temperature.
All stoneware and ceramic dishes have the potential to crack when placed in a toaster oven because of the uneven heating of the elements.
Can I Put a Porcelain Plate in the Oven?
Of course, YES. During its creation, porcelain is heated up to about 2,650°F which is a much higher temperature than an oven can reach. Therefore, porcelain can withstand high oven temperatures of about 572°F without being damaged.
Porcelain dishes are non-stick and can be used to bake without greasing the oven. It also means they are easy to clean after use. additionally, they are non-porous, meaning they do not absorb odors, bacteria or ingredients. It also means they do not release hard chemicals even when heated as the clay is made uniquely with natural ingredients
At What Temperature Does Ceramic Crack?
Most ceramics CAN withstand high heat levels of anywhere between 1,800 °F up to about 3,000°F, without cracking. However, they can be quite sensitive to quick changes in temperatures or thermal shock, which could result in their cracking.
On the opposite end of the heat spectrum, Terra cotta and ceramic could crack if they are exposed to extremely low temperatures. This happens when water, which will be absorbed by the pots or plates, turns into ice below freezing temperatures, which is anywhere below 0°C or 32°F.
Can You Put Microwave-safe Plates in the Oven?
Not all oven-safe plates can be put in a microwave and at the same time, not all microwave-safe plates can be put in an oven. Microwave-safe dishes are tested and are safe for use in a microwave oven.
Some of them, especially the plastic ones, are not meant to be used in an oven because of their susceptibility to high temperatures after exposure for a long time. A microwave-safe plastic plate will therefore melt if used in an oven, ruining the food, the plate, the oven itself and the air you will breathe. They should not be used in an oven.
Some non-metallic microwave-safe plates are safe for use in an oven. They are explicitly indicated as microwave-safe and oven-safe, meaning they can be used in both conventional and microwave ovens. Some include ceramic, stoneware and Pyrex pieces or plates.
Some metallic cookware, plates, containers and dishes are often oven-safe. However, metal objects are never to be placed inside a microwave oven, because of the microwave’s reflection off the metal, meaning the food will cook or heat unevenly, and could also damage the appliance.
The general rule of thumb is that each plate, dish, container or cookware will be labeled as either oven-safe or microwave-safe. If there are no such labels, do not put them in either appliance. This, therefore, means, if a microwave-safe plate or dish is not labeled as oven-safe, do not put it inside an oven.
How Can You Tell if a Plate is Oven-safe?
To confirm if a plate is oven-safe:
1. Check the Label
Ovenproof ceramic plates are marked that they are safe for use in the oven. Check for a stamp at the bottom of the plate indicating as much, or check the box for the same. Before making a purchase, check for the label.
2. Check the Plate’s Thickness
The thickness of a ceramic plate can tell how much heat and temperature the plate can withstand. A thick ceramic plate in the oven will heat up slowly and when taken out of the oven, will cool down slowly. As such, the thickness helps protect the integrity of the ceramic plate from shattering because of the associated temperature changes.
3. Check the Material Used
There are different types of ceramic and each is made using different materials. Some clay formulas for ceramics are different and should be only used at certain temperatures. For instance, high-fired ceramics like porcelain are more resistant to thermal changes as compared to ceramic made of Terra cotta. As such, porcelain ceramic could withstand high oven temperatures with ease while the latter might not.
4. Availability of Certain Materials
Before putting a ceramic plate in the oven, make sure there is no metal, gold or silver trim on the ceramic dish
5. Status of the Plate
If the ceramic plate is glazed, make sure you do not subject it to too much heat or it does not get too hot. To test this, pour one cup of tap water in one corner of the oven and place an empty ceramic dish in this area. Microwave it for about a minute and if it stays cold, it is safe to use in the oven. On the other hand, if it gets too hot, do not use the ceramic plate in the oven.
5. Fine or Bone China is Not to be Put in the Oven
As a general rule, do not use fine china or bone china ceramic plates or dishes in the oven. However, if they are labeled as oven safe, perform the test above first.
What Items is Safe To Put in the Oven?
Wood should never be used in an oven. This is because it will likely warp, and if it is glued, the material will most likely get splits along the glue lines.
Metallic materials such as stainless steel and cast-iron plates are safe to be used in an oven. However, after heating, do not touch the material with your bare hands as it will be very hot. You should also not put in metal materials with non-metal parts such as those with wooden or plastic handles. This is because plastic melts off and wood will warp and most likely split along glue lines.
Food-grade silicone is safe for use in the oven and is very good for baking. It is practically indestructible against oven heat unless you cut it.
4. Oven-safe Glass
It is safe for use in the oven as it has been designed as such. However, be sure not to subject it to temperatures shocks, like placing it straight in a very hot oven or moving it from cold water straight into a hot oven.
Ceramics are generally safe for use in an oven. However, before doing so, check for the label that indicates the material to be oven-safe. Also, do not use plates or materials decorated with adhesive designs as they might peel off inside the oven and could affect your food.
For safety purposes, preheat the oven and let the ceramic warm in the oven. A slow change in temperature reduces the risk of breakage of the ceramic, and thermal shock could lead to it cracking.
Plastic materials are never to be used in an oven. This is because plastics melt at relatively high temperatures which might be achieved inside an oven, meaning the materials or plates themselves will melt. Confirm with a manufacturer because some plastics can withstand the heat, but are not easy to identify.
Melamine should not be used in an oven as it will expose the material to temperatures over 160°F. therefore, not only should melamine not be used in an oven, it should not be microwaved or be used with heat lamps.
Not all plates should be placed in an oven. Because some are microwavable, does not automatically translate to them being used in a conventional oven. As for ceramic plates, they can be placed in an oven, but caution is advised. Be sure to check if the plate is oven safe before placing it inside the appliance.