Best Container for Microwave
Buying Guide

Best Container for Microwave 101: What to Look For

Not all food containers should be used in your microwave. You should mostly use thick ceramic or glass dishes in your microwave for food reheating. Plastic can also be used with your microwave for reheating, but only the dishes with the microwave-safe label and symbol.

The symbol indicates it’s FDA-approved for microwave use and it’s BPA-free. BPA is a plasticizer that affects the hormonal balance of people. It can end up

As for the best container for microwave use, it depends on the material they’re made of. If it’s made of plastic, you should look for a microwave-safe label.

Buying Guide for Microwave Containers

Microwaves are readily available at hotels, campers, college dorms, schools, work offices, and homes. With so many people using this item, it’s only fair to promote safe food handling practices, which involves selecting the proper containers to place inside the device.

So what’s the best microwave container? It depends on what it’s made of. Microwave ovens are well-known for their accessibility and convenience. This is why they’re regularly used for reheating leftovers and sometimes with simple cooking.

Which Materials are Microwave-Safe?

According to FDA spokesman Michael Herndon, no studies show the short-term or long-term health effects of heating plastics that are microwave-safe. In other words, if you want to use a plastic container for your microwave, stick to those considered by the FDA to be truly BPA-free.

At any rate, here are the microwave-safe materials to look out for and microwave-unsafe materials to avoid.

Microwave-Safe Materials:

  • Ceramic and glass dishes.
  • Parchment and wax paper.
  • Napkins, towels, and paper plates.

See more: What Can You Put in a Microwave?

Microwave-Unsafe Materials:

  • Aluminum foil.
  • Brown paper bags.
  • Foam-insulated containers.
  • Onetime-use plastic containers.
  • Cold-storage plastic containers.
    • Yogurt tubs.
    • Margarine containers
    • Cottage-cheese boxes.
  • Dishes with metallic trim or paint.
  • Styrofoam or polystyrene containers.

Further reading: What Are The Things You Should Never Put In The Microwave?

Ceramics and glass dishes can also be considered microwave-safe by default but thin glass or ceramic can break from high-temperature microwaving. to err on the side of caution, only use the dishes marked as “microwave-safe” or “heatproof”.

Find out which of these materials are microwave-friendly and which ones you should avoid using with the microwave altogether. Ceramic and glass are the best, followed by microwave-safe plastic containers (they’re labeled as such).

What Should You Look for in Microwave Containers?

Many food containers shouldn’t be used for reheating food in your microwave oven. Manufacturers label microwave-safe plates, bowls, and cups. Those that aren’t shouldn’t be used inside the device. You can use ceramics and glass plates without the label but for the most part, only use thick ones that can resist thermal shock.

Thermal shock, by the way, is when an object heats up or cools down rapidly, leading to it breaking apart (as in the case of glass containers and ceramic dishes). As for everything else like plastics, cardboard boxes, and the like, don’t microwave them unless they’re labeled as microwave-safe.

Container for Microwave
Container for Microwave

When is a Container Not Safe for Microwave Use?

If you’ve ever noticed how certain plates or bowls you’ve just microwaved gets extra-hot compared to other containers, they’re high temperature because they’re not microwave-safe. The ceramic either has water content or it can’t take the hotness emanating from the food being reheated.

  • Not Extremely Hot: A good microwaveable container shouldn’t be extremely hot after removal from the microwave. A microwaveable container should instead partially or completely absorb the heat and remain cool to the touch while the food remains hot.
  • Not Made Equal: Not all containers are made equal and some distribute heat better than others. Ceramic and glass containers tend to be cool when microwaved and keep the heat on the food.
  • Plastic Microwave-Safeness and Metal Trims: Certain plastic containers should showcase microwave safeness as well. With that said, you should not use glass or ceramic dishes with metal trims or decorations.
  • Metal Causes Arcing and Sparks: Microwaving metal causes arcing, electricity bolts, and sparks. This is a fire hazard and it can superheat your food or drink. You can also damage the microwave itself with potential short circuits.

Why are Some Plastics Microwave-Safe and Others Not?

There are experts who contend that no plastic container should ever be considered microwave-safe. Some caught fire or melt after under superheated conditions, but such conditions are rare, and more often than not many plastic containers end up intact after microwaving.

According to Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., the primary line dividing microwave-safe plastic containers over microwave-unsafe ones is the chemicals that could be released that could leach unto food when heated. The Environmental Working Group scientist works in health research.

However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deem plastics labeled as “microwave-safe” as suitable enough to be microwaved safely. They don’t release dangerous chemicals or plasticizers like BPA into your food.

When is a Plastic Container Not Microwave-Safe?

A plastic container isn’t microwave-safe if it can’t take the high temperatures possible from cooking via microwave. If it melts or catches fire in the microwave then obviously you can’t use it in the oven (this is unlikely to happen though).

Most microwave-unsafe plastic containers leach off BPA or plasticizers unto the food, thus contaminating them. BPA is a plasticizer that affects your hormones when you ingest it. The amount of BPA emanating from plastics when heated is usually low, but you don’t want it in your system.

The FDA mostly allows plastics that are BPA-free. The FDA rates microwave safeness in terms of the amount of BPA leached off of a microwaved container, in short.

How Can You Test Microwave Safeness in Unlabeled Containers?

It’s reductive to have every bowl or plate indicate that it’s not microwave-safe. It’s better to presume an unmarked plastic, glass, or ceramic container to not be microwave-safe and then test it for microwave safeness.

If you can’t find an FDA warning label indicating the bowl or plate is microwave-safe, just test it using the following steps.

  • Place the container inside the microwave without food inside it.
  • Place a cup of tap water along with the container inside the device.
  • Heat the container on high for a minute.
  • Test the temperature of the empty container with an oven thermometer or by touch.
  • If the tested container is cool then it’s microwave-safe.
  • If the tested container is slightly warm limit your usage for reheating purposes.
  • If the tested container is extremely hot then it’s not microwave-safe at all. Never use it for microwaving.

What Precautions Should You Watch Out for When Microwaving Containers?

Make sure to remove food stored in takeout containers, plastic containers for cold storage, or polystyrene trays and then transfer to microwave-safe containers like ceramic, glass, or Tupperware/Rubbermaid plastic before cooking or reheating.

Food packaging isn’t safe for microwaves more often than not. These aren’t designed for heat or exposure. It isn’t safe to heat food in or on a colored paper plate, paper napkins, paper towels, brown paper bags, or plastic bags. They emit chemicals that can contaminate your food.

The Top 6 Best Containers for Microwaves

1. A Porcelain Crock for Butter Storage That Doubles as a Microwaveable Cooking Pot

What Is It?Butter keeper crock
FeaturesEasy to use, easy to wash crockpot that doubles as a cooking pot for your microwave.
How Microwave-Safe Is It?Porcelain is among one of the most microwave-safe ceramic types around.
Size 5.83 x 5.35 x 5.28 inches
Weight 1.54 pounds

The pro-grade Sweese 305.101 Porcelain Butter Keeper Crock doubles as an excellent microwaveable pot. For only about $13, you can get a nice butter keeper crock you can use for cooking all sorts of soups or reheating various leftovers through the right capacity of a microwave.

Sweese 305.101 Porcelain Butter Keeper Crock
Sweese 305.101 Porcelain Butter Keeper Crock

As long as the interior isn’t smaller than 5.83 x 5.35 x 5.28 inches you’re good to go. It comes in plain white as well as the (slightly more expensive) colors of matte black, navy, red, steel blue, turquoise, and yellow. With this French butter dish, you’ll have creamy butter for spreading on bread.

It’s highly rated for what it is but, in terms of being a microwaveable dish, other packages on this list might prove better or more cost-effective. In particular, this is just one item versus other brands that feature a whole set of the lunchbox or sealable plastic containers.

2. Stack Your Lunch or Dinner with These 20-Piece Stackable Microwave-Safe Lunchboxes

What Is It?Plastic meal prep container
FeaturesIt’s a stackable set of reusable lunch boxes that’s safe for use with your microwave, dishwasher, or freezer.
How Microwave-Safe Is It?It uses BPA-free plastic with a microwave-safe label.
Size 8.9 x 6.22 x 2.6 inches (per box)
Weight 2.6 pounds (per box)

The Enther Meal Prep Containers [20 Pack] is the superior is a bento-style lunchbox food storage system reminiscent of the packages you see at the convenience store but thicker and more longer-lasting because they use high-quality BPA-free plastic for microwave usage.

Enther Meal Prep Containers [20 Pack]
Enther Meal Prep Containers [20 Pack]
On top of being safe for microwave use, the Enther Meal Prep Containers are also dishwasher-safe and freezer-safe to boot. These reusable lunch boxes help with your portion control and each rectangular box with a lid has the capacity of 1.8 pounds (the item itself weighs 2.6 pounds alone).

They’re simple, fast, and easy to use. The lid is resealable but easy to take off. While most meal-prep containers don’t last and end up cracking after only a couple of uses, these containers that cost about $17 overall are renowned for their longevity and reusable nature. They don’t crack or melt easily at all.

Other models contain multiple compartments for sealing and microwaving different food types in the same lunchbox or bento.

3. The 10-Piece Rubbermaid Brilliance Gives You More Bang for Your Buck

What Is It?Plastic meal prep container
FeaturesIt’s a stackable set of reusable lunch boxes that’s safe for use with your microwave, dishwasher, or freezer.
How Microwave-Safe Is It?It uses BPA-free plastic with a microwave-safe label.
Size 8 x 6.88 x 5.38 inches (per box)
Weight 1.54 pounds (per box)

Yes, the 10-piece Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Containers are also a set of plastic meal prep containers. It’s also microwave-safe, dishwasher-safe, and freezer-safe. It also has a (discounted) price of about $15. This should mean that the 20-piece Enther package has the better deal, right?

Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Containers 10 Piece Plastic Containers
Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Containers 10 Piece Plastic Containers

Not necessarily. Enther is cheaper by the dozen but by our estimates the world-famous Rubbermaid Brilliance is more cost-effective and brings you more bang for your buck. For instance, this microwave-safe set of containers is designed to be airtight and leak-proof.

Additionally, it’s odor-resistant and stain-resistant. The Enther containers, on the other hand, mostly concentrate on longevity and variants with multiple compartments. Both Enther and Brilliance storage containers are modular, portable, and stackable.

The lid is crystal clear and the lunchboxes are assuredly BPA-free. You can use the boxes to contain various snacks and sandwiches. However, Rubbermaid Brilliance showcases its own brilliance by being leak-proof for vacuum-fresh, spill-free containment.

4. Keep Your Leftovers Fresh and Ready to Microwave with this Affordable 15-Pack Polypropylene Container Set

What Is It?Plastic meal prep container
FeaturesIt’s a stackable set of reusable lunch boxes that’s safe for use with your microwave, dishwasher, or freezer.
How Microwave-Safe Is It?It uses BPA-free polypropylene with the microwave-safe label.
Size 9 x 6 x 7 inches (per box)
Weight 2 pounds (per box)

The 15-pack Freshware Meal Prep Containers has the same rating as Rubbermaid but has almost as many ratings as Enther. It gives Rubbermaid and Enther a run for their money by being affordable about $13 set.

Freshware Meal Prep Containers [15 Pack]
Freshware Meal Prep Containers [15 Pack]
Each lunchbox is stackable, reusable, and can house 28 ounces or 828 milliliters of food. Like Rubbermaid Brilliance, the commercial-grade and BPA-free Freshware also has airtight freshness lids.

They’re also dishwasher-safe, freezer-safe, and microwave-safe. It’s also made of high-quality polypropylene to boot. The boxes don’t easily break or crack like with Enther, with them able to withstand temperatures from -40°C to 120°C (-40°F to 250°F).

Freshware saves you time and money so that you can enjoy healthy meals everywhere. As for why this bento set belongs on this list, it’s because it’s also easily microwaveable to boot. You can carefully portion your food for quick reheating or cooking on the microwave as well.

5. 3-Set Locking Steam Vent Lids Give This Lunchbox Set an Edge over Other Lunchboxes

What Is It?Plastic lunchbox container
FeaturesIt’s a stackable set of reusable lunch boxes that’s safe for use with your microwave, dishwasher, or freezer.
How Microwave-Safe Is It?It uses BPA-free plastic with the microwave-safe label.
Size 8.46 x 6.14 x 4.29 inches (per box)
Weight 1.1 pounds (per box)

The Good Cooking Microwave Food Storage Containers have an edge over other microwaveable containers with its high-quality locking steam vent lids. All the other BPA-free lunchboxes or bento boxes on this list have their own lids but the lids on Good Cooking lock quite tightly and solidly.

 Microwave Food Storage Containers
Microwave Food Storage Containers

Instead of being a multi-package set of 10-piece to 20-piece meal-prep containers, Good Cooking is a more modest about $12 package with 3 lunchboxes for office or school use. The fact that they’re reusable is implied because they’re designed to last even longer than your average meal prep container.

The vent lids allow you to microwave your food in a more efficient manner. Like the meal prep packages, you can also store these thicker, more durable lunchboxes inside the fridge or freezer. It’s also dishwasher-safe.

Because the set only contains 3 containers, you can easily store them away when not being used. You won’t have to search and match lid to bottom from multiple container pieces.

6. Set of 4 Ceramic Bowls with Lids for Microwaving Purposes for Safe and Healthy Meals

What Is It?Ceramic bowls
FeaturesCeramic or porcelain bowls with no glaze or toxins for containment, storage, and microwaving.
How Microwave-Safe Is It?Porcelain is among one of the most microwave-safe ceramic types around.
Size 4.92 x 4.92 x 2.76 inches
Weight 5.35 pounds

The Miicol Ceramic Bowls Set with Lids is a set of 4 ceramic bowls made of porcelain. It’s also dishwasher-safe, freezer-safe and microwave-safe. It’s also assuredly toxin-free and BPA-free by being made of glazed porcelain.

Miicol Ceramic Bowls Set with Lids
Miicol Ceramic Bowls Set with Lids

The safe and healthy container is also lead-free and cadmium-free. Yes, ceramics are more prone to thermal shock. However, they’re less toxic compared to their plastic counterparts. They last longer and take higher food temperatures as well.

They’re less likely to catch fire or melt compared to plastic bento boxes as well. As for the lids, they’re made of 100-percent hermetic silicone. They’re made to perfectly fit the bowls without leakage. The hermetically sealed lid also keeps the food vacuum fresh.

You can use the set to heat up or cook pasta, noodles, salad, cereal, soup, and rice. You can also avail of different, colorful designs for this item if you so choose.

Never Forget This As Well

A standard oven is better at baking due to heat conduction that bakes food from the outside inwards, but the microwave exudes convenience with the way its microwave or short-frequency radiowaves penetrates through food, cooking it from the inside out.

With that said, the best brands of microwave-safe dishes are Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Containers (10 Piece) then followed by Freshware Meal Prep Containers (3 Piece) and Enther Meal Prep Containers (20 Piece).

They’re excellent because they’re free of BPA, they’re highly rated, and they don’t easily break from continued reheating due to thermal shock.

References:

  1. Which Food Containers Are Safe for the Microwave?” RealSimple.com, September 7, 2010
  2. Diane Rellinger, “Use only microwave safe containers when cooking and reheating foods“, Michigan State University Extension, December 4, 2013

Through the years, the microwave oven has become a standard appliance for all homes. It is safe to say that there is no home without a microwave oven. If you are looking for a microwave oven that best fits your needs, You find the right website.

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