Can You Microwave Silicone
What to know

Can You Microwave Silicone?

Can you microwave silicone utensils or containers? Is anything made of silicone safe to microwave or do they tend to melt like cheap plastic when exposed to microwave radiation? Also, what about their BPA content?

More and more spatulas, bowls, plates, cups, slotted turners, spoons, ladles, and pastry brushes use silicon as their primary manufacturing material. Many manufacturers make these utensils in the kitchen out of silicone, like in the case of IKEA.

You also have Pyrex glass and Tefal or Teflon polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Many of them include heat resistance but do they feature microwave resistance?

Can You Microwave Silicone?

Silicone containers and utensils provide microwave-safe properties, especially the ones specifically labeled as microwave-safe in words and a handy logo. Like ceramic bowls and plates, silicone anything doesn’t absorb microwaves. In other words:

  • Microwave-Safe: Silicone doesn’t leach off BPA and offers a measure of heat resistance, thus making silicone containers safe for use inside the microwave compared to even microwave-safe plastics (which do leach off BPA anyway but in FDA-approved minuscule amounts).
  • Oven-Safe: You can use your silicone bakeware for baking, roasting, grilling, and toasting safely without fearing the item would melt.
  • Dishwasher-Safe-: You can safely wash silicone cookware in the dishwasher, which uses hot water to cleanse off food debris on ceramics and silicone items without breaking them apart.
  • Heat Resistance Limits: Like all microwave-safe items, they can still end up hot due to their proximity with microwaved food that could go from oven-hot to superheated if you’re not careful. Silicone features chemically inert molecules, thus making them dishwasher-safe.
Silicone Cups
Silicone Cups

Food-Grade Silicone vs. Silicone with FIllers

You can use food-grade silicone for baking, microwave reheating, defrosting, or containing hot food straight from the stove. 100-percent food-grade silicone items don’t contain any fillers in them. The ones that do melt easier, have less heat resistance, and tend to be more fragile.

Food-grade FDA-approved silicone kitchenware also doesn’t leach harmful chemicals like BPA or other plasticizers unto your cooking. Silicone items with plastic fillers do.

See more: Can You Microwave Plastic?

The Pros and Cons of Silicone

Silicone items offer freezer-safe, microwave-safe, and oven-safe properties for the most part. When superheated items come into contact with them that go beyond their 500°F, they will get damaged or melt though. You can easily use cookware made of silicone for your daily cooking needs.

However, due to its bonded composition, silicone remains non-recyclable, non-biodegradable, and nontoxic.

The Different Properties of Silicone

Caustic detergents shouldn’t ruin them. They also feature non-reactivity, making them nonstick. You can easily release muffins and cakes from them most of the time (they’re not Teflon but they have Teflon-like properties).

Additionally, you can flex the pans to pop out various baked goods. However, they’re not ideal as aspic or Jell-O molds. The gelatin won’t pop out even with a warm water bath because of silicone’s heat insulation properties.

Silicone dishes could be placed directly unto your oven rack but most bakers and cooks avoid doing this. Food can be hard to remove on hot silicone dishes. Better to use a cookie sheet under your silicone bakeware to help stabilize the ultra-flexible (and floppy) dishes.

Does Silicone Melt in the Microwave?

You can safely microwave silicone—as mentioned above—due to its heat resistance, microwave transparency, and lack of harmful toxins. Certain silicone might not be heat resistant enough to take hotness from food but other silicone items can perfectly deal with the heat.

Does Silicon Remain Safe When Hot?

The heat resistance of silicone cookware could specifically take up to 220°C or 428°F. Some could even take up to 260°C or 500°F. They’ll indicate their temperature limits on their packaging or by the specs provided by the manufacturer.

You can even wash the silicone safely on the dishwasher that uses hot water to work and place it on the freezer as well as any type of oven.

What is Silicone Anyway?

Most people think “silicone” as something that refers to cosmetic augmentation or silicone-filled breast enhancement surgery. Otherwise, they might think of “Silicon Valley” instead, which has something to do with computers.

However, silicone kitchenware has gotten overlooked due to this public unawareness of them. Silicone, also known as polysiloxane, works as a polymer made up of siloxane. These typically colorless oils or rubber-like substances get used in various ways.

Rubber and Its Connection with the Rubber-Like Silicone

Experts categorize rubber into three parts. You get three basic rubber types—you have natural rubber like latex derived from the sap of the tropical tree Hevea brasiliensis, synthetic rubber made from a chemical (as opposed to organic) plants, and silicone rubber.

Why isn’t silicone rubber categorized as part of synthetic rubber? It only comes from a different chemical plant, after all.

  • Neoprene Rubber: Silicone got named as such to differentiate itself from the earlier synthetic rubber known as neoprene as marketed by DuPont in 1931.
  • Silicone Rubber: In contrast, Dow Corning and General Electric manufactured and marketed silicone to the public in the 1940s instead.

They’re both technically synthetic rubber, with silicone rubber coming later and getting a multitude of other uses compared to even natural rubber and neoprene rubber.

Natural tree sap rubber, neoprene rubber, and silicone rubber all got their name from Joseph Priestley, an English clergyman, and chemist back in 1770. He named the original sap rubber as such because of its ability to rub out pencil markings as a pencil eraser.

Silicone’s Applications and Invasion of the American Market

Silicone belongs to a versatile family of compounds with loads of applications, not just a substance that gives models bouncier boobs. In culinary terms, fiberglass-reinforced silicone from France called Silpat has been around since 1982.

The American home kitchen has gotten loads of silicone items in their proverbial hands, all approved for food-grade use by the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Before, baking pan liners were made of silicone. Nowadays, you can avail of wholly silicone baking pans.

In Summation

Silicone material has amazing properties. It offers flexibility akin to rubber but it won’t melt as easily while cooking like even hard rubber. It’s designed to withstand up to 500°F or typical peak baking temperature. You can use muffin “tins” and baking pans for cooking with no worries.

In regards to microwaves, they also pass the test. They don’t absorb microwave radiation or rays like, say, a microwave-unsafe plastic would. It won’t melt easily either. Like with plastic, err on the side of caution and microwave only microwave-safe-labeled silicone containers.

References:

  1. Jennifer Lane, “Can You Microwave Silicone? Is It Safe? (Answered)“, CanYouMicrowaveThis.com, November 17, 2020
  2. Robert L. Wolke, “Silicone in the Kitchen“, Washington Post, January 21, 2004

 

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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