Is Earthenware Microwave-Safe
What to know

Is Earthenware Microwave-Safe or Not?

Earthenware is like stoneware but it uses a different type of clay. As its name suggests, it’s mud turned into ceramic plates that you can use to eat food repeatedly without worrying about them staining or accumulating too much dirt. They’re slick, they’re easy to clean, and they’re reusable.

With that said, is earthenware microwave safe (or microwave-safe)? Are earthenware china or dinner plates something you can easily microwave or not? The simple answer is yes. The more complicated answer lies below. Keep on reading to find out the truth.

Is Earthenware Microwave-Safe or Not?

Most earthenware, ceramics, and chinaware are microwaveable or microwavable. If they’re cracked the heat can worsen the cracks to the point of breakage, though.

Yes, earthenware plates, dishes, and bowls are quite resilient against the highest temperatures achievable with regular microwave usage. It’ll take a long time and multiple heating sessions for earthenware to suffer from thermal shock and crack under microwave-induced pressure.

You’d sooner end up burning food than breaking damage-free earthenware with microwave superheating. However, earthenware isn’t impermeable or vitrified compared to higher-quality ceramic chinaware.

Earthenware is mostly safe for reheating in the microwave. It’s also dishwasher-safe for good measure. However, it has flames in terms of permeability or being vitrified. Please don’t place it directly on your conventional oven or stovetop burner.

Further reading: So, Does Ceramic Get Hot in the Microwave or Not?

What are Earthenware Dishes?

Earthenware is made through a kiln, where it’s beaked at the relatively low Fahrenheit temperatures of 1,900°F to 2,000°F. In Celsius terms, that’s 1,037°C to 1,093°C. Regardless, here’s the point. It might not require the 2,650°F required for creating porcelain dishes, but it’s plenty hot.

Even though earthenware isn’t as sturdy as its stoneware counterpart, it’s the more budget-friendly type of dish of the two. Both are brittle anyway when you accidentally drop them. This goes for any ceramic dish or dinnerware, including porcelain.

It lacks certain properties that stoneware has but it’s so affordable that it ultimately becomes cost-effective compared to a more durable stoneware set.


Earthenware Does Chip Easily

Earthenware chips easily because of its thinner material. However, they do allow for some beautiful details you can’t get from a more utilitarian set, such as Pottery Barn’s Emma Set.

Aside from stoneware, the most durable dinnerware you can get is ironstone china or ironstone ware. This is a vitreous type of pottery first made in the United Kingdom in the early 19th Century and exists to this day.

It’s also classed as earthenware but true earthenware is more brittle and chips easier. In properties, appearance, and toughness it’s closer to fine stoneware china when push comes to shove.

Does Earthenware Get Hot in the Microwave?

Most earthenware for the most part is microwave-safe. However, you should test it to see if it truly is microwave-safe. Some smaller, thinner pieces of earthenware—even the undamaged ones—can get quite hot inside the microwave.

Therefore, these pieces should be used once for reheating simple things like leftovers or water. They shouldn’t be used for cooking or prolonged multiple microwaving since they can reach unsafe hotness that makes them more susceptible to breakage and thermal shock.

To test any ceramic for microwave-safeness, have them microwave a cup of water. If the ceramic remains cool even after the water has become hot then it’s microwave-safe. Otherwise, it’s not safe for microwaving.

The most unsafe earthenware cups are those that don’t remain cool after a minute of heating water. They might have hot handles that indicate the presence of free mobile water within them. If the earthenware has water inside the material itself then that makes them unsafe for microwaving.

Can Earthenware Pottery Be Microwaved?

We now know that earthenware dishes can get microwaved as safely as any other ceramic dish. With that said, can earthenware pottery be microwaved? Can any pottery be microwaved? Can you use pottery to microwave water or even reheat certain dishes?

Pottery can be put inside the microwave, oven, and dishwasher, actually. However, in light of how breakable and brittle pottery is, you should protect it from obvious shocks like sudden temperature changes and dropping it from a high place.

Cooking Pots versus Dinnerware

Cooking pots can be used with cooking certain dishes but when reheating them inside a microwave, it’s best to err on the side of caution and use dishes instead. Don’t reheat beverages or food in your pottery. Dishes and dinnerware were made for reheating food and drink, not pottery.

Uneven heating from your microwave can make your pottery crack, especially earthenware with its more brittle disposition that results in chip damage.

Can Earthenware Mugs Be Microwaved?

From our experience, most manufactured ceramic mugs and glassware can be microwaved as long as they don’t have metal gliding on them for obvious reasons (metal causes sparks and electrical arcing to happen).

Thermal conduction from the hot water can cause thinner mugs to become hot even though microwave rays normally pass through them. If the earthenware has water molecules in the material itself, then it’s possible for it to become hotter than the water being microwaved.

How to Test if Something is Microwave-Safe

Test the microwave-safeness of a given mug by heating it with tepid or lukewarm water for 30 seconds. The water should always be hotter than the container if the container were to be deemed as microwave-safe. If the container is as hot as or hotter than the water then it’s not microwave-safe.

You can also look for a microwave-safe symbol on the bottom of your earthenware. If you have high-caliber earthenware mugs and dishes on hand, they should have FDA approval and the microwave-safe label indicating they’re microwave-safe.

If there’s no microwave-safe stamp present but the dish is made of china, glass, or ceramic, it can still be safe for microwaving but make sure by doing the microwave-safeness test.

The Final Countdown

Yes, earthenware is microwaveable. It’s safe to microwave as long as It’s not microwaved right out of the freezer (it can suffer from thermal shock due to the sudden temperature change).

You should also avoid microwaving chipped or damaged earthenware. It’s better to microwave undamaged earthenware because you won’t have to worry about hairline fractures and cracks worsening due to the sudden temperature changes and miniature thermal shocks.


  1. Can you use ironstone in a microwave oven?“,, August 17, 2018
  2. Question: Can Earthenware Be Microwaved?“,, Retrieved May 23, 2021


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