Porcelain is a popular material for dishes because it’s easy to wash, relatively affordable, and mostly reusable. Sure, it breaks easily when you drop them, but aside from that porcelain and ceramic materials last for quite a lengthy amount of time as long as you take care of them.
So is porcelain microwave-safe or not? It is for the most part, but keep on reading to find out what its limits are and whatnot.
Is Porcelain Microwave-Safe?
Are all-porcelain dishes microwave-safe? Yes. It doesn’t contain water and microwave radiation just passes through the material like nothing. Just make sure that the porcelain itself isn’t cracked when it’s microwaved and you’re good to go.
Also, check if the plate has no metallic decorations on its surface and make sure it has the microwave-safe label or symbol. The symbol isn’t as necessary with porcelain compared to plastic containers. However, if the symbol is there you’re extra assured of microwave-safeness.
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Why Does Porcelain Heat Up in the Microwave?
If you’re curious about why porcelain heats up if microwave radiation just passes through it, it’s because of heat conduction. The heat from the microwaved food emanates unto the porcelain or ceramic, leading to it becoming warm to hot as well.
The thinner porcelain dishes tend to heat up faster compared to the thicker ones. The thicker the dish the better the insulation is, leading to cool dishes and hot food every time. Porcelain heating up is more of an issue with hot food than the microwave radiation affecting porcelain molecules.
The Beauty of Porcelain
What is porcelain exactly? It refers to a wide variety of ceramic items that have been baked at extra-high temperatures. This turns your ceramic plate into a super-glossy or vitreous type of dish. The material is beautiful, has low porosity, and offers amazing translucency.
Electric insulators, table and decorative chinaware, dental crowns, and chemical products regularly use porcelain material. Porcelain usually comes in gray or white color. Porcelain material also comes in unglazed or glazed variants. The most common porcelain type is unglazed porcelain.
Porcelain is Perfectly Safe Against Microwaves
The most beautiful porcelain plates are usually handmade ones, like the famous Ming vases from China. They’re always cooked in high temperatures as well, making them ideal for microwaving.
Porcelain plates are perfectly safe as long as there are no metal markings on them that could affect the microwave radiation and create flame-inducing sparks. Other materials get affected by microwave rays. Glass, porcelain, and ceramic don’t.
The only real danger is thin porcelain material reaching superheated temperatures to the point of breakage. However, this is unlikely as established below.
Porcelain Can Withstand High Temperatures
During the creation process of porcelain dishes and other similar items, they can reach temperatures of up to 2,650°F. These temperatures are so much higher compared to even superheated food. Nevertheless, porcelain dishes with hairline cracks can break at lower temperatures.
Don’t put anything inside your microwave oven that you’re afraid would get damaged. Actually, make sure you should only use your oven for food. Too many people use microwaves for everything other than food, like scientific experiments and whatnot.
Even porcelain can end up breaking through excessive heat. We’ve personally experienced cups have their handles break or fall off after repeated microwaving. Tiny heat stresses from gradual repeated heating can do that to anything.
Look for the microwave-safe symbol. Not all porcelain dishes have that symbol and you don’t need the symbol to assure you that a porcelain dish is microwave-safe. However, that symbol is reassurance that it’ll take more for your porcelain dish to break apart.
Certain dishes, for example, are too thin for microwaving despite being made of porcelain. Therefore, getting thicker dishes with the microwave-safe label is a great reassurance.
Precaution and Erring on the Side of Caution
You should definitely be cautious about microwaving porcelain despite being microwave-safe. Metallic markings, superheated food, and hairline cracks on the surface of the plate can all contribute to dish breakage when push comes to shove.
Yes, things like silver strips, gold leaf marks, or metallic paint (paint with metal flakes on it) can lead to sparks and arcing, however slight. Be cautious no matter what you put into your microwave (preferably food that’s not grapes or raw eggs).
How Do You Know a Porcelain Bowl is Microwave-Safe?
If it’s made of porcelain then it is likely microwave-safe. If there’s a microwave-safe label on porcelain, you’re double-assured of microwave-safeness. Get thick porcelain dishes so there’s more material to absorb that food heat as well.
Porcelain can easily withstand the heat of a microwave or microwaved food without getting damaged. It’s not like wood that splinters when its moisture content boils over. It’s not like paper bags or cardboard folders that can catch fire.
Plastic can also end up melting if it’s not microwave-safe. Even when it comes to regular microwaving that’s not too long or too hot, a non-microwave-safe plastic container will tend to leach off plasticizers or BPA unto your food or beverages.
Don’t Microwave Metal Bowls or Bowls That Get Too Hot
There are dishes like bone china plates that get hot in the microwave. When in doubt, don’t put any dish that easily gets hot in the oven. Thin glass, ceramic, or porcelain will break from heat due to how thin they are and how much more susceptible to the thermal shock they can get.
With metal bowls, you better not microwave that. If you do (accidentally), unplug the microwave immediately before the electrical arcs and sparks end up damaging the appliance itself. The metal of your microwave oven interior is supposed to reflect the microwave radiation.
Reflecting the reflected radiation can superheat the food, superheat the water vapor or steam, and then superheat the metal walls of your oven, which can overheat the internal circuitry of your microwave oven itself.
Issues to Take Note
Porcelain dishes, like ceramic dishes and chinaware, are all microwave-safe. With that said, there are limits to this microwave-safeness. Superheated food or beverages can make them hot enough to break by heat conduction.
Also, if the dish has hairline cracks, don’t microwave it. However, for the most part, if it’s an undamaged ceramic or porcelain dish (especially porcelain, which is a higher-grade type of dish material) then it’s likely to withstand microwave radiation undamaged.
- “Can Porcelain Be Microwaved“, CeramicWallDecor.com, January 30, 2020