Is pottery safe to microwave? Depends on the pottery. Is it a cooking pot? A flower pot? A container for honey? A small pot with a lid? What sort of clay is it made of?
Using ceramic or pottery dishes is common for drinking and dining. They’re also used as flower pots, containers, or traditional ornamentation. They’ve even served as a conversation piece on many a coffee table out there. Pottery complements both rustic-themed parties and eastern-themed homes.
Is Pottery Microwave-Safe?
Yes. The thicker the better unless it’s so thick you can’t fit it inside the microwave cavity any longer. Any plate-sized or bow-sized pottery should work splendidly with a microwave oven whether it’s handcrafted or made by a factory.
You can always test the pot for microwaveability in case you’re unsure. Just microwave the pot along with a mug or cup of lukewarm water until you get the water boiling. If the pot remains cold to the touch even as the cup of water boils then it’s absolutely microwave-safe.
If it’s slightly warm after the test, it’s still microwave-safe but not as much as the stone-cold pottery. If it’s as hot as the cup of water, it’s not considered microwave-safe and might be susceptible to thermal shock.
Most Pottery is Microwave-Safe with Certain Exceptions
Most pottery you can microwave but some work better with stovetops or are too big to fit inside your microwave anyway, so it’s a moot point how microwaveable they are. If you heat up most well-made ceramic pottery, pots, bowls, dishes, and so forth, nothing will happen to them.
They’re less likely to explode into pieces like some reports of bakeware breaking from inside an extremely hot standard gas or electric oven. Some might get warm but will mostly stay intact without cracking or harming the food you’re heating or cooking.
However, if they’re cracked and you glued them together, don’t microwave them. The microwave radiation might literally make them come unglued. Pots with hairline cracks might have their damage worsen with microwave ray exposure too.
Look for a “Microwave-Safe” or “Don’t Microwave” Label
Handmade pottery might come with the unsaid disclaimer to microwave at your own risk since they don’t necessarily need to adhere to factory or FDA quality assurance standards as much as their mass-produced version. However, mass-produced pots should have some sort of label on them.
See more: Is Handmade Pottery Microwave-Safe?
They could either have a “microwave-safe” label of a microwave with squiggly lines on it signifying you could microwave food on them or they could have a “don’t use with microwave” label instead, especially if they have metallic gold or platinum banding or embellishments on them.
Metal isn’t microwave-safe and can cause sparks or electrical arcing as they react to the microwave or electromagnetic radiation from the device’s magnetron.
The Limitations of Pottery to Watch Out For
Like other materials, pottery has limitations. It can break if you accidentally drop it. It can also crack from sudden temperature shifts, like moving it from the microwave to a cold sink full of dishwater. They’re not as fragile as glass though. However, they can get damaged or shattered from a collision.
If you were to heat it up unevenly or too much, it can produce hairline cracks or damage from the increase in pressure or stress in all the wrong places. Ceramics break. They aren’t long-lasting or at least plastics last longer than them.
However, they can last until you purchase a new piece of pottery. They can partially break yet still end up in one piece (don’t microwave those) or you can glue them back together (also don’t microwave).
How to Check if a Store-Bought Dish is Microwave-Safe
Most ceramics and pottery can be microwaved without any problem. However, you should observe some precautions when microwaving them so you can avoid cracking or damaging the container or the food they contain when placed in the microwave oven.
- Check the Label: There should be a microwave-safe label on the bottom of the mass-produced dish or pottery, particularly if they’re name brands. The stamp should feature 2-3 squiggly lines and the microwave box or food signifying you can microwave the dish.
- Meaning of the Symbol: However, many dishes instead have warnings on the plate, pot, or bowl as well as the box they came in signifying that they’re not microwave-safe instead because ceramics are considered microwaveable by default.
- Most Ceramics are Microwaveable: Most earthenware, stoneware, china, and ceramics are microwave-safe. Most bisques and porcelain dishware also allow microwaving with no significant consequences unless they have metal bands, have cracks, or are glued together.
- Some Ceramics are Exceptions: Even some pots and dishes might prove to be unsafe as microwavable dishes or bakeware. They’re mainly the ones that conduct heat a little too well, thus making them more susceptible to thermal shock breakage.
- How to Avoid Thermal Shock: You can avoid thermal shock by leaving the dish to cool down inside the microwave or using only low power or short bursts of microwave sessions in order to control the temperature of the microwave-unsafe dish. Or just use a microwavable dish.
How to Test Homemade and Unlabeled Pottery
You can check a homemade or handmade piece of pottery as well as ceramic dishes for microwave-safeness by doing the microwave ability test. It involves putting a cup or mug of water inside or on top of the pot then microwaving the whole thing until the water boils.
The water could be ice water without the ice or lukewarm, tepid water depending on how fast or accurate you want the test to be. Just check the pot or dish if it’s cold, warm, or extra hot after the test is over.
A cold dish is microwave-safe, a warm dish is for reheating only, and a hot dish is unsafe for microwave use.
When All Is Said and Done
Pottery adds a lot of flair when it come to your home interior and exterior design and plant and flower pots or as furniture to make your home look more homey and warm instead of sterile and stale. In dining terms, they add a nice touch to an earthy-flavored presentation of appetizers and entrees.
Regardless, the important thing to remember is that even without markings, ceramic pottery tend to be microwave-safe by default, especially the extra thick ones. Ceramic cooking pots work best on stovetops than microwaves though depending on design.
- “Is Pottery Microwave Safe“, PotteryCrafters.com, November 5, 2021