Microwaves serve as a convenient and quick method of cooking or prepping food. However, you want your food to be safe from contamination when microwaved, which depends on the food container you’ve used. You need a microwave-safe plate that can resist heat without undergoing thermal shock.
Thermal shock is when a dish undergoes rapid temperature changes, resulting in its breakage or warping. Furthermore, what are the best microwave-safe plates out there? Keep on reading to find out more info on this topic.
Buying Guide for Microwave-Safe Plates
Consumers should research or read about microwave reheating information of a given dish. This ensures correct internal food temperatures and cold spot prevention in your food. Your food should be evenly cooked to prevent harmful bacteria to seep into them.
The turntable (or rotating antenna in flatbed microwaves) should partly help in evening out the heat of your microwaved food. The rest of the heat distribution depends on your choice of microwave-safe dish or plate, which should mostly be made of ceramic or glass.
What are the Best Materials for Microwave-Safe Plates?
Warming up leftovers with a microwave is fairly easy to do. Put the container inside the oven, set the time, microwave, and you’re good to go. However, certain materials—mostly plastic—might leach chemicals into your food when it’s microwaved or heated up.
With that said, let’s talk microwave-safe plate materials. Avoid Styrofoam and plastic. If you have to use such materials for microwavable plates, get the ones with the microwave-safe label. Do use dishes made of ceramic, stoneware, earthenware, china, and glass.
Make sure the ceramic and glass plates are thick, won’t easily get hot, and tend to stay cold when microwaved (this means it can take the heat emanating from the microwaved food since ceramic or glass itself doesn’t get affected by the microwave rays).
Should You Use Plastic or Polystyrene Plates for Microwaving?
Please don’t. Sure, as long as the FDA provides a microwave-safe label onto your plastic or Styrofoam (polystyrene) plate then it should be okay to use for microwaving. However, they have limits. Ceramic or glass plates with no metallic trimming tend to be safer compared to plastic and Styro.
Besides which, that FDA assurance mostly refers to ensuring the plastic or Styro is contaminant-free when heated up. As a rule of thumb though, you should only use plastic or polystyrene plates for microwaving as a last resort.
Superheated food could potentially set the polystyrene container on fire or melt the plastic. Ceramics are less likely to catch fire or melt due to their high melting point.
Many scientists from the start warn against using plastics for microwaving at all, even if they’re thick long-lasting Tupperware or Rubbermaid food storage containers with lids and all.
How Can You Test Microwave Safeness in Unlabeled Containers?
As far as the FDA is concerned, they’re only concerned if the plastic doesn’t or does exude BPA and other plasticizers into your food. Or to be more specific, if the BPA leaching is acceptably low dosage enough for humans to tolerate.
Regardless, if you wish to test the microwave-safeness of unlabeled containers as well as the level of microwave-safeness of your ceramic or glass container then do the following.
- Put Inside the Microwave: Place the empty plate you wish to test for microwave-safeness inside the microwave oven.
- Add a Cup of Water: Place a (ceramic) cup of tap water inside the microwave along with the empty container. Heat both items on the highest power setting.
- Test the Temp: Use the touch test or an oven thermometer in order to determine how hot the container is. To wit, here are the levels of microwave-safeness based on their temperature.
- Cool to the Touch: Your plate is heatproof and completely microwave-safe for cooking.
- Slightly Warm: Limit your plate for reheating. It might not survive cooking sessions.
- Extremely Hot: Your plate shouldn’t be used for microwaving because it’s not microwave-safe at all.
The best and safest (ceramic or glass) plates remain cool while ensuring the food itself is heated up properly. A slightly warm plate can end up hot or broken if heated for cooking.
Can You Microwave Food Containers or Not?
If your food is stored in a Styrofoam tray, plastic cold-storage containers, and takeout containers then you should remove the food and transfer them on ceramic or glass plates. This keeps them microwave-safe for cooking and reheating.
Containers for food packaging tend to be microwave-unsafe. This is because they’re not designed for heating and cooking, even in microwave-type settings. Only use food packaging if it’s specifically labeled and designed as microwave-safe.
Never heat your food inside or on paper towels, paper napkins, colored paper plates, brown paper bags, and brown paper bags. This is because they tend to emit chemicals from being microwaved, which could tend to contaminate the food you’re heating.
Which Materials are Microwave-Safe?
Some materials are microwave-safe. Others, not so much. More on this below.
- Glass and ceramic dishes.
- Wax and parchment paper.
- Plastic containers (microwave-safe label).
- Stoneware, earthenware, and china plates.
- Towels and napkins (for moisture absorption).
- Paper plates with no metal or plastic coating (1-time use).
See more: What Can You Put in a Microwave?
- Aluminum foil
- Brown paper bags.
- Cold-storage plastic containers.
- Yogurt tubs.
- 1-time-use plastic containers.
- Dishes with metallic paint or trim.
- Foam-insulated cups, bowls, plates, and trays.
Further reading: What Are The Things You Should Never Put In The Microwave?
How Does a Container Earn a Microwave-Safe Label?
Rubbermaid or Tupperware containers are tested and certified by the FDA in order to earn their microwave-safe label. Scientists typically measure the amount of chemicals like plasticizers and BPA leached into the food. The allowable amount should only be infinitesimally small.
Most microwaveable plastic containers are of the dish or lunchbox form. Plates tend to not be microwave-safe because of how thin they are and how cheap the plastic is used for them more often than not.
According to a Harvard Health article, for every pound of bodyweight, it should be 100 times to 1,000 times less than the amount shown to harm lab animals like mice or guinea pigs over a lifetime of usage.
A plate that’s microwave-safe should have telltale squiggly lines symbol below it. This indicates testing and approval by the FDA for microwave use. In the case of ceramic or glass plates, they can be safe for microwave use even without the label.
However, to make sure they truly are safe, you should test them using the technique above to see if they stay cold even after being microwaved at the highest power level.
The Top 6 Best Microwave-Safe Plates
The top 6 best microwave-safe plates and dishes include the following brands.
1. Commercial-Grade Petite Platters for Appetizers and Fine Dining as well as Microwave-Safe Food Reheating
|What Is It?||Ceramic dinner plates|
|Features||Appetizer serving plates that can double as fine dining plates.|
|How Microwave-Safe Is It?||Ceramic porcelain plates are highly microwave-safe and can keep cool even as the food gets hot.|
|Size||8 x 8 x 8 inches|
The Dowan 8″ Ceramic Dinner Plates is a set of highly-rated dinner plates you can use for fine dining or as a serving dish for a large party. It comes with a pasta salad plate set of 6 for a Bohemian-style gift to friends. Additionally, the plates are both microwave-safe and dishwasher-safe.
It’s a good commercial-grade set of china available for the low price of about $22. They’re practically heatproof or resistant to overheating and thermal shock with the way they’re able to handle microwaved food at the highest of temperatures.
The Bohemian-designed porcelain material can withstand loads of washing from the dishwasher machine. Thusly, you can use this set of 6 for special occasions like housewarming parties, Thanksgiving, or Christmas gatherings in the final few months of the year.
It can also be used for cake, side dishes, desserts, pasta, salads, and meals as well as be appetizer serving plates. Just don’t drop it; it will break like another piece of China out there.
2. Microwaveable Salad Plates Made of Paladin Clay that is Multipurpose and Scratch-Resistant
|What Is It?||Ceramic salad plates|
|Features||Salad plate serves as a scratch-resistant microwaveable dish for salads, appetizers, and small meals.|
|How Microwave-Safe Is It?||Paladin clay is 30 percent stronger and lighter than other ceramic products while also being perfectly microwaveable.|
|Material||Ceramic paladin clay|
|Size||7.8 x 7.8 x 0.9 inches|
The Mora Ceramic Plates Set, 7.8 in – Set of 6 is a tiny bit smaller than the Dowan ceramic plate set. However, it makes up for the lost inches and extra expensiveness at $35 by being made of paladin clay and being scratch-resistant. This ceramic is extra tough against damage.
Yes, all plates break when you accidentally drop them. However, some ceramics are more fragile than others. If you want a salad plate that’s microwaveable and scratch-resistant, then Mora Ceramic Plates should be your microwave-safe plate of choice.
It also comes in three color designs—Earl Grey, Vanilla White, and Assorted Colors. You can use them for all occasions and they can easily resist even the hottest of cooking or reheating sessions due to them being completely microwave-safe.
This means they don’t get warm easily from being microwaved. The kitchen porcelain dish is dishwasher-safe on top of being microwave-safe and scratch-resistant, thus making them a joy to use for desserts, salads, and appetizers.
3. 12-Piece Microwaveable Porcelain Dinner Plates Allow for a Wider Variety of Uses or Family-Sized Fun
|What Is It?||Porcelain dinner plates|
|Features||This 12-piece set of dinner plates are made of nontoxic porcelain and can be used with microwaves, refrigerators, freezers, and ovens.|
|How Microwave-Safe Is It?||Ceramic porcelain plates are highly microwave-safe and can keep cool even as the food gets hot.|
|Size||10.5 x 10.5 x 1 inches|
For about $32, you can avail of the AmHomel or amHomel 12-Piece Porcelain Dinner Plates. It’s available as 10.5-inch plates (this set), 6-inch plates, and 8.75-inch plates. This is one of the best dinnerware set deals based mostly on how many plates you’ll get from the package.
These are nontoxic round porcelain plates that are lead-free and can be used as salad plates or meal plates with their sheer size. they’re also safe to use in sufficiently large microwaves, in conventional ovens, and inside freezers for storage of leftovers.
The plates themselves are nondescript and simple, which is part of their charm. Because of their bigness, they’re a bit on the heavy side as well, which is good when using them to reheat leftovers or cook certain microwaveable dishes.
The thickness helps against thermal shock. They’re also dishwasher-safe to boot. To prevent breakage or scratches in the dishwashing machine, make sure the plates are spaced out.
4. An Affordable and Gigantic 18-Piece Dinnerware Set Composed of Plates, Dishes, and Bowls by the AmazonBasics Brand
|What Is It?||Porcelain dinner plates, dishes, and bowls|
|Features||This dinnerware set doesn’t only have a handful to a dozen plates, but also bowls and dishes for good measure.|
|How Microwave-Safe Is It?||AB-grade porcelain plates are highly microwave-safe and can keep cool even as the food gets hot.|
|Material||AB-grade ceramic porcelain|
|Size||11 x 11.6 x 12.1 inches|
Naturally, the Amazon Basics or AmazonBasics line has dinner plates as part of their offerings as well. To be more specific, the Amazon Basics 18-Piece Kitchen Dinnerware Set is made of AB-grade porcelain that can withstand everyday use or even daily microwaving in a commercial restaurant setting.
This gigantic 18-piece dinnerware set comes in a Swirl color design but you can also avail of other sets with designs named Blue Accent, Branches, Cottage, Cursive, Dots, Half Moon, Modern Elegance, Poppy, Spotlight and Warm Beams. They collectively cost $38 as well.
For only $3 more than the price of a Mora Set, you can get commercial-grade plates, dishes, and bowls from Amazon. The plates and so forth are designed to be quite durable (although not as scratch-resistant as Mora) and lightweight.
5. This Colorful 6-Set Microwaveable Bamboo Fiber Plastic Plate Package Gives You an Environment-Friendly Alternative to Cheap Tupperware
|What Is It?||Bamboo fiber plastic plates|
|Features||These plastic plates aren’t made of cheap meltable plastic but instead natural bamboo fiber processed into plastic.|
|How Microwave-Safe Is It?||The BPA-free material composed of bamboo fibers is as natural and safe as you can get in terms of microwaveable plastic plates.|
|Material||Bamboo fiber plastic|
|Size||8.9 x 8.9 x 1.3 inches|
The LamiNami Bamboo Fiber Plastic Plates Set of 6 has a lot going for it in terms of ecological plastic material and plate toughness that should give the huge porcelain plate sets on this list a run for their money. Speaking of which, the whole set only costs about $21 to $22.
Instead of using Tupperware lunchboxes or Rubbermaid bento boxes to microwave your lunch with, why not use a more environment-friendly plate alternative? Rectangular meal prep plastic containers should be limited to packed office or school lunches anyway.
Reheating food in dependable plastic plates when your ceramics are in use should rest in the shoulders of this set of colorful bamboo fiber plastic dishes. This package includes 1 plate of each color—yellow, pink, grey, beige, blue, and green.
5. The Dishwasher-Safe, Microwave-Safe, Freezer-Safe, and Practically Unbreakable 4-Piece Dark Grey Bowl Plates
|What Is It?||Wheat straw plastic plates|
|Features||4-piece set of wheat straw plastic plates that have more breakage resistance than your average porcelain plate.|
|How Microwave-Safe Is It?||The BPA-free wheat straw fiber plastic of NAWOVAO is about as microwaveable as the bamboo fiber LamiNami set.|
|Material||Wheat straw plastic|
|Size||10 x 10 x 1.5 inches|
Last but not least is the lightweight and (practically) unbreakable 4-piece 10-inch NAWOVAO Wheat Straw Plates. The main claim to fame of this set of 4 BPA-free dark grey plate bowls or dishes is that they’re lightweight and unbreakable. For plates their size they’re extremely lightweight at 1.4 pounds.
They’re also not as brittle as their 10-inch to 11-inch porcelain counterparts. It takes effort in order to break these dark grey dishes apart (which are available in the colors of dark grey, beige, blue, green, pink, dark blue, coral, lemon yellow, or assorted).
If a bull were to crash into a china shop and you have these wheat straw plates around to cook popcorn with in order to watch the chaos in style, they’re unlikely to break like the rest of the plates even if you accidentally drop them.
What Else Do You Need?
Most microwave-safe dishes are of the china, ceramic, or glass variety anyway. Don’t use plastic plates when heating up things on your microwave unless they’re labeled microwave-safe. Don’t microwave damaged plastic containers even if they’re microwave-safe though.
The best brands of microwave-safe plates are the Mora Ceramic Plates Set then followed by the LamiNami Bamboo Fiber Plastic Plates and the Amazon Basics 18-Piece Kitchen Dinnerware Set. Amazon Basics has the most ratings despite scoring lower than Mora and LamiNami.
They’re excellent in their own right because they’re highly rated, they’re durable, they’re porcelain, and they don’t easily suffer from thermal shock due to constant reheating.
- “Which Food Containers Are Safe for the Microwave?” RealSimple.com, September 7, 2010
- Diane Rellinger, “Use only microwave-safe containers when cooking and reheating foods“, Michigan State University Extension, December 4, 2013