You wouldn’t believe how many of my plates had to break in the microwave before I learned my lesson.
Apparently, microwave heat is quite tough, and certain types of plates cannot withstand the heat.
But, why do my plates keep breaking in the microwave?
The main reason plates break in the microwave is the type of material used in making them. Some plate materials are prone to break or even meltdown when exposed to too much heat. Especially the electromagnetic waves in the microwave.
In this article, I explain possible reasons why plates break in the microwave, among other topics like Can plates explode in the microwave, What Types of Plates Can You Microwave, How long can plates be in the microwave, and Is It Bad to Use Plastic Plates in The Microwave among others.
Why Do Plates Crack in the Microwave
As mentioned earlier, the material used to make the plate may cause it to break. Other things like the age of the plate, the weight of what you are microwaving, and whether the plate has some cracks also contribute to whether the plate will crack in the microwave.
When several plates cracked in my kitchen at once, I almost got concerned. It was new to me. My plates had served me for years without any issues. Later, I realized it was just old age, and I needed a new set. Below is a detailed explanation of how the above factors will cause a plate to crack in the microwave.
1. The Material Used To Make The Plate
Plates are made of different types of materials, there those made of Glass, Plastic, Ceramic, or Stoneware. Even though all the mentioned plates are believed to be microwave safe, it is advisable always to ensure they have a safe microwave symbol before microwaving.
2. Age of The Plate
Even though your plate is microwave safe, its age may cause it to break after a while due to the naturally formed brittles.
3. When Your Plate Already Has Existing Cracks
When a plate has cracks, moisture gets in between the cracks. The microwave ends up heating the moisture in the cracks instead of the food on the plate. The moisture expands when the heat becomes too much, which causes the plate to shutter even further.
4. When The Plate Is Carrying Too Much Weight
Did you know that your plate can shatter due to too much weight? Ensure the amount of food you are microwaving is proportional to the plate’s size.
Can plates explode in the microwave?
Yes, plates can create an explosion in the microwave. However, the explosion might not be as big or scary as most make it sound. The explosion can happen, especially when you have placed a plate with metal traces in the microwave. Metallic substances are not supposed to be placed in the microwave. They tend to ignite and cause some form of explosion.
The second reason an explosion may occur in your microwave is the use of temperated glassware. Even though temperated glass is the strongest glassware, it can easily cause an explosion in the microwave if it has a crack.
The electromagnetic waves from the microwave come in contact with the nickel sulfide in the cracked tempered glass, causing it to explode and shatter even further. Therefore, ensure no cracks on your temperated glass materials before microwaving them.
What Types of Plates Can You Microwave
To always be on the safer side, look for plates that clearly state that they are safe to be microwaved. Such plates have a microwavable symbol. Suppose you do not see a safe microwave symbol; they should have a CPET #1 on them.
Under no circumstance should you ever microwave a plate or container with a #7 symbol. Such a symbol clearly states that the container was manufactured with different plastic materials and can harm your health when used to microwave your meals.
Listed below is a list of plates made from different materials that can be microwaved. Suppose your plate is not indicated whether it is safe to be microwaved; you can always confirm whether they are made from any of the below-mentioned materials.
1. Ceramic Plates
They are perfect types of plates and can withstand strong heat from a microwave and an oven.
2. Plates Made of Glassware
Perfect glassware for microwave use should be made from tempered or heat-tolerant glass material. Glass is perfect since it is the fastest material to heat up in the microwave. As long as the plates have no cracks, they are excellent types of microwaving.
3. Plastic plates
We all know that not all plastic plates are microwave safe. Manufacturers found a way of creating plastic materials that can be microwaved. The microwavable plastic plates have been labeled, and one can easily identify them. However, you are highly advised to avoid microwaving any plastic plate without a microwave-safe symbol.
4. Stonewear plates
Apart from ceramic plates, stone wear plates are also strong enough to manage heat from the microwave. You can also use them while baking in the oven.
How long can plates be in the microwave
From my everyday experience of microwaving meals with all types of plates, I have realized that the microwaving duration is determined by the material of the plate you use. You do not expect to microwave a plastic plate for longer than a ceramic plate.
Below are the different types of plates I have and how much longer they can be microwaved.
1. Glass plates
Glass plates can be microwaved for 1 to 3 minutes. They easily get microwaved, and your food will get reheated faster than you think.
2. Plastic plates
Should not be microwaved for longer than 2 minutes. Even though they may be microwave safe, they are yet to be modified to reach the level of handling too much heat like glass and stoneware.
3. Ceramic plates
You can microwave a ceramic plate for 1 to 3 minutes or even more, depending on what you are cooking. They are solid plates and highly designed to handle microwave heat.
4. Stoneware plates
Stoneware plates can also be microwaved for 1 to 3 minutes or longer. They are strong enough not only to handle your microwave heat; you can actually bake with them in an oven.
Is It Bad To Use Plastic Plates in the Microwave
No, using plastic plates in the microwave is not bad, as long as it has been confirmed that they are safe to be microwaved. The only issue will be the microwaving duration. Even though a plastic plate is safe to be microwaved, it may not be able to handle being microwaved for longer compared to other plate materials like glass, ceramic, and stoneware.
There is always a certain concern when it comes to microwaving plastics. Plastic causes additives in the microwave that mix with your food, making it harmful to your health. Plastics contain a bisphenol A (BPA) chemical compound that helps them to be flexible during manufacturing. The chemical is believed to cause health issues like obesity, diabetes, and reproductive harm when consumed excessively.
Today most plastic ware manufacturers are opting for BPA-free plastic like PP, which is the reason why there are plastics that can be microwaved. However, it does not mean that all plastics are safe, ensure your plastic plate or container is microwave safe before microwaving it.
How to Identify a Microwavable Plate
Sometimes it is impossible to figure out if a plate is microwave safe or not. You could inspect the plate, take it for a test drive or search the manufacturer’s name and the material used to make the plate on the internet.
Below is a detailed explanation of the mentioned ways of figuring out whether a plate is microwave safe or not.
1. Inspecting the plate
Inspecting the plate includes taking a closer look to identify a safe microwave symbol. The symbol is usually at the bottom side of the plate. Among the symbols or labels on a microwavable plate are “Oven/Microwave Safe,” “Microwave Friendly,” and “oven/microwave safe.” Other plates will have a CPET #1 on them.
However, any plate with no safe microwave symbol or a #7 symbol should be declared unsafe for microwave use.
2. Taking the plate for a test run
When taking that particular plate for a test run in the microwave, ensure the plate has no cracks. You wouldn’t want it to crack further, giving you false findings.
Pour some water on the plate and carefully place the plate in the microwave. Heat the water at high power for one minute. Use oven mitts to remove the water from the microwave carefully.
Transfer the water to another container and check the warmth of the plate compared to the water. Suppose the water is warmer than the plate, then the plate is microwavable. On the other hand, if the plate is hot and the water comes out cold, the plate should be declared unsafe to be microwaved.
3. Use the internet
Every plate or container must have the manufacturer’s name and identification details. Suppose there is no other easy way to know if the plate you are holding is microwave safe or not; consider googling.
Most trusted manufacturers globally to produce safe microwave utensils include Cuisinart, Crate and Barrel, Progressive Cookware, Nordic Ware, Corelle, Amazon Basics, Glasslock, and Pyrex.
Is it Okay to Continue Microwaving Food on a Cracked Plate
No, it is not okay to microwave food on a cracked plate. Especially if the crack is large enough and can easily be visible to the naked eye. Moisture will get in between the cracks building up steam and eventually pressure that can cause the plate to explode or shatter completely.
Sometimes when plates crack in the microwave, the cracks are too tiny and can hardly be identified. However, after a while, the crack continues to grow, and it is at this point that you should stop using the plate. You shouldn’t wait until you begin to see seeps from the plates crack, dirtying the microwave surfaces.
The best solution is to replace the plate with another one in good condition. If it is the only microwavable plate you own, consider reducing the microwaving power to medium or low.
Is There a Way to Prevent the Breaking of Plates in the Microwave
Yes, there is a way you could reduce the chances of breaking your plates in the microwave. You could change the type of plates you use, reduce the microwaving power or avoid placing the plates at the center of the microwave.
Below is a detailed explanation of why the mentioned tactics will help reduce the breaking of plates in your microwave.
Changing the type of plate
Suppose you are using ceramic plates; consider changing the type of plate you use to glassware. It might just work for you.
Reduce the microwaving power
If you constantly reheat your meals at high power, reduce the power to 50 or lower. It could be the power is too much for your plates.
Do not place your plates at the center of the microwave
Try placing your plates slightly off the center of the microwave. It is at the center where there is too much heat compared to any other microwave part. The heat at the center could be responsible for cracking your plates.
Plates rarely break in the microwave; however, when they do, it is due to the material used to manufacture them, their age, existing cracks, or the weight the plate carries. Either way, the most important thing is to ensure that each plate in the microwave is safe to microwave.
Check out this video