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Can I use a microwave safe plastic container to bake in an electric oven?

7 Answers 7

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Here is a list of common plastics found in kitchen containers. You will find this information on the bottom of the container, in a triangle with a number inside.

While some plastics used in microwavable applications appear to have a high melting point, PET for instance melts at 510ºF, please remember that the material will soften, weaken and otherwise degrade long before actually melting into liquid. Other plastics labeled microwave safe, like HDPE, melts at a mere 265ºF! While microwave safe plastics may have a relatively high short term temperature resistance, sustained temperature tolerance, as in leaving it in an oven for baking, is much lower.

Silicone bakeware, by contrast, has a melting point of 935ºF, but is only rated for use at sustained temperatures no greater than 675ºF. Above that point, and the material will soften, warp and degrade. Thermoplastics have a much lower melting point, and it can be expected that their sustained temperature resistance is likewise much lower, to the point where using them as bakeware is unadvisable.

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    Bakelite, often found in pot handles even today, is good in the oven to about 350°F. I've seen casserole dishes made of the stuff in the past, but not for decades. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakelite Nov 1, 2014 at 18:59
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    @WayfaringStranger : and if you put a bakelite handle in a hot oven (I didn't know, they were hand-me-down pots from a deceased relative) ... gasses will bubble up from inside, resulting in a dull, slightly pock-marked handle. And it will stink horribly.
    – Joe
    Mar 30, 2018 at 1:36
  • @Joe Never had that happen to me, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were quality variations in batches the plastic depending on manufacturer. Mar 30, 2018 at 15:45
  • @WayfaringStranger : I don't remember what I was making ... so it might've been over 350F ... and it was a rather odd, 3 burner stove (in an apartment kitchen that was smaller than either of the two closets in the place) ... so I don't know if I'd trust the temperature it said, anyway.
    – Joe
    Mar 30, 2018 at 16:46
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Tonight I turned on my oven to preheat to 425 degrees for a pizza, and ten minutes later every smoke alarm in the house went off. I dashed upstairs and discovered that I had forgotten I had put a plastic bin of dishes from a neighborhood party in there to return them. (I don't have a lot of spare room.) There was a fire in my oven. Black smoke was billowing out the top. (I thought ovens were supposed to be airtight?) The whole plastic bin was melting and there was black all over the clean dishes that were in it. There were flames on either side of the melting bin. I've moved recently and had to leave my fire extinguisher behind because of a moving van regulation. So the one time I actually needed it, there was none there. (I'm buying a new one tomorrow.) I didn't know what else to do so I grabbed my wok, filled it with water, opened the smoking door and threw the whole contents all over both sides. That seemed to put out the fire, but for good measure I also filled the wok a second time and again hurled it inside the over. I see that there are hard little gray pools of plastic everywhere in there, and I suspect I have wrecked my oven. This is more than a hypothetical -- this is a PLEASE don't put any plastic in the oven!!!!! My ears are still ringing from all my smoke detectors, but they did their job. And I am shaken, every window and door in my house is open, but I'll never forget that again!

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    Ovens aren't totally airtight; they have vent, often under one of the burners or at the back of the cooktop. The important thing is that they contain the flames, so as long as you don't open it, the fire can't easily spread to the rest of your kitchen.
    – Cascabel
    Oct 10, 2015 at 18:09
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No. It will most likely melt. Once this happens, inner surfaces of your oven will be coated with molten plastic which will smoke and smell foul, and probably never come off. Every time you use your oven it will smoke all over again until it's as carbonized as it's going to get. Don't do it.

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It is OK to use oven safe plastic containers in both electric and gas ovens. Oven safe containers should also be "microwave safe," but not all "microwave safe" containers are oven safe. If it doesn't say oven safe (note temperature too), it doesn't belong in the oven.

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    And worth mentioning that oven safe plastics are still currently pretty rare. And for each one, you have to look at what temperature they’re good for. (I’ve seen Gladware pans that I think were oven safe, but more for warming than high temps)
    – Joe
    Jan 23 at 20:17
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    @Joe I recall a flatmate from my student days (20+ years ago) who had a plastic lasagne dish that was clearly oven safe. Unfortunately he wasn't and tried to remove it from the oven with bare hands because he didn't think it would get that hot. He was studying engineering, but I reckon he learnt more from his various kitchen mishaps than the few lectures he woke up for
    – Chris H
    Jan 25 at 15:29
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    @ChrisH : yeah, ‘stay cool’ handles might mean something on a stovetop, but that means nothing as everything heats up in the oven, no matter the material
    – Joe
    Jan 25 at 16:53
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No. The heating mechanisms are different, and the oven will probably be hotter than the melting point of the plastic (which is often around 150-300 F, and maybe slightly higher depending on the kind of plastic).

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You get silicone based tuperware-ish plastic containers that are oven safe. Silicone melts at much higher tempratures than any household ovens ever reach.

According to some googling silicone melts at 1414 degrees celsius. Even at 400 - 500 degrees celsius it looses no physical properties. Which is comfortably double the max temprature that my oven reaches.

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No. No matter what kind of plastic you are using, don't use it for oven use. It will melt from the inside or it might melt completely. For safer use, don't use plastic 'cause your oven might catch on fire.

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    Btw., there are companies that market special plastic containers as oven-safe (within certain limits) for baking.
    – Stephie
    Dec 11, 2016 at 9:55

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