Can you put paper plates in the microwave?

In this brief blog we will answer the query,” Can you put paper plates in the microwave?” We will discuss some tips that you should follow when microwaving paper plates. We will also look at what is safe to microwave. We will briefly explain how to tell if something is safe to microwave.

Can you put paper plates in the microwave?

Yes, most paper plates are safe to be microwaved as per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It is important to note that not all paper plates are made equally.

It is advisable that you check for the microwavable safe label. If your paper plates contain it then you are good to go and can safely use them to microwave your meals. If you are unsure it is better not to use them.

Paper plates that have a decorative sheen can at times be coated with a thin layer of plastic which may not do well inside the microwave. So, always take caution and check for the microwave safe tag.

What are some tips for microwaving paper plates?

  • As mentioned, always ensure that you check for the label that indicates that the paper plates are microwave safe. Ensure you look out for any instructions on the package before discarding it if it is safe to heat the paper plates.
  • Paper plates tend to be thin so you should always ensure that you do not heat oily and greasy types of foods with them such as fatty meats.
  • If you doubt if a paper plate is microwave safe or not, it’s best that you do not use it and err on the side of caution.
  • Ensure that you use a microwave safe dish such as glass or a parchment paper.
  • Ensure that you microwave in the least time possible. Even if your paper plate is labeled microwave safe, it’s much safer if you do not microwave for long periods of time. As a rule of thumb, do not microwave paper plates for more than 2 minutes.
  • Microwave safe things can be destroyed and get burned if they are exposed to too much heat for prolonged periods of time, so limit the microwave time.

What can you microwave?

Glass and ceramics

Glass and ceramics are considered microwave safe although there are some exceptions such as handmade pottery and also crystal. However for glass and ceramics, bowls, cups, nugs, mixing bowls, ceramic plates and bakeware are safe as long as they don’t have inlays or metallic paint.

Plastic, including Tupperware

Most plastics are microwave safe, however there are some that you should avoid. Avoid microwaving any single-use plastics such as yogurts plastics, and cottage cheese. You should also not microwave any plastic containers that are clearly labeled that they are not microwave safe.

You should also steer clear of microwaving any cracked, old or discolored plastic containers. Tupperware plastics that are for long term use are recommended for microwaving as they are safe.

Paper towels

Paper towels are largely microwave safe. It is even recommended that you use paper towels to cover foods to prevent any spit when cooking or reheating. Use of paper towels when microwaving should be done in shorter intervals in order to check the food and paper much often.

Never use any recycled paper towels, paper towels that have printing, brown paper bags as they present a safety hazard.

Paper plates

As earlier mentioned, paper plates can be microwaved. However, disposable tableware can be coated in athin layer of plastic and this should be avoided. Always ensure that you check if the paper plates are labeled as microwave-safe.

You can read about 11 things not to put in a microwave by clicking here.

How can you tell if something is microwave safe?

When microwaving there are some general guidelines however there are also some exceptions. If you doubt if something is microwave-safe, always check the bottom or the back for the microwave-safe tag which is a label or symbol.

Also try to determine the material the item is made out of. This should be able to give you a general idea if it’s safe to go in the microwave. If you are unsure, it’s better to err on the side of caution and not place the item in the microwave.


In this brief blog we have answered the query,” Can you put paper plates in the microwave?” We have discussed some tips that you should follow when microwaving paper plates. We have also looked at what is safe to microwave. We have finally explained how to tell if something is safe to microwave.


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