Can ceramic be heated in the microwave? - The complete guide
If you want a strong and reliable material for your new dinnerware, ceramic and porcelain are some of the most popular options, known for their strength and durability.
Although they are still breakable, they are usually somewhat less brittle than glass plates.
Pottery is made from clay. Ceramic plates of all kinds are made when clay is heated to extreme temperatures and then shaped into the plate or utensil you are going to use.
They are gorgeous dishes that can often be versatile in their use.
Can ceramic be heated in the microwave?
Most ceramic dishes can be heated in the microwave, as long as there is no metal on the rim or decorative details. You should always check if the labels say that the dishes are suitable for the microwave.
The good news is that you can microwave ceramic mugs and plates, but there are a few things to keep in mind so you don’t run into any problems when microwaving a ceramic item.
In this guide, we will explain everything you need to know about using ceramic in the microwave. We’ve got some tips for identifying whether or not your piece is microwaveable, as well as some specific items to avoid microwaving.
Read on for all the necessary information about microwave ceramics.
How are ceramic plates made?
The category of ceramics is quite broad.
While you may be thinking primarily of serving platters and mugs and mugs in this guide, the category is not limited to these items. You can also find pitchers, vases, and other things that are made from ceramics.
Since we’re talking about microwaving your ceramic items, we thought it might be helpful to briefly explain how ceramics are made.
Most of the time, pottery is made from clay. The clay is molded and shaped, as in any pottery process.
Pottery includes all sorts of things like brick, pottery, and porcelain (or earthenware). Most tableware is traditionally ceramic.
The clay is first formed and then, to set it, it is fired at intense heat. The heating process hardens the material to make it strong and durable.
Most ceramics can be heated in the microwave, but there are some exceptions.
Is ceramic safe for the microwave?
What you will find is that, in general, your ceramic dishes are safe for the microwave. Most of them may even be stamped like this or have another symbol that means the same thing.
However, we recommend that you check the items and their packaging to see if they can be used in the microwave.
Even in ceramic dinnerware sets, each piece must be marked “microwave safe” in some way. The indicator can be these precise words printed or stamped on the bottom of the plate or a symbol that looks like a microwave.
But here’s what you really need to know about that “microwaveable” label. This label simply means that you can microwave the item without damaging or breaking it.
Actually, there is no regulation that prevents manufacturers from placing such a label, as long as the item does not become misshapen or damaged in the microwave.
The downside is that even though they are microwaveable, the dish may still be too hot to handle after microwaving.
Always handle objects with care, especially ceramic dishes, as they get very hot to the touch when microwaved.
Another thing we want to mention. We always assume that if something is labeled “microwaveable” it means the item is non-toxic. We just want to point out again that these brands are not really regulated.
When an item labeled “microwave safe” is heated in the microwave, you can be sure that it will not start a fire or break the item. However, there’s often no way to know if you might be releasing toxic chemicals into your microwave, your food, or into the air.
This isn’t likely with ceramic dishes, but it’s always a possibility, so keep that in mind. These are just things to keep in mind when microwaving ceramic items.
Can ceramic mugs be heated in the microwave?
The question of the day is here. If you’re wondering about how to heat ceramic in the microwave, I’m sure you’re curious about reheating that cold cup of coffee.
You just used your favorite ceramic mug this morning and now you need to warm up your drink.
That’s what happens! I sure do, if you have busy mornings. The good news is that most ceramic mugs are microwave safe.
Keep in mind our tips in the previous section that your mug may be very hot when it comes out of the microwave. Always handle your ceramic mug with care after it has been heated.
As for ceramic mugs for the microwave, we have other points to point out.
What is the best ceramic mug to use?
We are not here to make a specific product recommendation, but rather to give you some ideas on how to carefully choose your ceramic mug for best results when microwaving it.
First, make sure that your ceramic mug does not have a metal rim or metal added for decorative purposes.
If there is a metal rim or metal on the mug, you won’t be able to heat it in the microwave. This small addition could override everything else and make the mug unsafe for the microwave.
When choosing a ceramic mug that you want to be able to use in the microwave, look for a mug with lighter colors.
The dark glazes used on ceramic mugs actually have higher levels of manganese. While this does not make the mug unsafe to microwave, it will probably make the mug hotter in the microwave.
Dark glazes tend to overheat, while light glazes tend to stay cooler in the microwave.
Again, be very careful when picking up the ceramic mug after microwaving it, as cases of burns have occurred, especially with dark glazes.
Things to keep in mind
We have already verified that most ceramics can be heated in the microwave. We’ve given you some tips on microwave cooking rules and even given you some specific ground rules for microwaving your ceramic mugs.
However, we do have other general information and things to consider that we want to cover with you so that you are fully prepared to understand whether or not you can microwave ceramic.
Beware of metal
Some ceramic dishes have a metal ring around the edges. This is common especially on plates, but it also occurs on cups and bowls.
It’s a little added decorative piece that makes the ceramic item stand out. Unfortunately, that little metal ring also makes your ceramic item unsafe for the microwave.
If your ceramic dinnerware has visible metal or even a ring that looks like metal, don’t risk it.
Metal and microwaves do not mix and can cause sparks or fire. If there is metal anywhere on your plates, ceramic or otherwise, they are not microwave safe.
Meet the enamels
Most ceramic items are covered with a glaze to make them more decorative and colorful. You might recognize items like Fiesta dinnerware that you know are ceramic, but are also made fun or pretty by using glaze to cover the surface.
Some of them are perfectly safe, but you should know that not all of them are. The EPA has observed that some of these glazes emit radiation when heated in the microwave.
Although they may not affect your food and drinks at normal temperatures, when you microwave them, they can release toxic chemicals into the air and into your food.
Many of these items have been time tested and you might want to do some research on your brand or item to really know what’s in the polish and if you should be concerned.
Just as some nail polishes can produce radiation in the microwave, there are also some nail polishes that could contain lead.
The lead in the glaze is usually not disclosed in any way, as when it is manufactured, it is done safely.
If your ceramics chip or crack, this is when you could be exposed to lead, especially if you microwave the items.
Is it safe?
Ultimately, keep in mind that MOST ceramics can be microwaved. There are certainly a few things to watch out for and be aware of, but the general rule of thumb is that there is no harm in microwaving to ceramics.
Keep these tips in mind and understand the dishes before taking any chances.
We hope this guide helps you better understand whether or not you can microwave ceramic.
We invite you to review our questions and answers section for additional information.
Why does ceramic get hot in the microwave?
Normally it is the glaze that makes the ceramic so hot in the microwave. It is better to use the microwave for ceramics that have lighter glazes.
How do you know if the edge is metallic?
You will be able to tell if the border is gold or silver. If it has this type of rim, you should not heat your ceramic item in the microwave.
Why has my ceramic plate cracked in the microwave?
Ceramics and glazes sometimes crack at extremely high temperatures. If your microwave is especially powerful or set to a very high temperature, it can cause some cracking in your dishes.
If your ceramic dinnerware is labeled “microwave safe,” this shouldn’t happen. However, some cheaper or poorly made ceramics that have not been fired to the proper temperature can crack.
It is always good to check if your dishes are microwave safe, for your safety, but also for the good of your dishes.