We are fully aware that putting metal in a microwave isn’t a good idea. While a lot of what is being said is true, you might be attempting to microwave stainless steel bowls, cups, plates, and utensils.
But is stainless steel microwave safe? The quick answer is no. It’s not microwavable because metal can reflect the microwaves rather than absorb them, resulting in sparks and potential fire hazards.
In this post, I’ll walk you through the relationship between stainless steel and microwave in a more detailed manner. Let’s find out!
If you’re looking for a top-notch quality microwave, please check out our guide on best microwaves with stainless steel interior.
How a Microwavable Material/Containers Should Be
Before we discuss our question, “can you microwave stainless steel?” it’s important first to understand the properties of a microwave-safe material: It should be;
- High temperature resistant
- Microwave penetrability
If you aren’t sure about this, check the label or the instructions given. Many brands will mark their products to enlighten their customers about safety. If you see a label stating ‘microwave-safe,’ then carry on and microwave your content using that item.
Microwave and Stainless Steel
There’s a complicated relationship between the microwave and metals. It will be much easier to understand if you know the three obvious properties of a microwave – absorbability, penetrability, and reflectivity.
Microwave radiation passes through insulating materials, including microwavable glass, plastic, and ceramics. All these materials won’t get an electric charge from microwaves, though.
These microwaves will interact with food items such as sugar, water, and fat, causing them to vibrate. The vibration of molecules heats your food.
What Happens If You Put Metal In The Microwave?
It’s not advisable. Much like other metals, stainless steel is doped with chromium (a layer of chromium oxide) that reflects microwaves back and forth. That’s to say, these sparks can start a fire.
Stainless steel is not different from other metals when they’re put in the microwave. Talk of ceramic, tin, steel, and copper.
Microwaving food in stainless steel items can interfere with the taste and texture of your food.
For instance, if any ignition occurs when a stainless steel pan and microwaves walls come into contact, your food will burn, making it unrecoverable.
Is 304 Stainless Steel Microwave Safe?
No, 304 stainless steel can’t go in a microwave. 304 stainless steel comprises the most common material, containing both Chromium oxide and nickel metals.
Just use it to store, prepare and handle your food. Avoid cooking food using it inside a microwave. Use microwave-safe utensils to reheat your content if you want safe results.
Does Stainless Steel Explode in Microwave?
It depends. Not everything made of stainless steel will explode when put in a microwave. Round metal objects like a coin, fork, and spoon won’t in any way explode, however, a twist nail or tie featuring a metal trim can easily explode.
Small metal objects have a higher chance of exploding in a microwave than large ones. But it all comes down to the model and the manufacturer.
Avoid throwing utensils in your microwave because they will damage your microwave, so is food.
Is It Safe to Put a Stainless Steel Thermos in the Microwave?
The absolute answer is No. Most brands insulate thermos with stainless steel. So, if you put it in a microwave, it can damage your microwave. Thermoses can as well catch fire.
Things You Should Know About Microwaving Stainless Steel
Your microwave is best suited for reheating, defrosting, and nowadays cooking food. As we’ve mentioned, you’re better off when using other materials instead of stainless steel.
This is the safest route since it will protect your microwave from damages.
Here are other things to know:
- Shape matters. Different shapes of metals will react differently in any given appliance. If an object has sharp edges, it will spark when it is inside a microwave. Charged particles typically move to the edges, thus causing sparks.
- Avoid putting metal objects close to the microwave’s walls. The contact between the two can start a fire.
- Don’t put any dish with metallic trim in a microwave. Upon reheating, the metallic trims will overheat and potentially form an electric arc that damages both the dish and appliance.
- Timing is important. If you decide to put any metal sheet, don’t do so for too long. For example, don’t reheat an aluminum foil for more than 30 seconds.
Follow the USDA guidelines or user’s instructions if you’re not sure of the safety of a certain material.
Other Things You Should Never Put In Your Microwave
If you want to keep your microwave safe, then keep these items out of it.
- Take out containers. Don’t use them unless they’re made from microwave-safe materials.
- Paper bags. During the heating process, paper bags can release harmful chemicals into your food.
- Butter and Yogurt containers. These are just for one-time use. They can’t withstand high heat like that of a microwave.
- Styrofoam. Styrofoam bowls, cups, and plates won’t react well with the heat of a microwave.
- Cookware with metal trim
- Plastic storage containers. Keep them out of a microwave unless they’re labeled ‘microwave-safe.’
Now you know that stainless steel isn’t microwave-safe. When subjected to microwave temperatures, the process can result in sparking and starting a fire.
Use other substitutes for stainless steel in the microwave. That way, you’ll keep your kitchen environment and the microwave itself safe.