Baking Utensils for Convection Microwave Oven
The best cookware for a convection microwave oven is glass, ceramic and microwave-safe plastics. The plastic utensils used in a microwave oven should be marked with the microwave-safe sign. Otherwise, these utensils will likely melt, turning your food into an inedible and toxic mess. Microwave ovens may not produce fire, but they’re going to cause fires if you are not careful.
Can Steel Utensils Be Used in the Microwave?
Can we use steel utensils in the microwave? No. Stainless utensils and all other metal utensils and cookware should never be used in a microwave oven. Metal doesn’t allow radio waves to penetrate and cook the food, and these can damage your microwave oven easily. Check the label of new utensils and cookware to see if they are microwave-safe or not before trying them out in the microwave oven. The only material that you can test physically without a lot of risks is glassware. The rest can melt, catch fire, crack or damage microwave ovens.
If you are convection cooking, then some metal cookware and aluminum foil can be used in small quantities inside the microwave oven. Keep in mind that micro-fryers, popcorn poppers, and other specialty utensils and cookware can be used in microwave ovens, but you should check the labels. Heed the directions of the manufacturers, always, as they know best.
Are All Glass Utensils Microwave Safe?
No, not all glass utensils and cookware are microwave safe. Non-microwave safe utensils, dishware, and cookware may be able to tolerate some exposure to microwave operation, but they will not last in the long term.
The best way to test if a piece of glassware is microwave-safe is by placing the glassware in the microwave with some water and then heating for one minute.
After one minute, gently touch the glassware. If the glassware has become warm within one minute of microwave operation, then the glassware is not microwave-safe and you should avoid using this in a microwave oven.
On the other hand, if the glassware is cool to the touch (as if nothing happened), it is microwave-safe and can normally be used in the microwave oven.
Keep in mind that if you poured water into the glass or cup’s brim, the area around the water would be slightly warm. However, the rest of the glassware should be cool if it is microwave-safe. Non-microwave safe glassware might crack when the temperature of the food or beverage inside reaches the limit of the glassware.
Can We Use Aluminum Utensils In Microwave?
Using small amounts of aluminum in a microwave oven is deemed safe by the USDA. However, the USDA recommends that you consult with the microwave oven’s operating manual and always heed the instructions with the use of aluminum foil and aluminum utensils.
If you use aluminum foil in the microwave oven, make sure that the food is partially exposed. Use only the minimum amount of aluminum foil. Additionally, you should never wrap food completely in aluminum foil. The radio waves will not reach the food properly, and you can end up with a broken microwave oven afterward. You won’t want to do this as misuse of the machine may even cause the voiding of your microwave oven’s warranty.
What utensils can be used in the microwave?
Several types of utensils can be used in a microwave oven:
- Paper plates and containers – These can be used sparingly and only for very short periods of cooking. Many paper products are coated with a waxy substance that can eventually catch fire if the temperatures get too hot. Use only for basic warming, so the food and the container remain stable throughout the microwaving process and to be on the safe side.
- Glass utensils – As we have discussed earlier, glass utensils and cookware can be safely used for microwave ovens (even for convection mode) as long as they are marked microwave-safe sign. Always test for one minute at least before using frequently. Use the glassware test we already indicated previously.
- China glassware and dishes, ceramics, and pottery – These three materials can be used in the microwave oven as long as they are marked as microwave-safe. Ceramics with metal linings and handles should not be used as these can damage your microwave oven. Any damage to the machine can trigger a fire.
- Metal cookware – During ordinary microwave operation, metal utensils and metal cookware should not be used to damage the machine. However, if your microwave has a convection mode, you can safely use a minimal quantity of metal cookware without damaging the unit.
- Boilable plastic – All boilable plastics should be split properly as per the manufacturer’s instructions and place in another microwave-safe dish. You can also place the boilable plastic on the floor of the microwave oven.
Not all materials can safely be used in a microwave oven, even in small quantities. The worst material would probably be Styrofoam, which is about 80% air and doesn’t hold up to heat that well. There’s a reason why we can’t put super-hot food in Styrofoam containers. They are not designed to withstand the heat. Using this material may release toxins in your food from the synthetic material at high temperatures.
The same applies to non-microwave safe containers. Plastics that aren’t meant to withstand the radio waves and the machine’s temperature fluctuations can easily melt, contaminating your food in the process.
There is plenty of wisdom in knowing how to use the right containers for cooking, especially using microwave ovens, convection microwave ovens, and the like. Always check the container if it is microwave-safe, test everything before using it for longer periods, and if in doubt, don’t use it at all. This way, your food would always be safe to eat, and you will have zero issues with your microwave oven.