People want convenience and flexibility in daily work nowadays, such as, taking a meal and popping it in the oven instantly to reheat. But you cannot put any type of container in the oven, especially when it comes to take-out containers. For that, you have to understand first if it is oven-safe.
Normally, take-out containers made out of Bagasse, molded fiber, high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and polypropylene (PP) are safe to use in the oven. But there are some products such as the ones made from aluminum, paper, polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE), Styrofoam, etc. are unsafe for the oven.
Can You Put Take-Out Containers in the Oven
Generally, a product is considered oven-safe if it can tolerate at least 250-degree Fahrenheit temperature. Products having a temperature tolerance less than that can melt inside the oven and leave a nasty mess.
Usually, most of the take-out containers are made for one-time use purposes which makes them unsuitable for microwave use. However, there are certain ones which you can put in the oven safely.
How to Tell if a Take-Out Container Is Oven Safe
The best way to find out if a container is safe for ovens is by checking the labels located on the bottom. Usually, to indicate oven safety, there is a symbol of a microwave oven with some wavy lines on it.
Take-Out Containers That Are Safe for Oven
Whether you can put take-out containers in the oven or not depends mostly on the type of material that the container is made of. Bagasse and molded fiber containers are the common ones that are oven safe.
Take-out containers made using bagasse are safe to put in the oven. Bagasse is a type of pulpy fiber that is acquired from the remains after crushing sugarcane or sorghum stalk.
Containers made from bagasse are safe to use in an oven as bagasse can tolerate temperatures up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Though bagasse is environment-friendly material, it is non-recyclable and meant for single use only.
Molded fiber is made from recycled papers, paperboards, and cardboards. The manufacturing process of molded fiber takeout containers are environmentally friendly and can withstand temperature up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Besides take-out containers, molded fiber is also used for bowls and plates. Though these are suitable for ovens, like bagasse containers, these can be only used for one time.
Take-Out Containers That Are Not Safe for Oven
Usually, aluminum and paper take-out products are unsafe to put in the oven.
Aluminum is commonly used to make take-out containers and trays. It is a good conductor of heat and great for high temperatures like 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet, aluminum take-out containers are not safe to put inside ovens.
The reason behind this is that the aluminum has a glossy surface that acts as a mirror. In certain ovens, especially microwaves, the waves get reflected which can damage the appliance. As a result, even if aluminum baking trays are good for baking, the take-out containers made from them are not suitable for cooking and reheating in the oven.
Paper products are good heat insulators and are widely used as take-out food containers. But these products are not suitable for oven use.
These paper products include containers, cups, plates, and bowls which are usually coated with substances and sealed with glues in the joints. When heated, these substances and glues can melt and mix with the food. This is why it is best to avoid putting paper take-out products in the oven.
Can You Put Plastic Containers in the Oven
Usually, it is not safe to put typical plastic take-out containers in the oven. Due to a relatively low melting point, plastic containers can melt, ruin the food and cause damage to appliances.
Although, there are some plastics, usually originating from polypropylene (commonly abbreviated to PP) are safe to put in ovens, unlike standard plastics. You can easily identify them by the resin identification codes, also known as plastic recycling symbols. There are seven of them, each indicating a different type.
Which Plastics Are Oven-Safe
Among the 7 types of plastics, two are safe to put into the oven. Those are:
- Plastic #2 or High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
- Plastic #5 or Polypropylene (PP)
HDPE and PP can resist high temperatures which makes them safe for the oven. HDPE has a temperature tolerance of -40 to 266 degrees and PP has a tolerance of 0 to 250 degrees before deformation.
HDPE and PP are used for containers, plates, bowls, cutlery, and catering trays in the food service market. These plastics are lightweight, durable, and resistant to deterioration.
Which Plastics Are Not Oven-Safe
Although no other types are safe for the oven apart from HDPE and PP, some types should be avoided strictly from the oven due to a really low melting point. Such as:
- Plastic #1 or Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE)
- Plastic #6 or Polystyrene (PS), also known as Styrofoam.
Can You Heat Takeaway Containers
It is safe to heat takeaway containers if they are oven-safe. But, in case of prolonged heating, cardboard containers and paper products have a slight chance of catching fire depending on the oven type. Besides, if the take-out container is made of poor-quality material, it can get damaged and can cause an unpleasant smell.
Read the packaging instructions and check for the symbols before putting a takeaway in the oven. Also, try not to heat for a long time.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are oven cooking bags microwave-safe?
Answer: Yes, oven cooking bags are microwave-safe when used correctly. Read the packaging instructions before putting it inside an oven. Also, avoid reusing the oven bags more than once.
2. Will 170 degrees melt plastic?
Answer: It depends on the plastic you are using. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and Polypropylene (PP) will not melt at 170 degrees and can even endure up to 250 degrees. But the other variants of plastics can melt at such a temperature.
3. Can You Put Cardboard Takeaway Box in the Oven
Cardboards are environment-friendly and made from sustainable materials. Normally, such take-out containers are safe for the oven depending on the type. However, you should read the packaging instructions before putting one in an oven.
It is crucial to know which take-out containers you can put in the oven and which you cannot. Make sure to check the “microwave safe” sign before you put one inside. Sometimes, some products are not labeled at all. In this case, use an oven-safe plate or bowl even if seems like a little extra work.