Can You Microwave Tupperware? Safe or Dangerous?

Categorized as Microwave Safety
can you microwave plastic tupperware?

Microwaves have become a staple in many households. They are used for reheating leftovers, melting butter and cheese on nachos or popcorn, boiling water to make coffee, and more! Can you microwave Tupperware? Many people ask this question because they are concerned about the safety of microwaving plastic containers such as Tupperware.

Here’s the short answer: if the plastic Tupperware is labeled microwave-safe or an imprinted microwave symbol, you can go ahead and microwave it. However, don’t forget to follow the manufacturer instructions on the label to see how much time and at what setting it can be heated.

Are All Tupperware Products Microwave Safe?

Not all Tupperware containers are microwave-safe. The majority of plastic containers labeled “Tupperware,” and other brands that have become popular for microwaving will actually melt if they’re placed inside a microwave oven because they aren’t designed to be heated in the microwave.

To know which one is safe, you can also check a chart of plastic container safety from Tupperware. It will list the materials used and the plastic number of Tupperware products; you’ll want to steer clear of plastics with the numbers 1, 3, 6, or 7. Number 2, 4, and 5 are safer plastics.

What Is The Difference Between a Microwave Safe and Non-Microwave Safe Plastic Container?

There are two main differences between microwave-safe plastic containers and those that aren’t safe for microwaving. One is the design and the types of plastic materials use, which will determine if it has been designed to withstand high temperatures from being heated in a microwave oven. The other difference is whether or not the container uses dangerous chemicals.

There are two types of plastic materials used in food packaging; good plastics can withstand the high heat from microwaving, while bad ones will lead to chemical leaching and other toxic effects that are not good for you. The common concerning chemical is BPA.

BPA or Bisphenol A is a plastic hardener that is found in many types of plastic containers. This chemical has been identified as an endocrine disruptor that is linked to a wide range of health problems such as cardiovascular problems, fertility issues, cancer risks, diabetes risk, and more.

So in order for the containers to be safe for microwave use, it’s not enough that they are labeled as microwavable, you need to be BPA-free as well. If the plastic Tupperware container isn’t labeled with a microwave-safe and BPA-free symbol on the bottom, don’t use it to microwave food or even to store food.

microwave safe symbol

How Safe Is Tupperware?

According to the Tupperware website, they don’t use any harmful chemicals like BPA or polyethylene terephthalate, in all of their product lines, including their food storage containers and cooking oil containers. But is it true?

From my research, while it is true that all products sold by Tupperware in the United States and Canada since March 2010 are BPA-free, there are still some of its food containers that use polycarbonate (plastic #7), which has been shown to release BPA into food after repeated use.

To make sure you’re getting the safest Tupperware products, check out the chart of plastic types on their website and read the descriptions on the packaging.

Can You Microwave Tupperware With a Lid on?

You can microwave Tupperware with a lid on if you use a microwave-safe Tupperware container that has custom-designed lids and a steam-vent feature. Microwaving food this way offers the benefit of keeping the food from splattering and making a mess inside of your microwave.

However, remember that the vent must be opened before you microwave the Tupperware. Opening the vent will prevent hot liquid from erupting out of your Tupperware, and it prevents steam buildup inside the plastic, which could cause a dangerous build-up of pressure.

Tips to Heating Food Safely Using Tupperware Food Containers in the Microwave

The following are just a few tips you can follow to ensure your food is heated safely when using Tupperware in the microwave.

  1. Do not scratch or scrub the container harshly. Scrubbing harshly can cause the coating to chip away and release harmful chemicals.
  2. Open the vent before microwaving the Tupperware.
  3. Always reheat food for short intervals of time, 3 minutes or less.
  4. Avoid heating foods that are high in fat or sugars. These types of foods can heat up to high heat levels.
  5. Do not microwave leftovers more than once at a time.
  6. Do not use Tupperware for cooking in the microwave, only use it to reheat food.
  7. Use medium-high power to microwave food.
  8. Do not exceed the fill line.
  9. Always make sure to check the recycling number and only Tupperware food containers that are labeled 2, 4, and 5.
  10. If you have, use a microwave that has a rotating control panel, so the foods are rotated evenly.

What are Better Alternatives to Reheat Food Using Microwave?

There are many ways to reheat your food using other types of containers and the microwave. For example, you can use a glass container or ceramic dish in the microwave without having to worry about chemicals leaching into your food. When it comes to reheating food, you can also use a toaster oven or stovetop.

What Methods of Reheating Food are Safe?

There are many methods of reheating food. Here is a list of safe ways to reheat food:

  • On the stove top. On the stovetop, you can use a pan. Reheat food until it reaches at least 165 °F on a food thermometer.
  • In the oven. Reheat food in a toaster oven until the internal temperature of the food reaches 165°F.
  • In the microwave. When reheating food in a microwave, use medium-high power and heat food until it reaches at least 165 °F. Stir, cover, and rotate the food for even heating.
  • Never use a slow cooker or steam table to reheat your leftovers as the food may stay in the “danger zone” (between 40 °F and 140 °F for too long. At this range, at which point bacteria will grow quickly

Final Thoughts

I love using Tupperware because they’re so durable and efficient in the kitchen for storing leftovers, as well as reheating them after being frozen overnight without having to worry about scratching any surfaces like some other types of bowls.

But the question is, how safe are Tupperware plastics?

There’s no doubt that plastic containers can release harmful chemicals into food when microwaved and cause cancer risks or other health problems.

This is why if you want to microwave plastic Tupperware, first make sure you have a microwave-safe Tupperware container labeled with the BPA-free symbol on it, and second make sure that it’s not a plastic-type that releases BPA into food after repeated use.

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!