How To Tell if a Bowl Is Microwave Safe (5 Easy Ways)

Categorized as Microwave Safety
microwave safe bowl

When it comes to microwaving food, the safety of your bowl is just as important as the safety of your dinner. That’s why it’s essential to know if your bowl is microwave safe or not. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to determine if a bowl is microwave safe. Keep reading and I’ll show you how!

How To Determine If a Bowl Is Microwave Safe

Here are some simple steps to help you determine if a bowl is microwave safe:

1. Check for a “Microwave Safe” Label or Symbol on the Bowl

The first place to look when trying to determine if a bowl is microwave safe is on the item itself. Most products that are rated as being suitable for microwaving will be labeled as such. On many items, this label will appear as a small logo featuring an image of waves inside of a square or words such as “Microwave Safe” printed on the bottom.

2. Read the Product Information

If there’s no “microwave safe” logo or symbol on your bowl, then it’s time to check out the packaging or product information that came with it. Many manufacturers include instructions about how their products should be used, including whether they are suitable for use in the microwave. So take some time to read over any product information that came with your bowl and see what it says about using it in the microwave.

3. Visit the Manufacturer’s Website

If you still can’t find any information about using your bowl in the microwave, then you might need to do some research online. Most manufacturers have websites where they provide detailed information about their products, including safety recommendations and usage instructions. You may be able to find some useful information by visiting their website and doing some digging around.

4. Consult a Professional

If you buy your bowl from a store, the staff there may be able to help you determine if it’s microwave safe or not. Don’t hesitate to ask them any questions you may have, as they should be able to provide you with reliable information.

5. Do Water Test

Even after doing all of your research and checking the product labels, it’s still a good idea to do a water test before microwaving your bowl. To do this, fill a cup of water and place it in the microwave along with your bowl. Microwave the items on high power for 1 minute. If the bowl gets hot and the water does not, then it is not safe to use in the microwave. On the other hand, if the bowl is still cold and the water is hot, then you can safely use it in your microwave.

What are The Risks of Using an Unsafe Bowl in the Microwave?

From health hazards to potential damage to your appliance, let’s take a closer look at why it’s so important to use a safe bowl in the microwave. 

Health Hazards

The first and most obvious risk of using an unsafe bowl in the microwave is that it could be hazardous to your health. Non-microwave safe containers may contain certain chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is an endocrine disruptor that has been linked to a range of health issues such as infertility, birth defects, and cancer.

Damage to the Microwave

In addition to potential health risks posed by using unsafe bowls in the microwave, there’s also the risk of damaging your appliance itself. Depending on the material used for your bowl or container—and even what type of food you put in it—heating something up too quickly can lead to explosions or melted containers inside your appliance. Not only can this cause smoke and foul odors inside your kitchen but it can also damage the internal components of the machine itself. 

Risk Of Fire 

Last but not least, using an unsafe bowl in a microwave can also lead to fire due to overheating or sparks caused by metal parts coming into contact with microwaves or other electrical elements inside the microwave. 

Benefits of Using Microwave Safe Containers

Aside from avoiding potential health and safety risks, there are other benefits to using microwave-safe containers.  

Quick and Even Heating

One of the most significant benefits of using microwave-safe containers is that food can be heated quickly and evenly. This means that you don’t have to worry about uneven heating or cold spots in your food.

Minimal Changes in Flavor and Nutrients

Another great benefit of using microwave-safe containers is that there are minimal changes in flavor and nutrients when compared with other methods of cooking or reheating food. This can help to preserve the taste and nutrient content of your food.

Easy Cleanup

The third benefit of using microwave-safe containers is that they are generally easy to clean. Most microwave-safe containers are dishwasher safe, meaning you can easily clean them in the dishwasher, making cleanup a breeze.

Which Food Containers Are Safe for Microwaving?

When it comes to choosing a container for microwaving, there are certain materials that are better than others. Take a look at the list below for some of the safest materials to use when microwaving food.

Ceramic and Glass Containers 

Ceramic and glass containers are great for microwaving because they don’t absorb heat like other materials do. They also don’t leach any chemicals into your food while being heated so you don’t have to worry about any additional health risks when using them in the microwave. Make sure that whatever ceramic or glass container you use is labeled “microwave safe” though, as some dishes may contain metals that could spark in the microwave. 

Paper Plates, Wax Paper, and Parchment Paper 

Paper plates, wax paper, and parchment paper are all perfectly safe to use in the microwave. Be aware that these materials can catch fire if exposed to high enough temperatures or left in the microwave for too long though. So make sure you’re monitoring your food closely when it’s cooking so that this doesn’t happen.

Plastic Containers with a “Microwave Safe” Label or Symbol 

Plastic containers marked with a “microwave safe” label or symbol are designed specifically for microwaving purposes; however, it is still important to check each container before microwaving just in case there is any damage or cracks present to avoid any potential risks.

Which Food Containers Should Not Be Used in the Microwave?

The materials above are some of the safest for microwaving, but there are a few materials that should be avoided when microwaving food.

Metal Containers and Foil

Metal containers and aluminum foil should not be used in the microwave. Both of them can spark and cause fires.

Some Styrofoam Containers

Some Styrofoam containers are labeled safe for microwaving but other types can break down when exposed to heat and leach chemicals into your food. Always check the label before microwaving these containers and avoid using if it isn’t labeled safe.

Plastic Containers Without the “Microwave Safe” Label or Symbol

Any plastic container that does not have the “microwave safe” label or symbol should be avoided when microwaving food. The heat from the microwave can cause these containers to melt and leach chemicals into your food.

Cold Storage Containers

Cold storage containers are designed to keep food cold and shouldn’t be used in the microwave. They often contain plasticizers that can leach into your food when exposed to high temperatures.

Dishes With Metallic Trim or Accents

Dishes with metallic trim or accents should also be avoided when microwaving as they can spark and cause fires.

Foam-Insulated Containers

Foam-insulated containers are often used to keep food hot or cold for extended periods of time but should not be used in the microwave. The foam insulation can break down when exposed to high temperatures and leach chemicals into your food.

Brown Paper Bags

Brown paper bags are often used for packaging food, but they should be avoided when microwaving as they can catch fire.


To sum up, knowing whether or not your bowl is microwave safe isn’t just important; it’s essential! By following our guide above, you should be able to easily identify whether or not your bowl is fit for use in a microwave oven – and help protect yourself from any potential risks associated with using non-microwave-safe materials.

So take some time today and make sure that all of your bowls are indeed labeled “microwave safe” before using them in the microwave. Thanks for reading, and happy microwaving!

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!