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While putting plates in the microwave is a fairly reasonable choice, putting them in the oven comes with unique challenges. It's possible to have situations where you want to reheat the leftover food directly into the oven without taking them out of their plates.
For example, having a plate of rice or even some leftover meat on a plate is a possibility. The change of containers may look like a big hassle during hectic days, and your urge to directly heat the plate in the oven may wash over you.
However, the question here is Can you put plates in the oven? Well, the answer is multi-layered. We cannot say a clear-cut yes or no. Certain plate materials are absolutely oven-safe, while many can have hazardous results if put in the oven. Let's see the list of oven-safe plate materials:
What are oven-safe plates?
You can put the following plate materials in the oven without caring much:
Ceramic is any non-metallic material heated and shaped to form various objects. The base of ceramic is usually clay. Other materials classified as ceramic include porcelain or brick material.
Typically, ceramic has a high heat resistance because the clay is already treated with high temperatures during the molding process. Examples of ceramic include earthenware that is normally oven safe.
However, there's a point to remember. While almost all types of ceramic plates and ceramic bowls are oven safe, the paints used over them for branding or decor are another story. They are usually not oven-safe and can get mixed with your cooking food.
So, if you're choosing a ceramic plate to go inside the oven, make sure not to use a painted one. Another point of concern is the handling of the plate once it is heated up. Ceramic is heavy, so you may drop the plate's content on the floor if you're not properly insulating your hands.
PRO TIP: Always use kitchen or baking gloves while handling ceramic plates heated up in ovens.
Although glass is not as sturdy as the next two plate materials on the list, it can fairly withstand heat. You can check the bottom of your plate to know if the glass is oven-safe or not. There's either a symbol of oven-safe material or a worded description of the material.
If you're using PYREX plates or borosilicate glass plates, you should not be afraid of putting them inside the oven. They can withstand heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, thawing your plate before directly putting it in the oven is a must-do practice. Thawing makes the material less prone to thermal shock. A thermal shock is when a material undergoes rapid temperature changes and may not withstand it.
So, if you have preheated the oven already, make sure not to put a frozen glass plate directly into the oven.
Metal is the most unlikely material to go inside the oven because of its limited use in kitchenware. Still, if you have a plate made of metal such as stainless steel, it can go inside the oven without worrying.
Almost all the bakeware is carved out of some kind of metal, so metal plates are safe to put inside the oven. The one thing you need to take care of while placing metal inside the oven is greasing.
If you don't grease the metal plate before cooking/reheating anything in the oven, you may experience the sticking of food to the bottom of the plate. Another thing is the thickness of the metal plate you're using.
A Word of Caution: Thin metal plates can easily burn your food, so make sure not to put them directly under the broiler. Instead, using the middle rack is a safe choice.
Cast iron plates are not a usual cooking option. Still, if you have a cast iron plate, you can safely put it in the oven. The material is heavy and doesn't have a low thermal capacity, so there's nothing to worry about.
However, you must be careful while handling the cast iron plate. It can get extremely hot and cause injury, so using oven mitts or hot pads for a cast iron plate is a must.
That's all with the oven-safe plate materials. Here are some plate materials that you should never put in an oven:
Plates that are not safe in the oven
While there's little to no hassle involved in putting ceramic, glass, or metal plates inside the oven, the following plate materials can be a nightmare in the oven:
Wood is one of the worst options of plate materials to put in the oven. Wood has the primary purpose of igniting a fire, and with a wooden plate inside the oven, what should one expect? Of course, combustion.
If you put a wooden plate in the oven, it can fire up your oven or your whole kitchen. Certain enamel paints make the wood resistant to fire, but still, they are not readily available.
Your normal wooden kitchenware is never to be used in the oven.
Plastic melts so it is another material that should never touch the hot oven's surface. It's a plain bad idea to cook something on plastic plates. The reason is plastic's low melting point. If you mistakenly put a plastic plate in a conventional oven it will turn into a melted mass at a temperature between 212-338 degrees Fahrenheit.
The temperature in a well-heated oven goes much beyond that limit, so never put plastic of melemine plates in the oven.
Paper plates in the oven may seem like an easy choice in many instances. However, they are hazardous to your health. Even if they do not end up burning inside the oven (Yes, if the temperature is maintained at a lower level, they will not burn), they can release toxic gases and dangerous chemicals.
Carbon dioxide is the top-most toxic gas a paper plate can release inside an oven. It is not a good idea to forsake your health only for a little convenience.
Styrofoam is a plastic polymer named polystyrene, a common food packaging material. The white packaging boxes you see your chicken or a salad packed in is styrofoam. While the material comes extremely handy when storing food in the fridge, a styrofoam plate is a big No-No in the oven.
Suppose you put a styrofoam plate inside the oven. In that case, it will end up softening first at only 212 degrees Fahrenheit and finally melting at 414 degrees Fahrenheit.
It has the same properties as plastic, so you must never put a styrofoam plate inside the oven.
Fine china or bone china should probably not be put in the oven. Be sure to check for an oven-safe label.
Frequently Asked Questions
The oven-safe plates have a special oven-safe symbol beneath their base. If there's no symbol, there must be a text-based description either beneath the plate or the user manual that comes with the plate. The most common oven-safe materials are ceramic, glass, and metals such as cast iron, so you can put them inside the oven without worrying too much.
The thickness of the plate can also be an indicator of how much heat the plate can take. I thick ceramic plate will take longer to heat and longer to cool which can help protect it from shattering.
It is not a common incident, but yes, plates can explode inside the oven. Even if they are labeled as oven-safe, sometimes plates can explode or crack in the oven. The primary cause of a plate bursting inside an oven is a thermal shock where the temperature of the plate and the oven are too far apart. This may cause distress to the molecules of the plate's material and cause an explosion. The incident usually occurs with glass plates.
Porcelain is not an ideal material to go inside the oven. The beautiful porcelain dinnerware is never oven safe, so never risk a dinner plate of porcelain set going inside the oven. There are some types of porcelain, though, which are heat resistant up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. They are usually used in making porcelain bakeware. So, it is important to know the type of porcelain before putting it into the oven.
There's no absolute temperature range for oven-safe plates. The temperature limit stays between 300-400 degrees Fahrenheit, depending upon the plate's material. The most sturdy plate materials to go inside the oven are metals and cast iron.
Putting a plate inside the oven is often a choice of convenience. However, it can turn into a disaster and a life lesson if you don't focus on the material of the plate. The few materials that can go safely inside the oven include metals, cast iron, glass, and ceramic. Still, all of these materials have limits to withstand heat.
Then there are materials such as wood, plastic, styrofoam, and paper plates that should never go inside the oven because they will either burn or melt. So, make your plate choices carefully while putting them in the oven. Better safe than sorry!