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Can You Put An Aluminum Pan In The Microwave? Answer + 12 Things You Shouldn’t Put In The Microwave

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You are dreaming of that yummy breadstick you have at home from your leftover food from Olive Garden. You finally get home after work and grab the crimped bag they give you and you slap it in the microwave…

In seconds you are reminded about the small amounts of aluminum foil that is in the inside layer of your favorite food takeout bag. Sparks are going everywhere and you slap that stop button quicker than you ever have before. You had a speedy reminder that you were supposed to use a conventional oven for the heating process.

It’s very easy to forget that there is a small amount of foil in ssssooo many things.

Can you put an aluminum pan in the microwave? The short answer is, no.

If you put any type of aluminum container or metal cookware in the microwave without thinking you will soon know it because of the sparks flying everywhere. Not only can this cause a fire but it can destroy your microwave as well.

The sparks are caused by the electric current that is used to warm your food hitting the crinkled-up foil or whatever you put in the microwave oven.

The aluminum cookware will reflect the electrical currents and only allow for the top of the food to be warmed up. The bottom and side areas of food will not be warmed up.

It might be confusing because a microwave is made of metal right? There can even be a metal turntable sometimes in the unit. The thing is that microwaves are painted with a microwave-safe paint that keeps the side of the microwave safe from microwave energy.

Other Things You Can Not Put In The Microwave

  • Metal twist ties
  • Any small metal objects
  • The little metal crimp that is on the end of a meat tube.
  • Silverware
  • Metal cookware
  • Cake pans
  • Containers with remnants of small pieces of aluminum foil on the edge like a peanut butter jar. It is mostly paper but there is a thin layer of aluminum in the sealing paper that under high temperatures can cause a fire and melt the plastic.
  • A disposable aluminum foil tray
  • Stainless steel
  • Tin foil
  • Plastic bags will melt extremely quickly.
  • It is also a risk to microwave aluminum takeout containers.
aluminum pan, aluminum foil, twist tie and other things you should  not put in the microwave

Places You Can Use An Aluminum Tray

An aluminum or mettle tray is an excellent conductor of heat which is why they are so often used in cooking. However, you just need to be careful where you use aluminum foils is ok and when you are going to cause a light show.

The simplest thing to ask yourself is if the item uses electrical waves to warm up the food. Or is it simply creating heat to cook the food? If the kitchen appliance is using indirect electricity to warm the food then you should be safe to use an aluminum tray.

The best choice is in traditional ovens are the most common place to use aluminum foil trays because they simply create heat to warm the food.

A toaster oven is another place that would be safe to warm up food that is in disposable aluminum pans. Because it is using heat not radio waves to heat the food.

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Alternatives To Using Aluminum Foil Containers In The Microwave

Here are some great alternatives to using foil in the microwave to cover food or something you are trying to cook in the microwave. Each one has its plus and minuses so make sure to read each one before assuming you can put each one in the microwave for any length of time.

Plastic Wrap – This is a great cover IF you are not going to warm up the item for more than a few seconds. Plastic wrap is extremely thin and oftentimes will melt if you put in in the microwave for longer than 30 seconds.

Parchment Paper – This is another alternative if you are trying to cover something or are baking. But it is on the pricy side so it is definitely not economical to simply cover something in the microwave on a regular basis and simply throw it away.

A Paper Towel – This is a great clean way to cover something if you are trying to warm up food in the microwave or cook something for a longer amount of time.

A Dish Towel – Using a larger drying rag to cover a bowl in the microwave is also another alternative to cover your food item if you would like to save a bit of money instead of using something once and throwing it out like paper towels or plastic wrap.

Ceramic Containers – These are also great for aluminum foil pans but make sure you look at the bottom of the dish for a symbol or wording that says microwave safe. There can be glazes with mettle flakes in them. So you want to be sure you don’t cause a surprise fire. But most dishes are microwave safe these days.

Baking Pan Made From Glass – Glass dishes are also a great alternative to put in the microwave for cooking in. DO NOT use a glass cooking pan lid in the microwave though. They often have mettle handles or edges that will cause the same issue as foil.

How To Know If A Container Is Microwave Safe

Flip that bad boy over and look at the bottom. Often times the manufacturer’s instructions will be stamped on the bottom of the container in the materials of the product.

It is best microwave safety to look for “microwave-safe or safe for microwave use” on anything before you put it in the microwave. and if you’re not sure. Don’t use it.

What To Do If You Accidentally Microwave Aluminum Foil

Accidents are going to happen and that’s ok. The key thing to remember in any kitchen mishap is to remain calm and think before you act.

If you goof up and see sparks flying in the microwave hit the stop button and step back. The sparks will die down and

likely your food will be just fine. Removed the cooperate and put your food in a microwave-safe container.

If there is a fire in the microwave of course call 911 if your house is on fire. BUT DO NOT open the microwave door. The lack of oxygen will snuff out the fire in seconds. But if you open the door you just gave the flame access to what it needs to grow.

Make sure to grab a hot pad before removing anything out of the microwave that has caught fire. You will be surprised how quickly something heats up.

For the best results and the safest way to microwave food simply take the food out of anything you think is not going to be microwave safe.

To help you out I went through and found several microwave-safe bakeware and cookware options.

Microwave safe Essentials


LaCuisine 18 Piece Microwave Cookware Set, White

This is an excellent set with a tone of great reviews. It’s lightweight and easy to clean. Check them out on Amazon.

Ceramic Casserole Dish with Baking Dish with Lid for Casseroles, Lasagna Pans Casserole Cookware Set

If you are a 1 or two-dish cook this is a great casserole dish that will work great for the microwave and anything you need to warm up.

Ello Jane Ceramic Travel Mug with Slider Lid

Thousands of great reviews and the tumbler is microwave safe.

Now that you know how to tell if your container is microwave safe, go ahead and heat up your food in the microwave! It’ll come out just as hot and fresh without damaging the container, starting a fire, OR the microwave itself.

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