Can You Microwave A Starbucks Plastic Cup?

Most of us have become increasingly hooked on the ease and accessibility of Starbucks beverages.

I know I am!

So much so that I never really had a second thought about reheating that fine cup of Joe in the microwave. Starbucks’ coffee is all about giving us that comfort we tend to crave.

That warm Cinnamon Dolce Latte wakes your taste buds up for a quick dance. 


So you should be able to reheat your cup of Starbucks coffee or your other favorite hot beverage by just popping it in the microwave, right?

Hold on to your button-pressing finger a bit longer!

Unfortunately, It’s not that easy. Starbucks cups carry a “Do Not Microwave” warning for a reason. I’m sure by now, you probably have some unanswered questions, and I have great news for you.

Continue reading for more eye-opening insight into this dilemma of whether or not you can microwave your Starbucks plastic cup.

Let’s get started!

Can you microwave a Starbucks plastic cup?

Short answer, no! A Starbucks plastic cup should not be microwaved. Here’s the story behind this. It is because the plastic used to produce Starbucks cups is only meant to carry cold drinks, not hot ones.

The cup may bend, dissolve, or release chemicals into the beverage when heated in the microwave. Nobody likes to hear about chemicals swirling around in a beverage they are about to sip on.

Need I say more? Yuck!

Whether rushing to school, work, or dashing to catch a sale at the mall. Don’t worry, I don’t judge. It’s normal to want to grab your brew to go.

Many people drink their coffee and tea from Starbucks cups, so microwaving one isn’t out of the question. On the flip side, you may have seen TikTok clips or Instagram reels of individuals expertly microwaving their Starbucks cups. It’s certain that there is a lot of controversy about whether it’s safe because of the plastic’s composition.

Is it safe to microwave a Starbucks plastic cup?

No, it is not safe to microwave a Starbucks plastic cup. This is due to the materials used to manufacture the cups.

Before we go any further, I want to set something straight… Starbucks plastic cups are totally safe to drink from. However, it’s when heat is applied that many eyebrows begin to raise.

The plastic cup used by Starbucks comprises polypropylene, and only 5.1% of it is recycled. This renders the cup overly flimsy to handle, even with warm tea.

Take my advice, microwaving it will simply distort it.

I learned the hard way!

Thankfully, I was able to escape with zero burns on my hands or feet. On the plus side, here I am saving you from the horrors of a bent-up cup and spilled coffee dripping from the microwave to the floor.

The narrow walls of the cup necessitate the use of a sleeve to comfortably retain hot liquids and prevent the heat from escaping too soon. Generally speaking, microwaving in plastic containers, even if they are labeled BPA-free, is not a good idea. This doesn’t rule out the possibility of contaminants leaching into your drink when heated in the microwave.

Even if BPA isn’t present, additional chemicals such as paraffin or adhesives may find their way into your cup of Caramel Macchiato.

How Do You Know If a Starbucks Cup Is Microwave Safe or Not?

Now, don’t get the wrong idea. I am not ruling out the possibility of a Starbucks plastic cup being warmed in the microwave. Other solutions for keeping your drink warm are still available, including Starbucks’ reusable plastic cup. 

If you want to reuse your Starbucks cup several times, this is the best solution for you.

With that said, there is usually a good and bad approach to doing almost anything in life. So, since the possibility of microwaving a Starbucks cup is not completely off the table, one is left to question which one is microwave-safe.

Look for a code or a microwave-safe symbol on the bottom of the cup. The numeral 5 indicates that the cup is composed of polypropylene, or PP, which is typically regarded as microwave safe.

Nevertheless, just because your Starbucks cup is labeled with code 5, implies it’s fully safe to microwave. Before rushing to pop the cup in the microwave, double-check the directions on the package.

The rationale here is that, even if the cup has a recycle code of 5, several other elements, such as the cup’s diameter and style, will affect whether or not it may be microwaved.

Things to know before microwaving Starbucks plastic cups

If you are still on the fence as to whether or not you will yield to the temptation of microwaving that lukewarm coffee in your hand. I will share a simple test you can do first.

You can test the following recommendations to determine whether or not your Starbucks plastic cup is microwave safe:

Half-fill a cup with water.

With the fluid inside, microwave for one minute.

Hold the cup carefully to gauge the warmth.

If the plastic cup is warm or hot to the touch after heating, then it is not microwave-safe.

However, it is safe to microwave if the plastic cup remains cool while the fluid inside is heated.

Because PP plastic remains cool after being microwaved, it is boasted of being sturdy and heat-resistant. Certainly, when it comes to serving cold coffee, recycling Starbucks plastic cups is practical.

Practical yes, but they are not certified microwave safe!

Check for the plastic code on the bottom of the cup and test it in the microwave to see whether it’s safe.

Which Starbucks Cups Can You Microwave?

Starbucks offers a lot of cups, ranging from standard paper cups to reusable plastic tumblers that can be taken anywhere. You may choose to buy glass, ceramic, or reusable plastic cups that can be microwaved.

These three cups can all be microwaved with no problems. However, be extra cautious with the ceramic and glassware cups since they typically become hot when microwaved.

Be warned that if you drink from them straight away, you can wind up scorching your delicate lips and mouth. Before taking that first sip, allow the cup to cool for a minute or two after warming up to avoid any accidents.

The most common approach is to use a reusable cup. 

It’s not just reusable, but it’s also microwave and dishwasher safe, allowing you to reuse the same cup in various situations.

The best way to microwave a Starbucks plastic cup

If you don’t have any other choice and must use a plastic cup in the microwave, continue with caution.

The best method for microwaving a plastic Starbucks cup is as follows:

  • When heating liquid in a Starbucks plastic cup, start with a medium power setting rather than the usual high one.
  • Thirty-second segments are recommended.
  • Check the liquid to establish if the target temperature has been achieved.
  • The liquid should be stirred.
  • Heat again for 30 seconds, stir, and double-check.

Afterward, you may enjoy a hot Starbucks beverage at any time of day by following this safe and easy warming method.

In Summary

When it comes to microwaving a Starbucks cup, it is possible to succeed. The process, however, is worrisome. Subsequently, the adhesive, plastic, or paraffin coating may melt, releasing toxic substances into your beverage.

As tempting as it may be…

I would strongly advise against using your Starbucks plastic cup to heat your brew in the microwave. 

Now that you know this, there is no reason to put your well-being at stake when you can easily heat your drink in a different method. This isn’t to say that you can’t microwave Starbucks plastic cups if you have no other choice. Just be sure it is reusable and microwave tested first.

Now sip and enjoy!

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