Stainless steel is one of the most commonly used metals in kitchenware. But can you put stainless steel in the microwave?
We are always advised to use only certain types of containers in the microwave. Because using anything else will cause damage to your appliance.
To be honest, I never understood why. Why can I put a metal spoon in the microwave? So, I finally decided to do some research and understand its reason.
The answer was not what I expected. So, keep reading to find out why you should not put stainless steel in a microwave.
Metal in microwave
Contrary to popular belief, microwaves do not heat the food by using warmth. Instead, the microwaves of the device vibrate the molecules and atoms of the item. When this item is solid food or liquid, the process is easier and faster.
In theory, you can put metal in the microwave, and nothing terrible will happen because the molecules in metal are closely bound together. So, they should not vibrate much and not get hot.
But, metal is reflective. And it reflects the microwaves themselves. Because of this reason, the manufacturer makes the inside walls of the microwave with metal. This way, the microwaves stay within the device.
However, if you put another piece of metal inside the microwave, the metal will reflect the microwave back and forth. And this can ignite a spark and cause a fire hazard.
Can you put stainless steel in the microwave?
No. You should not put stainless steel in the microwave. It is not much different from any other type of metal. And putting stainless steel in the microwave can cause a fire hazard.
Stainless steel is one of the best metals to use if you live in a high humidity area. Due to its special coating, stainless steel does not get rusty. But that does not mean that you can put it in the microwave.
A plain stainless steel sheet in the microwave is not relatively dangerous. However, putting big stainless steel utensils can cause a problem. As this metal has a reflective surface, the microwaves are reflected back and forth between the utensil and the microwave oven walls.
And this sparks a fire and causes a fire hazard. This is why you should never put stainless steel in the microwave.
Can you microwave a stainless steel lunchbox?
No. You cannot and should not put a stainless steel lunch box in the microwave unless explicitly labeled microwave safe for two reasons. Firstly, the stainless steel lunch box blocks the food from getting heated. Secondly, placing this metal in the microwave can cause a fire hazard.
One of the reasons I recommend not microwaving food in airtight containers is simple. The airtight metal containers do not let the microwaves reach the food. And without contact with microwaves, the food or drink cannot heat up.
Now, this is a similar situation with a stainless steel lunchbox. These lunch boxes are usually airtight. Hence, the food will not get warm.
Lunch Boxes come with lids, right? So, what if you do not use that lid?
Even if you do not use the lid, there is another problem. Putting stainless steel in the microwave sparks a fire and can ruin your microwave. It can also lead to short circuits.
So, only use microwave-safe containers to heat the food. Your food will warm up quickly and safely.
Is 304 stainless steel microwave safe?
No, 304 stainless steel is not microwave-safe either. The fancy name of this metal might make you believe that you can put it out in the microwave. But that is not safe for your microwave in the long term.
304-grade stainless steel is famous for its heat resistance feature. In other words, you can heat this metal to a very high temperature without any issue. Another advantage of the 304 stainless steel is that it is corrosion-proof. So, no matter how many times you wash it with water, it will not get rusty.
But, just like any other metal, this steel is also highly reflective at the end of the day. And putting 304 stainless steel in the microwave can start a fire.
What kind of metal can you put in the microwave?
As a general rule of thumb, you should not put any metal in the microwave. However, you can microwave a tiny amount of aluminum foil. But the condition is that the aluminum foil lays flat on the microwave surface and does not touch any microwave walls.
If you read any microwave oven instruction manual, microwaving metal is a huge no-no. So, stay away from microwaving any metal.
Things to know about microwaving stainless steel
Now you know that stainless steel is not microwave-safe. But there are still some things that you should know about microwaving stainless steel.
- Different stainless steel utensils reflect the microwaves differently. For example, any utensil with sharp objects is equally dangerous to microwave. The sharp edge reflects the microwaves better and can cause a spark faster.
- Utensils made of other materials that have metal trim are also harmful to put in the microwave. The metallic trim heats up quicker and ruins the utensil. If the metallic trim is big, it can also cause a fire.
- Stainless steel spoons are somewhat safe to microwave. But do not leave it in the microwave for more than 30 seconds. Keeping it longer in the microwave can cause a spark and start a fire.
- If you put a stainless steel object in the microwave, do not put it too near the walls. It can immediately start a fire in your appliances.
- If you are putting aluminum foil in the microwave, lay it flat. Do not wrinkle it or place it near the walls of the microwave. Any wrinkles or direct contact with the wall can cause a spark.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if you put stainless steel in the microwave?
Microwaving stainless steel is not any different than microwaving any other metal. So, the reaction is also the same. The microwaves reflect the waves, and they can cause a fire.
So, if you plan to microwave food, ensure that it is in a microwave-safe container.
Why is stainless steel not used in the microwave?
Stainless steel is not used in the microwave for a simple reason. Stainless steel utensils have a highly reflective surface. Because of this, the microwaves reflect from the utensil to the microwave walls.
This process can cause a fire in the microwave. It can also lead to a short circuit.
Does stainless steel explode in the microwave?
You might have heard that stainless steel explodes in the microwave. Well, it is not entirely wrong.
Yes, stainless steel can explode in the microwave. But not all types of stainless steel utensils explode in the microwave.
For example, if you put a stainless steel spoon in the microwave, the spoon will not explode. Yes, but if you leave it in the microwave for a longer time, it can cause a fire.
Similarly, putting a stainless steel nail in the microwave can quickly cause a fire.
Can a microwave oven be made from stainless steel?
Yes, it is possible to make a microwave oven out of stainless steel. While the majority of commercial microwave ovens are made with other materials such as plastic or aluminum, some models are constructed with stainless steel. These types of microwaves have all the same functions as other microwaves, but can be more expensive due to the cost of manufacturing and installation.
Does metal reflect microwaves?
Yes, metal reflects microwaves because when microwaves come in contact with metal they are deflected away from their original direction. This property makes it so that metal does not allow microwaves to penetrate into food items during cooking in a microwave oven. The reflection of microwaves by metals also limits their transmission range and helps reduce interference between different wireless devices like mobile phones and radios.
How can stainless steel pans be used?
Stainless steel pans are a great choice for cooking as they are resistant to corrosion and reactivity, do not stick easily, and have good thermal properties. They can be used for stovetop cooking, oven baking, broiling, deep-frying, sautéing, and roasting vegetables or meat. Additionally, stainless steel is non-porous so it will not absorb the flavors of food cooked in the pan.
Can metal objects be put into the microwave?
In general, it is not recommended to put metal objects in a microwave as microwaves operate by emitting electromagnetic radiation which is reflected off metal surfaces and may cause arcing or sparks. Some exceptions include certain types of round metal objects such as smooth metal bowls with no sharp edges that have been specifically designed for microwave heating.
Can a microwave oven cook food in stainless steel bowls?
Yes, a microwave oven can cook food in stainless steel bowls, however, it’s not recommended. Stainless steel is not as good of an insulator as plastic or glass, so the food will take longer to heat up and could be unevenly cooked. However, it’s still mostly safe to use microwaves with stainless steel items like bowls if there aren’t any sharp edges or decorative parts.
What containers are suitable for use in a microwave oven?
Glass or ceramic containers are the most suitable containers for use in a microwave oven. Plastic containers may melt if exposed to high temperatures, while metal objects should generally be avoided because they can reflect microwaves and cause sparks or fires. Stainless steel lunch boxes, cups, and utensils labeled microwave safe are usually okay to put inside the microwave, but make sure they don’t have any metal details that can reflect microwaves!
Can I store my food in stainless steel lunch box after cooking it in a microwave oven?
Yes, you can store your food in a stainless steel lunch box after cooking it in a microwave oven. These lunch boxes are designed to keep your food warm until you’re ready to serve it and are generally considered safe for storing leftovers from meals cooked using the appliance. Just make sure there aren’t any metal details on the outside of the box that might interfere with how your appliance works!
What is 304 stainless steel?
304 stainless steel is a type of austenitic chromium-nickel alloy which contains 18–20% chromium, 8–10.5% nickel, and less than 0.08% carbon. This combination of elements creates a high-strength, corrosion resistant material that can stand up to harsh environmental conditions.
What are the benefits of 304 stainless steel ?
The benefit of using 304 stainless steel is its resistance to heat, making it an ideal material for both reheating food as well as heating large quantities at once due to its excellent conductivity. Make sure you always look for a microwave safe label before using these containers.
Are there any drawbacks when using 304 stainless steel in the microwave?
One potential drawback when using 304 stainless steel in the microwave is that it may cause arcing (electric sparks) if the item comes into contact with aluminum foil or any other metal object inside the oven cavity during cooking. Additionally, metallic items should be kept away from the walls and door of a microwave oven since they may cause permanent damage if heated too long or too close to these components.
Can you put all forms of stainless steel in the microwave?
Generally speaking yes – most forms of stainless steel containers labeled microwave safe are ok for use in a microwave oven provided they do not come into contact with aluminum or other metals while heating food items within it; however, each type will have slight differences and should always be checked first before placing them inside your appliance. For example, 304 grade is typically considered one of the safest types for use but 410 grade should be avoided due to its tendency to rust quicker than others when exposed to moisture or high temperatures over time.
So, what do you think now? Can you put stainless steel in the microwave? The answer is no. Do not put any type of stainless steel utensils in the microwave.
Similarly, the 304 stainless steel is also not microwave-safe. So, avoid putting it in the microwave. It can also cause a spark and set fire to your appliance.
One of the metals which are somewhat safer to put in the microwave is aluminum foil. But the only condition is that it lays flat in the microwave and does not touch any walls. As this is neither useful nor possible, do not microwave aluminum foil.
When microwaving food, only use microwave-safe containers and utensils. Check the bottom of the container. If it has the three wavy lines symbol, it is microwave safe.