We've all been there.
You've just finished up your dinner and are getting ready to wind down for the night.
You head into the kitchen to clean up the remnants of your meal, and there they are — your glorious, glorious leftovers.
When you've made too much food, having some left over for tomorrow's lunch can be a great feeling.
However, with most foods, you're going to end up microwaving them to heat them up, which begs the question: What dishes are microwave safe? Sure, some dishes come with a label indicating it is or isn't microwave safe, but what if the labels gone? Or if there's no label at all?
We have all wondered what makes something microwave safe. We are here to answer that question once and for all.
What Makes Something Microwave Safe?
A material is microwave-safe if it can be used in the microwave without melting, exploding, or infusing your food with extra chemicals.
From a material perspective, the best microwave-safe containers are made of glass, ceramic, plastic, and sometimes even dense styrofoam.
As long as the container has the microwave-safe label from the FDA, you're generally good to go.
However, you (like we were) are probably wondering why materials like plastic and styrofoam can possibly be microwave-safe when scientists have gone out of their way to warn us about them.
To clear things up, certain materials can still be considered microwave safe if they leech an "acceptable" level of chemicals into your food. In short, the "maximum allowance is 100-1000 times less per pound of body weight than the amount shown to harm laboratory animals over lifetime use" (source)
If you're unclear whether or not the container you have at home are microwave safe, whether they are old or unlabeled, it's a good idea to go shopping for a new set.
Here are our quick picks for the best microwave-safe dishes.
Choary Lightweight Degradable Wheat Stray Bowls
These bowls are a great option if you're looking for safe microwave dishes that are also disposable. While these are still much hardier than traditional throw-away bowls, they are still an eco-friendly and microwave safe option; especially if you're on a tight budget.
Gibson Home Rockaway
These classic yet straightforward bowls and plates are sturdy, long-lasting, and, most importantly, microwave-safe. If you're looking for a more permanent option, consider this dinnerware set.
Gibson Elite Soho Lounge Square
This 16 piece dinnerware set is a bit fancier than the previous options. They come with large and small plates, bowls, and matching mugs...all microwave-safe! While they are high quality and overall an excellent choice, the plates themselves are slightly larger than average, so if you have a small dishwasher or cabinets, these may not be the best bet.
Rubbermaid Brilliance Leak-Proof Food Containers
If you're more in the market for to-go containers that are safe to use in the microwave, consider these durable, see through containers by Rubbermaid. Rubbermaid has made a good name for itself for always producing top-tier products, and these are no different.
Pyrex Meal Prep Simply Store Glass Food Containers
Another strong contender in the to-go container arena are products made my Pyrex, specifically their meal prep Simply Store Glass Food Containers. Glass to-go containers are more durable, easier to keep clean, and much safer to use in the microwave. Watch out though; they can get hot!
Choosing Microwave Safe Dishes
Whether you're shopping for an entirely new dinnerware set, or are curious about the safety of the dinnerware set you already have, knowing what makes something microwave safe can go a long way.
If you want to keep your worries at bay, stick with glass or ceramic. Overall, these materials are the safest to use in the microwave. Certain plastics are fine in the microwave, while others are not. If you don't want to worry about being unclear, don't use them.
When you're choosing microwave-safe containers, make sure you get the correct size, and containers that suite your needs. If you're planning on cooking the food in the container you're storing it in, high quality to-go containers are a great choice. If you plan on plating your food before you put it in the microwave, a good ceramic dinnerware set is an excellent option as well.
Microwaves have no-doubt revolutionized the way we prepare food. It makes cooking easy and quick.
What are your favorite go-to microwavable dishes? Let us know in the comments section below!