When it comes to reheating food, the phrase “Microwave Safe Reheat Only” can be seen printed on many containers. But what exactly does this mean?
Many don’t realize that when labels say “microwave safe” or “reheat only,” they indicate different types of heating and can even affect safety.
What does “microwave safe – reheat only” mean? This is a reminder that some materials aren’t safe for an initial cooking or heating process in microwaves and are only suitable for quickly warming up leftovers with reduced power settings!
In this blog post, we’ll answer all your questions about this label and its meaning, so you can learn how to properly use your appliances for maximum nutrition and health benefits — without risking any accidents.
Reheating Vs. Microwave Cooking
Reheating food requires a lower power setting in order to maintain the flavor and texture without drying it out or scorching it.
Many microwaves feature settings labeled “reheat” or “defrost” that can help foods reach the desired temperature faster and more evenly.
Generally, a “reheat” setting in your microwave means that the power is set to 50%. In comparison, microwave cooking is done at 100% power, allowing the food to reach a higher temperature and be “cooked” in the microwave.
If your microwave does not have the reheat option, you should use a lower power setting. Generally, if you are reheating pre-cooked foods, lower levels of power will work best. This is because the food only needs to be warmed up, not cooked.
Higher levels of power should only be utilized when cooking something that hasn’t been previously cooked since it needs more energy and time in order to get that meal to the right temperature.
What Does “Microwave Safe Reheat Only” Mean?
The “reheat only” label on your food container should not be overlooked.
This means that instead of microwaving the container or dish at full power, the reheat setting or 50% power level must be used in order to guarantee that food is being heated properly and safely.
Common food containers like Plastic Tupperware and Ziploc bags are not designed for actually cooking – although labeled as “reheat” only, they really can’t take the high temperatures needed for actually cooking.
Reheating is fine, but any other type of cooking process will likely cause them to melt or warp, which in turn can leach harmful toxins into your food.
When something is “reheat only,” you will need to use a lower power setting to prevent the container from melting and ensure an even distribution of heat and better overall results.
If you would like to “cook” dishes in the microwave, opt instead for FDA-approved items such as glass containers or microwave-safe plastic to ensure your meals are cooked safely and healthily every time.
If you want some examples of dishes and Tupperware that is “microwave safe reheat only,” here is a filtered search on Target’s website that will show you.
Reheat Frozen Food Safely in the Microwave
Reheat-only containers are specifically designed for reheating in the microwave.
If you want to reheat food safely in the microwave, make sure to set the power level to 50% or use the reheat setting in your microwave. The time required will vary – usually between 2-5 minutes.
Make sure to if your food is thoroughly heated before consuming it – if it is not hot enough after 5 minutes, then continue microwaving in 30-second increments until done.
It’s important to note that these containers should only be used for reheating purposes; they should not be used for cooking raw foods as they can become damaged when exposed to high temperatures.
How to Microwave Safely
To microwave safely, it’s very important to make sure you’re using the right container.
Containers made of microwave-safe plastic, glass, or ceramic are designed to be used specifically in the microwave and allow heat to be retained while cooking without setting off any dangerous temperature reactions.
If you use a container that isn’t designed for microwaving, it can heat unevenly, and the container will melt or even break apart.
Containers that contain metal can even cause sparks that can start fires or damage the microwave.
Many unsafe containers contain materials like plastic or styrofoam, which are not suitable for microwaving since they release harmful chemicals when exposed to high temperatures.
To avoid these risks and get the best results from your microwave, be sure to only use containers that have been labeled “microwave-safe.”
Finally, if something is in an old container or you can’t tell if it’s safe, heat it up on a plate or in a microwave-safe bowl instead.
Following these steps will ensure your meals are always cooked safely and efficiently.
What Is a Microwave-Safe Container?
Microwave-safe containers are specifically designed to be used in the microwave without melting or releasing harmful chemicals into the food.
The most important thing to check if a container is microwave-safe is the material it’s made of.
Generally, materials like ceramic and glass are considered safe for your microwave.
Most plastic containers that are labeled as “microwave-safe” are actually made of polypropylene, which is a type of plastic that can withstand high temperatures without melting or releasing toxic chemicals.
If you’re not sure whether or not a container is safe for the microwave, look for the label “microwave-safe” on the packaging or on the bottom of the container.
Is Your Container Microwave Safe?
The simplest way to check if your container is microwave-safe is to inspect the bottom of the container.
If you see the microwave-safe symbol – a box with wavy lines – this indicates that the container is microwave-safe and designed specifically for this purpose.
Some containers have a triangle with the number “5” stamped on the bottom; this means it is made from polypropylene, which means it can withstand high heat and is microwave-safe.
Another indicator of microwave-safe containers is CPET, or crystallized polyethylene terephthalate, a type of plastic used to make food-safe containers that can withstand high temperatures and moisture–perfect for going in the microwave.
If you cannot find the microwave-safe symbol, it’s easy to check whether your dish or container is microwave safe.
Simply pour some water into it and place it in the microwave using the highest power setting for a minute.
Once it’s finished heating, take it out and feel it with your hand—if you find that the container has become warm, but the water is not heated, then that’s a sign that it shouldn’t be used in the microwave.
On the other hand, if it is still cool, but the water inside is hot, then you have nothing to worry about and can use it safely in the microwave.
What Materials Are Microwaves Safe?
When it comes to what can go in a microwave, there are some general rules that can help guide you. Generally speaking, any material that is labeled “microwave-safe” is totally fine for use in a microwave.
This includes items such as ceramic plates, glass dishes, and plastic containers that have been marked as safe for microwaving.
Additionally, most paper towels, wax paper, parchment paper, and parchment liners are all considered safe for use in microwaves as long as they don’t touch any other part of the appliance itself.
Ceramics, glassware, and BPA-free plastic containers are great options for microwaving food, as they can safely withstand high temperatures without warping or melting.
Porcelain and some china wares, however, need to be double-checked for a microwave label as they may not be suitable even if they are made of these materials.
Generally speaking, you should check if the container is microwave-safe before microwaving it; this helps to ensure that items won’t melt or warp in the heat of the microwave and will keep your foods heated evenly.
What Does Not Microwave Safe Mean?
Something being not ‘microwave safe’ generally refers to items made of a material that can melt, warp, or release harmful toxins when heated in a microwave oven.
If you don’t check for a microwave-safe symbol before putting the container in the microwave, it could become broken and/or contaminate food. If you are not sure, it is best to be cautious and avoid using it.
Even plastics labeled as “heat-resistant” need to be tested thoroughly before you can be sure that it’s microwave-safe. You should take the necessary steps to ensure that your food and kitchenware remain safe!
Generally speaking, containers like glass or ceramics are always microwave-safe, so you can use these types of materials instead of risking your plastic containers in the microwave.
What Should You Not Put in the Microwave?
On the flip side, there are some materials that should definitely not be used in a microwave oven.
The most important thing to remember when using the microwave is that you should never heat a metal container or utensil in the microwave.
Heating metal inside a microwave can have drastic and serious consequences.
Metal objects, when heated, are capable of actuating an electrical arc that ignites combustible material in the microwave oven.
This can even cause explosions, leading to hazardous burning and possible injury to those in close proximity. Aluminum foil, stainless steel, or even kitchen items with metallic trim should never be microwaved.
Paper bags, foam cups/plates/trays, Styrofoam containers (unless specifically labeled for use in a microwave), plastic storage containers with no markings at all, and anything else made from non-food grade plastics should never go in the microwave.
Any food packaging labeled “oven only” should also not be put into a microwave oven either!
Some types of plastic are not heat-resistant and, therefore, should not be used in the microwave because they will release harmful chemicals into your food.
If you’re unsure whether your plastic container is microwave-safe, let’s take a look at how to find out.
Is Plastic Microwave-Safe?
If you’re like most people, you probably use plastic containers in your microwave on a regular basis. But is plastic actually safe to use in the microwave?
The answer is not a straightforward one—it depends on the grade of plastic and its intended purpose.
The first thing to understand is that there are many different types of plastics, each with its own properties and characteristics.
Some plastics are designed specifically for microwave use, while others are not.
One of the biggest dangers associated with using plastic containers in the microwave is that some chemicals from the container can leach into your food as it cooks.
This can be especially concerning if you are using a container that was not designed for microwaving.
The type of plastic is usually indicated at the bottom of the container. It’s usually a number inside a triangle.
Plastic types 3, 6, and 7 are not heat-resistant and will melt or even catch fire when exposed to high temperatures, so it’s important to pay attention when microwaving them.
If a piece of plastic has the letters “microwave-safe” printed on it, then it should be okay to use in the microwave without worry. Microwave-safe plastics include Types 1, 2, 4, and 5.
Does Microwave-Safe Mean Oven-Safe?
The answer to this question depends on what type of dish or container you are trying to put in the oven.
Many dishes and containers labeled “microwave safe” can handle high heat and can technically be used in an oven for a limited amount of time at low temperatures.
However, it is always best practice to check with the manufacturer before attempting this, as there are no guarantees that all such items can hold up under higher temperatures.
Generally speaking, dishes such as glassware, plastic containers, and ceramic plates with no metal trim may be able to withstand temperatures up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for a limited amount of time without melting or warping.
However, keep in mind that these items are typically not designed for use in high-temperature environments like ovens, so there is always some risk involved if you choose to do so.
Additionally, any dishes with metal trim should never be used in an oven as they could melt or catch fire due to exposure to direct heat from the heating element.
Does Microwave Safe Also Mean Dishwasher Safe?
The term “microwave safe” is used to refer to any containers or utensils that are designed to be heated safely in a microwave oven.
In order for an item to bear this label, it must have passed tests for temperature and pressure resistance as well as chemical leaching.
This means that when used according to its instructions, your container won’t melt or warp, and no toxic chemicals will be transferred from the item into your food while being heated in the microwave.
Just because something is labeled “microwave safe” doesn’t necessarily mean that it can withstand the harsh detergents and hot water of a dishwasher cycle.
So even though some items may be able to survive a trip through the dishwasher without melting or warping, they can still become discolored over time due to exposure to high heat, detergents, and abrasive surfaces.
Other items may start out looking perfectly fine but quickly degrade once exposed to repeated cycles of hot water and detergent.
Fortunately, most containers have signs that indicate that they are dishwasher-safe. Generally, materials like glass and ceramics are more durable and also dishwasher-safe.
Can a Microwave-Safe Reheat-Only Container Handle Boiling Water?
Despite its limitations, reheat-only containers can still be used with boiling water without any potential risk.
This is due to their ability to retain heat and keep warm temperatures relatively constant when in contact with hot liquid while avoiding any damage from melting or warping.
You can use reheat-only containers to handle boiling water without any worries.