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Can You Microwave Wooden Bowls?

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Wooden bowls have become all the rage in the kitchen. They look great in any setting, and the best part is that you probably don’t have to worry about a lot of chemicals or who-knows-what seeping into your food.

Wooden bowls are commonly handmade and can make for such a rustic and authentic centerpiece.

We love the unique appeal that they bring, but not everyone knows that there is a proper way to take care of and handle the wood in their kitchen.

Can you microwave wooden bowls? No, it is not safe to put wood of any kind in the microwave, as it can not only damage your bowl and overheat your food but possibly cause a kitchen fire. Instead, you should use microwave-safe ceramic and glass.

In this guide, we will discuss the reasons why it is a bad idea to put wood in your microwave so that you can avoid a possible kitchen disaster.

We also have some helpful tips for proper care concerning your wooden bowls to make sure your gorgeous centerpieces last for a long time. 

Can You Microwave Wooden Bowls?

Many of us automatically assume that if a container or dish is food-safe that we can just toss it in the microwave, unless it’s made of metal.

You know that you can’t microwave metals and you can’t microwave styrofoam. But did you know that even microwaving paper plates, paper cups, and some other plant-based products is also a bad idea?

Wood fits into this category too. But why? Wood can be heated, right? We use wooden utensils for cooking and serving food all of the time, so why can’t a wooden bowl go in the microwave? 

We will answer this question and more as we progress through this guide. We have several related questions and topics, so bear with us as we methodically break it down for you.

Why Can’t You Put Wood in the Microwave?

That’s right, you cannot microwave your wooden bowl. It doesn’t matter if it has a special finish or is a food-safe bowl, you shouldn’t try to microwave it. Now, let’s talk about why. 

There is more than one issue at play here. First of all, wooden bowls will get very hot in the microwave.

You’re probably used to the heat of other plates and dishes in the microwave, but a wooden bowl will actually get much hotter than most of these. It really only takes a few seconds for them to reach extremely hot temperatures to the touch

This particular side of the coin is a safety hazard. You could easily burn yourself, but your wood could also get overheated in the microwave and lead to a possible kitchen fire.

It is unusual for wood to spark in the microwave, but it is possible if it gets too hot. The same is true of the oven.

Do not put your wooden bowls anywhere with any type of extreme or intense heat. This will be unsafe for you to handle and it will eventually also ruin your bowl. 

This brings us to our next point. Heat like what the microwave puts off could ruin your bowl. Wood has natural water content in it.

While this isn’t something you regularly notice, when you heat the bowl using the microwave or oven, it causes that water to activate.

That water heats up and activates within the wood, but when the wood cools down, it dries out and the drying of the water often negatively affects the wood.

This is when cracking happens. Besides just cracks, you could also experience brittle wood or warping from the heating process. 

While you may microwave your bowl once or twice and never notice any issues, it really is ruining your bowl. Eventually, your bowl will begin to warp or crack and it could even break completely. 

Not only could you easily burn yourself because of the extremely hot bowl but you can also ruin your bowl. Why take the risk when you can easily transfer your food to a microwave-safe dish?

Tips for Wooden Bowl Care

We know and understand that you should never microwave your wooden bowl or put it in the oven.

But, do you know how to properly care for that wooden bowl? While you can just treat it like a normal dish in some ways, if you want it to last for a long time and stay in good condition, you should plan to care for it properly. 

Check out these tips for caring for your wooden bowl to get the best results. 

1. Seasoning Wooden Bowls

Wooden bowls should be seasoned much like cast iron dishes are seasoned, but through an entirely different process.

Your bowls may come pre-seasoned, but this is something you will definitely want to check into. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to just go ahead and season it yourself anyway to know that it has been properly seasoned. 

Seasoning your bowl does not mean sprinkling salt and pepper on it. This process is used to prepare your bowl for use. It is a preservation tactic.

Ultimately, the seasoning process will put a layer of protection around the entire surfaced area of the bowl. 

This layer helps to protect the bowl from things like moisture and use and even a little bit of heat. Take note that it still does not make your bowl microwave-safe

You should season your bowl when you get it and then season it every few months afterward, depending on how frequently you use it.

For optimal care, it’s recommended to season it about every 3-4 months or even as often as once a month. 

You can use food-grade mineral oil or you can use a wood preserving and conditioning oil. It’s really up to you. If you use a wood preserver and conditioner, you can just follow the instructions provided on the label for use. 

If you are using mineral oil, try following these steps:

  • Make sure your bowl is completely dry.
  • Place the mineral oil on a rag – or on the bowl directly – and spread it over the entire surface of the wooden bowl, inside and out.
  • Let the mineral oil soak into the wood for 5-10 minutes. 
  • When it has had time to soak in, use a clean, dry rag to wipe off any excess oils.

Repeat this process as often as needed. You are not likely to over-season the bowl. This process is really quite simple and extremely effective. 

2. Avoiding the Dishwasher

Just as wooden bowls aren’t great in the microwave, they also shouldn’t be put in the dishwasher.

The heat inside the dishwasher is simply too intense for a wooden bowl and it could lead to warping or cracking, much like a microwave could. 

The best way to clean your bowl is to use a mild dish soap and warm water. Wash your bowl as normal. It’s ok to scrub a bit if you need to. Just be sure you are seasoning it properly and regularly as well. 

After you wash the bowl, you should towel it off right away instead of letting it air-dry. If you allow it to air-dry, it will soak in the excess moisture and you might find that it leads to things like warping and cracking eventually as well. 

3. Buying Good Quality Bowls

It is well worth it to purchase a quality bowl over something made to look pretty but not made to last.

You will notice a difference in the way the bowl holds up overall if the quality is there. The better the quality of the wooden bowls you purchase, the longer you will be able to enjoy those bowls. 

We recommend woods like walnut, cherry, and maple for strong and sturdy wooden bowls. They are also easy to care for. 

Related Questions

We hope that you have found this guide to whether or not you can microwave wooden bowls to be helpful.

Check out our question and answer section below for some additional information that may be of interest to you.

Are Wooden Bowls Safe to Eat Out Of?

Most wooden bowls are completely safe to eat out of as long as you make sure they are properly maintained and cared for. Otherwise, they’d just be good for sitting there and looking pretty.

It is best to serve dryer foods in wooden bowls or foods which have little to no thin dressings, broths, or sauces, to avoid moisture seeping into the wood. However, it will absolutely not be harmful to you to eat soup out of one.

Is It Ok to Serve Hot Food in a Wooden Bowl? 

If your bowl is seasoned and cared for properly, you can serve hot dishes in it. If you are using your bowls to serve something like hot soup, it is perfectly ok as long as you are maintaining the bowl as you should. 

However, we’re sure we don’t have to tell you not to pour boiling water or liquid into your wooden bowls, as this can also damage the wood.

Up Next: Can You Microwave Wax Paper?

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