Can You Microwave Paper Plates?

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Written By Eshe

Hello, I’m Eshé the lady behind the blog. That’s me cooking on the set of The Hairy Bikers. I LOVE food and I don’t mean I really like it. I mean my whole world revolves around it.

Paper plates are like a treasure for the people who love to arrange parties with friends, family dinners, or picnics. These versatile plates are perfect for feeding large gatherings without breaking the expensive dinner sets.  But the question is Can You Microwave Paper Plates? Read the article to know the answer.

These plates are incredibly affordable and easy to use and dispose of. You can buy and store these plates in your kitchen cabinets for longer. 

Except for using these plates at gatherings, you can use them in your daily routine if you don’t have the mood to wash dishes. You can use the plates and throw them away once you are done. 

If the food on your plate gets cold and you want to reheat it, you can put the paper plate in the microwave for a few minutes. Paper plates are entirely microwave-safe. 

Nowadays, many types of paper plates are available in the market. Some dishes contain 100% paper, and some have a plastic coating that makes them durable and long-lasting. 

The paper plates with plastic coating are generally not safe for microwaving because they can melt and deform due to the heat radiations. Moreover, the plastic layer releases harmful chemicals in the food you are trying to heat. 

Some brands of paper plates offer customized plates that you can buy for birthday parties, picnics, and special theme gatherings. 

However, before buying the paper plates, check the label on the packaging to make sure whether it is microwave-safe or not. 

Can you microwave paper plates?

Yes, you can microwave paper plates. Paper plates are convenient, lightweight, and affordable plates that you can use at family gatherings and parties to feed the guests. 

These plates offer many benefits like you don’t have to wash them later. You can throw them away after use. In addition, these plates are microwave-friendly to reheat your food for 2-3 minutes in the microwave. 

Many brands offer colorful and designed paper plates for picnics and birthday parties, except for simple paper plates. Unfortunately, these colorful plates are not microwave-safe because of the colors and designs. 

If you put these plates in the microwave, they are more likely to melt and release toxins to contaminate the food. 

Before purchasing the packed customized paper plates, check the microwave-safe label. 

How do you microwave paper plates?

Paper plates are very convenient and can be used to reheat the foods in the microwave, just like ceramic and glass plates. However, while reheating the food on paper plates, you must stay careful and check the food inside the microwave. 

To microwave food on a paper plate, follow the steps below; 

  • Put the food on the paper plate and place it inside the microwave. 
  • Set the timer for 2 minutes. 
  • Check the food every 20 seconds to avoid overheating and plate deformation. 
  • Cover the food to be heated with a glass or ceramic plate because it will help keep the food moist and preserve its taste, texture, and quality. 
  • You can also cover the food with a paper towel. The covering of food will save the interior of the microwave from stubborn stains or food chunks. 
  • After 2 minutes, remove the plate from the microwave and enjoy. 

Remember that covering the food with plastic plates, aluminum foils, or plastic wrapping paper can cause fire, and the paper plate will burn inside the microwave. So, do not try to reheat the food wrapped in these wrapping papers. 

What type of paper plates is microwave friendly?

Can You Microwave Paper Plates

Nowadays, different types of paper plates are available in the market. However, before buying, you can check whether the label on the bottom of the plates is microwave-safe or not. 

If you see no label, buying plain plates made of 100% paper is best. These paper plates are microwave-safe, and you can quickly put them in the microwave for a few minutes. 

Some brands use plastic coating for paper plates to make them solid and durable. However, these plates are not microwave-friendly, and you should avoid purchasing them because the plastic layer will melt and release harmful chemicals in the food. 

Customized plates or designed plates contain different colors and materials except for paper. These colors can react with the heat radiations of the microwave and cause the paper to burn inside the microwave. 

Besides, the harmful chemicals will leach into the food you are microwaving and cause health problems. 

How to tell if a plate is microwave-safe or not?

The paper plates come with a microwave-safe label in the market, so you should check them before purchasing. 

If the plates don’t have the label printed on their bottom, you can check it by performing a simple test.

All you have to do is; 

  • Take a bowl and pour water into it. 
  • Put a paper plate in the bowl. 
  • Place the bowl in the microwave and heat for a few seconds or a minute. 
  • Check the plate if it is hot or not. 
  • If the plate is hot, it is not microwave-safe. 
  • If not, you can use it to heat the food in the microwave. 

It is the simplest and quickest way to test whether the plate is microwave-safe or not. However, the result of this test can vary because different brands use different materials for manufacturing paper plates. 

Plastic-coated and customized plates are not microwave-friendly due to the quick rise in their temperature. Therefore, these plates are not safe to put in the microwave for reheating. 

How long can you microwave a paper plate?

Microwave-safe paper plates can last in the microwave for 3-4 minutes. These plates are safe to use, so you can put them in the microwave for as long as you want to reheat the food. 

For proper reheating, you can cover the food with another paper plate. This covering will ensure that the food remains moist and does not dry out. 

While reheating the food in the microwave, keep checking and stirring the food after 45-60 seconds. 

Do not leave the paper plates inside the microwave for more than 4 minutes if you are concerned. 

Are paper plates environment-friendly?

No, not all paper plates are environment friendly. Many manufacturing companies use cheap non-environment-friendly materials for making plates. These plates are non-recyclable, take years to degrade, and cause pollution. 

Some brands use plastic for coating paper plates. This plastic coating gives durability and resistance to the plate. Yet, the plastic coating is not suitable for the environment because it contains harmful chemicals that cause pollution. 

A few brands use 100% environment-friendly and biodegradable material for making paper plates. You can use these plates to create a safe environment around you. 

What are the tips for microwaving a paper plate?

A few essential tips that you can use to microwave paper plates are as follows; 

  • Make sure to use microwave-safe plates for microwaving. 
  • Do not heat the designed and colorful paper plates. 
  • Do not leave the paper plates inside the microwave for more than 3-4 minutes. 
  • If you must reheat moist foods, use another paper plate to cover the food to avoid splatting and stubborn stains inside the microwave. 
  • Check the food in the microwave after every 60 seconds. 
  • Never use aluminum foil to wrap food in a paper plate before microwaving. 

Does a paper plate in the microwave catch fire?

No, the paper plates do not catch fire in the microwave because these plates contain resins, cellulose, and other material which do not react with the heat radiations of the microwave. Therefore, they are entirely safe to use in the microwave. 

The plastic-coated plates and those having different colors & designs can catch fire in the microwave. This is because when you put the plastic or designed plates in the microwave, their material interacts with radiation and causes fire. 

Hence, avoiding plastic-coated and designed paper plates for microwaving the food is better. 

What are the benefits of using paper plates?

Paper plates offer several benefits besides being exceptionally versatile, lightweight, and affordable. 


Unlike ceramic and glass plates, you don’t have to wash the paper plates after a party or picnic. These plates are super convenient because you can throw them in the dustbin after using them. 


The paper plates are not fragile like the expensive glass and ceramic plates. Instead, their lightweight and inexpensive material make these plates easy to handle and safe. 

Prevent splashing 

Paper plates work exceptionally well to prevent splashing inside the microwave. In addition, you can cover the food while reheating with paper plates to avoid stubborn stains in the microwave. 

Retain moisture 

Before putting the food in the microwave, cover it with paper plates to retain the moisture inside the food. Covering will helps to reheat the food evenly and preserve the flavor, texture, and quality. 


Paper plates are non-toxic because they contain no harmful chemicals or dye that can contaminate the food. As a result, these plates are completely safe to use and do not adversely affect health. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can you put styrofoam plates in the microwave? 

No, you should not put the styrofoam plates in the microwave. Styrofoam plates come with a microwave-safe label; however, it is not a good idea to microwave them because when you heat the plate, the styrofoam starts releasing harmful chemicals. 

These chemicals contaminate the food on the plate. The intake of this contaminated food affects your immunity and proves hazardous to health. 

Moreover, the styrofoam plates are not environment-friendly and take years for their degradation. That’s why you should avoid buying styrofoam plates. 

Can you microwave all kinds of foods on a paper plate? 

You can’t microwave all kinds of food on paper plates, especially greasy and moist ones. 

When you put the greasy food on a paper plate inside the microwave and heat them, the food’s moisture reacts with the paper. 

As a result of this reaction, maybe the paper starts burning or releasing harmful chemicals into the food that can cause severe health problems. 

Can you put plastic plates in the microwave?

No, it is unsafe to put the plastic plates in the microwave to heat the food. Plastic plates begin to melt and release harmful chemicals into the food. 

When you intake this contaminated food, it causes adverse effects on your immunity and leads to severe food poisoning and stomach and abdominal cramps. 

Some brands offer microwave-friendly plastic plates. However, it is better to avoid buying those plates; instead, you should prefer paper plates because they are less likely to burn and release chemicals.

Can you microwave paper towels?

Yes, you can microwave the paper towels because they always have a microwave-safe label on their packaging. However, you should not leave the paper towel in the microwave for more than 2 minutes. 

Wrap up 

Paper plates are lightweight and very convenient to use. Moreover, these plates are affordable in the market, so you can buy them in bulk to feed the guests at parties. 

These paper plates are made of 100% microwave-friendly material, so you can put them in the microwave for reheating the food. But, again, you should not leave them inside for more than 3 minutes. 

Besides the plain paper plates, plastic coated and customized paper plastic are also available. Unfortunately, these plates are not safe for microwaves because of harmful chemicals. 

These harmful chemicals will leach into the food and cause health hazards like abdominal cramps, stomach aches, and severe food poisoning. These conditions can lead to death if not cured. 

Therefore, before purchasing the paper plates, check the microwave-safe label printed at the bottom of the plates. 

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