Are you going to bake some yummy dishes in the oven using a plastic container? But do you even know if you can put that plastic bowl into the oven or not? So if you are looking for an answer to this question, just tie your shoes and jump down with us.
We have been practicing cooking for so long and used everything in the oven, microwave oven, pressure cooker, and fryer but plastic? No, don’t put anything made up of plastic in the oven.
There are so many reasons behind it, including harmful chemicals that can get activated. And most importantly, it can melt in the oven at the temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t know about this before, don’t worry.
Before we step ahead let’s gather some valuable information that we will be discussing in this article. Any plastic you put in an oven can be melted at a temperature of 212 degree fahrenheit. When the plastic in the oven is exposed to heat, it activates many harmful chemicals that can actually lead to hazardous health issues.
So, if you’re wondering what to use when baking or cooking, just keep plastic containers aside and go for pyrex, ceramics, or stainless steel instead.
Moreover, you are also not supposed to use plastic wraps inside your oven until and unless the temperature of the oven is low. Once it starts exceeding the high temperatures the plastic wrap will start to melt. To know more details, let’s jump in.
What Are Plastics Made of?
Plastics are actually of a petroleum base, but the main substances used in plastics are natural gas, salt, crude oil, cellulose, and sometimes coal. 
Common Types of Plastics
There is one point to consider that this process is not for all types of plastics. Plastics are of 7 different types that are as below:
1. Polyethylene Terephthalate
Polyethylene terephthalate is the most common plastic-type on this planet. People use it in manufacturing crystal clear beverage bottles such as Pepsi and Coca-cola.
2. High-Density Polyethylene
The second type of plastic is high-density polyethylene, which helps make storm sewer pipes, culverts, and drains.
This high-density polyethylene is used in a massive variety of plastic products, not only in pipes. It is a versatile and light synthetic resin produced by the polymerization of ethylene.
3. Polyvinyl Chloride
You must have heard about Polyvinyl Chloride, also known as PVC. This plastic material is one of the oldest materials in industrial production. The chlorine in this material comes from the electrolysis process in saltwater.
Afterward, this chlorine combines with the ethylene produced from oil, forming ethylene dichloride. Lastly, it converts into polyvinyl chloride after passing through high-temperature tolerance.
4. Polystyrene or Styrofoam
Stirring or polymerization of styrene forms polystyrene plastic. Moreover, styrene is a building block substance in this process. The substance does not contain any harmful chemicals. Plus, it is also present in some fruits.
5. Miscellaneous Plastics
All remaining plastics come under miscellaneous plastics such as polyethylene, polypropylene, and high-density polyethylene. This leftover includes acrylonitrile butadiene, nylon, fiberglass, polylactide, acrylic, polycarbonate, and styrene.
At What Temperature Does Plastic Melt in?
As mentioned earlier, different plastics have different melting points, such as PVCs (Polyvinyl Chloride) can be melted at as low as 165 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if we talk about microwave-safe plastic cookware, it would never melt until it reaches the temperature of 600 degrees Fahrenheit or more. 
At What Temperature Does Plastic Melt In The Oven?
Most restaurants use food-grade plastic wraps as it does not melt in the oven until it reaches 220 or 250 degrees.
However, you can melt sturdy plastics such as regular plastic cups for hot liquids at 100 to 120 degrees. Besides, the average temperature at which massive plastics melt is 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
So, What Containers Are Oven-safe?
Glass is the most common material after plastic to contain food. Moreover, it is a perfect material that you can put in the oven without getting it melted or cracked.
However, make sure that you never put a glass plate or container into a hot oven. If you want to do oven cooking, you shouldn’t heat the oven to more than 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Besides that, pyrex is a glass that can be an excellent alternative to plastic food containers specially designed to absorb oven shock. Pyrex is the best container if you are just willing to warm up your leftover food for dinner or you want to bake a cake at any baking temperature.
Ceramic is also a standard ovenable container that you can put in eclectic or conventional ovens. This material is basically a bit heavy, but it is a good oven that can compete with the electric oven heat or any other traditional oven.
People mainly use ceramic for cooking at high temperatures due to temperature tolerance. While manufacturing, ceramic plates, and cooking bowls go through the fired pottery. Therefore, it is the best pick to put in the microwave oven.
3. Cast Iron
Although cast iron is not a very common material, if you have cooking bowls and pottery made up of it literally, you are lucky. You can use it in the oven for baking or heating up food, but cast iron is a pretty heavy material, even more so than ceramic so make sure not to drop it when taking out and putting it into the oven.
You can also use porcelain cookware to put in the oven but not for an extended period. This material is fragile and can’t tolerate high temperatures.
Moreover, you can bake anything in the porcelain container with aluminum foil over it to get the most delicate and crispy texture in it. This cooking material can tolerate a temperature up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, the glaze in porcelain bowls is not always oven-safe; therefore, make sure to check it when buying one for you.
5. Aluminum Foil
You can use aluminum foil for cooking meat, but you can’t use it for proper baking. This material helps to prevent overcooking. You can also use aluminum foil to cover cake batter or lasagna before putting it in the cold oven.
Also, it keeps the food with the same texture for a more extended time. However, foil can produce arcing if it is too close to the oven wall. Therefore, make sure to keep it from a distance of around 5 to 8 inches.
Health Issues Of Heated Plastic On Your Food
Harmful chemicals like phthalates, styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) make the plastics soft, flexible and durable. However, at the same time, they also cause health issues when you heat them. Some of them are:
Heated plastic contains phthalates to help in making it plastically bendable by increasing its flexibility. These chemicals leach from plastic containers,s which can negatively impact health. Phthalates cause hyperactivity disorders in children, breast cancer, and diabetes.
Reproductive System Issues
Heated plastic also affects the reproductive system in men and increases the risk of early puberty in girls because it interferes with hormones.
The chemical causes obesity too because it affects thyroid function that controls the body weight. It is advisable not to reheat food in plastic containers.
Styrene acrylonitrile is a hard plastic that people use to make food storage products like microwave oven dishes and plates. Heat exposure to this chemical can result in dizziness, headaches, nausea, irritation of the eyes and nose.
However, these minor issues can bring up a major one.
The material used in plastic styrene is carcinogenic. It causes cancer by increasing the rate at which cells multiply abnormally, leading to tumors. You should discard Styrene acrylonitrile after three or more reuses because it breaks into smaller pieces while microwaving.
Due to its high-temperature resistance, it results in an increased risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.
When organic substances like oil or coal burn incompletely, they give polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. They are present in burnt food like toast, barbecued meat, broiled fish, etc. These chemicals increase the risk of cancer.
Kids Growth Issues
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is another common chemical in plastic containers used for microwaving food. It is also present in coatings on bottles, metal cans, and inside lids to prevent corrosion.
This chemical causes breast cancer, obesity, hyperactivity disorder, among other health problems. Plus, it impacts thyroid hormone secretion and function, which regulates growth during childhood and the metabolism rate in adults.
The bottom line is to minimize exposure by using microwave-safe dinnerware made from ceramics or glass when reheating foods, often in the oven or microwave, for better health.
What Can’t You Put In The Microwave?
It’s important to know what not to put in a microwave because many everyday kitchen utensils, appliances, dishware, food items, and containers are not safe for use in microwaves.
For example, you should never use popcorn bags and disposable aluminum pans with a metallic frame and handle in the microwave.
Even microwavable plastic containers may contain dangerous chemicals that emit fumes when you heat them in the oven. Most of you might not even know the things that you can’t microwave.
So here is a list of things that absolutely cannot go into a microwave oven:
Metal Of Any Kind: It includes aluminum foil, metallic utensils or dishes, and metal twist ties. You should also never put a paper bag made with aluminum foil in the microwave, as the edges can spark and catch on fire.
Plastic Bags: You should never put plastic storage bags into the microwave oven. Even if they are labeled “microwavable,” they may contain chemicals that can get into your food and enter your bloodstream.
Also, avoid using plastic wrap or cling wraps during microwaving because it can also release dangerous chemicals into your food.
Metal Twist Ties: Twist ties, bread tags, or any other type of metal wire can become extremely hot in the microwave and cause an explosion if they touch the inside walls.
Paper Envelopes: They are meant for writing, not microwaving! Paper envelopes can ignite and catch fire due to the high level of friction that occurs when heated up rapidly.
Corrugated Cardboard: It is a type of paper containing metals or other chemicals that could emit toxic fumes when heated in the microwave oven.
Disposable Aluminum Pans: They are often at restaurants, schools, and businesses. These containers are safe for one-time use only since you cannot wash or reuse them. They are not safe for the microwave oven, though, as they may corrode or become dented over time.
Aluminum Foil Trays: Just like disposable aluminum pans, you should never use aluminum foil trays in a microwave oven because of the possibility that toxic fumes could emit from them during heating.
Foil-Wrapped Baked Potatoes: Do not microwave a foil-wrapped baked potato! The high moisture content combined with the sharp edges of a traditional baked potato can cause an electrical surge and lead to sparks, flames, or an explosion.
Wax Paper: Microwaving wax paper is never a good idea as it will catch on fire or melt. Never use wax paper as a plate or bowl liner, as it can also catch fire.
Paper Plates: Most paper plates have a chemical coating for color, water resistance, and grease resistance, all of which make them unsafe for microwaving. In addition to this, many paper plates have a combination of paper and Styrofoam, which is also dangerous.
Plastic Cutlery: It’s best to avoid microwaving plastic utensils because they leach toxic chemicals into your food. Plastics can become warped due to the heat from microwaves. It means poisonous chemicals can leak into your food even faster than before.
Polycarbonate Plastic Dishware Or Water Bottles: Avoid microwaving food or drinks contained in polycarbonate containers or water bottles. They have bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical that is harmful to human health. Polycarbonate items are often present in clear plastic kitchenware, including baby bottles and sports drink containers.
Styrofoam: Never microwave anything containing Styrofoam as it contains chemicals that emit carcinogens. These chemicals can also cause infertility or congenital disabilities, among other problems.
Paper Napkins: If you have some paper napkins on hand, make sure they are 100% pure cellulose. In this way, you can avoid hazardous dyes, colorants, and other potentially harmful chemicals.
Coffee Cups With Plastic Lids: Coffee cups generally contain Styrofoam or paper. So unless they’re microwave-safe, steer clear of these items. Most to-go coffee cup lids also contain BPA.
To avoid these, ask to see a list of lid ingredients before you order (preferably choose one that doesn’t come with a lid at all).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Are takeout containers oven-safe?
Surprisingly, they are not oven-safe. The reason is that most takeout containers contain polyethylene plastic or aluminum foil, which both melt under the right conditions.
Whether it be plastic or aluminum, the material will melt quickly at high temperatures (an average of 400 degrees Fahrenheit). It poses a considerable health risk since you would be putting these toxic substances into your food without knowing it.
Q: Can you use plastic, including Tupperware?
Yes, Tupperware is great for storing food. You can use your plastic containers to store leftovers in the fridge, take them on picnics, and carry lunches to work. Many people also heat their food in these containers, which you should never do as it causes harmful toxins to leech into your meal.
Q: Can you put paper containers in the oven?
Yes, you can use paper containers in the oven. You can use paper containers because they won’t leave toxic residue on food.
But there’s a difference between putting a flimsy piece of cardboard like a cereal box and paper plates in an oven and something thicker like a baking dish or roasting pan. The thicker the container, the more time it would take to catch fire inside an oven.
Q: Is an oven drawer meant for storage?
You can use an oven drawer for cooking. But it’s not a good idea to use it for storage because of the heat it accumulates, exhausting, unhealthy fumes. You could make an exception if you are only using small items in your oven drawer, but even then, it’s probably best to limit what you store there to small things, like spices or aluminum foil.
Summing it up, there are so many different types of plastic out there. Some plastics can withstand the heat in an oven, and others cannot. If you’re not sure if your specific type of plastic will melt or warp in a hot oven, it’s best to err on the side of caution and put your food into a container before placing it inside the oven for cooking.