Tupperware plastic containers are a great way to store leftovers in the fridge or freezer. They’re also really handy for taking your delicious home-cooked meals with you to eat at work or school.
But what about reheating food? Can you microwave Tupperware containers? Yes, you can – in most cases. As long as the container is specifically marked as being microwave-safe, you can use it in the microwave.
Read on to learn the full truth about microwaving Tupperware. I’ll explain when you should microwave it, when you shouldn’t, and give some alternative approaches to reheating your leftovers if you’d rather not risk microwaving your Tupperware containers.
Is it Safe to Microwave Tupperware?
Yes, it’s safe to microwave Tupperware – provided that the container you use is designated as microwave-safe.
This goes for any plastic container, whatever brand it is. The FDA advice on microwaving plastics is very clear – only use microwave-safe containers.
What’s the problem with microwaving plastic containers that aren’t designated as microwave-safe? You run the risk of the container melting when exposed to the heat of the microwave, rendering the food within as inedible. Perhaps worse, harmful chemicals from non-microwave safe containers are more likely to leach into your food. This can lead to various health problems later down the line.
The good news is that in recent years, Tupperware has been launching an increasing number of products that are designed for use in the microwave. After all, they know that we love the convenience of being able to transport our food and heat it up in the same container!
How to Tell if Your Tupperware is Microwave Safe?
So how can you tell if your Tupperware products are microwave-safe? They’ve made it easy for you by including a special microwave safe symbol on the item itself.
Every microwave-safe Tupperware product features this symbol, which tells you that the container is approved for use in the microwave. Look for three wavy lines, as shown or similar to the image below, to be sure that your container is suitable for microwave cooking.
What if there is no microwave safe symbol on your container? Don’t use it in the microwave! Seriously – always assume that it’s not safe for microwave cooking unless explicitly stated.
But is it Really Safe to Use ‘Microwave Safe’ Plastic Containers in the Microwave?
I know from speaking to several friends as well as reading comments online that a lot of people have doubts about microwaving any kind of plastic container, even if it’s marked as microwave safe.
That’s because ‘microwave-safe’ means that the container won’t melt in the microwave. It’s not a guarantee that there will be zero leaching of plastics into your food over repeated use.
On this, I can only recommend that you use your own judgment.
The current research suggests that it is fine to microwave these plastics without the risk of chemicals leaching into food. However, there is limited research on the long-term effects of plastic consumption in food and I can understand the worry that some people have.
If you’re unsure at all, err on the side of caution and transfer the contents of your Tupperware container to a non-plastic microwave safe container before heating.
Alternatives to Tupperware Containers for Microwaving Food
Good alternatives to Tupperware microwave containers are ceramic or glass ones. The only downside is that both of these are quite heavy compared to Tupperware so may be less suitable for travel.
Which Tupperware Products are Microwave Safe?
As I’ve mentioned earlier, Tupperware has an ever-growing range of products that are safe to use in the microwave.
The range is constantly growing so visit their website if you want to see the latest microwave safe Tupperware container options.
Can You Microwave Tupperware Containers with the Lid on?
You can, and should, microwave Tupperware food containers with the lid on – again with the caveat that you’re using a microwave-safe product.
By microwaving your Tupperware with the lid on, you can reduce the risk of your food drying out as you reheat it. You also significantly reduce the amount of cleaning up you have to do as your food won’t spatter over the microwave.
On Tupperware containers designed for use in the microwave, the lids typically have vents to allow hot air to escape whilst preventing any food from jumping out and creating a mess.
It’s important that you open this vent when microwaving. If your container doesn’t have a vent, that’s ok – just make sure the lid isn’t tightly sealed before you start the microwave. Leave some space for air to escape.
If you don’t open the vent or give leave some space, pressure can build up inside the container. This can cause the lid to explode off, creating a huge amount of mess inside your microwave – not something you want to clean up!
How Long Can You Microwave Tupperware For?
Tupperware recommends that you use their containers in the microwave for bursts of no longer than 2-3 minutes on full power.
Be sure not to leave your container in the microwave for long periods of time. Keep in mind that plastic containers are suitable for heating food in the microwave but not for cooking it.
If you have food that needs to be cooked in the microwave, transfer your food to a ceramic or glass container instead.
Precautions to Take When Microwaving Tupperware Containers
Microwaving Frozen Food
You should avoid microwaving frozen food in a Tupperware container that’s been taken straight out of the freezer. This is because frozen foods can expand inside the container as they warm, increasing the risk of your container warping or breaking as the temperature rises.
Instead, you need to thaw your food out before microwaving it with your Tupperware. You can do this by putting the food in the fridge overnight or on the counter for a few hours. This allows it to defrost at a safe pace without any risk.
If you’re in a rush and want to place your frozen food straight into the microwave, transfer it to a different container before placing it into the microwave.
Old Tupperware Containers
As I’ve mentioned previously, you’re far more likely to find that new Tupperware containers are safe for use in the microwave. From March 2010 and onwards, Tupperware has committed to only selling products that are BPA-free in the US & Canada.
If you have vintage Tupperware containers bought prior to 2010, take care. Even if it is marked as microwave-safe, it may leach potentially harmful chemicals over time when. Consider replacing it with a newer container and only using it for food storage rather than reheating.
Microwaving Damaged Tupperware
Don’t microwave food in your Tupperware container if it has severely scratched, chipped, or warped.
These are all sure-fire signs that the container is not safe to use in the microwave.