Whether it’s technically right or wrong, it’s something we have all done, right? I know I’ve certainly put a glass plate in the oven. However, usually when I do it’s only at the lowest heat or not even on. I normally just put a plate in the oven to keep food warm while I finish up some other aspects of the meal I am preparing. That’s not to say I’m perfect, however – far from it!
I think I’ve been pretty lucky in not shattering glass plates or cookware in my years cooking. For ages, particularly back when I was in college, I didn’t pay much attention to the details about what should or shouldn’t go in the oven. Of course, I wasn’t putting styrofoam or plastic plates in the oven, but I was pretty careless.
Now that I’m older and wiser (or at least I think I am!), I pay more attention to what type of cookware goes in the oven. Whilst yes, glass plates generally can go in the oven, they’re not all equal in how well they can fare.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about putting glass plates in the oven. I’ll explain when it’s safe, as well as discussing which brands and materials are the best to use.
Is it Safe to Put a Glass Plate in the Oven?
Generally yes, it’s safe to put a glass plate in the oven. But not all of them can be put in the oven at all temperatures. You need to treat different types of glass in different ways. Some types of glass can’t withstand high temperatures. This is important because some types of glass are made so that they can and some glass plates can’t.
Typically, any type of glass plate can withstand an oven at a low temperature. The consensus seems to say that if you only want to warm food up, that’s okay. So you can put any glass plate in the oven for this purpose up to about 250 degrees Fahrenheit maximum. While technically they are most likely safe up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s much safer to keep it well below that threshold. This will make sure that you don’t end up with broken glass and food scattered all over your oven. That sounds pretty horrible, right?
Beware Thermal Shock
It’s not just a high temperature that can cause a glass plate to break. The most common way actually is from thermal shock. This is when the temperature of the glass drastically changes, quickly. Again, I am guilty of putting a plate from the fridge into the oven on low heat to warm and I never broke a plate but I think I am very lucky.
Be smarter than I was and avoid transferring a cold plate to a warm oven!
Benefits of Glass Cookware
Don’t be scared all of a sudden because of this, though. You just need to be careful. After all, there are some good reasons to use glass when warming up or cooking food in the oven.
Unlike other non-stick surfaces, glass is nontoxic and is a healthy type of cooking material. While with non-stick bakeware you usually don’t have to worry, glass is still a healthier option.
Some other good reasons to heat or cook food in glass containers are that it retains heat longer, it’s easy to clean, and you can also store the food in the same container that you cook or reheat it in.
All of these reasons make it not only a safe and healthy option but also one that makes your life so much easier. Who doesn’t like a little bit more convenience in their lives?
So as long as you are careful you won’t have any problems with using glass plates or cookware in the oven. If you’re going to be cooking with glass, just make sure that it’s suitable for doing so.
What are Oven Safe Glass Plates?
Like I said, not all types of glass are created equal when it comes to putting them in the oven. Particularly so when you’re doing more than just warming something up. There are certain types of glass that are safe to use at higher temperatures.
The type of glass that’s suitable for higher temperatures is tempered glass, or if it’s otherwise labeled as oven safe. It may even say on the packaging or the bottom of the pan or container the temperature limits that it can handle. However, there are some brands and types of glass that are more trustworthy when it comes to high temperatures in the oven.
Generally, these types of glass plates have been heat-strengthened, making them more resistant to high temperatures.
Specifically, tempered or toughened glass is one of the most common and it’s a type of safety glass that’s especially strong because it has been processed by controlled thermal or chemical treatments that increase its strength. Additionally, if it does break it shatters into larger granular chunks rather than jagged glass shards. Which makes it safer and less likely to cause injury. Hence the term “safety glass”. Clever, right?
Pyrex (borosilicate glass)
Pyrex is a brand of glass that’s quite famous for its high quality, strength, and ability to withstand hot temperatures. It was once universally made of borosilicate glass, which is a type of heat-resistant glass that’s designed to withstand temperature extremes better than most other glasses. This is why it’s also used in lab equipment as well as cookware.
However, in the USA Pyrex is no longer made with it. It’s made with tempered soda lime glass (more on that next). In Europe, though, Pyrex is still made with borosilicate glass. Most people in the United States don’t realize the switch from borosilicate to soda-lime-silica glass which was made in the 1980s due to air pollution regulations.
Soda Lime Glass
The manufacturers of soda-lime-silica glass state that their product has superior mechanical strength compared to borosilicate glass. This means that it’s less likely to break when it’s dropped or hit against something hard.
However, it has a lower resistance to extreme temperatures than borosilicate glass. And since soda-lime glass is tempered, it tenders to break into small pieces but without the sharp edges. On the other hand, broken borosilicate glass tends to break and fragment into very sharp shards of glass that can be more dangerous and can cause an injury like a cut much easier.
A less well-known material but one that is perhaps the strongest overall is Pyroceram which is a glass-ceramic material. It has both high strength as well as exceptional resistance to thermal shock. It can actually withstand constant temperatures up to 1256 degrees Fahrenheit and it can go from being hot to put into water without the worry of it breaking. This makes sense that it was developed by Corning Glass to be used in rocket nose cones – yes, rockets – so it’s fair to say that it’s quite a sturdy material.
It’s not only extremely strong and resistant but it also is very versatile as well. It’s not only safe to be used in extremely high temperatures and moved from hot to cold environments quickly, it also is safe to use on the stovetop or in a microwave oven. And, it can even be taken from the freezer and put straight in the oven.
It’s curious that such a strong and versatile product would have been discontinued but that happened in the late 1990s, but due to the popular demand it was brought back in 2009. It may be expensive but it’s perhaps the strongest cookware you can buy.
How to Tell if Your Glass Cookware is Oven Safe
Generally, when you are buying glass cookware, you can see from the packaging if it’s oven safe. It will either be explicitly stated or it will have a symbol of an oven – similar to something you see on the tags of your clothing. Usually, the product will state either on the packaging or on the bottom or backside of the plate. There are usually labels similar to these: oven-safe, microwave-safe, toaster-oven-safe.
If it’s labeled as oven safe it’s obviously safe to use in the oven – hence the name. However, it may not be suitable for universal oven use.
Along with this label, it will likely state the temperature range in which it can be used. Usually, the limit is between 300-350 degrees Fahrenheit. But some like Pyroceram I previously mentioned can be broiled safely at upwards of 470 degrees Fahrenheit.
Just make sure to keep the temperature in mind. If it doesn’t say on the package or the glass, try looking it up on the manufacturer’s website.
This means that it can be safely used in a microwave.
Generally, most glass plates can go in the microwave as long as they aren’t antique (as they may have radioactive materials or be very fragile), or have metal attached to them.
I have talked previously about putting plates in a toaster oven. Unfortunately, just because a plate it can be used in a regular oven doesn’t mean that it can be used in a toaster oven as well.
So if you want to use it in both make sure that it’s marked as safe to be put in a toaster oven as well.
How to Tell if Your Glass Plate is Not Oven Safe
The temperature of the oven and the type of plate can determine whether or not it’s safe to put it in the oven.
If the plate is an antique you should avoid putting it in the oven. This is because it’s likely to be more fragile. Additionally, if it’s very old there may be hazardous materials that are no longer considered safe to use like in the case of canary glass. While it likely only contains trace amounts, I’d recommend you avoid putting an antique glass plate in the oven just to be safe.
Decorative plates or melamine plates that are used for decoration, should be used for just that – decoration. The glazes that coat the plates are usually not considered food-safe as they aren’t rated by the FDA because they aren’t meant for even serving food but only for decorative purposes.
Lastly, plates that have metallic components can also pose a threat if you put them in the oven. This is because metal acts differently when heated and cooled so the thermal shock could potentially cause the glass to break.
Alternatives to Glass Plates for the Oven
Glass may be the most common type of plate, it’s certainly not the only type that you can use. Two great alternatives to glass plates that are also almost entirely oven safe are metal plates and ceramic plates.
While metal is more common for baking, you can find both ceramic cookware and dinnerware. But, of course, while it’s generally completely safe to use both metal and ceramic in the oven, always look at the labels for the appropriate uses and maximum temperatures.