Microwaves are a convenient way to cook and heat meals and are common in many households across the US. If you are wondering if can you put a metal bowl in the microwave, we are here to answer that question.
This article will explore how to use your microwave safely and whether using a metal bowl in a microwave is advisable.
As metal bowls block the heat from penetrating them it prevents the food inside from heating or cooking and can also cause a fire as the bowl reflects the microwaves.
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How does Cooking in Microwave Oven Work?
Microwaves use radiation to cook and heat food using a magnetron which releases negative energy into the unit.
As the magnetron moves through the microwave it clashes against its walls with the impact of the clash releasing microwaves that heat up and cook your food. It is the vibration of the electrons that cook and/or heat your food.
You should always follow the instructions on the packets of food you are planning to cook in your microwave to make sure it is suitable to do so. Some foods are specifically manufactured to be cooked or heated in microwaves which may be safer if you are unsure of how to cook certain foods safely in a microwave.
You may also seek support from the manufacturer of your microwave as there is often product and cooking information on their websites.
Using a Metal Bowl in Your Microwave
We know that certain foods are more suited to microwaves and some are bets cooked in other ways. The same goes for kitchen equipment and utensils; some can be used in the microwave and some are not safe.
When it comes to metal bowls the general advice is that you should not use metal bowls in a microwave.
There are two main reasons that you should not use a metal bowl in your microwave, one is that it will not cook or heat your food effectively and two, using a metal bowl can be dangerous. We take a look at each of these reasons below.
Metal Bowls do not Cook your Food Evenly
Metal bowls are thick and hard to penetrate which means the heatwaves are not able to penetrate through the strong material. As the heat waves cannot get through to the food it will not heat up and if any waves can get through it would not allow for even cooking.
Not only will using a metal bowl in a microwave fail to cook or heat your food you also run the risk of food poisoning if you eat food that may appear hot enough but actually can be undercooked or heated.
If you did persist on cooking food in a metal bowl in a microwave you would need the microwave on for much longer than you would if you used a microwave-safe bowl, for example. Leaving a metal bowl in a microwave for a long time would then lead to the second main issue with using metal in a microwave.
Metal Bowls can cause a Fire
As well as metal bowls not being practical for heating and cooking food they may cause serious damage to both you and your kitchen.
Using metal bowls in a microwave is a fire hazard due to the sparks that will bounce off the metal bowl as the waves bounce off of it. Not only will these sparks damage your microwave in can cause a portal fire.
Metal Bowls and Why We Use Them?
Metal bowls are popular for preparing food, such as dressing salads and marinating meat. Stainless steel bowls are also popular for baking as many modern food processors and mixing bowls are made from this material and are ideal for mixing batters and frostings.
The reason that bowls are great for baking is that they are good at regulating temperatures so the likes of buttercream and cream cheese frostings will not get too hot and split in a metal bowl.
The bowls are also great at evening out temperatures so when you put cold yogurt into a hot batter, for example, bring the mixture together to one even temperature. An even temperature upon mixing means that there is more chance of an even bake.
If you are mixing ingredients in a bowl ahead of baking it could be tempting to put the metal bowl in a microwave for a few seconds to melt the likes of butter or chocolate but you should do so with caution.
Some people see no harm in using a metal bowl in the microwave for a few seconds as it has not caused harm when they have done so before but you do need to accept the risk involved.
Why You Should Not Use Metal in Your Microwave?
As discussed, you will be taking a risk putting a metal bowl in the microwave as during the heating process the bowl will reflect rather than absorb the microwaves.
With repeated reflections of microwaves, there is a risk of fire, as we know. It is also important to know that you should not use travel cups and mugs in the microwave as many of them contain stainless steel which can cause the same risk of fire.
No matter what you are cooking or heating you should take care to take a second to see what vessel you have it in and empty it into a microwave-safe container before cooking and heating it inside a microwave.
What Damage can be done by Putting Metal Bowls in a Microwave?
It Can Cause a Fire
As we now understand, avoiding using any type of metal in a microwave is the safest way to use it.
When metal bowls, cups, and utensils are used in a microwave the heatwaves have nowhere to penetrate through the metal and therefore bounce around the microwave causing the build-up of elections that can cause a fire.
When sparks from the metal are allowed to build up it could lead to a fire within the microwave itself and, if left, the fire could cause a lot of damage to your kitchen.
You will have experienced the heat from a bowl or plate when you take it out of the microwave and at times you may delay taking something out of the microwave so that it is ok for you to handle.
If you use metal bowls in your microwave they will get hotter and stay hotter for a long time so you may risk burning your hands when you take it out. When you choose a microwave-safe container or bowl you are unlikely to burn your hand as they are designed to be safe to touch.
If you do go against advice and use a metal bowl in a microwave you should take care and use oven mitts or a thick towel when taking your bowl out of the microwave.
It Can Cause Damage to Your Oven Circuit
As the heatwaves are unable to penetrate most metal bowls and containers a mirror effect is produced.
The waves then hit the sides of your microwave and they have nowhere else to go this can cause heat build-up that can lead to damage to the circuit of the oven.
For this reason, you may not necessarily see straightaway that you are damaging your microwave by using a metal bowl. Try not to fall into a fall sense of security if there was no damage caused when you have used a metal bowl as the next time it is used it may break and cause harm.
What Can I Use Instead of A Metal Bowl in my Microwave?
If you are looking for ideas on what containers you can use in the microwave instead of a metal bowl, here are just a few ideas:
- Glass bowls
- Polyethylene containers—usually in the form of food containers and lunch boxes
- Polypropylene containers—usually in the form of food containers and lunch boxes
- Microwave-safe ceramic dishes
- Microwave-safe mugs and jugs
- Plates and bowls that are microwave-safe
If you are unsure if a container or a kitchen utensil is safe to use in the microwave you can look at the bottom of the dish/containers as there is usually a marking to say if they are dishwasher and microwave safe.
You can also look at the packaging of the item you buy before discarding it or on the company’s website.
While using a microwave is very convenient it is important to stay safe and avoid using a metal bowl.
Using a metal bowl in your microwave will not only not heat your food effectively but can also cause a fire as the microwaves are unable to penetrate the string material of the bowl and will, therefore, reflect away from the bowl and cause sparks that could lead to a fire.
To avoid fires in your microwave you should use microwave-safe bowls when heating and cooking foods.
Last update on 2022-12-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API