Sticking a regular dinner plate in the oven might seem like an easy way to reheat lunch or keep a meal warm. Especially if you want to keep dirty dishes to a minimum!
Can you put a plate in the oven without creating a culinary disaster? It all depends on what that plate is made of…
Are All Plates Oven-Safe?
No! And if you value your dinnerware, the last thing you want to do is put the wrong plate in the oven.
What happens when a plate that is not oven-safe is put in an oven? Depending on the material, it may melt, crack, or, in extreme cases, explode into small pieces.
Even plates that are technically oven-safe can experience something called thermal shock. Thermal shock occurs when a material changes temperature very quickly. One common example is placing a cold or room temperature dish into a preheated oven.
Keep in mind that thermal shock goes both ways. Do not place a hot oven-safe plate in the fridge or a sink of cold water until it has had a chance to slowly cool down.
How Do You Know if a Plate Is Oven-Safe?
The best way to tell if a specific plate is safe to put in an oven is to check the care instructions. These are normally printed or etched into the bottom of the plate.
If a plate does not indicate whether or not it is oven-safe (or there are no care instructions provided) it’s better to be safe than sorry. You should only place an unlabeled plate in the oven if you are 100% sure it only contains oven-safe materials.
3 Types of Plates You Can Put in the Oven
1. Ceramic Plates
Ceramic is extremely heat-resistant, making it an ideal material for cookware and oven-safe china.
Some ceramics are more durable than others. But almost all ceramic plates should hold up to low- or moderate- oven temperatures.
Although ceramic is oven-safe, the same can’t be said for many decorative finishes. It’s still important to check the care instructions of any ceramic plate before placing it in the oven. Failing to do so could damage the plate’s appearance.
2. Glass Plates
Glass is also particularly heat-resistant, though not to the same degree as ceramic. While most glass plates are oven-safe to an extent, pay close attention to temperature guidelines.
Not all glass dinnerware is the same. Even plates made by the same company can have varying heat-resistant qualities.
As always, you should check the label on each glass plate before placing it in the oven. If it is labeled oven-safe, check for a maximum temperature before moving forward.
Some glass plates can handle temperatures of 450°F or more. But the vast majority are only oven-safe to around 350°F (or less).
3. Metal Plates
Compared to ceramic and glass, metal is far from the most popular dinner plate material. However, it is one of the most oven-safe.
Metal plates can handle high temperatures without cracking or shattering. There’s little risk of thermal shock in the standard home oven.
On the other hand, some types of metal have the potential to warp or seep into your food when heated to certain temperatures. Don’t neglect to check the plate’s label to confirm it is actually oven-safe!
3 Types of Plates You Can NOT Put in the Oven
1. Plastic Plates
Plastic plates are simple, affordable, and a wonderful option for young kids. They are not, however, oven-safe.
Do not place plastic plates in the oven, even at low temperatures. It’s also best to keep plastic plates away from high temperatures of any kind, such as near a live burner or very hot water.
2. Wood Plates
Wooden plates are great for serving appetizers or laying out a charcuterie board. Because of wood’s flammable nature, it should be pretty obvious that these plates should be kept far away from your oven (or any open flame!).
3. Disposable Plates
Disposable plates make entertaining large groups a breeze. Many types of disposable plates are available e.g., Styrofoam, plastic, paper, etc. and they should all be kept out of the oven.
Paper plates are liable to catch on fire. Meanwhile, Styrofoam and plastic plates will melt within seconds.
Plus, these materials can release harmful fumes when heated. And those fumes are not something you want floating around the oven with your leftovers!
So, can you put a plate in the oven? Sometimes.
If you want to place a plate in the oven, reach for one made of:
Other materials will melt or catch fire when exposed to the high heat of an oven.
Most importantly, you should never assume any plate is oven-safe. Always check the care label on the bottom of a plate before placing it in the oven!