Cooking and baking often require putting items in the oven. You may wonder if it’s safe to put plastic in the oven or if it will melt or release toxic fumes.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about putting plastic in the oven.
What Types of Plastic are Oven-Safe?
Not all plastics are created equal when it comes to heat resistance. Here are the plastic types that can safely go in the oven:
Polypropylene has a high melting point, which makes it ideal for baking and cooking at high temperatures. Look for yogurt containers, storage containers, and measuring cups labeled PP or #5 recycling code.
Polycarbonate plastic is extremely durable and heat-resistant. Oven-safe polycarbonate plastics are labeled PC, or #7 recycling code. They’re commonly used for food storage containers.
Silicone has an ultra-high heat resistance, exceeding 400°F. It’s flexible and non-stick. Silicone molds, baking mats, and oven mitts are all oven-safe.
Glass baking dishes are oven-safe at any temperature. Tempered glass is treated with chemicals to withstand rapid temperature changes without cracking or shattering.
What Types of Plastic Are Not Oven-Safe?
Many common plastic types should never go in the oven.
Polyethylene plastics such as plastic bags, squeeze bottles, shampoo bottles, and plastic wraps have low melting points below 250°F. Do not use it in the oven.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
PVC plastic has a maximum temperature of 140°F before it warps. Items like cling wraps, cooking oil bottles, and toys contain PVC compounds. Keep out of the oven.
Polystyrene plastic has a low melting point of less than 200°F. Styrofoam cups, plastic cutlery, and opaque plastic containers contain PS. Don’t put in the oven.
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
ABS plastics are not designed for exposure to high heat. Pipes, toys, musical instruments, and LEGO bricks contain ABS. It’s not oven-safe.
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
PET plastics like soda bottles, jars, microwavable food trays, and packaging start to melt at 160°F. Avoid oven use despite “microwave-safe” claims.
Nylon has low heat resistance, melting between 250 and 300°F. Items like stockings, rope, sleeping bags, and tool handles contain nylon. Don’t bake nylon.
What Happens If You Put Unsafe Plastic in the Oven?
Heating plastics not designed for oven use can be dangerous.
- Melting: Plastics like PE, PVC, PS, and PET will completely melt into a pile of goop at oven temperatures.
- Warping: Plastic will deform, warp, and bend out of shape when exposed to heat it can’t withstand.
- Leaching: Chemicals and plasticizers used to soften plastic can leach into food at high temperatures.
- Toxic Fumes: Overheated plastic can release toxic fumes, leaving an unpleasant odor behind.
- Fire Hazard: Melting plastic can ignite, creating flare-ups and smoke inside your oven.
Don’t take risks; avoid putting plastics without heat resistance in the oven. Use oven-safe materials!
Tips for Putting Plastic in the Oven Safely
If you want to use plastic in the oven, follow these tips:
- Check Labels: Look for PP, PC, silicone, or glass labels confirming oven-safe design.
- Use Low temperatures; don’t exceed 350°F when using oven-safe plastic. Some only withstand temperatures up to 250°F.
- No Hot Spots: Avoid placing plastic directly on oven heating elements. Use the middle racks.
- Watch Closely: Stay nearby to ensure plastic doesn’t warp or melt, just in case.
- Short Cook Times: Don’t leave oven-safe plastic in for long periods of time. Take it out once the food is cooked.
- Keep It clean. Grease and food can make plastic more susceptible to warping in the oven.
- Replace When Needed: Retire any warped, stained, or cracked oven-safe plastic items.
Frequently Asked Questions About Putting Plastic in the Oven
Here are answers to some common questions about putting plastic in the oven:
Can you put Tupperware in the oven?
No, standard Tupperware is made from polyethylene, which melts at low oven temperatures. Opt for Tupperware marketed as oven-safe or use glass and ceramic containers.
Is a Pyrex container oven-safe?
Yes, Pyrex glassware is designed for oven temperatures up to 450°F. Avoid severe temperature changes, which can cause shattering. Check for cracks before each use.
Can Ziploc bags go in the oven?
No, never put Ziploc plastic bags in the oven, even if they are labeled “heat resistant”. The polyethylene will melt once exposed to hot oven air. Use oven bags instead.
Are paper cups oven-safe?
No, paper cups cannot withstand oven temperatures. The paper, wax, and plastic coatings will burn and melt. Use oven-safe glass or ceramic mugs only.
Is parchment paper oven-safe?
Yes, parchment paper is non-stick and heat-resistant up to 420°F, making it safe for lining baking sheets or folding into packets for oven cooking.
Can I put plastic Tupperware lids in the oven?
No, only the Tupperware container itself is oven-safe, not the plastic lids, which melt at lower temperatures. Remove lids before baking or roasting.
Are Yeti cups oven-safe?
No, Yeti cups contain plastic layers and insulation that can melt in oven heat. The stainless steel exterior is also not fully oven-safe. Use oven-safe ceramic mugs instead.
Can I put a colander in the oven?
Yes, as long as it’s stainless steel or silicone. Metal and silicone colanders are designed for prolonged oven exposure. Avoid using plastic colanders inside hot ovens.
Are silicone baking mats oven-safe?
Yes, 100%. Silicone withstands temperatures up to 446°F. Silicone baking mats are flexible, non-stick, and can be used for baking or roasting directly on oven racks.
The Bottom Line
The key takeaway is to only use plastics labeled oven-safe and avoid putting plastic not designed for high heat in the oven.
Stick to pot holders, oven mitts, and baking tools made of silicone, metal, glass, or ceramic for a safely heated kitchen.
Follow all oven safety recommendations from manufacturers when using any oven-approved plastic products.
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.