How to Microwave Takeout Containers Safely

Takeout containers are common for holding takeaway food. You may be tempted to nuke the container to eat your food while warm.

But these containers are not made for microwaving.

That’s why it is extremely risky to nuke a takeout container unless you have special instructions allowing you to do that.

Luckily for you, we’ve gathered important hacks to show you how to microwave takeout containers safely. Please don’t nuke your container before reading this short article.

Can You Microwave Takeout Food Containers?

No. The first thing you should know before tossing your takeout container in your microwave is that they’re not made for microwaving uses.

Containers that are made of plastic or paper are not safe to nuke in the microwave. But the good news is that there are ways to go around this obstacle and make them work.

Nuking takeout containers can easily cause uneven heating. When that happens, your food and drinks are at risk of chemical leaching.

The only way out of this problem is to wrap them in tinfoil before throwing them into the microwave. In this state, your food will be safe and it won’t spill into the oven.

While doing this, ensure you leave open points that could cause pressure to build up inside the container, like air vents and corners. Extreme pressure can cause an explosion.

If you’re uncertain if the tinfoil is sizable enough to cover your food, cut another piece and overlap it by about an inch. You’re doing this to ensure no steam will escape through the edge of the foil.

The most likely risks when microwaving takeout containers are explosion from uneven heating and damage to your microwave by plastic melts or explosion. Let’s look at hacks to prevent these risks:

Preventing Uneven Heating

If you want to use a takeout container in the microwave, please place it on a microwave-safe plate.

Additionally, cover your leftover food with a lid or plastic wrap before nuking.

Preventing Damage to Your Microwave

Apart from selecting a microwavable container to heat or reheat your food in the microwave, it is also vital to cover it tightly to avoid splatters.

This might seem simple, but it’s the best way to keep your microwave clean and out of danger.

You should also check that your container fits in the microwave without hanging over the edges. You don’t want any of it to be near an open flame because that could ignite a fire.

For plastic containers, make sure they have airtight lids that snap on securely.

You can also put a paper towel between your food and the takeout container to avoid potential leaks.

Additional tip: For your safety, never place any non-food items inside the oven. Microwaves heat food from the inside out, so anything there with your takeaway will catch fire.

Which are the Microwave-safe Takeout Containers?

There are plenty of takeout containers that are safe to use in the microwave. The most important thing to consider is the “microwave-safe” label in your container.

You can find this code at the bottom of your container. In other cases, there will be a microwave symbol to indicate that your container is safe for use in the microwave.

Another key detail to consider is whether your container has a lid and vent as many do. Having a vent and a lid makes the container more suited for microwaving with minimal risk of damage to your microwave.

Some other takeout containers you can use in your microwave include:

1.    Bamboo steamer

2.    Porcelain or ceramic plate

3.    Parchment paper

4.    Tin foil

5.    Wax paper

6.    Popcorn bag. (Semicircle fold)

Tips to Microwave Takeout Containers without Damaging Your Oven

There are several precautions that you can take when microwaving your takeout container to prevent it from damaging your microwave. They include:

  •  Wrap your takeout container in a layer of aluminum foil before microwaving.
  • Take out any metal clips or tight closures on the container.
  • Place a dishcloth between the container and the wall of the oven to prevent steam from escaping.
  • Avoid overfilling the container because that can cause superheating and lead to burning.
  • Avoid using anything other than water in your microwave like juice, milk, wine, coffee, or tea. Water is the only safe liquid to use in your microwave.
  • Never microwave takeout containers made of Styrofoam.
  • Don’t use takeout containers with paper, plastic, or foil lids.
  • Stick to using takeout containers with microwave-safe lids.
  • Always place your takeout container on a microwave-safe plate to avoid potential leakage.
  • Cover any holes in the takeout container with aluminum foil to prevent steam from escaping.

How Can You Microwave Takeout Containers Safely?

Although not the best idea, microwaving takeout containers is possible. But first check if it has a microwave-safe sign at the bottom.

If your container is made for use in the microwave, it will contain some wavy lines on it. Alternatively, it may contain a #5, or a “microwave-safe” label.

Please follow the following steps to microwave your takeout container safely:

  1. Ensure the food inside the container is not overcrowded. That can cause uneven heating.
  2. Cover your container with aluminum foil to avoid splattering.
  3. Make sure you don’t cover the edges.
  4. Place your container on a microwave-safe plate. (Glass or ceramic plate work best).
  5. Take it into the microwave.
  6. Ensure it fits well. It shouldn’t be hanging on the microwave. (Direct contact with fire can cause combustion).
  7. Set your microwave to a half power setting to avoid overheating.

You’ll realize that reheating overfilled food in a container causes some to remain cold when the rest portion is warmed up. This can cause burns when you rush to consume that food.

The food will be at a temperature lower than your liking. So you’ll not enjoy eating it. 

So it is always vital to reduce the food to ensure everything heats up evenly within the shortest time possible.

You should also cover the container to prevent splattering in your microwave. You need to keep your appliance clean for easy maintenance.

You should also place your takeout container on a microwavable plate and nuke at half power setting.


What can I use to microwave my takeout food?

You’re free to use paper bags, brown lunch bags, and plain old plastic wrap to microwave your takeout food in the microwave. If you’re finding it hard to find those materials, try using a pot cover or an oven mitt because they will create the same effect.

What takeout container should I use?

There is no limit to the type of takeout container to use because none is specially designed. A bowl or dish will work for you just fine.

Is it safe to microwave a takeout?

Yes, provided you use a microwave-safe plate. But if you’re going to be nuking your food frequently, then it may be worth investing in a special takeout dish that is designed for microwaves.


Although takeout containers aren’t made for microwaving, you can implement the hacks in this article to use them in your microwave.

But first, you have to look for the microwave-safe sign to be sure.

If your container doesn’t have a safe sign, please get the one with the label, or use alternative containers like ceramic or glass.

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