How To Microwave Metal Safely

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By Cooking Panda

Everyone has heard horror stories about people putting metal in the microwave and causing a fire or explosion. But did you know that you can safely put certain kinds of metal in certain microwaves?

Make sure you check your owner’s manual first, as microwaves vary from model to model, but the manual will tell you whether you can safely use items like aluminum foil or metal trays. If you’re using foil, make sure it is smooth and new, not crumpled though.

Avoid nuking dinnerware with metal trim (unless it specifically says that it is microwave safe) and takeout containers with metal handles or twist ties. These are the bad examples that give all metal in the microwave a bad name.

The reason they can potentially spark up and cause a fire is something called arcing, which happens when an electric current jumps from one piece of metal to the other. This can happen from peak to peak of crumpled foil or from one part of a gold rimmed dish to another. If you ever see this, stop your microwave immediately and proceed with caution.

If you aren’t sure if your item is safe for the microwave, always err on the side of caution and stick to a glass dish, or something that says “microwave safe” on it.

Did you know that you probably already microwave metal without knowing it?

The metal acts as a shield to block the waves that the microwave emits. Some food manufacturers use this principle to their advantage by including small bits of metal in food packaging to help the dish cook evenly. Popcorn bags often have metal susceptors to help the kernels pop evenly. Microwavable pizza packaging often uses the same idea to make the crust nice and crispy. These packages are all perfectly microwave safe as long as you follow the directions.

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You can channel the same principles in your nuking adventures, too. Strategically placed small pieces of metal can cover the corners of brownies or lasagna, to keep them from burning.

If you’re using foil, make sure to cover no more than ¼ of the food with it. Make sure no edges are sticking out and keep foil at least one inch away from the oven walls.

The bottom line: stick to the advice in your user’s manual and you’ll be fine.

Tags: kitchen hack, metal, microwave
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