Can you microwave metal bowl: To put or not to put

Once upon a time, a good man put his metal bowl in a microwave. His house exploded, and the man would never be seen again.

That didn’t happen. But you’re still probably wondering, can you microwave a metal bowl? Is it safe? Or will it go kaboom?

In this article, you’ll find out if can you microwave metal bowl or not and more. You’ll learn if metal bowls are safe to heat, if stainless steel is okay to use, and much more.

Putting a metal bowl in the microwave oven: not safe

Can you microwave metal bowl: To put or not to put
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To say it shortly, you should not put a metal bowl inside microwave ovens. In the best case, your food will stay lukewarm. In the worst case, your microwave will break. Now let’s break down why.

Heating food in a microwave requires that the waves pass food containers and contact the food itself. The metal containers are too thick for the waves to pass them. It means that your dish won’t be warmed, but your metal bowl will get painfully hot.

The better material to use instead is plastic containers or glass bowls, as they absorb microwaves better and allow food to be heated. A glass bowl in the microwave will make your soup hot. Metal bowls will warm up themselves instead of your soup.

Is it dangerous to put a metal bowl in a microwave oven?

Is it dangerous to put a metal bowl in a microwave oven?
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It might be dangerous, but usually, nothing exceptionally bad happens.

You’ve probably heard before that you should never put a metal fork in a microwave. The bowl is also metallic, so how is it not as dangerous?

Well, it’s all about the shape, not just the material.

When metal objects are heated in the microwave, their electrons go into a frenzy and start moving rapidly through the material. If the metal object is rounded or has no sharp edges, like a spoon or a metal bowl, the charge stays inside. It’s evenly spread out like butter.

But when an object has sharp edges like a fork, the charge leaks outside through the sharp points and leads to arcing. It’s a process when blue sparks appear in the microwave oven’s interior. This might lead to circuit damage.

So, metal bowls in your microwave are not an immediate danger. They are rounded enough not to leak their charge. But still, please avoid putting them in. As said before, the microwave won’t cook food warm enough and it’s still risky.

Possible dangers of metals in a microwave oven

Can you microwave metal bowl: To put or not to put
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Let’s state the possible risks and dangers that a safe-at-first-sight metal container poses to your precious kitchen appliance. Circuit damage, fires, and breakdowns – all possible. This information may help you keep your microwave oven safe.

Microwave oven circuit damage

As stated above, damage to the oven circuit is a possibility.

Metal containers reflect heat during the heating process. When does this heat go? To the microwave’s walls.

The microwave oven wall is also metallic, so it is good at getting hot fast. The important circuits near these walls might be damaged by all the heat. It renders the microwave oven useless, and repairing that may take time.

Microwave oven on fire

Not all metal bowls are dangerous enough to cause a fire. You had to put something with sharper angles for a microwave to catch fire. Still, it is a possibility. Especially for metal bowls with weird curves.

Size and quantity also affect the safety of a microwave oven. Aluminum foil, for example, is safe for a microwave. But using many sheets of aluminum foil, especially the big ones, won’t help you keep the microwave safe.

On the contrary, it might lead to fire or circuit damage yet again.

Painful burns

Microwave metal bowls are easily heated when microwave ovens cook food.

So when you’re trying to take a metal bowl out of a microwave, this bowl is hot. Taking it out with bare hands might cause burns. You can use towels or wraps to take out the bowl safely.

Speaking about bowls…

Microwave-safe bowls

Microwave-safe bowls
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Now that we’ve stated the dangers, it’s time to find a solution. How to put a metal bowl in a microwave safely? Simple. Just don’t put it.

The easiest solution is to use proper, microwave-safe bowls.

Most metal bowls are not safe or effective for microwave oven, including metal mixing bowls and metal containers. Stainless steel is no better.

The list of safe materials includes:

  • Glass bowls and containers.
  • Ceramic bowls and containers. Ceramics are generally suitable. However, check the ceramic bowl for the microwave-safe sign on those decorated with adhesive designs. 
  • Plastic bowls and containers. Please mind that plastic wrap is not safe, even if the material is similar.

The key factor in determining which containers are designed as suitable for a microwave oven is by checking for the microwave-safe label on the containers. The microwave-safe symbol looks like three waves.

Microwave stainless steel bowls: not an exclusion

Some people might ask if stainless steel bowls are safe for a microwave oven. The short answer is no.

Microwave stainless steel bowls are just like any other metal bowls, only with an added layer of chromium. Like most metal bowls, they don’t let the microwave oven cook food properly and this may lead to damage to the oven circuit.

There’s another metal, though, which is exclusively safer than many metal bowls you’ll see on the market.

Aluminum: a microwave-friendly metal

Aluminum is one of the very few exceptions when a metal can be safely put in a microwave oven. Aluminum trays won’t lead to combustion or sparks. Just don’t forget to remove the lid and don’t overstuff the microwave oven with trays.

Why should you remove the aluminum lid, you may ask?

Well, a microwave has an important component called a magnetron. It emits the waves that heat the food. An easy way to break the magnetron is when enough of the generated microwaves don’t get absorbed.

When the food is wrapped in aluminum foil or mostly enclosed in a metal container, the food does not absorb the energy. It has nowhere to go but back to the magnetron to damage it.

An aluminum bowl is also safe enough. Most oven-safe cookware goes well with aluminum material.

Paper plates and paper towels: arguably safe

Can you microwave metal bowl: To put or not to put
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Paper towels can be used in the microwave, as well as paper plates. But not all of them are completely safe. Check whether paper trays can be microwaved because some paper sheets have a thin film of plastic coating.

Recycled paper is another deal. It might disturb microwave oven work or even break it, like metals. Recycled products, including paper towels, have minute metal flecks that can cause sparks and even flames. Don’t use recycled paper unless it is specifically approved for microwave use.

It’s a different story for everyone

Remember that each situation is a bit unique. Microwaves are different, and so as materials.

For example, is a cup with metal trim bad for your microwave?

Yes… But some companies sell china with this metal trim specifically designed for microwaving. It’s an exception, but it doesn’t mean you should prohibit everything.

Your best counselor with any microwave question is the manual that came with this miracle of human technology. Most microwave guides let you know whether you can safely use materials like aluminum foil, metal trays, and food packaging. Always follow the advice specific to your oven.


Now you know a little more about your microwave oven.

We wish you a safe experience with your kitchen appliances! Next time, please think before you put a metal bowl in the microwave.


Now we’ve finished with most of the questions concerned about metal bowls in your microwave. Still, there are plenty of questions left to answer.

Q: Can you put a stainless steel bowl in a microwave?

Stainless steel makes the same metal bowl, just with added chromium. As you should know by now, metal bowls are not a good pick for a microwave.

It is generally not recommended to use stainless steel in microwaves. The only safe scenario when you are safe to put a stainless bowl in the microwave oven is when the microwave is off.

Basically, don’t risk with metals. Stainless steel might be good for frying, but not for microwaving.

Q: Are some metal bowls microwave-safe?

Most of them are not safe.

Microwaves are designed to carefully reflect waves inside the machine. The oddly shaped metals can bend and focus the waves in certain spots, which can be dangerous. For this reason, it’s not safe to put metal bowls in your microwave oven.

Some metal bowls have been labeled microwave-safe, mainly tinsteel, and aluminum.

Still, specialists recommend avoiding bowls or metal containers in the microwave altogether.

Q: Will metal damage my microwave?

There’s a chance of that.

The level of the threat depends on the shapequantity, and size of the metal. Bigger metal bowls, forks, and knives are a potential threat. Putting metal bowls might lead to overheating, burns, and sparks. Metals prone to cracks can pose even greater risks.

Q: What metal cannot go in a microwave?

Basically, any kind of metal is a warning.

But the worst kind to put in a microwave has exceptionally thin or sharper edges, like forks, teacups, and plates.

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