Can you microwave ceramic? Is safe for the microwave?

If you want a strong and reliable material for your new dinnerware set, ceramic and porcelain are some of the most popular options that are known for their strength and durability. Can you microwave ceramic?

While they can still break, they tend to be a bit less brittle than glass dishes. 

Pottery is made from clay. Ceramic dishes of all kinds are made when clay is heated to extreme temperatures and then shaped and shaped into the dish or utensil you are using.

They make gorgeous dishes that can often be versatile in use. 

Can you microwave ceramic? You can heat ceramic dishes in the microwave, for the most part, as long as there is no metal on the rim or decorative details. You should always look for labels that say dishes are microwave safe.

The good news is that you can heat ceramic mugs and plates in the microwave, but there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid problems when you microwave a ceramic item. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about microwaveable ceramics. We’ve got some tips for identifying whether or not your piece is microwaveable, as well as some specific items to avoid microwaving. 

How are ceramic plates made?

The category of ceramics is quite broad.

While in this guide you may be thinking primarily of serving platters or plates and cups and bowls, the category is not limited to these items. You can also find pitchers, vases, and more that are made with ceramic. 

Since we are talking about microwaving your ceramic items, we thought it would be helpful to briefly explain how ceramics are made.

can you microwave ceramic

Most of the time, pottery is made through clay. The clay is molded and shaped, just like in any pottery process.

Pottery includes all sorts of things like brick, earthenware, and porcelain (or earthenware). Most of the tableware is traditionally ceramic.

First the clay is formed, and then to set it, it is fired over an intense fire. The heating process hardens the material to make it strong and durable. 

Most ceramics can be heated in the microwave, but there are some exceptions.

Is your ceramic safe for the microwave?

What you will find is that, in general, your ceramic dishes are microwave safe. Most of them might even be stamped that way or have another symbol that means the same thing.

We recommend that you check your items and their packaging for these labels to determine if they are microwave safe. 

Even in ceramic dinnerware sets, each piece must be marked “microwave safe” in some way. The indicator can be these precise words printed or stamped on the bottom of the plate or a symbol that looks like a microwave. 

But, here’s what you really need to know about the microwaveable label. This label simply means that you can microwave your item without damaging or breaking it.

can you microwave ceramic

There really aren’t any regulations preventing manufacturers from putting that label on as long as the item doesn’t become misshapen or damaged in the microwave. 

The trick is that while they may be microwaveable, the dish may be too hot to handle after you’ve microwaved it.

Always handle your items with care, especially ceramic dishes, as they get very hot to the touch when microwaved. 

One more thing we want to mention. We always assume that if something is labeled microwaveable, it means the item is non-toxic. We just want to point out again that these brands are really not regulated. 

When you microwave an item labeled “microwave safe,” you can be sure you won’t start a fire or break the item. However, there’s often no way to know if you might be releasing toxic chemicals in the microwave, into your food, or into the air. 

This isn’t likely with ceramic dishes, but it’s always a possibility, so keep that in mind. These are just things to keep in mind when microwaving ceramic items. 

Can ceramic mugs be heated in the microwave?

The question of the day is here. When you ask about ceramic in the microwave, we can bet you’re curious about reheating that cup of coffee that’s gone cold.

You just used your favorite ceramic mug this morning and now you need to warm up your drink! 

It totally happens! Most of the time, if you have busy mornings, we’re sure. The good news is that most ceramic mugs are microwave safe.

can you microwave ceramic

Keep in mind our advice from the previous section that shows that your mug can be very hot when it comes out of the microwave. Always handle your ceramic mug with care after it has been heated. 

As for ceramic microwave mugs, we have a few more points to comment on. 

What is the best ceramic mug to use?

We are not here to recommend a specific product, but rather to give you an idea on how to carefully choose your ceramic mug for best results when microwaving it. 

First things first, make sure your ceramic mug doesn’t have a metal rim or metal added for decorative purposes.

If there is a metal or metal rim on the mug, you will not be able to heat it in the microwave. This little extra thing could override everything else and make the mug unmicrowavable. 

When choosing a ceramic mug that you want to be able to use in the microwave, look for a mug with lighter colors.

The dark glazes used on ceramic mugs actually have higher levels of manganese. While this does not make the mug unsafe for the microwave, it will probably make the mug hotter in the microwave. 

Dark frostings tend to get excessively hot, while light frostings tend to stay cooler in the microwave.

Again, be very careful when reaching for your ceramic mug after microwaving it, as there have been cases of burns, especially with dark glazes. 

Things to Keep in Mind

We have already realized that most ceramics can be heated in the microwave. We gave you some tips on microwave rules and even pointed out some specific ground rules for heating your ceramic mugs in the microwave. 

We have other background information and things to walk through that we want to cover with you so that you can be fully prepared to understand whether or not you can microwave ceramics. 

Watch out for metal

Some ceramic dishes have a metal ring around the edges. This is something that has been common particularly with plates but also happens with cups and bowls.

It is a small additional piece of decoration that makes the ceramic item really stand out. Unfortunately, that little metal ring also makes your ceramic item unsafe for the microwave.

If your ceramic dishes have noticeable metal or even a ring that looks like metal, don’t take chances. 

Metal and microwaves do not mix and can actually cause sparks or fire. If there is metal anywhere on your dishes, ceramic or otherwise, they are not microwave safe.

Know Your Glazes

Most ceramic items are covered with a glaze to make them decorative and colorful. You may recognize items like Fiestaware that you know are ceramic, but are also fun or pretty by using glaze to cover the surface. 

Some of these are perfectly safe, but you should be aware that not all of them are. The EPA has observed that some of these glazes emit radiation when heated in the microwave.

While these things may not affect your food and drink at normal temperatures, when you microwave the item, it can release toxic chemicals into the air and into your food. 

Many of these items have been tested over time and you might want to do some research on their brand or item to really know what’s in the frosting and if you should be concerned. 

It is safe?

Ultimately, keep in mind that MOST ceramics can be heated in the microwave. Sure, there are a few things to look out for and keep in mind, but the general rule of thumb is that there is no harm in microwaving ceramics. 

Keep these tips in mind and understand the dishes before you take any chances. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does ceramic get hot in the microwave?

Usually, it is the glaze that makes the ceramic so hot in the microwave. Microwaving is best for ceramics that have lighter colored glazes. 

How to know if the rim is metal?

You will be able to tell if the border is gold or silver in color. If you have this type of rim, you should not microwave your ceramic item. 

Why did my ceramic plate crack in the microwave?

Ceramics and glazes sometimes crack under extremely high temperatures. If your microwave is especially powerful or set to a very high temperature, it can cause some cracking in your dishes.

If your ceramic dinnerware is labeled “microwave safe” this shouldn’t happen. However, some cheaper ceramics or poor quality ceramics that have not been fired to the proper temperature can crack.

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