Can you microwave plastic tupperware? Is it safe to do?

Do you use plastic Tupperware containers in the microwave to cook and reheat food? Microwaving leftovers or prepared lunchtime food is a common practice. Is it bad to use Tupperware in the microwave? Can you microwave plastic tupperware?

Some friends of mine continually heat food in their plastic Tupperware containers in the microwave. Microwaves have been improving cooking speed and kitchen efficiency since 1946—ironically, the same year Tupperware was invented.

There has been a lot of debate about the general safety of plastics. Brands like Rubbermaid, Ziploc, and GladWare use marketing ploys to sidestep any concerns about the safety of their packaging; however, I remain skeptical of the functionality of plastic when placed in extreme heat.

Is it safe to heat Tupperware in the microwave?

My general concern about microwaving plastic has led me down a research hole. The general consensus seems to be that all Tupperware containers are microwaveable and can be used without concern. 

Tupperware products are made with plastic, however all Tupperware products are not microwaveable. 

Tupperware has thoroughly tested its products to determine which ones are microwave safe. In fact, they claim that it is safe to microwave food in Tupperware products that are designed to be used in the microwave.

Tupperware Microwave Safety Symbol

There are many plastic compounds available to industrial manufacturers. So what plastics are used in the Tupperware product line?

microwaves are two:

  • melts in the microwave
  • Plastic leach chemicals into

Tupperware plastic food extensive line of products. 

There is only one way to check if the Tupperware container is certified safe for microwave use. Check the bottom of the container and look for the microwave safe symbol that consists of 3 wavy lines. 

If the tupperware or plastic container does not have any labels or symbols on the bottom, do not use it in the microwave. Don’t even use it to store food!

can you microwave plastic tupperware

Although there are many products in the Tupperware line that are not designed for cooking, Tupperware has furthered its research and developed an extensive line that is considered microwaveable and BPA-free. In fact, all items sold by Tupperware in the United States and Canada since March 2010 are BPA-free.

Can you heat Tupperware in the microwave with the lid on?

Microwaving food with a lid helps prevent unnecessary splattering of food. Reheating food with a lid on also traps steam and allows food to heat much faster, more evenly, and also without the worry of it drying out. 

Microwaveable Tupperware brands have custom designed lids and seals with a steam vent feature. The vent must be opened when placing sealed containers in the microwave.

can you microwave plastic tupperware

Food should be covered, however the lid should not seal tight. If the lid is sealed tight, you risk the food catastrophically exploding and dangerously intense steam forming when you reopen the container.

Things to Know Before Microwaving Tupperware Containers

Tupperware has a specialized line of products that are rated microwave-safe. However, there are some important things to understand about microwaving Tupperware containers. 

The company recommends that you avoid reheating certain foods that are high in fat or sugar. The risk is that those specific foods could get very hot and damage the containers.

Also, the manufacturer’s instructions clearly state that food should be reheated in the microwave on medium heat for no more than 3 minutes.

can you microwave plastic tupperware

If it takes more than 3 minutes to heat the food, stop the microwave after 3 minutes, remove the lid and stir the food. Then resume reheating for less than 3 minutes.

Bottom Line

If you’ve had success using Tupperware in the microwave, then it’s easy to continue down the same path. However, while products may be labeled “microwave safe,” can you really trust the descriptions?

After digging a little deeper into the subject, I find that microwaveable containers are better alternatives to use instead of microwaveable plastic Tupperware. 

Covered foods heat faster and more consistently. Consider using a microwavable food cover to speed up the reheating process and evenly distribute heat.

Although Tupperware has developed new products in recent years, they have provided very strict instructions that must be followed precisely when microwaving Tupperware:

  • Do not cut or scratch plastic
  • Open vent
  • Reheat food only
  • Use medium heat
  • 3 minutes or less
  • Do not exceed fill line

Do not use old or damaged plastic containers in the microwave because they may have exceeded the capacity of the microwave. Doing so also puts the food at risk of encountering a toxic release, so throw out old Tupperware or use it for purposes other than food storage.

Also, Tupperware made before 2010 will most likely contain BPA in the plastic compound.

When it comes to the kitchen and food storage products you have, it’s important to understand the uses and misuses.

If you understand the symbols and you’re confident using microwaveable Tupperware, then I don’t think you need to worry about a thing. If you’re not sure though, stick with glass or ceramic and just avoid using all plastics in the microwave. 

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