Is It Dangerous To Put Paper Plates In The Oven?

It's hard to imagine a get-together that doesn't use paper plates. Not only are they convenient for cleanup, but you can purchase large quantities for cheap, no matter how many people you're planning on having over.

Disposable paper products have been around since the early 1900s, reports Smithsonian Magazine. Although they aren't exactly known for being environmentally friendly, they have now become integral in serving food to a crowd. Paper plates are often made with paper pulp, per Bizfluent, but can also be made from sugar cane or vegetable materials. However, depending on what your plate is made of, the outlet reports that you could run the risk of the plate breaking down when exposed to high heat.

If you're bringing home leftovers from a family party or just want to heat up a single serving of food without cooking the rest of the dish, it might be tempting to load up a paper plate and toss it in the oven. While it may seem like a quick and easy solution, is it safe?

Heat creates hazardous conditions

The short answer: Putting paper plates in the oven isn't exactly recommended. The high heat inside the oven could even cause the paper plate to catch fire. While the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) notes that paper plates are technically safe to use in microwaves, though it isn't really recommended, food is often cooked longer when heated up in the oven. The increased exposure to high heat could raise the risk of a fire hazard.

BigTimeKitchen notes that paper plates could contain toxins if they are brightly colored or have a plasticky coating. Although these may feel a little sturdier, and might look cooler than plain white paper plates, they could also spread those dyes and plastic toxins into your food while heated in the oven. So rather than taking a risk on your health, it is best to play it safe and transfer your food to an oven-safe container before heating it up.