We live in a hurry-up world where convenience is king. You are trying to get dinner on the table quickly with as little mess as possible. Can you put a paper plate in a toaster oven safely?
While some paper plates are considered oven-safe, caution should be used when using them in a toaster oven. A toaster oven’s small size makes it possible for the heating elements to come in contact with the plate, causing a fire hazard.
Read on to learn the ins and outs of using paper plates and other materials in a toaster oven!
Can you put paper plates in a toaster oven?
Toaster ovens are handy since they use less electricity than larger ovens. If a paper plate is deemed safe for the oven, you have the green light to use it in a toaster oven, too, right? Not necessarily.
You shouldn’t put paper plates in a toaster oven because the space between the oven rack and the element is small. This close proximity increases the chances that the paper will come in contact with the hot element, especially at high temperatures.
If you’ve thrown a piece of paper into a campfire, you’ve seen how fast it can go into flames. The same thing can happen if a paper plate gets hot. While some paper products are classified as oven-safe or microwave-safe, that doesn’t mean they should be used in the close confines of a toaster oven.
A toaster oven uses a fan to circulate hot air, which helps cook foods evenly but can start a fire easily. A conventional oven heats using a similar process, but there is more space between the rack and the heating element.
A microwave uses electromagnetic waves instead of exposed elements to heat food, so you can use most paper plates in a microwave safely.
Does the type of toaster oven heating element matter?
You see the red glow indicating the toaster oven is ready to heat your food. Can you use paper with different heating element types?
Toaster oven heating elements are made of materials like quartz, Nichrome, ceramic, or Kanthal. While each material has its advantages and disadvantages, they all get very hot. Paper and heat can be a dangerous combination.
No matter which brand and style of toaster oven you purchase, you will see warnings to keep paper and cloth away from the oven. This is a safety measure to prevent fires.
What plates are safe to put in a toaster oven?
Want viable plate options for heating up your favorite leftovers?
Glass, ceramic, and metal plates are generally considered safe to use in an oven. Before use, always make sure they are marked with an oven-safe symbol. Even oven-safe plates and cookware shouldn’t be exposed to heat higher than 450 degrees for extended periods.
Here’s what you need to know about plate use in your toaster oven.
Not all glass plates are safe for use in a toaster oven. Some might not have the ability to handle the extreme and fluctuating temperatures in the appliance.
Before putting a glass plate in a toaster oven, the first thing to consider is the marking “oven-safe.” This designation usually appears as a picture of an oven on the bottom of the plate or on the original packaging. This shows the plate maker has tested the material and knows it can withstand the heat generated in a toaster oven.
Don’t know for sure if your plate can stand the heat? Opt for a glass baking pan instead. Glass made for baking has been tempered to help it withstand high temperatures and resist shattering.
Ceramic plates, such as earthenware and stoneware, are generally safe in a toaster oven.
Look for the “oven-safe symbol on the bottom of the plate or, better yet, a “broiler-safe” indication. Cheaper, thinner ceramic plates may crack when changing temperature quickly. Thick ceramic plates are sturdy, durable, and better able to withstand heat extremes.
Metal plates, such as aluminum and stainless steel, can go into a toaster oven as long as they have the oven-safe symbol. If using aluminum foil sheets, ensure they don’t touch the appliance’s heating element.
Materials you should never put in a toaster oven
Not all plate materials are safe in a toaster oven, so be extremely careful about the things you put in your appliance.
Parchment paper, styrofoam, plastic, and cardboard can burn or melt in a toaster oven. A toaster oven is designed to cook at high temperatures. The top and bottom heating elements generate a lot of heat, and they are located close to the oven rack.
To stay safe and avoid a fire, don’t use the following things in your toaster oven.
Parchment paper is a must when I bake cookies in the oven, but it can be dangerous if used in a toaster oven. The thin paper can easily come in contact with the heating element, causing a fire.
Styrofoam is a common takeout box material, but it cannot stand the heat.
Never put Styrofoam in your toaster oven or conventional oven. Styrofoam is a petroleum derivative. Heating it greater than 212 degrees will cause it to melt and release chemicals into your food.
While certain types of plastics can be used in a microwave oven, plastic plates should not be used in a toaster oven. Plastic melts easily at high temperatures, ruining your plates and the inside of your oven.
Have you ever been tempted to keep your pizza on the cardboard circle while heating? Don’t!
While cardboard is a bit sturdier than paper, it still cannot withstand the heat of an oven. It can easily cause a fire.
Can you put a paper towel in a toaster oven?
I use paper towels to cover dishes while microwaving them. They are handy to catch splatters and prevent a mess. But should you cover food with a paper towel in an oven? NO!
Paper towels should never be used in a toaster oven. Even a wet paper towel will dry out quickly when heated. When the paper towel touches the exposed heating element, it can catch on fire.
Paper towels are made from paper pulp and are as combustible as paper plates.
Can you put a paper plate in the microwave?
Plain paper plates are suitable for reheating food in the microwave.
You can put most paper plates in the microwave. However, ensure the paper plate has the “microwave-safe” marking. This shows the plate manufacturer has tested the plate in a microwave and is sure it is safe for use.
Decorative paper plates with dyes or those with a shiny, plastic coating shouldn’t be microwaved. Dyes and coatings are made from chemicals that can leech into your food and give off dangerous fumes.
How to know if a material is safe to use in a toaster oven
Still unsure if your plate is okay for toaster oven use? Use this three-step process to determine a material’s safety.
To determine if a material is safe for a toaster oven, consider the material used in construction, check for the oven-safe symbol, and consult the manufacturer.
You can determine if cookware is safe to use in a toaster oven in several ways.
1. Consider the material used in construction
Plates made of glass, ceramic, and metal are considered safe in a toaster oven. Why? They boast a high heat threshold. These materials are sturdy, hardy, and can withstand heat. They also won’t melt like plastic or ignite a fire like paper.
2. Check for the “oven-safe” or “broiler-safe” symbol
Does the plate have the “oven-safe” marking on the bottom? Are the words printed on the box or included in the user instructions? If not, err on the side of caution and choose a safer material.
The “oven-safe” marking shows the manufacturer is confident the cookware can withstand the extreme heat in the toaster oven. “Broiler-safe” means the material has been tested at 500-550 degrees. Without this assurance, you are taking a risk with your health and safety.
3. Ask the manufacturer
If you can’t locate the symbol, ask the manufacturer. Go to the maker’s website to look for the information. They will often have a forum where you can search for answers or a way to chat with an associate. Chances are someone else has asked the question already, and you can find an easy answer.
You can also consult the owner’s manual of your toaster oven. They will often include a list of materials that are safe to use in their specific model.
Toaster oven safety tips
Now that you know what you can and can’t use inside your toaster oven, cook with confidence!
When operating a toaster oven, have a fire extinguisher nearby, wear oven mitts while removing food, and clean up any spills or crumbs quickly.
Every kitchen should be equipped with an in-date fire extinguisher. This will allow you to attack any fires before they get out of hand.
Any plate or dish you put in a toaster oven will be hot when you remove it. Always protect your hands with oven mitts to prevent burns.
Crumbs and greasy spills can spark a fire if left at the bottom of your toaster oven. As soon as you notice a mess inside, clean it up.
Summary of “Can You Put a Paper Plate in a Toaster Oven?”
No, you shouldn’t put a paper plate in a toaster oven because it can easily touch the heating element. Paper is highly combustible and can start a fire. You should also avoid putting parchment paper, styrofoam, plastic, and cardboard in a toaster oven. Your best bets are glass, ceramic, or metal plates, but always look for the oven-safe symbol.
Can I put a paper plate in a convection oven?
No, you should not use paper plates in a convection oven. Convection ovens use high heats that could potentially catch the paper on fire.
Is it safe to put paper in the oven?
No, it is not safe to put paper in an oven. Parchment paper can be used in a conventional oven but should not be used in a toaster oven because of the small area.
What cannot be cooked in a toaster oven?
You don’t want to cook things in a toaster oven that will burn quickly since the heating element is much closer to the food. It is easy to overcook things if you aren’t careful.
Can you cook a frozen dinner in a toaster oven?
Many frozen dinners come in oven-safe containers. It is best to read the package instructions to see if they have specific toaster oven directions. Always adhere to the temperature maximums indicated.