July 2

Can You Put a Metal Bowl in the Microwave? | Rules and Exceptions


Author: Cornelia Suehr
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Can you put a metal bowl in the microwave? This is one important questions you must answer before attempting to put a metal bowl in the microwave. Taking risks like this can result in unintended consequences and damage to your kitchen appliance.

You can put a metal bowl in your microwave oven, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Metal containers directly block the heat from penetrating them, making it extremely difficult to cook using a metal bowl in a microwave oven.

It should be noted that what kind of result a metal will have on the microwave depends highly on its shape.

Also, microwave ovens are technical appliances that you should not experiment with to test a theory. It is dangerous to put metal bowls in most types of ovens and putting them can cause your oven to spark.

In this article, we will discuss the dangers of putting metal bowls in your microwave oven and precautions to take to avoid complications that might result from this act.

Can You Put Metal Bowls in your Microwave Oven?

You should totally avoid putting any form of metal in your microwave if you can. Most people will usually say that they have tried it before and nothing happened, but luck is a thing.

The possible dangers that could result from sticking metal bowls in your microwave are not worth it. On the other hand, there are lots of healthier alternatives made from safer materials that you can use in your microwave oven.

This is a classic situation of if in doubt, don’t. Although some manufacturers have designed the microwave oven to be able to withstand some metal too much metallic items can cause damage to your oven.

On the other hand, some metal bowls are oven safe. Although this is not very common, it is a possibility. Check the body of the bowl thoroughly for the microwave safe symbol.

All metals that are microwave oven safe will usually have this. Even if you think a metal container is microwave oven safe and it doesn’t have this symbol, you should consider an alternative.

You should also check the owners manual of your microwave oven if your manufacturer has given tips on how to use metal objects in your microwave oven

How does Cooking in Microwave Oven Work?

Can You Put a Metal Bowl in the Microwave
Microwave oven vibrates molecules inside the food. Image Source: Scientific American

Bowls that are made out of metals are really strong. This also means that they are almost impenetrable by heatwaves that move around when you cook food in your microwave.

Food is usually cooked in your microwave oven using radiation. One of the major features of the microwave oven is a magnetron.

The magnetron releases negative energy into your microwave oven. The electron moves through your microwave oven, clashing against the walls of the oven. This clash then releases microwaves that work to heat up your food.

Once the food is put into your microwave oven, the vibration and frequency of the electrons work to cook your food. Some types of food are especially easy to cook in the microwave oven.

Therefore, if you are cooking a meal with a metal bowl in your microwave, you should leave the lid off.

This is because heatwaves will not be able to penetrate through the sides of the bowl and can only go in from the top.

Also, due to the metallic nature of the bowl, the microwave oven wall reflects on the bowl making your cooking much longer and the heat in the microwave takes longer to cook your meals.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Metal Bowls in Your Microwave?

Metal bowls work differently compared to microwave-safe bowls

Since microwave ovens cook food by passing heat directly through the sides of the bowls you are using, it is quite difficult to use a metal bowl.

The thickness of metal-based containers makes it extremely difficult for heat to penetrate through the bowl.

If you try out this process, you will soon find out that using high temperatures in your oven while also using metal bowls has the most minimal effects on your food.

Therefore you have to cook your food much longer in order to get it to the desired temperature.

It Can Cause Damage to Your Oven Circuit

Also, the inability of heat to penetrate most metal bowls produces a mirror effect.

There’s nowhere for the heat to pass through, it, therefore, begins to mirror the sides of your microwave oven. This heat continues to build up over and over again and can eventually result in a damaged oven circuit

It Can Cause a Fire

If you can avoid using metal in your microwave oven, you totally should. When you use a metal that has sharp edges, the heat or electrons from the microwave can begin to build up.

If this continues for a long time and there happens to be something flammable close to your microwave oven, you might have a big fire on your hands.

This usually starts as a spark, and with a little encouragement, will eventually result in a fire that might be disastrous to your microwave oven and even possibly your whole kitchen.


This might seem a little far-fetched but burns can occur from using your metal bowls in your microwave oven. This is even more pronounced when you use metal bowls.

Usually, heat from the interior of the oven is directed into the food, but when you use a metal bowl, due to its inability to penetrate the bowl, the heat is left storing up in the oven’s interior.

Most oven-safe cookware doesn’t become hot to touch even after using it to cook in your microwave oven. But it is quite different for metal bowls. The reflection of the heat heats up the container.

Picking up the bowl directly from the oven can result in burns. Therefore take extra precautions whenever you want to use a metal bowl in your microwave oven

Can You Use Stainless Steel in Your Microwave Oven?

stainless steel microwave safe
There most certainly are microwave safe stainless steel bowls that you can buy.

Stainless steel is a type of metal. Most stainless steel dishes are manufactured with a coating that can sometimes prevent major hazards.

Using stainless steel in a microwave might not always result in an accident or spark. On the other hand, heating food using stainless steel in your microwave might still take some extra time.

Since it is just as strong as most metal containers, excess heat and temperatures are usually needed to get the food to the desired warmth.

Meanwhile, if you use a microwave-safe bowl, you might only require half of that temperature and time to prepare your food.

Also using metal containers or items with pointed edges, even materials made from stainless steel are very dangerous, the pointed edges cause the heat to bounce around the oven, resulting in sparks. These sparks could eventually result in a fire.


In this article, we discussed the topic can you put metal bowls in your microwave oven. As earlier discussed in this article, not all metal bowls are microwave oven safe.

Due to the uncertainty that comes with most metal bowls, it is recommended that you avoid using them in your microwave oven.

Accidents like burns and fire might be the end result. It can also cause damage to your microwave oven.

Fortunately, there are many other oven-safe containers that can be used as substitutes for metal bowls in the microwave oven.

Before you use a container in your oven. Always check for the microwave-safe sign. It will help you to avoid putting the wrong containers in your microwave oven.


1. What happens if you put a metal bowl in the microwave?

When you microwave stainless steel Bowls, they can cause arcing by interfering with the microwaves' trajectories. Arcing is similar to a micro-lightening bolt. If this occurs often, it can cause damage to the surfaces involved or even burn a hole through the microwave's wall.

2. Can I put an aluminum bowl in the microwave?

Yes, you can put an aluminum or metal bowl inside the microwave. However, you should be careful not to heat it up too much, as doing so could cause the aluminum to release toxins into your food.

3. What bowls are not microwave safe?

Materials Unsafe in the Microwave.

- Containers for cold storage (such as margarine tubs, cottage cheese, yogurt cartons).
- Brown paper bags, newspapers, and paper towels that have been recycled or printed.
- Stainless steel, such as pans and utensils.
- Insulated cups, bowls, plates, or trays made of foam.
- China painted or trimmed in metallic paint.

4. Can you reheat food in aluminum containers?

Yes, you can reheat food in an aluminum/metal container. However, you should avoid using aluminum foil to cover food while it is reheating, as this can create a metallic taste in the food.

5. Can we put steel in microwave?

Yes, you can put steel in a microwave. However, you should avoid putting any metal in a microwave, as it can create sparks that may cause a fire.

About the author

Cornelia Suehr

A professional chef and a passionate writer on all topics related to cooking, baking, appliances and kitchenware. Her posts resonate with foodies, home chefs and professionals.


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