Paper plates are cheap and easy to use. They are widely available in most homes and hence you may be tempted to use it in a toaster oven. Since most paper plates are safe for use in microwave ovens, it is normal to wonder can you put a paper plate in a toaster oven.
Paper plates are made from paper which is a combustible material at high temperature and therefore should not be used in a toaster oven UNLESS they are specifically designed to be oven safe.
The heating process of a microwave and a toaster oven is quite different. A toaster oven heats up by firing up its heating element, this in turn circulates hot air round the oven, cooking your meal from all sides. Under extreme heat, a paper plate will likely catch fire.
In this article, we will discuss further about the dangers of using paper plates in your microwave oven and safer alternatives to this plate type.
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Can You Put a Paper Plate in a Toaster Oven?
The major feature of paper plates is that they are made from, well, paper. What happens to paper when exposed to extremely hot heat? It burns.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that you refrain from putting paper plates in your oven. Toaster ovens produce extreme heat that are not compatible with paper. Such heat can start a fire in your oven.
While these paper plates are not suitable for use in the toaster oven, it is mostly safe to use in microwave ovens especially paper plates without extra coatings on them.
This is because the heat from the microwave is directly targeted at the interior of the food. It does not affect the container that holds the food except in exceptional cases.
In really low temperatures, your paper plate is not likely to burst into flames.
Most paper plates ignite or burst into flames around 451° but you can never really know what temperature you will set your oven to that it will start getting dangerous.
This is because the toaster oven’s heating element is usually much hotter than the other parts of the oven.
Therefore, you should refrain from using it in your toaster oven as much as you can.
How to Check if a Plate is Toaster Oven Safe?
To know if a plate or container is toaster oven safe, there are a two things you should check for
Do the Manufacturers of the Toaster Oven Say it is Safe?
Most brands that manufacture kitchen appliances and machines expressly state in their manuals what items and containers that you can safely use in their ovens.
If it is not expressly stated in the manual or paper plates aren’t listed, then it probably isn’t safe to use them in your oven.
Do the Manufacturer of Such Plates Say it is Toaster Oven Safe?
Microwave oven safe is quite different from toaster oven safe. Before using a paper plate or some other container in your microwave oven, simply turn it over and check all the sides.
If the manufacturers designed it to be safe for toaster oven use, it will be expressly stated on the plate.
If either of this questions haven’t been properly answered you should refrain from using such containers or plates in your toaster oven.
Specialized Paper Plates
There are certain few types of paper plates, particularly made out of Kraft material, that are safe for oven use.
However, they are specifically labeled as such.
Reasons Why People Prefer Paper Plates in Oven
While the specialized paper plates for oven are a bit pricier than their normal counterparts, there are a few reasons why buyers prefer them.
Tends to Absorb Oil
Food items like beef, chicken, turkey or lamb have natural fats and oil present in them.
By using your paper plates to cook either of this meal, you can expect that paper plate will soak up any excess oils that seep out from those foods and get trapped in the paper plate.
You can also cook your meal without having to check your meal for excess oil often.
You can easily dispose of the paper plate after without having to stress yourself clean the grease or leftover food off
Unlike most of the other kitchen ware that are used to prepare food, paper plates are quite easy to use and can be disposed of immediately after use.
All you need do is pick and use and when you’re done with the plate, you can dispose. While if you were to use your oven pan or a toaster oven safe ware, you will have to take it out to wash.
It Can be A Cheaper Alternative to Most Bakeware
Though most people believe this, it isn’t necessarily true in all occasions. If you are someone that bakes often, the better option will be to buy a stable oven safe container that you can use for your cooking needs.
With each paper plate you dispose off, the cost of preparing your meal increases. Unlike if you have a stable container you use specifically for your cooking needs.
Usage of paper plate is greener particularly compared to plastic plates. Since they are easy to decompose, they are an easier source of litter to deal with.
An average plastic bag or a plate can take between 400-1000 years to decompose.
Dangers of Using Paper Plates in Oven
Exposure to a Metal
One of the major reasons why it is totally unsafe to use paper plate in your toaster oven is that they are sometimes manufactured with the addition of lead or metallic substances.
Exposing such plates to extreme heat conditions whether heat from a stop stove, a microwave, a convection or a toaster oven can cause such metallic substances to leech directly into your food. They are extremely dangerous and can cause major health hazards like cancer.
Therefore except you’re perfectly sure about the materials used to make the paper plates you want to use, refrain from using paper plates to cook in your toaster oven.
It Can Cause a Fire
As earlier mentioned, extreme hot temperatures will result in a fire in your toaster oven. It is estimated that at 450° Fahrenheit the paper plates become even more dangerous when left in the oven.
Paper plates can also catch fire at a lower temperature therefore you should avoid using them to reduce such risks
Also ensure that you keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen at all times to avoid possible damage.
They Are Sometimes Recycled With Plastic
Paper plates are sometimes recycled. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you use such plates in your oven except it is mixed with plastic.
Most manufacturers don’t expect that paper plates will be used in a toaster ovens and therefore may decide to mix with recycled plastic.
Plastics can be dangerous to the health. People who are constantly exposed to heated plastic face extreme health risks.
Using such paper plates to prepare foods like beef, chicken, cheese e.t.c makes it really easy for the plastic to leech and release dangerous chemicals into this foods.
In this article, we discussed whether can you put paper plate in toaster ovens or not.
Compared to microwave ovens, toaster ovens are hotter. With a different and more efficient heating element, also comes the risk of home hazards and accidents.
Therefore items like paper plates, cups and spoons should be kept far away from your oven. Even in the right temperature, they can contain many harmful substances that can cause damage to the body.
There are much healthier alternatives out there that you should consider for your cooking needs. They are safer health wise and because they are designed specifically for cooking in the toaster oven, they are most times more efficient.