Warming up leftovers should be a fairly straightforward process. Pop the container in the microwave and voilà. But since certain materials (looking at you, plastic) have gotten a bad rap in recent years for possibly leaching chemicals into food when heated, it's hard to know what's safe and what's not. The best microwave-safe dishes all have the telltale squiggly lines symbol on the bottom, indicating they've been tested and approved for microwave use. But is that enough? Here's what you need to know.
First things first, let's talk materials. Dishes made from glass, ceramic, plastic, even Styrofoam, can safely be used in the microwave, as long as they've earned the all-important microwave-safe label from the FDA. However, if you're scratching your head trying to figure out how plastic containers can have that label when some scientists have gone on record warning against their use, well, you're not alone. That's where things get tricky, because, to the FDA, it's a not a matter of "does it" or "does it not" leach chemicals, but rather whether it's happening at an acceptably small enough level for humans.
In order to get a microwave-safe label, scientists measure the amount of chemicals leached into to food, and the maximum allowable amount is indeed infinitesimally small: "100-1,000 times less per pound of body weight than the amount shown to harm laboratory animals over a lifetime of use," according to the same Harvard Health article.
So, with that in mind, many people will opt to keep using plastic. It's lightweight and unbreakable, not to mention budget-friendly. However, if you want to play it extra, extra safe, your best bet is to use dishes made from glass or ceramic, like stoneware or porcelain. Once you decide where you preferences lie, it's time to find the dish of your dreams.
Below you'll find everything from complete dinnerware sets, to plates, to a singular lidded Tupperware container available in a variety of sizes — all have the critical microwave-safe symbol and tons of positive Amazon reviews.
1. Best Microwave-Safe Dinnerware Set Overall
If you're looking for a nearly indestructible, lightweight dinnerware set, this 18-piece set from Corelle can't be beat, especially for everyday use. Not only are the pieces microwave-safe, but they're also safe to use in the dishwasher and oven. Made with triple-layer strong glass, the entire set is break and chip-resistant, and even comes with a 3-year replacement warranty should a dish get damaged. Plus, they're thin and stackable, so they're perfect if you have limited cabinet space.
The set includes six: 10.25-inch dinner plates, 6.75-inch bread plates, and 18-ounce soup/cereal bowls.
What fans are saying: "...They are practical, durable, pretty and best of all LIGHT weight! They stack beautifully, they wash extremely well, both in the dishwasher and by hand and are just a delight to use. I have had my share of fancier dishware, I will stick to these. Hubby loves them too. We got the winter frost white and we love how simple and clean they look and how they show the beauty of the food itself. We are foodies so presenting well is a huge plus. Don't hesitate, get these!"
2. Best Microwave-Safe Stoneware Set
Unbreakable these are not, but beautiful — absolutely. This 16-piece stoneware set from Gibson is an elegant option for everyday use and special occasions. The traditional finishing techniques ensure that every piece has its own unique color and texture. The dishes are made from a durable, thick ceramic material that is both dishwasher and microwave-safe, though the plates do get slightly hot to the touch if you're heating for longer than a few minutes. Reviewers noted that the bowls are nice and deep, making them perfect for soups and cereals.
The set includes four sets of: 10.5-inch square dinner plates, 9-inch square dessert plates, 6.25-inch bowls, and 12-ounce mugs.
What fans are saying: "Strong, beautiful dishes. I love the blue/black combo. They are heavy and modern. They have a very high quality feel to them. I only wish they came with glasses as well."
3. Best Microwave-Safe Plates
Whether you're a college student on a budget or a foodie looking for a clean aesthetic for plating, this 6-piece set from AmazonBasics is, in a word, perfection. Made from durable, BPA-free porcelain, the plates are lightweight and safe for use in the microwave, oven, freezer, and dishwasher. Featuring a contemporary white finish, and measuring 10.5-inches, these plates are good-sized, but easily stackable for streamlined storage.
What fans are saying: "... I'm in love with this stuff. First, food looks GREAT on it (that matters--remember?) Second, it's in that sweet spot between being sturdy and light (no judgements, but some of our Williams-Sonoma stuff is just a bit clunky). Meanwhile the price: INSANE. Highly rated."
4. Best Microwave-Safe Containers With Lids
If you're shopping for microwave-safe containers with lids, this 18-piece set from Glasslock is a smart choice. The glass containers and BPA-free lids are oven and freezer-safe, microwavable, airtight and leak-proof, not to mention odor-free and stain-proof.
The set includes nine containers, in an assortment of sizes to accommodate every kind of leftover, and nine easy latching lids.
What fans are saying: "... Yes, they cost more than the plastic ones, but it is SO completely worth it. The lids are extremely snug.... Never coming loose whether upside down or tossed around in a bag full of other items. The glass is still sparkling clean after months of use, and I don't worry about plastic or chemicals melting into our food when I put one in the microwave. They are very thick, and after dropping them more than once, they haven't chipped, cracked, or shattered. Planning to get a second set, and we have already tossed all of our old, mismatched, warped, and discolored plastic containers into our recycle bin without shedding a tear."
5. Best Microwave-Safe Plastic Tupperware
For those who want a single plastic container for mess-free transport or convenient storage, then look no further. This 3.2-cup Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Container is safe for use in the microwave, dishwasher, and freezer, and has built-in vents under the latches to allow steam to escape, so you can microwave with the lid on and avoid splatters. The container is made from stain, odor, and warp-resistant plastic, and should anything happen to the container, Rubbermaid Brilliance products are backed by a full lifetime warranty.
What fans are saying: "These are the best food storage containers I have ever used, and I've been through most of them! They don't leak, are super easy to clean, have a shape that lends itself to stacking in the fridge for more efficient use of space, they don't stain... If I were Mary Poppins, they would be Supercalifragilistiexpialidocious!!!"
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