Can You Microwave Aluminum Takeout Containers?

You already know that you should avoid putting metals in a microwave. It’s safe since most metals react to microwaves. You can microwave aluminum takeout containers. But you need to follow some safety tips to avoid fire accidents.

You should avoid eating aluminum takeout containers every day. However, you can toss it in the microwave. They preserve food taste and don’t leach harmful chemicals.

Aluminum foil is 92%-99% aluminum. Manufacturers extract the foil from bauxite ore through smelting and refining; it’s also recyclable.

Here you will learn the tips to microwave aluminum takeout containers. Also, we’ll tell you the dangers you expose yourself to when microwaving aluminum tins.

Uses of Aluminum Takeout Containers

Many restaurants use aluminum takeout containers to pack takeaway foods. They are affordable and disposable. Also, they preserve the quality of the food without adding a metallic taste to the food.

Aluminum is an excellent waterproof material. No soup will spill from a takeout container made of aluminum. Also, you can microwave the food in the container if you don’t want to wash dishes.

The containers are lightweight and recyclable. Thus, they are cheap compared to other types of containers. You can use them to carry food, refrigerate it, and reheat it.

You enjoy several advantages when using aluminum foil. They conduct heat well; thus, you can use them in traditional ovens and microwave pens but with caution. It’s a sustainable way of buying takeout foods since you can reduce them entirely. You can also design the shape into several shapes. Thus, you can wrap any food and carry it around without worry.

What Happens When You Microwave Aluminum Takeout Containers?

Now you know that you can microwave aluminum takeout containers. But do you know what happens when you do so? Nothing negative will happen to your food or the container.

Ensure you place the aluminum takeout container on a microwave-safe plate. Then close the microwave and switch it on. The magnetron will produce microwaves that will cause vibrations in water particles within your food. The particles will generate heat from within and transfer the heat throughout the food.

Aluminum foils have gone through a technological transformation over the years. Nowadays, they are safe to microwave with minimal cases of sparking and arcing. However, you should avoid microwaving takeout containers with visible sharp corners.

Avoid microwaving one takeout container more than once. Constant exposure to microwaves will trigger a reaction with the metal. Aluminum will darken, leaching some metal ions into the food. You shouldn’t consume that food to avoid mental poisoning when that happens.

You can avoid these accidents by using microwave-safe dishes to warm your food. They are affordable and available in grocery stores and other stores near you. The dishes don’t leach toxins into your food, and you can use them for a long time.

Is it safe to Use Aluminum Takeout Containers in a Microwave?

Yes, it’s safe to use aluminum takeout containers in the microwave. However, there are some untruths and misinformation about using aluminum takeout containers to microwave food.

Experts say it’s safe to microwave empty aluminum containers. However, exposing aluminum to extreme heat for a long time may leach chemicals into your food. Therefore, only heat small quantities of food in an aluminum tin for less than three minutes. Also, you shouldn’t use one container to heat food several times.

If you must use aluminum takeout containers, avoid high heat for a long time. Also, do not heat foods with fats and oils. The oils overheat in a microwave to reach a flashpoint. Then, it produces smoke that resembles flammable vapor. Also, it would help if you didn’t use aluminum containers to eat frozen or cool steaming foods.

Ensure your aluminum tin is not filled with soup when tossing it into the microwave. The soup will spill and may trigger fire accidents. Also, the conductive nature of aluminum may cause the heat to distribute to food unevenly. Foods in contact with the container heat up extremely, leaving the food in the middle cold. Thus, harmful bacteria that may be present in foods will remain untouched; this may lead to food poisoning.

How to Microwave Aluminum Takeout Containers

Some brands make microwave-safe aluminum takeout containers. Check the marking before using it in the microwave. When the mark is missing, you can do a simple experiment before microwaving your food in the container.

You will need a few items to experiment with:

  1. You’ll need a normal thermometer or an infrared thermometer.
  2. You should have two aluminum containers; one should be empty, while the other should have leftover food.
  3. You’ll need a microwave.

Take the container with leftovers and place it in the microwave. Close and let it run for 30 seconds. Check the temperature of the container and note it down. Close the microwave again and heat the food again for about 3 minutes. Recheck the temperatures. This time, you’ll notice a difference in the temperature readings. However, the difference should be slight. Check the condition of your food; it should be okay.

Repeat the process using the empty container. You can then try smashing the container into a solid shape or ball. You may experience mild sparking that can’t damage your microwave.

Don’t attempt this experiment with a thin aluminum foil. It may produce serious sparks leading to severe burns or microwave fire.

Can Aluminum Affect Microwaves?

Maybe you are worrying that your microwave will break once you heat aluminum in it. That’s a myth peddled around due to fear. Aluminum doesn’t affect microwaves in any way. Infact, microwaves produce electromagnetic waves with a high frequency. Thus, they pass through several materials, including aluminum.

Microwave ovens have a magnetron that generates microwaves by turning them on and off several thousand times per second. Therefore, the microwaves go on and off, severally penetrating foods to vibrate water molecules within the food. The vibrating water molecules produce heat that spreads throughout the food. Other metals block microwaves from passing. Thus, they prevent food from heating up. Also, the ions within a metal like steel can react with microwaves creating sparks.

Aluminum Safer Alternatives

Using aluminum takeout containers in a microwave is safe as long as you are not using them daily. Also, some people fear that the chemicals could leach from the plastic interior. However, there’s no scientific evidence to support the same. The only danger you may face is that the foil cover may become sharp and injure you. Also, you may suffer burns if you touch the foil with bare hands after microwaving your food.

You’ll notice a weird smell or discoloration when you use an aluminum container and accidentally overheat the food. If that happens, throw away the food to avoid consuming poison.

If you are still paranoid about using aluminum takeout containers in a microwave, you should use the safer alternatives. Once you get home with your food, transfer it into porcelain, glass, or ceramic containers. You can also try microwave-safe plastics.


Things to Note Before You Microwave Aluminum Takeout Containers

  • Remove the aluminum lid on the container before reheating your food.
  • If your microwave’s turntable is metallic, place a ceramic or glass plate before placing your aluminum container on it. It’s dangerous when two metals come into contact with a microwave.
  • Ensure that aluminum is at the center of the turntable. It shouldn’t touch the sides when you switch on the microwave.
  • Place one aluminum container in a microwave at a time.
  • Shallow aluminum is better when reheating food.
  • Never use paper or cardboard beneath an aluminum tray in a microwave.
  • Don’t microwave aluminum for long.
  •  Your food should cover the bottom of an aluminum container.
  • Don’t reheat food with soup in an aluminum container. Any accidental leakage may lead to a fire.
  • Turn off the microwave immediately when you see some sparking. That may damage the microwave or cause a fire if you ignore them.


Some scientists from Freising, Germany, researched to check the effects of microwaves on an aluminum container. They found it safe to microwave aluminum takeout containers. However, it would help if you had precautions to avoid burns and injuries. Also, it would help if you moderated the time to prevent overheating the container, which leaches toxins into your food.

There are no reports of acute effects after using aluminum pans to heat or consume foods. Thus, it shouldn’t cause a health concern. What’s important is to avoid high heat for a long time.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.