Can You Microwave Chinese Food Containers? + Other Common FAQs

When you are hungry, nothing is more convenient than ordering takeout from a Chinese restaurant. After all, Chinese food is affordable, accessible, and delicious.

However, when your takeout is cold or warm when it arrives, you might wonder whether you can microwave Chinese food containers. I looked into it, and here is what I found!

Can You Microwave Chinese Food Containers?

Chinese takeout containers typically come in two forms, namely the Oyster paper pails and the styrofoam containers. Oyster paper pails can be microwaved as long as you take out the metal clamps. Meanwhile, the styrofoam containers cannot be microwaved because styrofoam will melt when heated. To be safe, ask the establishment whether the food containers they use are microwave-safe.

In case you are curious to learn more about microwaving Chinese food containers and if you can microwave other types of food containers, keep reading!

Can You Microwave Plastic Chinese Food Containers?

Whether you can microwave plastic Chinese food containers depends if the plastic Chinese food containers have a microwave-safe label.

Additionally, you can check the plastic Chinese food container’s recycling number. If the number is two or five, the plastic Chinese food container can be microwaved.

Can You Microwave Paper Chinese Food Containers?

Paper Chinese food containers, also known as Oyster pails, are normally microwave-safe. To be sure, always confirm with the establishment you are buying from.

Additionally, you should never microwave a paper Chinese food container with the metal clamps on, because metals can cause sparks in the microwave. Consequently, the paper Chinese food container might catch on fire and create several hazards for your home.

Can You Microwave Chinese Takeout Box?

There are slight nuances to Chinese takeout boxes because some can be coated in wax and others in plastic. However, both types of takeout boxes are usually microwave-safe.

Nevertheless, you should not expose Chinese takeout boxes to high heat for prolonged periods. Additionally, you must monitor the Chinese takeout boxes while microwaved.

In case you are unsure about the quality of the Chinese takeout box you got, transfer the food to a microwave-safe ceramic or glass dish before microwaving.

Can You Microwave Takeout Containers?

You can microwave takeout containers as long as the takeout containers are made of number two or five plastic or have a microwave-safe label.

Otherwise, refrain from heating single-use containers like takeout containers because the chances are high that the takeout containers will melt and contaminate your food.

Can You Microwave Aluminum Takeout Containers?

Aluminum takeout containers can be safely microwaved. However, doing so comes with hazards. Therefore, microwaving aluminum takeout containers is not recommended.

Unlike other microwave-safe containers, aluminum takeout containers do get hot in the microwave. As such, you should always use mitts to prevent burns.

Additionally, you should not expect aluminum foil, which is what the aluminum takeout containers are made of, to cause sparks due to recent improvements made to the foil.

Can You Microwave Styrofoam Takeout Containers?

Can You Microwave Styrofoam Takeout Containers?

Styrofoam takeout containers should never be microwaved. At 212°F, the styrofoam containers will soften, and at 464°F, the styrofoam will begin to melt.

Fortunately, styrofoam containers are great at keeping food warm so that you do not have to microwave the food when you get home.

Can You Microwave Paper Takeout Containers?

You can only microwave paper takeout containers that are marked as microwave-safe. Otherwise, you run the risk of contaminating your food and starting a fire.

Additionally, there are paper takeout containers that are glued to stay together, and the adhesives can easily melt in the microwave. Nevertheless, there are paper takeout containers that are microwave-safe, you simply have to confirm with the establishment or the manufacturer.

Can You Microwave Metal Takeout Containers?

Apart from aluminum takeout containers, other types of metal containers or metal accessories and embellishments on the container are not microwave-safe.

Generally, this is because metals do not absorb microwave heat, which can result in sparks forming or the microwave malfunctioning.

Can You Microwave Cardboard Food Containers?

As long as the cardboard food container is marked as microwave-safe, you should not have any worries about microwaving food in cardboard food containers.

However, if in doubt or the cardboard food container is damaged, do not microwave. Apart from catching fire, the cardboard food container might have plastic linings that can melt.

Can You Microwave Polystyrene Food Containers?

If the polystyrene food container is marked as microwave-safe, you can use the polystyrene food container in the microwave worry-free.

Nevertheless, it is not recommended that you use polystyrene food containers in the microwave repeatedly and when the polystyrene food containers are damaged.

Can You Microwave Fast Food Containers?

Whether you can microwave fast food containers depends on the containers the fast-food restaurant uses. Often, fast food containers are made of plastic, paper, and styrofoam.

Additionally, most plastic and paper fast food containers can either be microwaved only once or not at all. Meanwhile, styrofoam fast-food containers must never be microwaved.

Sometimes, the fast-food container you receive does not have any microwave-safe label or recycling number. You should ask the restaurant whether the fast-food container is microwave-safe.

How Do You Know If A Container Is Microwave-Safe?

To know whether a container is microwave-safe, check the container for any marking that indicates the container is microwave-safe.

Sometimes, microwave-safe markings come in the form of an image, and other times the word ‘microwave-safe’ is indicated at the bottom or on the lid of the container.

How Do You Microwave Plastic Containers?

Instructions for microwaving plastic containers differ based on the manufacturer. Generally, you can microwave plastic containers without wetting the containers because microwave-safe plastic containers are heat-resistant.

Unless the manufacturer advises otherwise, the plastic containers can be safe to microwave on high heat for short periods.

Check out our other articles to learn if you can microwave compostable containers, if you can microwave vacuum-sealed bags, and if you can microwave vinegar.


Chinese food containers are normally microwave-safe. However, it is better to be sure by confirming with the restaurant or inspecting the container.

Similarly, other types of containers like plastic, paper, and aluminum are often microwave-safe but are not designed for regular use.

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