Whether you’re cooking a meal for one or hosting a dinner party, convection ovens can be an incredibly useful appliance. You may be wondering – is it safe to put a paper plate in a convection oven? Using them incorrectly can be hazardous as well as make your food unsafe to eat. In this blog post, we’ll explore the safety of putting paper plates in a convection oven and offer some alternatives.
Can You Put A Paper Plate In A Convection Oven
No, it’s not safe to put a paper plate in a convection oven. Paper plates are combustible between 424 and 475 degrees Fahrenheit (218 and 246 degrees celsius).
Before putting any type of plate in the convection oven, ensure it has an oven-safe label on the bottom. If you put a paper plate in the convection oven, you risk it catching fire, or the heat to release chemicals from the plate to leak in your food.
What Temperature Do Paper Plates Burn?
As mentioned above, paper plates will start burning between 424-475℉ (218-246°C). That said, there are several different types of paper plates on the market, and each is made with different materials. Another factor affecting the combustion time will be the age of the plate.
Therefore, it’s hard to determine what temperature a paper plate will combust. That said, many convection ovens can get as hot as ovens. The high-temperature setting on my Instant Omni Plus Convection Toaster Oven is 450℉.
The main ingredient in most paper plates is wood pulp. Others are made from sugar cane fibers or vegetable materials.
This is what makes these plates resistant to oils, and environmentally friendly making them great for almost any type of food. That said, it’s also what them weaker and more vulnerable to heat and moisture.
How to Check If A Plate Is Safe To Use In A Convection Oven?
The first thing we need to do when checking on whether or not our plate is suitable for cooking in a convection oven is to determine which type of material it’s made from.
It’s important because each type of material has different properties that affect how quickly or slowly they’ll cook and combust in an open flame environment or high temperatures in an oven. For example, sugar cane fiber paper plates will be more prone to burning because they’re not as resistant to oils.
Since it’s impossible for us to know the material of each paper plate, there are a few ways we can determine if our plates are safe enough for use in this type of oven.
First: We should check the manufacturer’s instructions on how long paper products should cook in a convection oven.
Second: We should verify that the plate is in fact paper and not some type of plastic-coated one, which requires different cooking times due to their chemical composition. In this case, it would be best if we checked with the manufacturer on what temperature they suggest for use or follow instructions given by your owner’s manual.
Third: We should look at the label on our plate and see what material it’s made from. If it’s safe to use in the oven, you’ll see the “Oven-Safe symbol underneath.
Fourth: If you’re still unsure, we can always check with a professional to get their opinion. Or if you prefer to play it safe, use a dish you know is safe to use in a convection oven.
Why People Use Paper Plates In A Convection Oven
You might be wondering, why do people prefer using paper plates in the oven, when there’s a risk of catching fire? Well, there are several reasons people prefer them and here are some of them.
Tends to Absorb Oil
We’ve all seen our mothers and grandmothers cook fried chicken only to use paper towels to soak up the excess grease. Paper plates are made with materials that are resistant to oils, making them useful for greasy foods such as chicken, turkey, beef, and other foods with natural fats and oil.
The paper plates soak up any excess oil and trap it in the plate. Meaning, all you have to worry about is cooking the food without removing the excess oil. This is what makes them great for reheating leftovers!
Ask anyone who cooks and they will tell you they hate the clean-up process. Paper plates clean up easier, just dispose of the plate when you’re done.
No more spending hours in the kitchen washing dishes or loading the dishwasher.
Paper plates are more environmentally friendly than plastic cookware. Making them the obvious choice for people who are concerned with protecting and preserving the natural environment.
Cheaper Than Most Cookware
If you’ve ever shopped for cookware, you’ve probably noticed the shocking price ranges for pots and pans. A good set of cookware can easily range from $400 – $1,000 or more depending on the brand you get.
A 165 count package of white Chinet plates will cost you about $22. This is a big difference in price and it’s one of the main reasons people prefer to use paper plates instead of investing in a good set of cookware.
That said, you don’t have to invest in a whole set of cookware. If you’re on a budget, invest in a good convection oven plate to reheat your leftovers.
How to Use A Paper Plate In A Convection Oven
The biggest risk is catching the plate on fire. Even though convection ovens differ from a regular oven because it uses a fan to radiate heat to cook the food. You’re still at risk of the plate catching fire, especially, if it comes into contact with the top or bottom heating elements.
For example, one day I was cooking brownies in my convection oven and I lined the paper with parchment paper. Before I knew it a piece of the parchment paper had touched the top heating element and it started to smoke.
If a fire does start, you run the risk of major damage, especially, if there are flammable liquids nearby such as cleaning supplies, cooking oil, and etc.
I know that some people will still use a paper plate the next time they heat something up in their convection oven. It’s just easier and why would you want to dirty a plate when it’s only going to take a few minutes to heat up your food?
If this sounds like you, then make sure you do the following.
Monitor The Process
Keep a close eye on your food. Most convection ovens have a window making it easy to watch the food while it cooks. If you notice any unusual smoke, immediately turn off and unplug the appliance.
Keep the door closed, to prevent any serious bodily burns.
Have a Fire Extinguisher Nearby
Ensure you have a fire extinguisher nearby in case you need it. If the fire doesn’t go out, leave the house and call 911.
Keep The Counter Clean
Keep the counter where the convection oven sits free and clear of combustibles such as; cleaning supplies, rags, cooking oils, towels, or etc.
Avoid Paper Plates With Print
Paper plates with print have been known to leak harmful chemicals into the food when it becomes too hot. Also, avoid using styrofoam, cardboard, or plastic plates, as they are composed of combustible materials and can easily catch fire or melt.
What Kind of Plate Can I Use In A Convection Oven?
The only plates to use in a convection oven, are the ones that are labeled as oven-safe. These usually consist of glass, ceramic, metal, and cast iron plates.
If you’re unsure of what type of use, always consult with the owner’s manual that comes with the appliance.
Anyone who has used a convection oven before knows that paper plates are not safe to use for cooking or heating up leftovers. Paper plates have been known to catch fire, and if you’re lucky the worst thing that will happen is your kitchen catches on fire with it.
If this sounds like something you want to risk then make sure there’s nothing flammable nearby such as cleaning supplies or cooking oil because these items can easily cause an explosion when they come into contact with a hot surface.
Tyler Lacoma, Process of Manufacturing Paper Plates, BizFluent.com September 26, 2017
Cooking Safety, Tufts Department of Public Safety, PublicSafety.tufts.edu