Can You Microwave Styrofoam?

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You got a takeaway and its all packaged in Styrofoam, and you are wondering, can you microwave Styrofoam? Well today, we will be answering your top takeout question and showing you how to safely microwave your leftovers.

Note that microwave Styrofoam is part of our 28 days dedicated to the microwave and showing you how to cook fast and efficiently without waste with your microwave.

can you microwave styrofoam
Can You Microwave Styrofoam

Microwave Styrofoam

If you have been following our 28 day microwave theme, then you will have noticed that yesterday we showed you how to reheat fries in the microwave.

We reheated half a portion of leftover fries, or as us Brits call them cheesy chips.

We had ½ a portion left out of 2 portions and I love to reheat the takeaway food in the microwave or in the air fryer and make use of everything we bought.

As you can gather, I am very anti food waste.

But what you probably also wondered, is why did I transfer a delicious portion of cheesy chips from the packaging that my takeaway came in and onto a plate.

After all, am I not creating extra washing up for myself?

The reason for this, is that I do not recommend that you reheat Styrofoam and instead transfer your leftovers to a plate.

Can You Put Styrofoam In The Microwave?

No, you can’t. It is NOT recommended that you put Styrofoam in the microwave. From a safety point of view, you should not microwave Styrofoam and instead find an alternative.

I worked in takeaways when I was in my late teens and it always shocked me the stories people came back with, of what went wrong when they attempted to reheat their takeaway in Styrofoam containers at home.

Can You Put Polystyrene In The Microwave?

No, you can’t. Styrofoam is from the polystyrene family and neither of them can be microwaved. Styrofoam is the more common commercial version of polystyrene and are used for packaging your food, not for reheating and cooking it in.

Is It Safe To Microwave Styrofoam?

95% of the time, it is NOT safe to put Styrofoam in the microwave. This is because nearly all Styrofoam is NOT microwave safe.

They must carry the microwave safe label and they cost more money for takeaways to purchase. Therefore, they are not going to spend extra money on microwave safe ones for you, just because you want to reheat your leftovers.

I have had Styrofoam from many different takeaways and not found a single one with the microwave safe logo.

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What Happens If You Microwave Styrofoam?

During everyday reheating, everything appears normal. You might use the microwave for 2 minutes to reheat your doner kebab. But what is happening that the eye can not see, is that the Styrofoam materials start to break down and then you can eventually see it melting.

As the material breaks down that material goes onto your food and can make you very ill.

Does Styrofoam Melt In The Microwave?

Yes, it can melt if it is microwaved. But this depends on how long you microwave Styrofoam for.

For example, I would expect to see Styrofoam melting in the microwave after 2-3 minutes.

Can You Microwave Styrofoam Cups?

The same rule applies to any Styrofoam. Whether this is microwave Styrofoam cups or microwave Styrofoam bowls, it is not microwave safe.

You are much safer, to remove your leftovers from the Styrofoam and then load them into your favourite microwave safe plate, dish etc and microwave it from there instead.

How To Reheat WITHOUT Styrofoam?

I often reheat leftovers in the microwave on a side plate. After all, my leftovers are never a full dinner portion.

I do the same with reheating fries in the microwave and reheating pizza in the microwave.

Firstly, these are my leftover cheesy chips:

leftover cheesy chips

And then I transfer them to a side plate and add any extras to them such as extra cheese:

is styrofoam microwavable

Then I microwave them, and it is so easy to do so and then I can load the empty Styrofoam containers into my recycling.

And now you know your answer to the question of can Styrofoam go in the microwave? And I hope you will make the right choice and avoid microwaving Styrofoam.

Just remember takeaways are always buying the cheapest packaging possible and it’s meant for transporting of your food, not for reheating from.

Can You Microwave Styrofoam

More Kitchen Gadget FAQ

Here are a few other questions I also get asked:


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Recipe This

Hi! I am Sam and along with my chef hubby Dom we love sharing with you easy everyday recipes using kitchen gadgets. We are also the authors of The Complete Air Fryer Cookbook, an amazing air fryer cookbook filled with 140+ everyday air fryer recipes. Beyond the air fryer we also love the instant pot, slow cooker, soup maker, ninja foodi, pie marker and several other kitchen gadgets. CLICKING HERE →

1 thought on “Can You Microwave Styrofoam?”

  1. A really interesting episode. I know my son and daughters have both stuck it in the microwave after a night out and just didn’t know if it was ok to do it, thanks for teaching me and them something new.


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