Are Wooden Bowls Microwave Safe? Quick Facts and Tips

September 8, 2023
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Microwave Safe Solutions

Wooden bowls have a natural charm and warmth that make them a popular choice for serving meals and snacks. But when it comes to heating food, an important question arises: are wooden bowls microwave-safe? While you may love using these rustic kitchen items for their beauty and eco-friendliness, it's critical to understand how they react to microwaves.

Unfortunately, wooden bowls and microwaves don't mix well. Microwaving them poses risks, not only to the bowls but also to your safety. Let's explore why wooden bowls are not suitable for microwaving and the potential hazards involved.

Understanding Wooden Bowls

Natural Materials

Wooden bowls, such as your favorite bamboo bowl, are made from natural materials, which means they're eco-friendly and biodegradable. Unlike plastic or glass, wood comes from a renewable resource and doesn't contribute to pollution. Additionally, wooden bowls are durable and long-lasting, which makes them a practical option for serving and eating food.

Wood vs. Plastic

Comparing wooden bowls with plastic ones, we can see that there are some major differences. One of these is that wooden bowls won't release harmful chemicals into your food, whereas plastic bowls might leach chemicals at high temperatures. On the other hand, plastic bowls are generally lighter and easier to clean, which can be an advantage for some users.

One major downside of using wooden bowls is that they are not microwave-safe. Wooden bowls can burn, char, or even burst into flame when subjected to high heat from a microwave. Instead, it's best to stick with ceramic dishes or glass options that are specifically designed for microwave use. Therefore, it is not recommended to put wooden bowls in the microwave.

Wood vs. Glass

When it comes to glass bowls, we can find some similarities with wooden bowls, like their chemical-free nature. Also, glass bowls are both microwave-safe and heat-resistant, making them more versatile for use in the kitchen. However, wooden bowls usually offer better insulation, keeping your food warm or cold for an extended period without altering the temperature too much.

Durability-wise, glass bowls may break easily if dropped, whereas wooden bowls are more resistant to damage but prone to cracks or splintering with heavy use and improper care.

Here's a comparison between the three materials:





Eco-friendly, Durable

Not microwave safe, Prone to cracks


Lightweight, Easy to clean

May leach chemicals, Less eco-friendly


Microwave safe, Chemical-free

Breakable, Heavy

To sum up, wooden bowls have benefits such as being eco-friendly, durable, and insulating. But they come with their drawbacks, like not being microwave-safe. Glass and plastic offer different pros and cons, so it's important to consider your requirements before opting for a particular type of bowl.

Wood dishes, such as this cutting board, are not microwave safe

Are Wooden Bowls Microwave Safe?

Potential Risks

Microwaving wooden bowls is not safe. Many chefs and home cooks strongly advise against trying to heat wooden bowls in the microwave. There have been instances of burnt and charred bowls, and some even reported their bowls catching fire. Microwaving wooden bowls can also damage your microwave, making it a risky choice.

Considerations for Safety

To keep your wooden bowls in good shape, follow proper cleaning and wood care steps. Wooden bowls are as sanitary as your cleaning habits allow them to be. Make sure to clean them well and regularly. Replace any wooden bowl that shows signs of splintering or cracking, as this makes it unsafe for use.

Remember that wooden bowls, including ones from Ikea, are not microwave-safe. If you're using a wooden bowl, opt for alternatives like heating the food in a microwave-safe container and then transferring it to the wooden bowl. This will help you avoid safety hazards and prolong the life of your wooden bowls.

Care Instructions for Wooden Bowls

Proper Cleaning

To keep wooden bowls in good condition, it's essential to clean them properly. Avoid soaking them in water, as this can lead to warping and cracking. Instead, use a soft cloth or sponge with warm soapy water to gently clean the bowl. Rinse with clean water and pat dry immediately. For stubborn food smells, such as garlic, you can rub the bowl with salt and half a lemon.

Follow this easy home care instruction guide to keep your wooden kitchenware looking and performing its best!


Wooden bowls and any other woden item will require regular maintenance to prevent drying and cracking. Treat your bowl weekly with a food-safe mineral oil or a wood preserver. Apply a small amount to the bowl's inside and out with a soft cloth, allowing it to soak in for at least 30 minutes before wiping away excess oil. Adjust the frequency of oil treatments based on how often you use the bowl and the climate in which you live. This will help keep your wooden bowls in great condition.


Although wooden bowls are durable, they should not be used in microwaves. Microwaving wood can damage the bowl and even cause a fire. Instead of a wood bowl, opt for a microwave safe container such as a ceramic dish or glass dish when using a microwave. To prolong the life of your wooden bowl, avoid using harsh chemicals and don't leave it soaked in water. By following these care instructions, your wooden bowl should last for many years.

Use a microwave safe alternative to wood, such as ceramic dishes instead

Alternatives to Microwaving Wooden Bowls

Wooden bowls are not safe to use in a microwave, as they can be damaged and potentially cause a fire. Here are some oven and stovetop methods to consider as alternatives for heating your meals:

Oven Methods

Using the oven can be a great way to heat up food that's in a wooden bowl without causing any damage to the bowl. Here's a simple method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Transfer the food from the wooden bowl into an oven-safe dish, such as a glass or ceramic dish.
  3. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, which will help trap moisture and heat the food evenly.
  4. Place the dish in the preheated oven and set a timer for the required heating time.

Keep in mind that the time needed to heat food in the oven may vary depending on the type of dish and the amount of food being heated.

Stovetop Methods

Stovetop heating is another effective option for food in wooden bowls. Follow these steps:

  1. Select an appropriate stovetop-safe pot or pan that can hold the food in the wooden bowl.
  2. Heat the pot or pan on a burner over low to medium heat.
  3. Carefully transfer the food into the pot or pan, being sure not to overcrowd it.
  4. Stir the hot food occasionally to ensure even heating and prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot or pan.

Remember to use oven mitts or a heat-resistant spatula when handling hot cookware to protect your hands from burns.


Wooden bowls are popular for their natural beauty and functionality. However, when it comes to microwaving, wooden dishes are not safe. For those who might be curious about the reasons, wood is not a suitable material for microwaving due to its nature. Wooden dishes, including a wooden utensil such as a wooden spoon, can easily absorb moisture, making it prone to cracks and warping. Microwaving wood can cause it to dry out and become brittle.

When it comes to cooking, always prioritize safety. While wooden bowls may look great on your table, it's important to use the right utensils for the job. Keep your wooden bowls safe by handwashing them and drying them properly, and leave the microwaving to microwave-safe containers. This way, you'll keep your kitchen and home safe while enjoying the beauty of wooden bowls for a long time.

Frank Salvatore

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!

About Me
Frank Salvatore
I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!
Learn More About Me
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