Can styrofoam go into the oven? Absolutely not! Given the material that composes styrofoam, it is not only unhealthy but risky to put it in the oven.
Styrofoam is best for storing food in the fridge and a very safe option at that. The containers are airtight and in excellent sizes for food storage. Question is, Can You Put Styrofoam in the Oven? However, they start expanding at only water boiling point heat, so you can imagine if you tried to subject it to oven heat!
Table of Contents
- What is Styrofoam?
- What Is Styrofoam Used For?
- Baking in the Oven Instead of Styrofoam – What to Use?
- Microwave-Safe Styrofoam – What Is It?
- Microwave Safe vs. Oven Safe Styrofoam
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Bottom Line
What is Styrofoam?
Styrofoam could mean expanded polystyrene beads, or it could stem from a blend of polystyrene and other materials. It is used in adding cushioning features to furniture while bringing an elegant storage container and cups outlook.
Polystyrene melts very easily, and the containers are even uncomfortable to handle when they have hot food or drinks. This is why the containers are unsuitable for heating food, whether in the oven, the microwave, or the air fryer.
What Is Styrofoam Used For?
Styrofoam has several uses in which it is excellent and top preferred, among them being:
- Creation of food packaging containers and cups.
- Packaging containers for nuts and also used in packaging to provide cushioning for delicate products such as electronics.
- Creating amazing crafts such as cones and blocks.
- Insulating fridges, roofs, and walls against thermal impact.
Putting Styrofoam in the Oven – Is It Safe?
No, it is not safe putting Styrofoam in the oven. Styrofoam is essentially expanded polystyrene, which gets damaged under high heat levels. The oven’s slowest mode is 165 degrees Celsius, while Styrofoam is already expanding at 100 degrees celsius.
By the time the oven is at its food reheating temperatures of over 190 degrees celsius, the styrofoam will melt. Therefore, the heat will cause damage to the container, and on top of that, cause damage your food.
Besides, by removing the food from the oven, the container material will have emitted deadly chemicals into the food. Thus, the food from the Styrofoam container will be unsafe for consumption.
What Is the Purpose of Styrofoam Food Packaging?
Styrofoam is great for packaging food, especially in restaurants and fast-food hotels. It is inexpensive, hence cost-effective for the restaurants to give away food.
The containers are also used as beverage cups, trays as well as coolers. Once you get home, you also find it convenient for food and beverage storage in the fridge. In any case, styrofoam has insulating features, which keep the foodwell in the fridge.
Other than the cooked food, styrofoam packages nuts, and more especially peanuts. They have an appealing outlook when in the container, but styrofoam also adds to the nuts’ lifespan.
What Temperatures Can Styrofoam Withstand?
Unfortunately, styrofoam can only hold in less than 212 degrees F, which is way less than required for heating food. You can already feel how weak it becomes in hot food, so it is only best for cooler foodstuffs and drinks.
The best part of this is that it is great for freezing temperatures while it cannot withstand hot temperatures. You can therefore put ice in the freezer using the container or freeze other foods.
Putting Styrofoam in the Oven – What’s the Melting Point?
The melting point of styrofoam is 240 degrees celsius, otherwise translating to 464 degrees Fahrenheit. This is not even close to the low food heating heat that the oven runs in.
Therefore, this only means that the low melting point makes that material unsuitable for heating and storing hot food. While styrofoam has insulating features, the harm it does to hot food supersedes the benefits.
Can You Put Styrofoam In The Oven, What Happens?
When you put styrofoam in the oven, it will first expand as the heat increases. Then, at 240 degrees celsius, styrofoam starts to melt and disintegrate, giving way. It will emit harmful chemicals to the food and the air in general.
Baking in the Oven Instead of Styrofoam – What to Use?
Rather than risk using styrofoam containers, there are several options that you can consider. They are not only safe but also highly available. Chances are you have at least one of the containers. They include:
- Glass-ceramic pottery and utensils
- Stainless steel pots
- China utensils
Safe Materials for Reheating Food in the Oven
On top of the containers above, you can consider the following when reheating food in the oven:
- Ordinary glass, but only over short periods
- Fine bone material, but also suitable over short periods. Longer periods in the oven cause the materials to break
- Any other metal such as aluminum will withstand the oven heat
What If You Accidentally Burn Styrofoam?
Once in a while, you may find that you accidentally burnt styrofoam containers, especially if you had so many of them from stopover hotels and cafes. It is undeniable that the material releases extremely dangerous fumes to human health and the environment.
However, just a one-time accident may not cause you much harm, though it would be in your best interests to avoid reoccurrence.
What Happens When You Microwave Food in Styrofoam?
Unlike the oven, the microwave only causes the styrofoam containers to weaken. But is this any better? Absolutely not! Actually, it would be more dangerous than the oven because you assume that the food is fine simply because you did not see the damage.
Hence, it is best to avoid heating the food in styrofoam containers, whether in the oven or the microwave.
Microwave-Safe Styrofoam – What Is It?
Currently, styrofoam companies are coming up with microwave-safe styrofoam. Essentially, it can withstand the heat and waves in the microwave without releasing harmful chemicals.
However, it would be best to confirm that your styrofoam container is microwave-friendly before making risky assumptions.
Microwaving Food Safely
If you want to eat safe food that you have microwaved, follow the simple microwaving rules:
- Always allow cold food to heat completely, and ensure that the heating is well-distributed.
- Never heat food in weak plastic and Styrofoam containers
What Should You Use Styrofoam Containers For?
Use styrofoam containers to store cold food that is meant for the fridge or the freezer. The insulating feature will keep your food airtight and safe.
You can also use styrofoam containers to store nuts and cereals at home.
Microwave Safe vs. Oven Safe Styrofoam
While microwaves heat faster and are perfect for food reheating, they use different mechanisms from ovens. The oven heat is intense, which is why you will get microwave-friendly Styrofoam. On the contrary, Styrofoam is still unsuitable for the oven.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is it safe putting Styrofoam in the oven?
No, it is not. It will expand and, in most instances, melt under the hot oven temperatures, hence unsuitable.
- Is styrofoam good for storing food in the fridge?
Yes, it is. It is perfect, as it will not cause harm the food while it remains a cheap storage material.
- Which is the best material for heating food in the oven?
The best material for heating food in the oven is metal and ceramics, as they are neither affected by the heat nor unsafe.
- Which is better for food reheating; the oven or the microwave?
The oven is the best for reheating food, as it does not soften the food. You get the same taste as the original cooked food. However, the microwave is faster, hence sometimes considered over the oven.
- Is it okay to eat cold food?
Yes, it is. Though warm food is safer, consider treating yourself to a cold delicacy once in a while, as it will not do you harm.
Can styrofoam go into the oven? Don’t even dare, as this will not be safe for you and your food. Besides, you have a spectrum of safe options for use in the oven, so you have no reason to risk Styrofoam.