Can You Microwave Food in Cardboard Containers? Find Answers Here

If you frequent takeout pizza stores and Chinese restaurants, you have handled cardboard containers of different sizes and materials. I believe you have also wondered if you can microwave the food leftovers in the cardboard boxes.

Yes, you can. You can reheat food leftovers in the cardboard boxes they came in. However, there are a few cautions you should be mindful of. Cardboard to-go boxes are not your kitchen plates and bowls. So, some of them are exposed to damage from microwaves.

Ahead, Cheffist will take you through some questions you may have about microwaving food in cardboard containers. Continue reading to see more information.

What Are Cardboards?

Cardboards are corrugated boards made from paper. Cardboards of different shapes are sizes are used to package food, drinks, and milk. They are more common with pizza stores for delivery, packaging juices and milk, and Chinese foods.

Furthermore, cardboards that serve food packaging purposes are usually made to be heat-resistant, durable for stacking and retain the warmth of the food in it.

Can You Microwave Cardboard?

Yes, you can microwave cardboard boxes with food in them. It may sound counterintuitive because papers are flammable, but the microwaving process doesn’t set every paper aflame. The microwaves use small vibrations to heat your food.

Moreover, cardboard boxes do not contain high amounts of water. So, they do not get warm before the food in them. Also, the cardboard absorbs the steam released during reheating.

However, you cannot safely microwave all cardboards. This is because some of them are made with materials like plastic, glue, metal, and wax. These materials mat melt and leach into your food while heating. Consequently, it’ll contaminate your food and may damage the microwave.

SEE: Can You Put Aluminum Foil in the Microwave?

Can You Microwave Cardboard Takeout Boxes?

Yes, you can. You can safely microwave leftover or cold food in the takeout box it came in. As I said earlier, the boxes do not warm up faster than your food, making them microwave-safe.

However, you should double-check and be sure that the box doesn’t contain any elements of plastic, metal, or wax.

Can You Microwave Cardboard Pizza Box?

Yes, you can. Most pizza boxes are designed to reheat pizza in the microwave. They can resist up to 176F (80°C). Some of these boxes, on the other hand, have an inner coating of aluminum, wax, or plastic. These coatings make them unsafe for microwave use.

They may leach under very high temperatures and contaminate your food.

SEE: Can You Microwave Paper Plates?

Can You Microwave Food in Cardboard Bowls?

Yes, you can safely reheat your meals in a cardboard bowl, as long as you are sure it is microwave-safe. Cardboards have a lie moisture content and are porous. It prevents them from getting as hot as normal ceramic plates and bowls.

In addition, it prevents the cardboard plates from overheating and catching fire in the microwave. Most importantly, you should check the label of the plate for the microwave-safe sign before you use it to reheat your food.

Can You Microwave Cardboard Cups?

Although it is not advisable, you may safely reheat drinks in cardboard cups if they are microwave-safe. Microwaving cardboard cups is not advisable because these cups have a plastic or wax lining on their inside. The microwaves can make these materials melt and leach into the drink.

Moreover, the cup could crumble in the microwave in the process.

SEE: Can You Microwave Mason Jars?

How Long Should You Microwave Cardboard?

The longest you should microwave cardboard containers is two minutes. Anything longer than this could mess up the cardboards, your meal, and even the microwave. While reheating the food, you should check on it every thirty seconds.

If you notice any crumbling on the cardboard container, put off the microwave and take it out.

SEE: Find Out If You Can Microwave Ziploc Bags

Safety Tips to Know When Microwaving Food on Cardboard

  • Read the label on the cardboard to be sure it is microwave-safe
  • Remove the metal clips or fasteners on the cardboard box before microwaving
  • In addition, set the microwave to the lowest temperature when you want to reheat food in a cardboard box
  • Also, do not heat meals with high moisture content in Cardboards
  • Do not microwave an empty pizza box
  • Do not microwave cardboard boxes with ink on them
  • You should not cook or boil food in cardboard containers
  • Do not leave the cardboard containers in the microwave for too long
  • Most importantly, stay close to the microwave while you reheat your food

SEE: Get Free Food Coupon at Krispy Kreme


Why did your cardboard catch fire in the microwave?

If your cardboard caught fire in the microwave, it is possible that you left it in there for too long. Although this is not so likely to happen, you have to be careful.

How do you know a cardboard container is microwave-safe?

The first way to identify microwave-safe cardboard is to check the label for the microwave sign. Also, examine the cardboard material. If it is made with wax, plastic, glue, ink, or metal, it is most likely not microwave-safe.

Can you microwave McDonald’s burger boxes?

Yes, you can reheat a box of McDonald’s burgers. Just like with every cardboard box, make sure the box doesn’t contain materials like plastic, metal, or wax. Also, do not leave it in the microwave for too long.


Microwaving is a very short cooking method. Most times, you find yourself putting almost anything and everything into the microwave. However, it shouldn’t be so. Before you put anything into the microwave, make sure you read the label to know whether it’s microwave-safe or not.

This includes the cardboard boxes processed foods come in. Examine the cardboard material to see if it is made with anything flammable. Also, watch out for cardboard with coatings that the microwaves can melt. This is both for your safety and that of your microwave.

Thanks for reading.

Check Cheffist for more informational articles like this to help you handle your kitchen wares better.