Can You Microwave To Go Boxes? – Is It Safe?

Your go-to leftovers are still in the to-go box, and now you’re hungry and also curious to know if the container can be reheated in the microwave. The answer is… It all depends on what your specific to-go box is made from.

Here’s what’s typically safe for the microwave:

  • Chinese restaurant to-go boxes – however, some have metal handles, so make sure to remove those, and anything else, before microwaving. (You won’t find this kind of advice in a fortune cookie!)
  • Reheating leftovers in paper boxes, cups, or bowls, including paper plates, is generally ok. Although, some may be coated or glued together, which means there’s a chance that additives and chemicals could leak into your food during the heating process.
  • Personal-size pizza to-go boxes, especially those made from paper, are usually fine, while other certain cardboard boxes might not be. It’s best to check the container for any reheating instructions.

Here’s what shouldn’t go in the microwave:

You don’t want anything creating sparks, melting or burning in the microwave, and you certainly don’t want to ruin your leftovers, either. So take the extra step and transfer your food to something besides one of these:

  • Metal or aluminum, including the tin cover on a burrito bowl you might get at a fast-casual Mexican restaurant. Bad idea – kind of like eating way too many chips and queso before the main course, in which case you’ll have even more leftovers!
  • Styrofoam – another no, no to-go box for reheating.
  • Certain types of plastic – this is a bit trickier because some are safe, but many single-serve plastic restaurant to-go boxes are not. Your best bet is to check the to-go box and see if it says: “Microwave Safe.”

All this talk about food has us craving leftovers. Time to check the fridge,
reheat and eat – in a microwave-safe container, of course.