Can You Microwave Wooden Bowls? Exploring the Risks and Best Practices

Can you microwave wooden bowls?

Wooden bowls have become popular in the kitchen for their rustic and authentic appeal. However, when it comes to using them in the microwave, caution is advised. In this article, we will explore why it is not safe to microwave wooden bowls and provide tips on proper care and maintenance.

Why can’t you put wood in the microwave?

Microwaving wooden bowls is not recommended for several reasons. First, wooden bowls can get much hotter than other microwave-safe materials, creating a safety hazard. The hot wood can easily burn you and even cause a kitchen fire if it overheats.
Second, the heat from the microwave can activate the wood’s natural water content. As the wood cools, it dries out, which can lead to cracking, brittle wood, or warping. Over time, microwaving wooden bowls can damage them beyond repair.

Tips for caring for wooden bowls

To ensure that your wooden bowls last and stay in good condition, here are some important tips for caring for them:

  1. Season wooden bowls: Similar to seasoning cast iron cookware, wooden bowls should be seasoned to protect them. Seasoning creates a layer of protection against moisture and heat. You can use food-grade mineral oil or a wood preservative and conditioning oil. Apply the oil to the surface of the bowl, let it soak in, and wipe off any excess oil. Repeat this process every few months or as needed.
  2. Avoid the dishwasher: Wooden bowls should not be placed in the dishwasher as the intense heat can cause warping or cracking. Instead, wash with mild dish soap and warm water. After washing, towel dry the bowl immediately to prevent excessive moisture absorption.
  3. Buy quality bowls: It pays to invest in quality wooden bowls made from durable woods such as walnut, cherry, or maple. These bowls are not only sturdy, but also easier to care for and maintain over time.

Related Questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about wooden bowls:

Are wooden bowls safe to eat out of?

Yes, wooden bowls are safe to eat from as long as they are properly cared for. It is recommended to serve dry foods or foods with minimal dressings, broths or sauces to prevent excessive moisture from seeping into the wood.

Is it okay to serve hot food in a wooden bowl?

If your wooden bowl is seasoned and well cared for, it is safe to serve hot food in it. However, avoid pouring boiling water or liquids directly into the bowl as this can damage the wood.
In conclusion, microwaving wooden bowls is not recommended due to the risk of overheating, safety hazards, and potential damage to the wood. By following proper care guidelines, such as seasoning the bowls and avoiding the dishwasher, you can ensure that your wooden bowls remain beautiful and functional for years to come.


Are wooden bowls safe to use in the microwave?

No, it is not safe to use wooden bowls in the microwave. The heat generated by the microwave can cause the wood to overheat, which can lead to burns or even a kitchen fire. It is best to use microwave-safe ceramic or glass bowls instead.

Why do wooden bowls get hotter in the microwave than other materials?

Wood is a poor conductor of heat, which means it does not distribute heat evenly. As a result, wooden bowls can quickly become much hotter than other materials when placed in the microwave, posing a safety risk.

Will microwaving wooden bowls damage them?

Yes, microwaving wooden bowls can damage them over time. The heat can dry out the wood, causing it to crack, become brittle or warp. Continued exposure to the microwave can ruin the bowl and shorten its life.

How should I care for my wood bowls?

To care for wooden bowls, avoid microwaving or putting them in the dishwasher. Instead, hand wash with mild soap and warm water. Towel dry immediately after washing and treat regularly with food-grade mineral oil or a wood preservative and conditioner.

Can I serve hot food in a wooden bowl?

It is generally safe to serve hot food in a properly seasoned and maintained wooden bowl. However, avoid pouring boiling liquids directly into the bowl as this can damage the wood. Use caution and allow hot foods to cool slightly before placing them in the bowl.

What types of wood are best for making wooden bowls?

Durable hardwoods such as walnut, cherry, and maple are excellent choices for making wooden bowls. These woods are strong and less susceptible to damage from heat and moisture. Investing in bowls made from these woods will ensure better longevity and performance.