Can You Put Cast Iron in a Microwave – Professor Explains

I recently bought a cast iron pan and wondered if I could put it inside a microwave. I was afraid it would damage my kitchen appliance, but I also know that cooking and baking using my new skillet has many benefits. Therefore, I spent time researching it.

So, can you put cast iron in a microwave? You cannot put cast iron in a microwave because metals deflect the radiation that will damage the interior. The continuous deflection of electromagnetic radiation can cause sparks.

Toyota Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Caroline A. Ross says that it’s also counterproductive to put metals, including cast iron, inside a microwave because it will deflect the electromagnetic radiation used to cook the food. Continued deflection of the waves from the food will only damage the appliance’s interior. 

However, you can reliably use cast iron on other heat sources, including grill, oven, and induction stoves. It can efficiently retain heat, so you only need to use lower heat settings. Moreover, you can also use it as a serving dish if you prefer to serve food hot.  I recommend the Lodge Cast Iron Skillet that is available on Amazon. Click here to get yours delivered to your door.

What’s great about cast iron is that you can also use it to maintain foods cold. You may also put it inside the freezer for advanced food preparation or food storage.

Can You Put a Cast Iron Dutch Oven in a Microwave?

You cannot put a cast-iron Dutch oven in a microwave because it isn’t compatible with microwave cooking. The reason is that a Dutch oven’s interior structure consists of cast iron that will create sparking when microwaved.

Moreover, most Dutch oven models have enamel coatings containing traces of metals, especially aluminum. These metals will only reflect the microwave radiation to the oven’s interior. 

However, your appliance can’t absorb all the reflected waves; thus, the continuous collision of reflections will possibly create a lightning bolt causing a fire that can result in property loss or personal injury.

A Dutch oven is a durable cooking tool consisting of 100% cast iron and coated with assorted colors to make it non-stick. Therefore, you won’t find it hard to clean. You can also pass it to generation upon generation because it’s sturdy. I recommend the Lodge Enameled Dutch Oven that is available on Amazon. Click here to get yours delivered to your front door.

Moreover, Dutch oven cooking allows your food to cook to perfection with its heavy lid, ensuring that it locks in the food’s natural flavors. Reheating food is also a breeze but ensure not to put your cold Dutch oven atop the hot stove. Instead, it will help to let your pot warm at room temperature first.

Here are some tips for using your Dutch oven responsibly:

  1. Do not use high heat on your Dutch oven.
  2. Use wood or plastic utensils to protect the pot’s interior from scratches.
  3. Never use harsh detergents or metal scrubbers in cleaning your enamel-coated pot. You may use baking soda and water to remove the stains.
  4. Don’t heat the pot without food inside because extreme heat will damage the enamel.
  5. Ensure an even temperature to prevent the pot from cracking. If you should change the temperature, adjust it slowly.
  6. Protect the lid’s plastic from extreme heat; therefore, ensure that you remove the cover if you put your pot in the oven.

Can Cast Iron Go in a Convection Microwave?

Cast iron can go in a convection microwave oven. However, you must ensure that you set it to convection mode before cooking. Metal isn’t compatible with microwave radiation.

A convection microwave oven is a 2-in-1 kitchen appliance that features convection and a microwave oven. It’s a versatile and compact gadget for apartments, small kitchens, and RVs. Moreover, aside from heating food, you can also roast and bake.

However, you should ensure that you set your oven to convection mode if you wish to use your cast iron pan or skillet. A convection oven has a heating element and a fan that ensures an even distribution of heat. 

Are you wondering about the pros of a convection microwave? Check the list below:

  • It cooks food faster.
  • It consists of multiple racks for cooking several dishes simultaneously.
  • It cooks food evenly if you set it to convection mode.
  • It’s a 2-in-1 kitchen appliance that’s a space saver.

If you’re reheating leftovers, prepackaged meals, or cooking popcorn, you can use microwave mode. However, if you need to roast, bake, or cook food for a more extended period, you should use the convection setting. Some models even have a combination setting. For instance, you can use it if you wish to cook food faster with a crispy outer layer. But you should monitor it to prevent burning or overcooking.

Just a reminder – don’t use your cast iron on combination or microwave setting. Moreover, consult the manufacturer’s manual if you’re in doubt.

Can I Put a Cast Iron Skillet in a Convection Oven?

You can put a cast iron skillet in a convection oven. However, it would be best if you didn’t put it on the convection oven floor or directly on the heating element. Moreover, low to medium heat is suitable as your skillet can retain heat efficiently. 

If you’re cooking using your convection oven, you should reduce the cooking time by 25% or the temperature by 25 degrees. It’s good that modern convection ovens provide the conversion; thus, you don’t have to guess. 

Your convection oven may be regular or True convection. A traditional convection oven is similar to a conventional range, except for the fan circulating heated air that swirls around the food. This fan allows for even heating and quicker cooking. On the other hand, a true convection oven is better than its regular counterpart because food cooks faster and evenly. The heating element is behind the fan at the back of the kitchen appliance.

The convection process transfers heat by moving or circulating the heated gas or liquid. Your oven can do it through its fan, and it promotes a dry atmosphere applicable for faster caramelizing when roasting. It means that your vegetables and meats become browner while maintaining the moistness inside of the food. 

Even though cast iron can be used in a convention oven, most cast iron manufacturers recommend that you do not heat it above 500 degrees. I decided to scour forums online to see if anyone was able to heat above that level for their cast iron. Here are the results that I found along with the percentages of each level.

Temperature level reached for cast iron skilletPercentage of total responses
800 degrees Fahrenheit 16%
750 degrees Fahrenheit 17%
700 degrees Fahrenheit34%
650 degrees Fahrenheit33%

Based on the above table, there are people that are pushing the limits of their cast iron skillets. Seven hundred degrees is too high. What exactly are they cooking at such an elevated temperature? Even a pizza should be cooked at just 500 degrees.

Can You Put Cast Iron in the Oven?

You can put cast iron in the oven, especially if you prefer to season it. Cast iron is oven-safe, but if the skillet has a wood handle, the wood handle will burn.

At more than 2200 degrees Fahrenheit, cast iron begins to melt. Moreover, at seven hundred degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll see visible signs of metal fatigue. However, your oven can’t produce such a high temperature; therefore, your cast iron pan won’t disintegrate.

Cast iron is often the preferred material for baking and cooking because it retains heat longer. However, it would be best to use a kitchen towel, silicone holder, or oven mitt when getting it out of the oven. Your skillet can withstand the heat inside even if you’re cooking for two hours.

Some recipes require that you first cook it in the oven then move the pot to the stove to get the perfect sear. Your cast iron is your ideal helper for these recipes. You may use the same pan from the oven to the stove. However, opt for a cast iron pan without a wooden handle because it may break apart or start a fire at high temperatures.

If you’re seasoning your cast iron in the oven, you can follow these top tips:

  1. Clean your cast iron pan by gently scrubbing it with dishwashing soap and water and dry it thoroughly.
  2. Use a lined baking sheet on the oven’s lower rack to catch the oil drippings, then preheat it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Rub vegetable shortening, canola oil, or vegetable oil around your cast iron using a paper towel. Make sure you also rub oil around the handles.
  4. Put the pan upside down on the oven’s top rack and bake for an hour.
  5. Allow the pan to cool completely after turning off the oven.
  6. A single oil coating is enough, but you may repeat the process if you wish.

Can You Put Cast Iron in the Toaster Oven?

You can put cast iron in the toaster oven, but your most significant obstacle is its weight. The thin tines of your toaster oven may sag or bend under the pan’s weight.

You should check the manufacturer’s manual of your toaster oven to discover its weight limit. Some cast-iron manufacturers produce varying sizes and weights for their pans. Here are the typical sizes and their uses:

  • For mini desserts – 3.5-inch skillet
  • For hot dips – 6.5-inch skillet
  • For baking cornbread – 8-inch skillet

If you have mini skillets, you should care for them carefully. Ensure that your pans are rust-free. You can use silica gel packets to absorb moisture and reduce relative humidity levels. You can quickly prevent rust spots with them.

If your cast iron skillet has rust, you can follow the following steps:

  1. Scrub the rust off using a scrubber using small circular motions. You can use dishwashing soap.
  2. Rinse your skillet and ensure that you remove rusty bits. Repeat the scrubbing process if needed.
  3. Dry your skillet using a clean rag; turn on the stove and put it on top for a few minutes.
  4. Season your cast iron.

Why Do Some Microwaves Have Metal Racks?

Some microwaves have metal racks because these shelves prevent sparks. A microwave often sparks when metal touches the appliance’s internal metal surfaces. A stand inside ensures that materials such as twist-ties, aluminum foil, or forks do not touch the microwave interior. 

If you’re using your metal rack and there’s sparking, you should turn off the microwave. You may have mounted it wrongly. Moreover, you can’t use a stand that didn’t come with your unit to avoid more problems. On the other hand, if you installed it correctly and sparking still occurs, you should contact the manufacturer of your microwave oven. It may have a mechanical issue.

If your microwave oven comes with a metal rack, you should use it properly. Here are some tips:

  • Install the metal rack properly.

Your microwave has plastic hooks inside for the metal rack. Correctly installing the shelf will prevent sparks. However, sliding the bracket on the plastic buckles is straightforward. You won’t have any issues at all.

  • Take out the metal rack if you’re not using it.

You should remove the metal rack when your microwave isn’t in use. Store it in a kitchen cabinet instead.

  • Rotate your food.

The metal rack doesn’t move, unlike the spinning tray. Therefore, if you’re reheating or cooking food, you should turn or rotate it while inside the microwave to cook it evenly. Some prepackaged meals also have instructions on their packaging. You should refer to it to check if it has information about when you should flip your food.

  • Never use a browning dish.

It would help if you didn’t use a browning dish on the metal rack to avoid damaging the stand. 

  • Don’t pop the popcorn.

If you want to pop the popcorn, you shouldn’t install the metal rack. It may disconnect the frame from its plastic hooks as the popcorn bag expands. Also, if the metal touches the interior of the microwave, sparking is possible.

  • Use microwave-safe containers.

Even if you’re using a metal rack, you shouldn’t forget to use microwave-safe pots and pans as the usual safety precautions on using the microwave oven applies. Therefore, if you have cast iron pots or skillets, be aware that you can’t put them inside, no matter how tempting they may be.

Final Thoughts

Cast iron is now a prevalent material used for pans and skillets. You can use it in all heat sources, except microwaves, because it deflects radiation and may damage your appliance. However, you can use it in a convection microwave oven. Just don’t forget to set it to convection mode before cooking. 

Continue cooking sumptuous dishes using your cast iron!

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Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

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