Common Cooking Items You Should Never Put In Your Oven

Danger, danger.

Just because you've taken a gamble one or two times (or more) and come out on top, doesn't mean you should continue to push your luck. We've covered the things you should never put in your fridge, your dryer, and so on, but it's high time to heat up the discussion, don't you agree? On this list of things you should never put in your oven, we're sticking with the relatively common mistakes but forgoing the more obvious items like plastic—after all, we should all be aware of basic kitchen safety at this point. These are the things you should never put in your oven, even though you might think they are A-OK.

Wax Paper

So your Salmon en Papillote recipe calls for parchment paper but you're fresh out? Don't even think about reaching for the wax paper. Not only will the wax on the paper melt once it starts to heat up, but the paper can catch fire too. The first sign that you've made this mistake will likely be an odor as well as smoke coming from your oven—needless to say, it will probably be pretty hard to miss. Turn your appliance off and remove the pan and/or wax paper immediately. Also, go ahead and ditch whatever food you were cooking on it.

Paper Products

While we're on the subject, with the exception of parchment paper, which is specifically designed for oven use, paper products like paper towels, paper, and cardboard should never go in the oven. They're fire hazards that could ignite, not to mention the chance they could release chemicals into your food. So if you're reheating pizza, take it out of the box and reheat it on aluminum foil or a sheet pan. And don't store your pizza or keep it warm in the oven either lest you forget and turn on your oven later.

Certain Glassware

Glassware can get tricky. Some varieties are just not meant to withstand the high heat and/or temperature fluctuations that come along with going from the counter to the oven. To stay safe, only use cookware that is deemed oven-safe. But, even with glassware that is oven-safe, there are some things you can do that would ultimately put them on the no-fly list. For instance, even oven-safe glassware needs to be brought to room temperature before putting it in the oven to avoid thermal shock. If you have a refrigerated dish that you pop straight into the oven, the temperature fluctuation could damage the glass if it doesn't crack or shatter immediately. The same can result from placing a hot-from-the-oven glass casserole dish directly on a cold counter or under cold water. You also don't want to put empty glassware, broken or damaged glassware, or non-tempered glassware into the oven.

Uncontained Food

You packed that apple pie dish to the brim—and now you can hear it sizzling, hissing, and popping from the next room. You should have put it on a sheet pan first. Sure you can leave it and, once again, hope for the best, but you really should get that mess cleaned up ASAP. If the spill is happening at the beginning of your cooking process, go ahead and remove the food item and let the oven cool until it's safe to wipe the mess clean. Place the pie plate, casserole dish, etc. onto a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil (for easy cleanup) when you're ready to get back to baking. If your spill wasn't noticed until the item was finished cooking or nearly there, just make sure to clean up the oven before your next use as these leftover bottom-of-the-oven messes do have the potential to catch fire.

Frozen Food That Needs Thawing

We get it, it's tempting to skip the thawing process, but it's best to always follow the packaged cooking instructions when it comes to these matters. Things like frozen chicken nuggets, frozen pizza, etc. are usually meant to go straight into the oven in their frozen state, but items like, for instance, your Thanksgiving turkey, should be completely thawed before cooking. If not, you're running the risk of food poisoning or (best case scenario) a dried-out bird.

Oven Racks (If Self-Cleaning)

If it's high time that oven saw a deep clean and you decide to go ahead and use the self-cleaning function, you should remove the racks first. Scrub them by hand in order to avoid taking off the slick finish that helps them easily slide in and out. You'll thank us the next time you decide to adjust the rack height one-handed.

Plastic

While we mentioned plastic above, here's a reminder that sometimes plastic may not be obvious. While your cookware may be heavy metal, the handles and knobs on your pots may be plastic. Even if they are deemed safe for oven use, pay attention to the temperature they can withstand. The plastic can not only melt, but also may emit toxic chemicals into your food. If you're not sure, don't use it.

Wood

The same caution about plastic holds true for wood. While wood stays cool during stovetop cooking and protects your hands from burns, it doesn't work well in the oven. If a pan has wooden handles or knobs, the wood could warp, shrink, or split in the oven. Choose a pan that's made with oven-safe materials, like cast iron.

Some Non-Stick Pans

Pans coated in Teflon and other non-stick coatings make cooking and cleanup a breeze. If you've ever had to clean scrambled eggs out of a regular pan that had too little fat, you know. But some stovetop-to-oven recipes may not be suitable for your non-stick cookware. Pay attention to the temperature your pan can withstand. Many can go into an oven up to 500°F.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles