Can You Put Aluminum Foil in the Microwave?

Aluminum foil is a cheap, handy cooking item. How can you reheat foil-wrapped leftovers or prepare foil-packet meals quickly? Microwave aluminum foil?

Microwaves cook rapidly using high-powered radio waves. They accomplish this by radiation, which also causes solar heat.

They bombard food with brief, energetic radio waves. Reflective microwave interiors enable radio waves to bounce around and go into food. Food warms quicker the faster they jiggle.

Water, lipids, and sugar can absorb radio waves, while plastics, glass, and ceramics can't (which is why you can put them in the microwave without burning yourself on the container).

Metal reflects radio waves, preventing food from heating. Al foil? Thinner implies it may catch fire in the microwave.

Check for a microwave-safe label—and a non-microwave-safe label (for example, some microwaveable pizzas include a thin sheet of foil at the bottom, which helps the crust get crispy).

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