Ziploc sandwich bags are a convenient product to have in the kitchen. They’re perfect for holding leftovers, sandwiches, and snacks. And they’re great for packing lunch on the go. Some Ziploc bags are even suitable for freezing!
But the time will come when you ask, can you microwave Ziploc bags? Not all Ziploc bags are microwave safe. It depends on the type of bag. You can microwave Ziploc’s freezer, storage, and slider bags. You cannot microwave Ziploc’s Sandwich, Snack, or Specialty bags. I personally do not microwave any Ziploc bag, due to the potential hazard of chemicals and toxin exposure.
But don’t worry, I have all the research! Then you can make your own informed decision that aligns with your values.
In this post, we’ll look at what Ziploc bags are, what they are made of, and different studies to help you decide if microwaving Ziploc bags is the best choice for you. And just in case you decide yes, we’ll go over the safest way to microwave Ziploc bags!
Read on if you want to learn more!
What are Ziploc Bags?
Ziploc is a brand of storage bags and containers of various sorts, most well known for being reusable and resealable. The company produces a wide variety of products, including bags for food storage, sandwich bags, and freezer bags. Ziploc bags are popular because they are durable, reliable, and relatively affordable.
Ziploc is a brand name trademarked by the Dow Chemical Company, not the name of the material of the storage bag itself. Today, S.C Johnson manufactures the Ziploc products.
Can You Microwave Ziploc Bags?
Whether a Ziploc bag is microwavable depends on the type of bag. We are going to go over the 4 most popular people use.
Ziploc freezer bags are thicker than standard bags. They are specifically designed to store food that you keep in the freezer by keeping out air and moisture.
Are Ziploc Freezer bags microwave safe? According to the manufacturer, yes. You can use these bags directly from the freezer and defrost food in the microwave.
Ziploc storage bags are thicker than sandwich bags because they are designed for long term storage of food. You can use these bags for storing food in the refrigerator, like meat, poultry, and more. It uses a triple seal, so air doesn’t get in, making your food last longer.
Are Ziploc Storage bags microwave safe? Yes, it states so on their website. You could use these bags directly from the refrigerator to reheat food in the microwave.
Sandwich and Snacks
The Ziploc sandwich and snack bag line are made with a thinner plastic. They are designed for small things like sandwiches and snacks. They are perfect for daily use when you’re on the go.
Are Ziploc Sandwich and Snack bags microwave safe? No, they are thinner and are not able to withstand the heat. You risk melting the bag in your food.
Ziploc slider bags are available for freezer and storage. They just have a different seal than the ones mentioned above! Because of the thicker, more durable film these are perfect for holding bulkier foods, even some liquids.
Are Ziploc Slider bags microwave safe? Yes, they are designed to go from the freezer or refrigerator to the microwave for defrosting or reheating.
So, as you can see, according to the manufacturer, you can in fact microwave the Freezer, Storage, and Slider Ziploc bags. But this just means the bag itself can withstand the heat and won’t melt, if used according to the directions.
Should You Microwave Ziploc Bags?
Just because you can microwave Ziploc bags, doesn’t mean you should though. Let’s look more at what they are made of and FDA approval.
FDA approved for defrosting and reheating only
Microwavable Ziploc bags are FDA approved and safe to use for temperatures associated with defrosting and reheating only. Ziploc bags are not meant to be used for cooking.
Ziploc bags are made with Polyethylene, Ink and Dye
Most plastics today are made BPA-free (Bisphenol-A) due to the harmful effects studied on the body and release of endocrine disruptors when heated. Ziploc bags are all BPA-free.
Ziploc bags are made with polyethylene, ink and dyes.
Polyethylene is considered to be the world’s safest plastic. And not all polyethylene is created equally. In liquid form, when inhaled, it can have detrimental effects on the respiratory system. In solid form, it’s generally accepted. Ziploc uses recycling numbers 2 and 4.
- #2 HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)
- #4 LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene)
These recycling numbers should be ok to use.
I couldn’t find any studies conducted on polyethylene in Ziploc bags and adverse health effects. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any effects, just that no one has studied it yet. BPA was “safe” to use at one point in time.
Harvard Health stands against using plastic in general. To some capacity, all plastics leech chemicals.
According to Norweigen SciTech News, all plastics leech chemicals also. After conducting a study with 24 plastics and finding that all of them leeched chemicals, they believe it’s hard to know which do and which don’t.
How to Safely Microwave Ziploc Bags
These step-by-step instructions come directly from the manufacturer, with my added guidance for the best possible experience.
CAUTION: When using in microwave, place bag on a microwave-safe dish. Handle with care. Vent bag 1 inch. Bag and contents may be hot. Do not overheat contents as bag may melt.
Step 1: Cut food into bite size pieces
If you are reheating food in a Ziploc bags, cut the food into bite size pieces first (if possible). Biggers portions of food will take longer and heat unevenly.
Step 2: Choose a microwave safe container
Choose a microwave-safe dish to place the Ziploc bag on. We recommend Pyrex, as it durable, sustainable and is designed specifically for high temperatures in the microwave.
Step 3: Place Ziploc Bag on the dish of choice
Place the Ziploc bag on your microwave safe dish.
Step 4: Vent the Ziploc Bag
Open the Ziploc bag approximately 1-inch to allow ventilation. This will help prevent overheating.
Step 5: Defrost or Reheat Accordingly
For defrosting, using the microwave setting, defrost according to the weight. Check every 30 seconds. For reheating, use the lowest setting on the microwave and heat up in 30 second intervals.
Step 6: Check as Necessary
If defrosting, take food out of the bag when it has thawed out slightly and the bag is no longer frozen. Do not cook in the Ziploc Bag. Cook in the oven, on the stove, or place directly on the microwave dish in the microwave.
For reheating, do not allow food to get too hot. If it requires additional cooking, take the food out of the bag and place in the microwave safe dish and continue microwaving.
Step 7: Take the Ziploc bag out of the Microwave
With caution, take the dish and Ziploc bag out of the Microwave and let cool. Enjoy!
Step 8: Clean Microwave
Do not cook your food in the Ziploc bag.
How Much Heat Can a Ziploc Bag Take?
Ziploc bags can be heated up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the manufacturer. Once it hits 425 degrees, it will start leeching chemicals and toxins into the food and possible melt.
Can I Thaw Meat in a Ziploc Bag in the Microwave?
Yes, you can thaw meat in a Ziploc bag in the microwave. Defrosting food is acceptable and FDA approved. Do not continue to cook your meat in the Ziploc Bag. Always place the bag on a microwave-safe dish when defrosting.
Final Answer, Can You Microwave Ziploc Bags?
Yes, you can microwave Ziploc bags, but we recommend against it. They are approved for defrosting and reheating purposes only, clearly stated by the FDA. If you are reheating food, just go ahead and place it in a microwave-safe dish to heat it up and cook it. If you are defrosting food, only allow it to thaw so the bag isn’t frozen and you can get the food out to put in a new dish! We also don’t take our chances with plastics.
Please use your own judgment!
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Ziploc Bags are Microwave Safe?
The Ziploc Bags that are microwave safe are the Freezer, Storage, and Slider. The Sandwich and Snack Ziploc bags are not microwave safe because they are thinner and cannot withstand the heat.
Are Ziploc bags Heat Safe?
Ziploc bags ARE heat safe because they are not made with BPA. When heating Ziploc bags you do not have to worry about chemicals leeching into your food. Ziploc bags are made with Polyethylene, which is considered to be the world’s safest plastic.
How Much Heat can a Ziploc Bag Take?
You can safely het a Ziploc bag to 195 degrees Fahrenheit. Any hotter and the bag will start to soften and potential stick to your food. While the Ziploc bag won’t leech chemicals, you still don’t want to actually eat plastic because it’s sticking to your food.