Can You Put Mason Jars in the Microwave?

Can You Put Mason Jars in the Microwave? Yes, mason jars made from tempered glass can be microwaved safely, but there are important factors to consider to avoid shattering or uneven heating.

Ever stared longingly at leftover soup in a mason jar, wishing you could quickly reheat it without dirtying another dish? Mason jars are incredibly versatile kitchen tools, perfect for food storage, meal prepping, and even crafting. But can these trusty jars withstand the heat of a microwave?

The answer, like many things in life, is it depends. Yes, mason jars made from tempered glass can be microwaved safely, but there are important factors to consider to avoid shattering or uneven heating. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the science behind microwave-safe glass, explore safe practices for microwaving mason jars, and even teach you how to sterilize them in the microwave for safe food preservation.

What are Mason Jars?

Mason jars, invented in 1858, have become a ubiquitous symbol of home cooking and preservation. Originally designed for canning fruits and vegetables, these sturdy glass jars with threaded lids and sealing rings are now used for everything from storing dry goods like flour and coffee beans to housing overnight oats and delicious salad creations. Their transparent nature allows for easy content identification, and their tight seals prevent leaks and spoilage.

Understanding Microwave-Safe Glass

Can You Put Mason Jars In The Microwave
Can You Put Mason Jars in the Microwave

Before we dive into microwaving mason jars, it’s crucial to understand how glass reacts to heat. Regular glass, also known as soda-lime glass, can shatter when exposed to sudden temperature changes. This is because the material expands rapidly when heated, creating stress points that can cause cracks or breaks.

Tempered glass, on the other hand, is a type of safety glass specially treated to withstand thermal shock. During the tempering process, the glass is rapidly heated and then cooled, creating a compressive outer layer and a tensile inner layer. This internal stress makes the glass much stronger and more resistant to breaking, especially under uneven heating conditions like those found in a microwave.

Can You Microwave Mason Jars?

The good news is that mason jars made from tempered glass can be microwaved safely. Look for jars with the microwave-safe symbol, typically a series of waves or a container with microwaves bouncing off it. These jars are designed to withstand the heat generated by microwaves.

However, even with tempered glass, there are some potential risks to consider:

  • Cracking due to drastic temperature changes: Avoid microwaving mason jars that have been stored in the freezer or refrigerator. Let them come to room temperature first to minimize the risk of thermal shock.
  • Uneven heating: The thick glass of mason jars can lead to uneven heating, with hot spots that could cause burns or overcook your food. It’s best to use them for short heating times and stir the contents frequently.
  • Non-glass parts: The metal lids and bands of mason jars are not microwave-safe and can spark or damage your microwave. Always remove them before microwaving.

Identifying Microwave-Safe Mason Jars

Not all mason jars are created equal. Here’s how to identify if your mason jar is safe for microwave use:

  • Look for the microwave-safe symbol: Newer mason jars often have a microwave-safe symbol etched onto the glass. This is the most reliable indicator.
  • Check the manufacturer’s information: The jar’s label or manufacturer’s website should specify if the jar is microwave-safe.

Non-Glass Parts of Mason Jars

It’s important to remember that while the glass body of a mason jar might be microwave-safe, the metal components are not. This includes:

  • Metal lids: These can spark and damage your microwave.
  • Metal bands: These can also spark and should be removed before microwaving.

Safe Practices for Microwaving Mason Jars

Here are some essential tips for safely microwaving mason jars:

  • Use only mason jars labeled microwave-safe.
  • Never microwave a jar with the lid or band on.
  • Let the jar come to room temperature before microwaving, especially if it was frozen or refrigerated.
  • Fill the jar no more than ¾ full to allow for expansion of the contents.
  • Microwave on medium or low power for short intervals, stirring frequently. This helps ensure even heating and prevents hot spots.
  • Start with short heating times and increase gradually as needed.
  • Use oven mitts to handle the jar after microwaving, as it will be hot.

Sterilizing Mason Jars in the Microwave

Mason jars are a great option for storing homemade jams, jellies, and pickles. But to ensure safe food preservation, they need to be properly sterilized. Here’s how to sterilize mason jars in the microwave:

  1. Inspect the jars for cracks or chips. Damaged jars are not safe for canning and should not be used.
  2. Fill each jar with about ½ inch of water.
  1. Microwave on high power for 2-3 minutes, depending on the wattage of your microwave. The water should boil vigorously and create steam to sterilize the jars.
  2. Let the jars cool completely in the microwave with the door closed. This helps prevent them from cracking due to sudden temperature changes.
  3. Remove the jars carefully using oven mitts. The jars and water will be very hot.

Important Note: This method sterilizes the jars themselves, but not the lids. You can sterilize the lids by submerging them in simmering water for 10 minutes before use.


Mason jars are a versatile kitchen tool, but when it comes to microwaving, proceed with caution. By understanding the science behind microwave-safe glass, following safe practices, and using them only for short heating times, you can enjoy the convenience of reheating leftovers or even sterilizing jars for safe food preservation. Remember, always prioritize safety – if you’re unsure about a particular mason jar, err on the side of caution and use another method.

People Also Asked

1. Can you microwave mason jars with plastic lids?

No, mason jars with plastic lids are not microwave-safe. The plastic can melt or warp under high heat.

2. Is it safe to reheat baby food in a mason jar?

While mason jars themselves might be microwave-safe, it’s generally not recommended to reheat baby food in any glass container in the microwave. The uneven heating can create hot spots that could burn your baby’s mouth. It’s best to transfer the baby food to a microwave-safe bowl and heat it on low power, stirring frequently, to ensure even heating.

3. What are some alternatives to microwaving mason jars?

If you’re hesitant to microwave your mason jars, there are several safe and effective alternatives:

  • Transfer the contents to a microwave-safe bowl. This is the safest option for even heating.
  • Use a stovetop to reheat the contents in the jar. Be mindful of the temperature and stir frequently to prevent scorching.
  • For sterilization, use a boiling water bath canner. This is the traditional and safest method for sterilizing jars for food preservation.

Additional Tips for Safe Microwaving with Mason Jars

  • Consider the size and shape of the jar. Larger jars or those with narrow bases may heat unevenly and are not ideal for microwaving. Opt for smaller, wider-mouthed jars for better heat distribution.
  • Don’t use cracked or chipped jars. Even small imperfections can weaken the glass and increase the risk of shattering in the microwave.
  • Pay attention to the contents. Some foods, like thick sauces or those with high sugar content, can heat up very quickly and create hot spots. Microwaving these foods in mason jars is not recommended.
  • Let the steam escape. When reheating liquids in a mason jar, leave the lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape and prevent pressure build-up, which could cause the jar to explode.
  • Never microwave empty jars. Empty jars can overheat and crack.

When to Avoid Microwaving Mason Jars Altogether

While mason jars can be microwaved safely under certain conditions, there are situations where it’s best to avoid it altogether. Here are some instances:

  • Microwaving for extended periods. Microwaves are not ideal for long cooking times. The uneven heating can lead to overcooked or burnt food.
  • Reheating fatty or oily foods. These foods can create hot spots that are difficult to control in a mason jar.
  • Uncertain about the jar’s origin. If you’re unsure whether a mason jar is microwave-safe, it’s best to err on the side of caution and use another method.


By following these tips and understanding the limitations of microwaving mason jars, you can enjoy the convenience and versatility they offer in the kitchen. Remember, safety is paramount. If you have any doubts, choose an alternative heating method for peace of mind. With a little knowledge and caution, mason jars can remain a valuable tool in your kitchen arsenal for years to come.

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Jennifer Smith
Jennifer Smith

Jennifer Smith is a respected kitchenware expert with over 10 years of experience in product development, sourcing, and quality control. She creates innovative and practical products for leading brands and retailers, helping people cook with ease. Jennifer's passion for cooking and helping others has made her an influential figure in the kitchenware industry.