The question we get asked most often is: “Can I put ceramic in the oven?”.
Ceramic is becoming more widely used as an oven to table option, where you would like the dish that you cook from, to be an attractive direct to table serving accessory. Stainless steel baking dishes, or cast-iron casseroles may not make the grade.
Ceramic bakeware, such as pie or flan dishes, loaf pans and ramekins are getting more popular and can be wonderful tools to bake with and not only because they look good, but due to their efficient heat retention, even heat distribution and natural non-stick properties.
Large ceramic serving dishes or trays can be used not only to cook from, but also to beautifully present roasts, or fish pies.
The growing trend of baking mug cakes has added a reason why you may want your coffee cup or tea mug to be ovenproof, and of course there is simply that occasional desire to preheat your dinner plates, especially in winter months, so that your cooked meal doesn’t immediately go cold when plated.
The answer to the question is YES, ceramic is indeed oven safe, but here are some things to keep in mind:
Which ceramic can I use in the oven?
Most types of ceramic will be suitable for oven use at reasonable temperatures (around 200C/400F), as pottery is fired to much higher temperatures during production.
Our stoneware for example reaches temperatures above 1200 C in the kiln, which means that the ceramic has already endured much higher stress than it ever will in a conventional oven.
However, clay is a porous material, so entirely unglazed ceramic may not be as resistant to higher temperature if moisture gets trapped inside the clay, as might low fired pottery, such as earthenware and terracotta.
Does Glaze Type Matter?
If the item has also been glazed, therefore fired a second time, it will have a shiny coating which can add an extra level of protection against moisture and heat.
BUT certain glazes are not technically heat resistant due to the chemicals found inside the glaze. These may contain transition metals such as lead or cadmium (used to add colour) that can leach into food under intense heat.
If an item has what appears to be decorative transfers, or adhesives on the glaze, these may best be avoided, in case they’re made from a non heat resistant material.
What if my Ceramic Dish is Cracked?
The condition of a piece of ceramic can also influence its suitability for the oven. If your dish has a hairline crack, or a large chip, moisture could penetrate the clay and affect the structural stability of the ceramic when it expands under high heat.
What is Thermal Shock?
Ceramic will expand under high heat and then contract as it gradually cools down. Thermal shock is when this change in state happens suddenly or too quickly. For example, when a frozen plate is put into a very hot oven, or similarly in reverse if a recently heated plate is put in the refridgerator.
The sharp change in condition applies stress and the item cracks.
So, in conclusion, most ceramic can withstand sensible temperatures in your oven.
More decorative pottery, or pieces with elaborate patterns or designs, may best be avoided, but you can always contact the manufacturer directly to check.
Ceramic is fired at extreme temperatures, so is already built to withstand heat, especially when evenly spread or gradually heated.
A good tip would be to preheat the plate or dish alongside the oven, to ease the change in state.
Direct contact with a heat source, such as your hob, should be avoided, as should sharp temperature changes, such as going from the fridge to a very hot oven.
For complete confidence, you can always check if a piece of pottery has an oven symbol, usually on the base, which indicates that it has been tested up to a certain temperature.
Nom Living Ceramic
Our collection of ceramic tableware, serve-ware and bakeware is oven safe and can be an elegant and inventive way of serving a dish straight from your kitchen oven to the table. Ceramic also has good heat retention and is non-reactive so will never alter the taste of food.
Check out our entire collection here.