Can You Put Cardboard in the Oven? It's a Bad Idea
Author: Anne Cowart | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
Do you order pizza every weekend night, but it gets cold, and you have to reheat it to enjoy its fullest? And every time you place it in the oven, you wonder whether it should be safe to put cardboard in the oven or not. Can you put cardboard in the oven without causing a fire?
Putting cardboard in the oven is not a safe method, when we look at its risks. Here’s why you should never put cardboard in the oven:
Risks Associated With Putting Cardboard in the Oven
Can cardboard go in the oven? Well, putting cardboard in the oven has a variety of risks associated with it:
- Cardboards are highly combustible
- Metal in the cardboard can ruin the taste
- It can increase the risk of health problems
- Cleaning it out will take up your time
- Can cause oven malfunctioning
Some of these are related to your own safety and others are simply associated with wasting your time in needing to cook something else and clean out the oven.
Cardboard is Highly Combustible
Will cardboard burn in the oven? If the temperature of your oven exceeds 400 °F, then it can set the cardboard on fire, as it’s made out of paper. This won’t necessarily happen to every oven and cardboard, as some ovens are efficient enough to circulate heat regularly.
On the flip side, some ovens are relatively more prone to ignition, so the flammable temperature can be even lower in those cases.
The oven isn’t the only risk, as some cardboards have toxic chemicals that can combust at temperatures less than 400 °F. In some rare cases, the hot heating element ignited the cardboard.
Some foods have a lot of grease and oil, which can lead to setting your cardboard on fire. Starting a fire on your home is grave a risk enough to outweigh all potential advantages of putting cardboard in the oven.
Cardboard Can Ruin the Food’s Taste
Who likes to eat pizza tasting like old cardboard and oil? Serve it to an enthusiastic pizza lover, and they might consider filing a petition against this crime.
Jokes aside, if you’re putting cardboard with food inside in the oven, you’ll be at a high risk. Some people think lowering the temperature is the safer alternative, but all it could do is blend the taste of paper with pizza, and turn your crispy pizza into soggy.
Even if you heat the pizza at a high temperature afterward to make up for it, you risk burning it and still keep its bad flavor. Regardless of your chosen method, the risk of getting nasty taste food is always there.
Pizza and all other foods are meant to be enjoyed. But if you have to eat a pizza with a smoky and cardboard-like taste, then it can turn a pleasant meal into a soggy nightmare. Can you bake pizza on cardboard? No. It's a horrible idea all around.
Increase the Risk of Health Problems
When you put cardboard in the oven, you’re putting more than your taste buds at risk. Your gut could also be affected by the toxins released by cardboard when it heats up.
In addition, some pizza boxes have a thin layer of paper that may burn more rapidly, and their leftovers can get mixed with your pizza. Just to say it again, can you put cardboard in the oven with pizza? No, please do not. It's not safe nor will your food turn out the way you expect.
Eating the burnt pizza is hazardous for your health and also to the environment. The smoke that comes from the burning will be released into the air and pollute it. Various reports have claimed that burnt food has acrylamide acid in it, that's quite injurious to health.
Can Be Time-Consuming
Most of the time, the sole purpose behind putting the cardboard in the oven is time-saving. You might think that by using cardboard, you can save the time that you will have to invest in cleaning the sheet pan or peel.
But in reality, it takes less time for the food to get hot if you go for the alternatives. Cardboard is quite hard with various layers, that’s why it reduces heating speed. Moreover, the cardboard prevents food from heating evenly.
So, if you like eating perfectly heated food, you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot with cardboard.
Can Cause Oven Malfunctions
Is cardboard oven safe? You may not care about the cardboard, but the oven is another story. The oven is surely a one-time investment, but if you put cardboard in it, you’ll risk it malfunctioning.
Should the cardboard catch fire, it’ll harm your oven’s functionality. Plus, the smoke and chemicals released by the cardboard burning also mess up with your oven.
Alternatives to Cardboard That Are Worth-Considering
Can you put cardboard in the oven? Now that it's clear that you need to avoid the usage of cardboard because of the plenty of risks. You must be wondering if it's not safe to use cardboard, then what are it’s alternatives. So, here are some options:
- Pizza Stone
- Cookie Sheet
- Aluminum Foil
- Glass Sheet
There are plenty of options to place your food on for cooking in the oven that are intended for that use. A nice cookie sheet is fairly inexpensive and is worth its weight in gold. A pizza stone is amazing too (remember to pre-heat it).
A rack is surely one of the best alternative methods for reheating food items, including pizza. The best thing about the rack is that it is quite convenient to use.
By using this method, you can get perfectly heated and crispy pizza. The only con of the rack is that it can make your oven dirty. So, you have to go through the process of cleaning. Moreover, to protect yourself from any harm, you must take safety measures such as using oven mitts.
You can use a pizza stone for reheating almost all food items, be it pizza, sandwiches, or another. But as the name indicates, it is exclusively designed for pizza. Therefore, you can surely get a perfectly crispy pizza crust if you reheat pizza on it, as long as you pre-heat the stone first. Plus, it’s easy to clean and you can safely put this ceramic in the oven.
The cookie sheet is another efficient product that can prove an excellent alternative to cardboard. The good thing about the cookie tray is that its usage is not limited to cookies; you can use any food items in it.
If you want the crispy pizza, you must position it at the bottom of the sheet. It does not affect the taste of food, so you don’t have to eat food with terrible tastes like cardboard.
Aluminum foil is also widely used to reheat without concern for the temperature. You can put aluminum foil in the oven! It can be disposed of, so you don’t need to clean it. Just crumple it up and toss it. On the other hand, what temperature does cardboard burn? Cardboard can catch fire when the temperature is over 400 °F.
But it is worth mentioning that if you are not careful, handling aluminum foil can be tricky. Therefore, if you are a beginner, you prefer solid items like a pizza stone.
A glass dish is another option that you have if you want to reheat your food. But glass casserole dishes and similar options are only available in some homes, and less so as time continues on and other options become available.
Luckily, if you've got one, then using it mitigate the risk of soggy pizza is a decent idea. But be careful about putting glass in the oven just as much as you should be careful putting glass in the freezer.
What Other Ways of Reheating Food Don’t Require Cardboard?
If you don’t have any cardboard alternatives that we have mentioned earlier and are wondering if it's still possible to avoid cardboard usage. If yes, then here are two suggestions that you can consider. So, let's dig into it.
Use Toaster Oven
If you’re using a toaster oven, all you need to do is put your pizza in it. Bear in mind that if you want to get perfect crispy pizza, then the temperature should be high. Additionally, it takes less time in these smaller oven alternatives.
If the grill is available, then you can use it for amazing results. It is extremely important to preheat your grill. After that, you must place the food you want to reheat on it. Wait for five minutes. Then you will have to take it out. Now, you must repeat the process, but this time in the upper grill. Once you have done your crispy pizza is ready to eat.
Microwaves are the current go-to for reheating food though these other microwave alternatives are perfectly fine. Modern microwaves even have a "sensor reheat" button that will cook the food until it senses enough moisture in the air to know that the food has become hot enough.
Use Stove Top
You can get very similar effects to heating up food in the oven by using any types of stove tops and a skillet or even laying a cookie sheet across multiple eyes on the stove. Here you can even place a lid over the skillet to help keep much of the moisture in, or add other flavorings or oils to keep the food from sticking.
FAQs Regarding Cardboard in the Oven
We are optimistic that now you have got the answer to your question, "can you put cardboard in the oven?" But if you still need clarification, then look at some of the frequently asked questions below.
Is it Possible to Use Cardboard for Baking?
No, by placing the crust of your pizza on the cardboard, you can’t bake it. You need to use the rack or pizza peel for this purpose.
Is it Unhealthy to Use Cardboard in the Oven?
Yes, using cardboard is not good for your health. The reason behind it is that cardboard is highly ignitable. Unfortunately, if it gets to fire, the smoke coming out can cause allergies and impact people with breathing issues.
What is the Exact Temperature That Sets Cardboard on Fire?
There is no exact temperature as it depends on the type of oven and cardboard. But mostly, temperatures above 425 °F are quite dangerous. To be safest, you should not use cardboard in the oven ever, but if you must you shouldn’t exceed 300 °F.
Is it Safe to Use Cardboard in the Air Fryer?
No, if you want to go for the safe methods, then it's not a good choice because the amount of risk is almost the same.
So, Can You Put Cardboard in the Oven?
To reiterate all of the information above, yes, you can put cardboard in the oven at very low temperatures but it is never recommended. If you do, you shouldn't exceed 300 °F and go even lower if possible.
There are plenty of other ways to cook or re-heat food in the oven such as pizza stones and cookie sheets. I must emphasize that you should never put cardboard in the oven. Just don't do it. So, can you put cardboard in the oven? Yes, but you should not. It's simply not worth the risk.