Most people will have heard of Corelle, even if they don’t own any themselves. It is a popular brand of kitchenware that includes both individual items and sets for serving up your favorite food.
Corelle products are made from a tempered glass called Vitrelle, which comprises three layers of laminated glass from two different types.
This innovative construction creates a material that can resist breakages, chips and stains in a big way. It is therefore perfect to have around the house, whether you have young children, many guests, or just an abundance of clumsiness.
Corelle comes in various designs, so you don’t just have to stick with plain white plates. An additional advantage is that, while it’s technically a glass, it has the appearance of fine china – as such, it can be decorated intricately.
It looks just like any kind of ceramic object you might find in a kitchen. However, this might cause you to wonder whether you can use it in the same way, and if it’s actually suitable for microwaving your food.
Here, we will explain what makes a material fine to go in the microwave, and how Corelle meets these requirements.
In order for glass to be microwave-safe, it needs to have been adequately treated before use. This entails subjecting the glass to chemical or thermal treatments so that the outer surface is put into a state of compression, while the inside remains in tension.
Tempering glass makes it safer because it will break into small rounded pieces when smashed, rather than large, sharp shards that can harm people.
Tempered glass is much stronger than regular glass, and can withstand far higher pressures before succumbing to them and shattering.
It has a wide range of applications, from vehicle windows and building construction, to technology such as mobile phone screens.
Not only is it particularly strong, but the processes involved in tempering also make the resulting glass heat-resistant. This is necessary for enduring temperatures of up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some glass products are partially tempered, which means they have only been tempered in certain parts (such as the rim). These tend to include things like drinking glasses and pan lids.
They can still be microwave safe, and will say so if they are. However, fully tempering glass is the best way to ensure that it will not cause issues when exposed to high temperatures.
It is widely known that metallic objects can’t go in the microwave, because they are excellent heat conductors so could burn the actual device.
Additionally, the shiny surface reflects the microwaves, directing them back and producing sparks. You can end up breaking your microwave very quickly this way, so it is often seen as the first rule to learn when cooking.
Unfortunately, it is not always that simple to avoid metal – some plates and dishes have small metallic embellishments, usually around the edge. You may accidentally end up trying to microwave one of these without thinking carefully about the consequences.
Luckily, Corelle doesn’t sell dinnerware with metal round the outside; any rims that aren’t plain have been decorated with paint, making all dishes microwave safe.
There have previously been concerns about the lead content of Corelle products, but none of them have had any lead in since at least 2005.
These concerns were more to do with the overall safety of the material, rather than specifically whether they can be put in the microwave, because lead can be toxic and unsuitable for food storage.
If you happen to own any Corelle products that were made prior to 2005, we recommend that you use only these for ornamental purposes. All Corelle dishes made after then are perfectly safe to hold food and put in the microwave.
Other Culinary Uses
While Corelle is designed to be heat-resistant for microwave usage, this does not mean that you can use it for all your cooking needs. It should not be on a gas cooker or stovetop, under a grill, or with any open flames.
This is because the temperatures can rise to over 350 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the point at which Corelle products start to become unsafe.
Higher temperatures than this require products with very specific manufacturing processes, which can often be very expensive to carry out.
If you need a product that is safe for use in grills and on stovetops, consider buying CorningWare. This can withstand even higher temperatures than Corelle can, including sudden changes in heat.
However, you should look for CorningWare dishes made exclusively from the old formula, because the new one (post-1990s) is more fragile.
Both types of product continue to be made by the company, after customers complained about their new dishes becoming damaged under heat.
Check the bottom of your CorningWare: if it has a glazed or embossed base, a black stamp or a flame design, it is made of Pyroceram and is safe for stovetops.
You can absolutely put your Corelle in the dishwasher, and it won’t have any negative effects. Some crockery is too fragile for the dishwasher, but you don’t have to worry about that being a problem with Corelle, since it is a reinforced material.
One of the most important properties of Corelle is that it’s convenient and doesn’t have any additional care needs.
Just be careful not to use super abrasive detergents in your dishwasher, or harsh scrubbing tools when washing by hand, as these things could wear your Corelle down over time.
Corelle dishes are designed to be tough, hard-wearing and useful for holding all kinds of foods. Their Vitrelle tempered glass is triple-layered, making it much more difficult to break than regular glass.
This doesn’t mean it can’t be broken, but it is overall less likely to happen, as long as you treat it with care.
One of the main advantages of Corelle is that it can be used in the microwave. Many people use microwaves frequently to heat their food, whether fresh or leftovers, and so they need to have crockery that can withstand the high temperatures without breaking.
All modern Corelle dishes are microwave safe up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, which should be sufficient for all your microwaving needs. After use, you can load them into your dishwasher along with the rest of your cooking equipment.
Therefore, Corelle is extremely useful and versatile, making an excellent addition to any kitchen.