Virtually everyone is familiar with Pyrex dishes, the glass dishes with the tight-fitting plastic lids that end up in virtually every person’s house as a means of safely storing food. The question is, how durable are these dishes and can they be used in the oven? This is definitely something that could potentially be a real safety issue. Therefore, it’s imperative to know whether or not it’s actually safe to put any Pyrex dish in the oven. Merely assuming that you can get away with it is dangerous, even under the best of circumstances. It’s best you find out for certain.
Direct From the Horse’s Mouth
The company claims that Pyrex dishes are indeed safe to go in the oven. As a matter of fact, it’s in their product description. They go on to say that their dishes are safe for use in the refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, microwave and oven. In addition, they claim that the plastic lids that they use on their glassware is BPA-free, meaning that you don’t have to worry about potentially harmful chemicals being leached out into your food whenever you decide to cycle a dish from the freezer to the microwave. That’s definitely good news, but is there more to the story here? You already know that the manufacturer says that you can put these dishes in the oven, but does that mean that they will really stand up to the test of time? More importantly, are they strong enough to stand up to being taken out of the freezer and placed directly in an oven without cracking, shattering or otherwise destroying your meal? These are all questions you need the answers to if you plan on using them, so let’s get started.
A Closer Look
As it turns out, the product may not be everything the manufacturer claims it is. The truth is, there’s a big difference between Pyrex glass that was made prior to 1998 and anything made from that point forward. Up until 1998, Pyrex was owned by Corning. They used thermal shock resistant glass that can go from one temperature extreme to the other without breaking. The glass was made from borosilicate, something that is naturally resistant to this type of breakage. Unfortunately, they sold their Pyrex glass division to another company in 1998, who immediately stopped using the borosilicate material In favor of soda lime glass. This glass is not resistant to thermal shock and can easily break into dozens or even hundreds of pieces if it’s not handled properly. That doesn’t mean that it can’t go in the oven, but it does mean that you’re probably going to find yourself in a world of hurt if you take one of these dishes out of the freezer and immediately pop it in the oven at 450 degrees. That’s something you can do with old-school Pyrex and you don’t even have to think twice about it, but it simply won’t work for anything that’s been manufactured after 1998. If you have newer Pyrex dishes, take them out of the freezer and let them sit on the counter until they reach room temperature. Then, you can slide them in the oven. That said, you probably shouldn’t plan on turning the oven up beyond 450 degrees, as the extreme temperatures can still cause the glass to break (even if it’s been brought to room temperature).
Handle With Care
That is the information that seems to be echoed by almost everybody that has been using Pyrex for decades. In fact, it appears that 450 degrees is the upper limit when it comes to putting a Pyrex dish in the oven, even if it’s been brought all the way up to room temperature beforehand. It’s good that most recipes don’t call for temperatures higher than that, but if you happen to have one of the rare recipes that calls for higher temperatures or you’re trying to rush things along by cranking up the oven, it’s definitely not a good idea to do that if your food is in one of these dishes. On the other hand, if you have a Pyrex dish that was made prior to 1998, you can take it out of the freezer and put it directly in the oven. Go ahead and crank it up as high as you want. It won’t be a problem.
All Hope Is Not Lost
How exactly are you supposed to know what year your Pyrex dishes were made? Fortunately, you can usually do a little bit of research and figure out whether they are the older version that were made by Corning or the newer version with the soda lime glass. If you’re interested in getting your hands on some of the older Pyrex dishes, you can rest easy in the knowledge that it’s actually still pretty prevalent. In some cases, you can find it in bonafide antique shops but if you’re looking for a large amount of these dishes for a real bargain price, consider going to your local Goodwill store. You’d be surprised how many of these dishes get donated and resold at rock-bottom prices. It’s as if people either don’t know or don’t care exactly what they have and how much money most people would actually be willing to pay in order to get their hands on these dishes. At the end of the day, the most important thing is safety. Clearly, you don’t want to ruin your meal with a cracked dish. There’s no point in having to throw out an entire meal that you took the time to prepare, not to mention being forced to carefully clean out your oven and risk being injured in the process. If you don’t know exactly when your Pyrex dishes were made, assume that they are the newer version and handle them with care. If you’re absolutely certain that you have the ones made by Corning that were manufactured prior to 1998, you can enjoy the fact that they’re practically indestructible and use them at your every whim.