You ordered a pizza, and it arrived on a piece of cardboard. Unfortunately, house chores got in the way, and now that pizza is cold.
You are hesitant to put the cardboard in the oven because the internet is awash with conflicting information about whether or not it’s safe.
So, can you put cardboard in the oven?
You can’t put cardboard in the oven because it will catch fire. The fumes from the burning cardboard are toxic, and it’s a fire hazard.
Thus, use an alternative to cardboard, such as a cookie sheet.
This article will explore everything about putting cardboard in the oven. We’ll also provide some safe alternatives to using cardboard in the oven.
What Material Is Used to Make Cardboard?
Cardboard is made from paper products which are then glued or pressed together to create a single sheet.
The most common type of cardboard is corrugated cardboard, which comprises three layers: an inner layer of liners, a fluted medium, and an outer layer of liners.
It’s a cheap, lightweight, and sturdy material widely used for packaging.
What is the Purpose of Cardboard Base in Pizza Packaging?
Although cardboard isn’t safe to put in the oven, it’s often used as a pizza base. The main reason for this is that it’s cheap and disposable.
Cardboard is also absorbent, so it helps keep the pizza crust from getting soggy.
The cardboard base acts as a physical barrier between the pizza and the box; it also helps to keep the pizza warm.
It also offers support to the pizza so that it doesn’t become deformed while in transit.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Cardboard in the Oven
A majority of packed food items come with cardboard packaging. While it’s safe to eat food that has been in contact with cardboard, you shouldn’t put cardboard in the oven.
Read below to find out why.
Risk of Spontaneous Combustion
Cardboard comprises paper products, and when the paper is heated, it releases a flammable gas called pyrolysis. When this gas is exposed to oxygen, it catches fire very quickly.
Moreover, when exposed to high temperatures, the chemicals in the glue and ink used to make cardboard can ignite and cause a fire.
The cardboard ignition temperature is between 400-500 degrees Fahrenheit.
This means that if you’re reheating food in the oven at a temperature below 400 degrees, there’s a risk that the cardboard will catch fire.
Takes Longer to Cook
Cardboard is an insulator, which means it doesn’t conduct heat very well. This property is valuable when transporting food, but it’s not so great when trying to reheat it.
Cardboard slows down the cooking process because it doesn’t allow heat to reach the food evenly. As a result, your food takes longer to cook, and it may not be cooked properly.
Food Tastes Strange
If you’ve ever accidentally left food on a piece of cardboard, you know that it gives your food a weird taste.
This is because the chemicals in the glue and ink from the cardboard can transfer to your food and change its flavor.
While this might not be a big deal for some people, others dislike the taste of chemicals in their food.
Even if your cardboard doesn’t catch fire and burn completely, there’s a chance that it will release toxins into your food.
These toxins can cause serious health problems, and in some cases, they may even be fatal.
For instance, the smoke from burning cardboard contains dioxins which are cancer-causing chemicals.
Risk of Cardboard Toxicity
When heated, the chemicals in the cardboard release toxins into the air. These toxins are harmful if inhaled, and they also cause skin irritation.
Besides, the substances released cause health problems, including respiratory problems, headaches, and dizziness. In severe cases, exposure to these chemicals leads to death.
Thus, if you’re worried about toxic fumes, you should avoid using cardboard in the oven. There are other materials that are safe to use and won’t release toxins into your food.
Use the following materials instead of cardboard to help keep your family safe.
What can You use Instead of Cardboard in the Oven?
Parchment paper is a type of paper that’s coated with silicone. This coating makes it non-stick and heat resistant.
Parchment paper can withstand temperatures up to 420 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s safe to use in the oven.
This should be a staple in every kitchen.
A cookie sheet is a flat, rectangular baking tray used to bake cookies. It has raised edges to prevent the cookies from slipping off.
Most cookie sheets are made of aluminum or steel, which conduct heat well.
It can handle sturdier and large items without bending. The metal cookie sheet heats up quickly and evenly, so your food will cook properly.
You won’t have to worry about the food sticking to the sheet or getting burnt.
A casserole dish is a deep, oven-safe baking dish used to make casseroles and other one-pot meals. It’s usually made of ceramic, glass, or metal.
Most casserole dishes have a lid that helps keep the moisture in. This dish is ideal for cooking casseroles, lasagna, macaroni and cheese, and other one-pot meals.
It’s suitable for warming up leftovers too.
Aluminum foil is the best base for reheating food in the oven. It’s safe to use and won’t release toxins. Aluminum foil is a good conductor of heat, so it will evenly reheat your food.
However, don’t put the aluminum foil directly on the rack; instead, place it on top of a cookie sheet or casserole dish to prevent it from touching the heating element.
Moreover, it prevents melting food from dropping through the wire rack.
A pizza block is a flat, oven-safe baking stone used to make pizzas.
Pizza stones are made of ceramic, stone, or metal. They absorb the heat from the oven and transfer it to the pizza dough, so it cooks evenly.
Pizza stones come in different sizes and shapes, so you can find one that fits your oven. It’s ideal for warming up leftovers too.
Directly on the Rack
You can place some foods directly on the wire rack, such as roasted vegetables, chicken wings, and bacon. The wire rack allows hot air to circulate the food, cooking it evenly.
However, ensure that the food is small enough to fit through the wire rack. Otherwise, it will fall through the gaps and get burnt.
Silicone Baking Mat
A silicone baking mat is a non-stick, heat-resistant mat used to line baking trays and cookie sheets. It’s made of silicone so that it can withstand high temperatures.
Silicone baking mats prevent food from sticking to the baking tray and getting burnt. They also help distribute the heat evenly, so your food cooks or reheats properly.
Besides, you can use a silicone baking mat instead of parchment paper. It’s reusable, so it’s more economical in the long run.
Moreover, it doesn’t need to be replaced as often as parchment paper.
What Can You Do With the Piece of Cardboard?
If you’re looking for something to do with that piece of cardboard, try these:
Can you recycle it?
You can recycle cardboard boxes.
However, ensure that it’s clean and dry before recycling it. If the box is greasy or wet, it will contaminate other recyclables. It’s possible to reuse the cardboard box too.
Below are additional uses for a cardboard box:
- Make a toy house or fort for your kids.
- Use it as storage for holiday decorations.
- Create a DIY cat scratcher.
- Turn it into a compost bin.
- Make paper mache projects.
- Make a pizza box fort.
- Use it as fuel for your next bonfire.
Can You Put Cardboard in the Oven: FAQs
Is cardboard biodegradable?
Cardboard is made from paper, a natural and renewable resource. It’s also biodegradable so that it won’t pollute the environment.
Can you bake a pizza on the cardboard?
It’s not recommended to bake a pizza on cardboard because they aren’t heat resistant.
The cardboard will absorb the heat from the oven and release toxins.
Can you put the cardboard from a frozen pizza in the oven?
You should first thaw the pizza before warming it.
Then, you can place the pizza directly on the oven rack or on a baking sheet; don’t put the cardboard in the oven because it will absorb the heat from the oven and release toxins.
Can you put cardboard in the oven on warm?
Cardboard isn’t heat resistant, so it’s not safe to warm it in the oven. The heat will cause the cardboard to release toxins.
It’s not safe to put cardboard in the oven because they are prone to burning. The heat will cause the cardboard to release toxins.
If you want to reheat food in the oven, use aluminum foil, a pizza stone, or a silicone baking mat. All of these materials are safe to use and won’t release toxins.