Plastic Pan Handles: Are They Oven Safe?

Have you ever wondered if your pan handle would withstand the heat inside an oven?

With so many recipes around, you are bound to get ones that require a pan to go in the oven.

Maybe there is a trick you know with some dishes that require a pan to go in the oven, even if pans are traditionally designed to be used on a cooktop.

Or maybe you are using your pan for baking.

Whatever the case may be, it’s good to know the limitations of your cookware, and in this case if the plastic pan handles are oven safe and if they would withstand the extreme heat.

In general, plastic pan handles are able to withstand temperatures of up to 130°C/266°F.

But there is more to this answer, though.

So keep on reading!

In this article I will discuss:

What are pan handles made of?

Before we can really answer the question on whether plastic pan handles are oven safe, we first need to look into what materials they’re made of.

Although you get different types of metal handles like stainless steel, copper and cast iron, we will focus on the plastic ones for now.

Also note that the coating on a pan could be a limiting factor because certain nonstick coatings, for example, should not be exposed to extreme heat situations

The plastics used to manufacture pan handles falls in a class called thermosetting plastics.

These plastics don’t melt easily but they can burn.

Bakelite (Polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride) is one example of these plastics.

It was the first synthetic plastic ever developed and was used in many applications including cookware.

Bakelite is very heat resistant, but like many other things, also has it limits.

It can withstand temperatures of  about 140°C/284°F continuously and 300°C/572°F for short times.

Silicone pan handles, on the other hand, can withstand temperatures of up to 232°C/450°F.

Where in the oven will the pan go?

You also have to remember that not all areas in an oven are equally heated.

It is hotter on the top rack under the grilling element when it is switched on, than for example on the lower rack.

This will have an influence on whether your pan handle could withstand the heat in the oven. It may well be that the pan would be fine when used on the lower rack but not under the grill.

The risks associated with melting plastic near food

It would be irresponsible to overlook the fact that melting plastic has health risks. Especially if there is food closeby.

When plastic melts, chemical compounds are released into the air.

Some of these compounds can be toxic and even carcinogenic.

If, for some or other reason, you are going to use a pan exclusively for something like baking where it will be used inside an oven most of the time, it’s highly recommended to rather buy a pan with metal handles.

That way you don’t need to worry about melting plastic ruining a perfect dish and exposing food to toxins.

How to know for sure if your pan handle is oven safe

Given all the above, you could hazzard an estimated guess whether your plastic pan handle is oven safe or not.

The best way to know for sure is to consult the product info sheet from the manufacturer.

Specs on on pans differ, even if the handles are manufactured from the same material.

The one could be manufactured using premium materials whereas the other not.

By consulting the information from the manufacturer you will be sure about your pan’s limits.

Another way to check is to look for the symbol on the underside of the base of the pan for the oven safe symbol. 

Conclusion

There are many different pans on the market. Many of them have different types of handles.

The general rule is that if the handle is made of solid hard black plastic, it will most likely be oven safe to a maximum temperature of 130°C/266°F.

It is, however, safer to consult the owner’s manual of your pan to be sure if it is oven safe as well as to find out what the temperature rating is.