Many Americans have fond memories of their parents or grandparents taking a glass pan full of edible goodness from the refrigerator and sticking it into a waiting oven.
Unfortunately, those days are over. Modern glass pans are made differently than glass pans first made in the early 1900s.
They are prone to breaking or even exploding when they encounter sudden temperature changes.
Can You Put a Cold Glass Pan in the Oven?
You cannot put a cold glass pagan in the oven. Generations ago, glass bakeware was infamous for being able to withstand going into the oven right from the refrigerator or freezer. Glass pans are made differently in order to make them less prone to breaking if dropped. This means you can no longer place a glass pan directly from the refrigerator or freezer into an oven, or it will break.
About Thermal Shock
Walk from a superhot environment into an air-conditioned room.
This can cause some bad reactions, such as suddenly burning fingertips, a runny nose, or sore eyes.
Fortunately, your body is able to adjust to the sudden change in temperature over time.
It’s not that way with glass bakeware like dishes or pans. They can’t adjust in time to prevent breakage.
This is called thermal shock.
The glass expands and contracts suddenly due to the temperature change.
Thermal shock was never a problem for the leading brand of glass bakeware in America, Pyrex.
When it started in 1915, it was made with borosilicate glass.
However, in the 1950s, Pyrex started making their glassware with tempered soda-lime glass, which was much cheaper to make than borosilicate glass.
It also made the glassware less likely to break if dropped.
Pyrex was bought by World Kitchen in 1998, and they changed the formula yet again.
Just how it changed is a secret, but in 2010, investigative magazine Consumer Reports came out with a study that Pyrex made after 1998 and recently made Anchor Hocking glass bakeware were more prone to thermal shock than older glass bakeware made by both brands.
Some Pyrex made in Europe is still made with borosilicate glass.
The next most popular brand, Anchor Hocking, also switched to soda-lime glass.
There are also other brands that make their bakeware with borosilicate glass, but they are harder to find and more expensive than Pyrex or Anchor Hocking.
Avoiding Breaking or Exploding Glass Bakeware
Thermal shock can happen in several kinds of situations to glass bakeware, not just taking a pan of food out of the refrigerator or freezer and sticking it in the oven.
Here are tips from the American Association of Retired People (AARP) on how to avoid thermal shock when using glass bakeware or pans.
- Never place glass bakeware under a broiler.
- Never place glass bakeware directly over a burner and try to use it as a pot or frying pan.
- Never add hot liquid to glass bakeware, no matter what temperature the bakeware is.
- Let your glass bakeware warm to room temperature before placing it in a hot oven.
- Never put a hot dish directly into a refrigerator or freezer. Let it cool off. If you have concerns about the food spoiling, place the food into another container.
- Never place hot glass bakeware directly onto a countertop or in the sink. This is the best way to cause a dramatic (and dangerous) explosion of flying glass shards. Always place hot glass bakeware on a cooling rack, potholder or dishtowel.
- Preheat the oven so it is fully hot before putting in glass bakeware.
- Make sure there is a good layer of liquid at the bottom of the pan when you are cooking something that doesn’t evenly fill the bottom, like vegetables or meat. Glass does not evenly conduct heat, but liquid does. Check your food as it’s cooking so the liquid has not boiled away. Otherwise, the pan will be hotter in some areas than others, causing the pan to break.
- Always check the pans before using for chips or cracks. One little chip or crack now can make the whole pan prone to shattering later.
- Wait until the bakeware has cooled off to room temperature before washing.
You can also splurge on glassware made from borosilicate glass instead of soda-lime glass.
Advantages of Glass Pans
Although most glass pans no longer can withstand thermal shock, they do offer some advantages over pans made from different types of materials.
These include, but are not limited to:
- The coating does not come off over time, like in non-stick pans.
- Not rusting.
- Not being as heavy as materials like iron.
- Not needing to be seasoned before use, like cast iron.
- Not needing any special cleaning methods or soaps.
- Hold heat for a longer time than metal or ceramic.
- Smells from food do not cling to the pans long after you clean them, which can happen in earthenware or ceramic pans.
- You get to see how well your food is cooking, which can help beginner cooks prevent burning food.
- They are highly collectable. Pans from 1959 with a pattern of four-leaf clovers and hearts called Lucky In Love is also lucky for your wallet. It’s valued at $4,000.
Frequently Asked Questions About Can You Put a Cold Glass Pan in the Oven
Can You Put a Glass Pan from Freezer to Oven?
This is never a good idea, no matter what material the glass pan is made out of. Freezer to oven is too much of a shock. Wait until the glass is room temperature before placing in the oven. If using bakeware made of borosilicate glass, place the pan in the refrigerator for the food to defrost before cooking.
When Did Pyrex Change Their Formula?
Pyrex, one of America’s most popular brands of glass bakeware since 1915, changed the formula of their glassware in the 1950s and again in 1998. These changes have made the bakeware more prone to thermal shocks, or breaking because of extreme temperature changes.
Are Any Brands of Glass Bakeware Made with Borosilicate Glass?
There are brands that still make glass bakeware of borosilicate glass, but they are expensive. They are far less prone to thermal shock than other brands. These brands include Oxo, Simax, Volarium and Mcirco.
The Least You Need to Know
Although decades ago, you could put a glass pan straight from the refrigerator to the oven, this is now an unsafe procedure.
Glass pans do not handle sudden temperature changes well.
They can shatter going from cold to hot or hot to cold very quickly.
It’s safest to transfer the food from a cold pan to a cooking pan.