What Can Cause a Glass Pan to Explode in Oven?

So you were baking your lasagna in the oven, and the glass pan suddenly exploded?

You might be surprised to know, but glass pans unexpectedly shattering in the oven or after you take them out is not precisely that rare.

Witnessing such an instance happen in front of your eyes can be terrifying. This is why understanding what caused your pan to explode and how you can prevent it from happening again become extremely important.

Glass pans tend to crack, shatter or explode in the oven when they are exposed to sudden temperature changes, such as when they are exposed from very high heat to very cool temperatures.

Here’s more on the reasons why your favorite glass pan can potentially explode in the oven and how you can protect yourself.

Causes of Glass Pan Exploding in the Oven

Let’s go through some of the causes that can lead to your glass pan cracking or exploding in the oven.

1. Thermal Shocks

As we mentioned earlier, glass pans can explode due to experiencing thermal shocks.

This happens when you change their environment from extremely hot to extremely cold. For example, when you take out the dish from the sweltering oven and set it on the countertop or in your fridge.

All of this can cause your favorite Pyrex-style dishes or glass pan to shatter into a hundred pieces.

2. Uneven Expansion and Contraction of the Pan

The exposure to thermal shocks gives off mixed signals to the glass pan.

It ultimately begins to expand due to high heat but contract simultaneously because of the cool temperature.

This uneven expansion and contraction cause the pan to lose its structure and eventually shatter.

3. Extremely High Heat

Depending on the manufacturer and quality of the glass pan, there is also a chance that it might explode in the oven due to being exposed to very high heat.

If your pan is not of the best quality, it likely cannot withstand the warmth and may crack or explode.

The pieces of the dish may expand too much due to the heat, causing them to break.

4. Roasting on High Heat Without Liquids

If you are roasting something in the oven on high heat, you might also be causing the glass pan to explode.

This is especially true if you did not add enough water, oil, or other liquid to the dish.

As a result, the meat may become too dry and expand, pushing the walls of the dish and ultimately causing it to break.

5. Already Existing Scratches and Exposure To Wear and Tear

If your glass pan or dish is a fairly old one that you have been using for years, this might explain why it might have exploded in the oven or when you took it out.

Glassware tends to be exposed to many wear and tear during usage that might cause numerous scratches. Chances are, you probably never noticed these scratches either.

Most Pyrex dishes come with this warning label as well.

6. The Composition of the Glass Pans

Some presume that the composition of glass pans and dishes make them unsuitable to be exposed to high heat or changing temperatures.

In particular, the newer version of these glass pans, which are composed of soda-lime glass, is what’s causing them to break.

This makes sense because a few years back, there were very rare cases of these pans breaking or shattering in the oven.

7. Adding Liquid to Hot Glassware

Another common reason for breakage of any glass dishes or pans is this.

Washing them immediately after you have taken them out of the oven causes a thermal shock.

Just as we discussed earlier, the very hot pan is exposed to extremely cold temperatures. This causes the uneven expansion and contraction that ultimately causes shattering.

How To Prevent Glass Pans from Exploding

Though most glass pans come with a precaution and warning, there are still some things you should do.

To avoid a scenario of a glass pan exploding in the oven or shattering after you take it out, there are some safety measures you can take.

By following these measures, you will ultimately be protecting yourself and your family from potential danger.

1. Ensure They Are Oven-Safe

First and foremost, when you are using a glass pan or dish, make sure that it is oven safe.

The manufacturers typically include a note that lets you know if the specific dish can be used in the oven or microwave.

2. Don’t Use Glass Pans on Stovetops or a Broiler

Most glass dishes and pans are not suitable for cooking on stovetops or boilers unless highlighted otherwise by the manufacturers.

This glassware is usually not made to withstand high direct temperatures and might shatter or explode.

Even in the oven, don’t place the dish in the stovetop or broiler inside a toaster oven.

3. Preheat The Oven

Certain ovens increase temperatures in the oven and then drop dramatically.

As a result, this might shatter the glass oven or pan because of the sudden temperature change.

Therefore, before placing the dish in the oven, make sure you preheat it for some time.

4. Defrost the Dishes

Don’t place the extremely cold or frozen food in the glass pan or dish and pop it in the oven.

This might also make the glass expand and contract unevenly, making it explode.

Thus, make sure the dish and ingredients reach room temperature before subjecting them to high heat.

5. Don’t Wash Hot Dishes or Place Them In The Fridge

Similarly, don’t immediately wash glass pans when they are already hot and had been in the oven.

Additionally, placing them in the fridge or freezer to cool them down after being in the oven is also not advised.

This might potentially cause the pan to shatter and explode because of uneven expansion and contraction.

6. Add Liquid To The Dish

When cooking dry dishes, such as roast chicken and beef, add some liquid in the glass pan or dish before placing it in the oven.

This is due to the cooking process when the meat would release liquids and juices.

In a very heated dish, these liquids or juices might enable the explosion of the dish because of the differing temperatures.

By already adding some liquid at the start of the cooking, you will not be subjecting your glass pan or dish to cold liquids. Consider adding water or meat stock.

7. Add Water To the Bottom of the Pan’s Surface

Moreover, to avoid the glass pan or dish from heating up too quickly, consider submerging the dish’s bottom in water before placing it in the oven.

This is especially needed if you are roasting vegetables or meat.

8. Avoid Placing The Dish On A Cold Surface

This one might be an obvious one. But when you take out your hot glass pan or dish from the oven, avoid placing it on a cold countertop, sink, or cool wire rack.

Moreover, don’t place it on any wet surface or wet cloth either.

Exposure to immediate cooler temperatures after being in extremely high heat can be dangerous and might lead to shattering of the glassware.

9. Ensure Cloths and Mittens Are Dry

Instead of placing the hot glass pans or dishes on cold surfaces or wet towels, you can consider placing them on top of a dry cloth potholder or towel.

Avoid using wet towels or mittens because they might conduct heat.

As a result, you could burn your hands and drop the glassware, ultimately breaking them.

10. Don’t Cook Foods In a Glass Pan That Requires Extremely High Heat

Avoid using glass pans or dishes when you need to cook something that requires cooking it on extremely high heat or exposing the dish to hours of heat.

It would be a safer bet to use other, more oven-friendly dishes or pans in these cases. Similarly, don’t put glassware in the oven, even if it is deemed safe by the manufacturer.

This is because the sudden temperature change can potentially cause the plan to explode.

11. Cool the Pan Before Serving

Consider cooling down the glass pan and dish before serving it to the guests.

This can cause shattering or scratches to the dish, especially if you serve it with a metal spoon.

12. Be Careful When Caring for Glassware

Even if you are only cleaning and storing your glass pans or dishes, be sure to be extra careful with them.

Even if you dropped them and they have never broken, you might still be causing wear and tear and damaging the structural integrity of the dish.

The Bottom Line

This was everything you need to know about using glass pans and dishes and what might cause them to explode in the oven.

By following the manufacturer’s notes and the above-mentioned tips, you will likely be able to use them for a much longer time without damaging the structural integrity or making them susceptible to an explosion, shattering, or scratching.

Furthermore, try buying a glass pan and dish from the best manufacturer in the industry because it might last you much longer.

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