Is My Pottery Oven Safe?

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Ever wondered if the pottery marvel you just created can be used in an oven to heat any food item or beverage? There isn’t a simple answer to this question. Rather, there are layers to it. From the type of clay used in the preparation of the pottery piece to the glaze used, everything matters when it comes to deciding if your pottery is oven safe. So, how would you determine if the pottery piece you just crafted after days of hard work is even safe to use in an oven? Let us decode the truth step-by-step!

Which Clay Is Oven Safe?

To start with, let us determine which clay used in pottery is perfect to heat food items or beverages in an oven. Primarily, there are three types of clay used for traditional pottery work which include earthenware clay, stoneware clay, and porcelain clay. While polymer clay and air-dry clay also make up a big part of the pottery world, they aren’t used for food purposes. Although polymer clay is better at handling heat inside an oven, it cannot withstand higher temperatures and might burn just like air-dry clay. So, among earthenware clay, stoneware clay, and porcelain clay, both porcelain and stoneware are considered best for oven use. But, why is it so?

Earthenware clay is generally fragile as compared to stoneware or porcelain clay. While it works just as well when fired the right way, the durability with the latter two is better. Moreover, earthenware clay is porous even when fired while porcelain is non-porous and stoneware is slightly porous after firing. So, if you wish to heat your food or any beverage in the oven, stoneware clay or porcelain clay pottery would be a preferred choice.

Deciding The Right Glaze For Your Pottery To Make It Oven Safe

Even though stoneware and porcelain are mostly non-porous, you would still need to glaze it to make it completely water-proof and add to the durability. Moreover, glazing also imparts a color or design that makes your artwork unique. But, how does this glaze react with your food in an oven? Is a glazed pottery piece safe for use in an oven? Let us decode!

While most pottery artists today use lead-free glazes, it isn’t guaranteed that the glaze you used in your pottery won’t react with the food. This is typically true for acidic food like tomatoes, lemons, oranges, etc. So, it is ideal to use an acid-resistant glaze that works well when holding acidic food items at high temperatures. These types of glazed pottery art are suitable for use in an oven. So, if you are in search of the right glaze, the Sax True Glow Glaze is perfect for any project. Its non-toxic formulation conforms to the safety standards set under ASTM D-4236.

However, if the glazed pottery hasn’t been fired at the right temperature, it won’t work well in an oven and would leach into your food leading to potential health hazards. Ideally, your earthenware clay pottery should be fired between 1745oF and 1950oF, while porcelain should be fired between 2300oF and 2500oF. Finally, stoneware clay pottery clay should be fired between 1800oF and 2000oF.

Can Decorated Pottery Be Used In An Oven?

The answer to this can vary depending on the type of decoration that is on your pottery piece. While most decorated pottery pieces are generally safe when used in an oven, the positioning of the decoration matters as well. The ceramic pieces made by pottery artists generally feature decorations made of glaze. So, if the choice of glaze is food-safe, it isn’t a concern when the pottery is used in an oven. However, some glazes aren’t heat-resistant given the chemical components they are made up of. They might also feature transition metals like cadmium or lead that tend to leach into the food when exposed to intense heat.

Furthermore, if the pottery piece has decorative transfers, embellishments, or even adhesives on top, it shouldn’t be used in an oven as the decoration might come off and get mixed into the food. This can either lead to choking (if the particles are big) or cause serious health issues.

Select A Pottery Item That Is Better At Resisting Thermal Shock

Even after being fired at a high temperature inside a kiln, your pottery piece does expand when placed inside an oven. This is especially true for earthenware pieces. Moreover, earthenware pottery tends to absorb the moisture present inside the food it carries and the molecules inside can expand. While stoneware and porcelain clay handle this expansion pretty well, earthenware pottery might crack after a certain point depending on the frequency of use and the amount of heat it is exposed to.

So, it is better to use dishware made of porcelain or stoneware as opposed to earthenware.

Does Thickness Determine Oven Safety Of Your Pottery?

The thickness or make of the pottery plays a crucial role in determining whether it can be used in an oven. A thicker pottery piece tends to have better resistance to heat while retaining the heat it has already absorbed for a long time. A piece that is too thin can crack easily. However, if your pottery is too thick, it will take longer to heat up inside an oven adding to your power usage. So, an ideal thickness is about half to 1/4th of an inch.

Moreover, pottery pieces with reinforced handles or edges are better for use in an oven and are less likely to crack.


When you make pottery on your own, you have complete control over what goes into its making. From the thickness of the piece to the type of clay and glaze used, you can make it oven safe while keeping it just as beautiful. However, for pottery purchased online or offline from a seller, the only way to determine its safety is to read the details on its label. Make sure it is labeled food-safe and oven safe. If the description is vague, look for the ingredients of the glaze used. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for usage and temperature limits to ensure it can be used in an oven.

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