Pyrex Glassware Explodes

Pyrex Glassware Can ExplodeIs your Pyrex exploding? A friend of mine from high school was baking something in Pyrex glassware. It exploded in her oven. I own tons of Pyrex, a very expensive Dacor double oven, and have a 3-year-old that likes to peek in the oven window to see what’s going on. So, naturally, I started to investigate. Turns out, this Pyrex exploding phenomenon is fairly common.

I read a story about a gal who opened her oven at the exact same time her Pyrex casserole dish exploded. The shards lacerated her face, but miraculously she closed her eyes just in time.

I read a story about someone who opened her oven after a pan had exploded. Hot glass flew out and burned the carpet nearby.

Another guy had it happen while washing his Pyrex in a sink full of water. He felt a burning sensation in his finger, took it out of the water and had a ¾ inch piece of glass lodged in his finger.

Glass Composition

Some people claim that the reason this is happening is because Pyrex changed the formulation of the glass from borosilicate to soda lime. World Kitchen, the company who currently owns Pyrex, argues that this change shouldn’t matter and that soda lime is stronger.

But some believe that the older Pyrex, which I’ve always preferred due to it’s more square edges, is safer. I’m not a scientist so I can’t vouch for either claim. To me, the composition is irrelevant, because whatever it’s made out of can shatter into hundreds of pieces without warning.

Thermal Shock

This is when you take something from a cold environment to a hot one. It is acknowledged that Pyrex can explode when this happens. Even the people at trusty people at Cooks Illustrated have written about their experiences with exploding Pyrex in their test kitchens. I make-ahead meals like enchiladas and lasagna, freeze them and then bake at a future date (I use Cooks Illustrated’s The Best Make-Ahead Recipe). I used to do this primarily in Pyrex glassware.

Pyrex Glassware Safety and Usage Instructions

Have you actually read the instructions that come with your Pyrex dishes? Odds are you ripped off the paper wrapper thinking, it’s glass and a no-brainer. There’s a long list of things you should and shouldn’t do with your Pyrex. Well, check this out (see link above for full instructions):

Mine is scratched and I bet yours is to some degree too. What I might think of as a minor scratch, someone else might consider “severe.” How would anyone be able to test my pan after it explodes into hundreds of pieces? The other thing I’ve never done with regularity is add water to cover the bottom of the dish when cooking foods that might release liquid.

Is Your Pyrex Exploding? Take Action.

Decide if you’re diligent enough to manage your Pyrex and other glassware. You should inspect it each time you bake. I’m a busy mom and am not confident I will do this. I’m not trying to be alarmist, but I’m swapping my Pyrex out for ceramic or metal ovenware. To me, it’s just not worth the risk for the relatively minimal cost it will take to switch to new pans.

The people in the stories I refer to all claim that thermal shock was not involved, and that their explosions were totally out of the blue. This is what concerns me. It’s possible they had Pyrex glassware in perfect condition that exploded.

Pyrex has addressed the situation on their website in a section called Truth About Pyrex Glass. You may read stories about Pyrex glassware exploding on Chowhound or Consumer Affairs (where two of my stories above are from). There are also articles online calling this a hoax, which given that it just happened to a very well educated friend of mine, I don’t believe.

Photo credit: Flickr/technodad

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Comments

  1. While roasting a chicken tonight, I reached in to baste it and my pyrex exploded in the oven. My 8 year old was nearby. Thankfully, it exploded entirely inside the oven. Now I am concerned about ever using my other pyrex trays ever again. Le Creuset and Apilco may be way pricier but I am sure they won’t endanger us cooks/chefs.

    • That happened probably because of the temperature difference between the Pyrex dish and the basting liquid you added. Anyway, I would never use Pyrex to make a dish like that (meats alone) unless you’re making meatloaf in a loaf dish. I would use it solely for baking (desserts, casseroles, etc.) and roasting vegetables and fruits, (with a bit of liquid for crisping or moisture, (ie. oil, broth, or juice) not cooking meats.

      • CookinDude says:

        I don’t care; I’m sure there’s an explanation of the physics; I get it.; But to have that phenomenon occur because of slight errors…that’s just nuts. You’re trying to rationalize it like Corning would. If you ever had one of these explode near your kids you would not be interested in any reasonable precautions or whatever. I’m telling you it EXPLODED LIKE A BOMB with billions of huge splinters of glass EVERYWHERE. It was truly heart-stopping. God help me if my child had actually been there instead of 8 feet away when it occurred to me. I had used Pyrex for years too. No more Pyrex- EVER!

  2. My Pirex exploded in the most rare circumstances. We bought this new Pirex pans and without using them, that night, we stored them in one of the kitchen cabinets. The following morning one of the trays had exploded mysteriously. In this experience, no heat at all was involved, no abrupt temperature change was involved either still the Pyrex tray exploded at some point through the night. We were lucky it exploded while in the kitchen cabinet and no one was hurt. We called Pyrex to complain about this problem. They did not give any explanation, but they apologized and sent us by UPS a new Pyrex pan for free to replace the one which had exploded. This happened last December (2012). I haven’t had any problems with my Pyrex trays anymore.

    • Pyrex recommends that you don’t stack your dishes (if you did maybe that’s why it broke)….which I think is pretty unrealistic. I’m guilty of doing it anyway. I have no choice because limited space. Maybe I should store some under the bed…LOL :D

  3. This happened to us also/ two of my rectangular casserole dishes exploded after taking them out of the oven and setting it on the counter. This happened twice in about 3 weeks, we are going to replace them with metal. Both times it ruined all of our dinner that was in the kitchen because the pieces of glass went everywhere! It was shocking to say the least.

    • The counter could’ve been cold enough to shock the dish. I set mine on either a large potholder or a DRY dishtowel. Pyrex recommends that you don’t place it on a metal rack after taking it out of the oven, but I’m guilty of doing it anyway. :s The only time I had a Pyrex dish break is when one of my kids got in the cabinet and accidentally dropped one. :(

  4. My 8 cup Pyrex measuring bowl exploded like a bomb when I removed it from the dishwasher while it was still hot and wet. It shattered into thousands of pieces. I ended up with several minor cuts. I was left holding a small piece of the handle.

  5. Tonight my boyfriend was washing dishes. He put a room-temperature Pyrex casserole dish into the dishwasher. Five minutes later, it exploded like a bomb. I was amazed at the millions of shards everywhere! I couldn’t have made a glass dish break into that many pieces if I had dropped it from 3 stories up. We thought it was some supernatural, ghostly event & were freaked out by it. I’m amazed to see that this has happened to so many people. I’m also amazed that on the Pyrex website, they try to downplay it or blame it on consumers not following the precautions on their products. If a glass dish requires directions on how to use it without losing an eye, than I’d rather use something else.

  6. My Pyrex baking dish EXPLODED!!! so hard last night that I have dents in the oven, It broke the fan, and a chunk of glass is now infused between the double pane glass window. I’ve never seen anything like it. I have to replace the stove (because I’m scared to use it.) I will never use Pyrex again and tell anyone I know to do the same.

  7. I went with ceramic and put it right from oven to counter just like the good old days.

  8. Can you offer some Alternatives to Pyrex glassware?

  9. Pyrex is bound for class action suit when people especially children get hurt from their product. It’s horrible when a child steps on a shard of glass. And one person said her glass broke like safety glass “no way!!!” It breaks in a million sharp shards like daggers.
    Personally we longer use it. I went out and bought $$$ pan metal that’s all I use for cooking .

  10. Hazel Hester says:

    3/22/13…I had a backing dish with French fries in the oven….when took out and placed on stove…it exploded….granddaughter cut her foot…when exploded she jumped back and glass in foor stepped on it …cut foot deep..its a miracle her face was not cut up….will now throw away all pyrex dishes.

  11. Yeahhhhh, brand new dish first use BAM 10 ft of glass and boiling liquid and glass plus a very expensive dinner ruined. Never again!! http://www.seasonmoorephotography.com/blog/2013/03/explodingpyrex/

  12. CookinDude says:

    This happened to me recently.
    Took out a rectangular Pyrex baking pan that was holding a cooked butternut squash. Set it on the Formica counter. Two mnutes later, it sounded like a grenade went off- and there were millions of shards of glass scattered across the entire kitchen. Some of these shards looked like props from a horror movie…long and knife-like. They were everywhere…on every counter, floor and table surface. In retrospect, I admit that I did set the hot dish in a small wet spot, thus inducing thermal shock. But heck, if we’re using equipment that has zero tolerance for error, and this is the result, I am not comfortable with that. What happens when my kid starts cooking? (Luckily my kid was just outside the room when the explosion occurred). Pyrex is just too freaky for me. I’ll have to start investing in good All-Clad stuff.

  13. This just happened to me. It’s a miracle I didn’t get hit in the face by exploding glass. I was baking leftovers in the (preheated) oven in a Pyrex glass pie dish, at 430 degrees. After about 20 minutes, I took the pan out of the oven, removed my food, and let the dish sit for a few minutes. Then I went to put the dish in the sink, and as soon as it touched a little bit of water in the sink, it exploded into hundreds of tiny pieces. It was barely out of my hands when it exploded. There was a loud “bang” sound. Luckily, most of the fragments stayed in the sink, but a few big chunks flew out onto the kitchen floor. That could have hit me in the face. I can’t believe it! I’m sure Pyrex will face a lawsuit over this sooner or later. I’ll be getting rid of all my Pyrex bakeware now.

  14. I WAS SHOCKED TO HEAR A BANG IN MY OVEN LAST NIGHT, I WAS COOKING A STEAK. IN A PYREX DISH WHEN I LOOKED IN SIDE THE DISH WAS IN PEICES . I WAS ABLE TOO GET MY STEAK DINNER OUT WITH OUT ANY GLASS ON IT . THE DISH WAS IN PEICES THE EXPLODESON BROKE MY OVEN BROILER COIL. I HAVE LOTS OF PYREX GLASS WEAR NOW I DON’T TRUST IT ANYMORE IT’S TO DANGEROUS.

  15. Hey!

    I googled exploding pyrex after that was exactly what happened to me and I am glad to discover I’m not the only one. Thought I’d share my experience too.

    A rectangular pyrex dish exploded when I put it away in the cupboard. It was not hot, maybe two hours after a dishwasher clean. It was not visibly scratched or chipped. I did not knock it anywhere, just deposited it on the shelf. Or tried to. As soon as one end touched the shelf, it shattered into millions of pieces.

    I was still holding the other end and I got many many pieces of glass on my bare forearms and face. But apart for some minor scratches, I wasn’t severely cut.

    AND I THINK THIS IS INTENTIONAL BY THE COMPANY. I am no glass maker. But I have been in a car accident and had a window explode from my head impacting it. I couldn’t get over how I wasn’t more cut up until the mechanic explained that car windows are safety glass. They break up into squarish chunks that are much less dangerous. Well those pieces of pyrex were identical. Not long pointy shards. Boxy or rectangular chunks.

    And unlike others, I am reassured. If I just had the dish explode in my hands and I was not seriously cut, well it’s hard to think of a more dangerous possibility. The glass rebounded off my face, and I am still picking it out of my bra… So I WILL buy another pyrex, because I enjoy using them.

    And it sure jump started spring cleaning, I have washed every single pot and pan I own as well as the cupboard and the floor!

    • CookinDude says:

      I cannot understand this poster. The pieces from every other exploding bomb Pyrex event are millions of long dangerous shards. This stuff is not, and does not, break like auto safety glass! Go ahead, buy more…someday it’s going to go off like a bomb and cover your kitchen with shrapnel. I hope you are not hurt. WAAAYYYYY too risky when there are so many other alternatives.

  16. Hey! @jennyjenjen here… saw this article: http://todayhealth.today.com/_news/2012/12/21/16049242-kitchen-calamity-reports-of-shattering-cookware-on-the-rise?lite

    Then saw your post…

    It interests me because it happened to me, too: http://www.jennifermnewell.com/blog/2009/09/pyrex/

    …and I’m not glad but find it good to know that others have had the same thing happen. I still get a lot of people searching for info stumble onto my blog. Crazy.

  17. Well my Pyrex pan exploded tonight just as I was about to serve dinner. The explosion was so loud my husband came flying into the kitchen to find diner and me in a mess of exploded shards of glass. Luckily I was not hurt. I have no idea how I wasn’t hurt. It took us an hour to clean up since it really exploded even sending glass into things on the counter and into the oven. All that meat and sauteed fennel had to be tossed. What a waste of $.
    I just bought my son a Pyrex baking pan because I’ve always been a big Pyrex fan. Well no longer. I’m telling him to throw it in the garbage. It’s not worth the risk. Pyrex I’m really upset with your inferior product and allowing people to continue to buy it when it blows up.

  18. We just experienced this. Not fun and the damage is ridicules. I got out a Pyrex dish and set it on the stove. My husband thought he had turned on the oven but inadvertently turned on the stove top. When the stove was red and I saw the dish on it I asked why it was on and proceeded to turn it off. W did not touch it we just let it cool down. About 3 minutes later I was standing there about 2 feet from it and it exploded. It sounded like a bomb went off. Glass went everywhere. All over the linoleum floor, carpet and counter. It melted into all of them. I lit ally had to cut glass shards out of the carpet because they had melted clear through to the bottom. The linoleum looks like chocolate is spilled all over it. And the counter it browned cracked and peeling. Unfortunately we are in an apartment and I am worried sick about what theis damage is going to cost. I however glad no one was hurt. I had glass shard imbedded in my pants and on that hit my arm but that was it.

  19. I had my Pyrex dish EXPlODE on me tonight! Hundreds of small tiny flying piece of glass! It was BAD! I have no idea why this happened, as it was at room temp before I added hot ingredients. It was like a BOMB going off. Greatful no one was hurt. Never using Pyrex again.

  20. This has happened to me too! It happened in the oven (thank goodness!) and I witnessed it happen to my friend in her oven too. Both times it was a LOUD explosion and they were with Pyrexs that were purchased in the last 3 years. No cracks before use. This is really scary. I’m going to only use them in the fridge from now on.

  21. it has happened twice in my Dacor oven. always with pyrex and now my oven glass door also broke because of the liquid of a meat loaf. I cant believe how unsafe it is to use the oven!!!

  22. I just removed a briskett from the oven and placed it on the cooktop to cool when the glass cassarole dish exploided into hundreds of tiny glass pieces and shards of glass. The glass and liquid got all over the kitchen and dining room.

  23. today i was baby sitting-put a roast in the oven-opened the door to check on it-there was a loud explosion- i thought the oven had blown up -there were at least a million pieces of glass, pyrex dish, all over the oven and floor–luckily none hit my face or eyes or the children – i have been cooking for 50 years and never thought of such a thing happening-
    where is the liability for this?

  24. Popular Science documented why the new formula breaks so easily.

    http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-03/gray-matter-cant-take-heat

    And of course, always check Snopes.

    http://www.snopes.com/food/warnings/pyrex.asp

  25. This happened to me on Thanksgiving Day, just as I was getting ready to put the dressing on the table! The Pyrex dish (with the dressing) literally exploded as if a bomb had gone off! It even sounded like an explosion! Shards and chunks of glass flew as far as 5 feet into the breakfast nook! Seriously, dangerous! We were lucky that no one got hurt, including the dog! Needless to say–no Thanksgiving dressing with the turkey! ;(

  26. risa hamfry says:

    Initially I think pyrex is the most secure food containers used in the microwave, because pyrex is not going to contaminate food in it. but this incident really makes me worried. thanks for the information

  27. I had this happen- TWICE- before I finally did some web research. I was shocked to find out how common it is. I wish my budget would allow me to invest in some lovely Le Creuset instead!

  28. i’m stopping by from mom bloggers and I stumbled your post. That is crazy. I own some pyrex too and that makes me a bit nervous

  29. Well wow. I just switched out all my plasticware to Pyrex – for safety concerns! After reading this, I’m gong to do another tota rehaul of my kitchen. I don’t believe it was an accident your blog posting was above mine on SITS this morning! I was even a day late for reading it – thank you for posting this!!

  30. This happened to me I was making meatloaf and had it sitting on top of the stove while I was waiting for the stove to preheat. The pan was not chipped scratched or cracked in fact it had only been used a handful of times. My daughter and dog were driving me insane coming in and out of the kitchen and I had a baby gate to lock them out I turned my back on the stove after just peering at the pan wondering if the oven was hot enough yet. I caught my daughter about to put her hand on the stove and it was an older stove the door got fairly hot so I turned my back on the stove and was chasing her and the dog out of the kitchen. God I sure am glad I did as I got to the doorway mere seconds later there was a loud pop behind me and I got pelted in the back with shards of glass. Had I of still been looking at it wondering if it was hot yet, I’d of probably been blinded, not only that had my toddler still been in the kitchen it could have seriously injured her and the dog. And we aren’t talking about the dish cracking it exploded into small chunks of glass like a bomb had gone off and rained that glass all over my kitchen ruining that meatloaf and four others I was prepping for future meals. But overall I was just thankful that I wasn’t still staring at the pan and that I had just ushered my child and pet out of the kitchen!

    This is NOT a myth be careful with any glass pans. Pyrex was my favorite type of baking dish but I will never buy or use another glass pan after that experience.

    -Heather

    • Heather! That is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m glad to hear that your daughter and dog were spared. But anyway, it reinforces why I’m not using my Pyrex as ovenware anymore. Others, will benefit from your comment, I’m sure!

  31. Oh my goodness! That happened to me before! I thought I was the only one. I was made some lasagna rolls. They were done baking. The Pyrex was fine when I got it out of the oven, but I set it on one of my burners (that hadn’t been used at all that day) and then I walked away for a minute. I heard a loud pop sound. My Pyrex was broken in one big piece and then several little pieces. Hmmm…something to think about when purchasing our new bakewear.

    • Joanne, it’s amazing how many people this has happened to. Thanks for sharing. Oddly, it seems to happen when set on room temperature burners after pulling it out of the oven. I personally used to do exactly that all the time with my Pyrex.

  32. I had this happen to me, but thankfully the dish didn’t explode, it just cracked. Was bummed. Glad you wrote this post!

  33. Wow! That’s just crazy. I love my Pyrex, but you are right, I don’t think it’s worth the risk, especially with 3 curious boys in the kitchen with me!

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