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My Pyrex Pan just exploded!

Well, it happened. I had meatballs baking in the oven in a pyrex pan and I heard the sound of glass smashing. It was a pretty loud explosion and really startled me. I opened the oven and sure enough, there was the pan in a couple of hundred pieces. I think I remember reading about stuff like this happening on a thread somewhere here on CH - like maybe with age pyrex can weaken to the point where it explodes like this. All I can say is thank god it didn't happen when I opened the door! I think I'm getting rid of my other remaining pyrex pans and switching to all ceramic pans from now on...

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  1. The most common way this happens is from thermal shock; the two easiest ways for this to happen are taking a chilled Pyrex pan and putting it in the oven, or putting a hot Pyrex pan from the oven on a wet spot on the counter. Older Pyrex is actually less susceptible to this since it's made from a different material than current Pyrex. If the Pyrex is scratched, it makes it more susceptible to explosive effects.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

      But I did neither. The pan was room temp. when it went into the oven and I never got the chance to take it out - it exploded IN the oven.

      1. re: flourgirl

        What a nasty mess you must have had to clean up!

        I had a Pyrex explode in a non-customary way as well. It was at room temperature and all I did was ladle a bit of hot tomato sauce into it - not more than a few tablespoons. As I turned away, I heard loud pops, and it was the Pyrex shattering. I'm sure it had to do with the thermal shock, but not to the extremes that people always claim are the ways that Pyrex will shatter.

        1. re: flourgirl

          Mine did the same last year. Never is 30 years of cooking had one do this. I was a fairly new pan too.

          Mine was lasagna so what a mess. Room temp, 350 degrees. Was in there for maybe 15 minutes and then boom. I have a couple of pie plates and a loaf pan and 2 casseroles, 1 round and my 13x9. I use them all the time. That was a first.

      2. oh crap! i live in fear of this. i read on this site u can bake over 350* in pyrex but i still haven't worked up the nerve to try. We must have aa moment of silence for your meatball massacre!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Boccone Dolce

          Wow. This is really good to know about Pyrex. I have a pyrex casserole type pan. It's one that's like 9x10, and about 2 inches deep. It was given to me as a wedding present about 3 years ago. I hadn't had any problems with it, but a few months ago, I baked some salmon in it. I lined the pyrex with aluminum foil, for easy clean up (don't know if that has anything to do with this or not). I baked the salmon at 400, for 40 or 45 min. When I went to clean the pan, I noticed a spot in the middle that looked like it had melted a little. No lie, it was in the shape of the salmon fillets. Maybe I'm not supposed to bake it at 400 degrees, but my pan didn't come with any special directions, so I just figured that I could bake in it like a regular pan.

          1. re: amselby81

            Hmmm, you know, I never really thought about whether or not there were temperature limits above which it's not safe to use pyrex. I have often used my pyrex pans in the oven with temperatures of 425F. I wonder if that had anything to do with the pan exploding. It was at 350 when it happened but maybe it was weakened in the past from too high a temp? I have no idea.

        2. Heck, we had an old Pyrex under the broiler (electric) the other day. Seemed fine. I was more nervous after reading stuff on here, but it seems to be fairly rare.

          1. That is really scary! So glad you weren't hurt. I have 3 Pyrex baking dishes, and pie plates of varying sizes and use them regularly. Not with aluminum foil nor at 425*.
            They are Very Old.... Since my pantry is a cool buttery type room, I always let them come up to room temp, or let them sit in warm to hot water before using them. Never a problem. Of course now that I've read this thread..... you know what's going to happen don't you.

            1. Flourgirl: A few months back, CI had a clear explanation about exploding Pyrex. Look it up.

              4 Replies
              1. re: FallsChurch2

                I don't have a CI membership and I can't find the article, but the stuff I could find that talked about it basically seems to say that most cases of exploding pyrex are due to thermal shock. But the pan I was using came out of the cabinet - not the fridge or freezer. And it exploded in the oven, so it wasn't because I set it on a wet spot or on the range. BUT - I've also found out courtesy of this thread and other sources that apparently scratches can cause this to happen such as those caused by scouring pads. This is probably how the pan got weakened to the point that it shattered - but I am still going to replace my remaining pans with ceramic.

                1. re: flourgirl

                  Tempered glass is designed to withstand pretty high heat and temperature changes; that's why it's been tempered. Pyrex (or any other tempered glass product) can be weakened by microscopic scratches in the surface caused by normal use. Any hard impact to the surface can also weaken the tempering; but define "hard impact". That could mean clunking dishes together, dropping a serving spoon etc. This damage results in shattering, without any warning and for no apparent reason.

                  There's really nothing you can do to prevent it. I had a very large tempered glass cutting board shatter in the middle of the night. Sounded like someone broke into the house. The cutting board was not used for cutting, unless a plastic board was over it, but we did use it for hot pots and such. I'm sure moving things around caused small scratches and it just finally gave up.

                  1. re: Dee S

                    It's the scratches.

                    Been there, done that. Mom used to gouge out the old Pyrex ware with one of those darned coiled-metal scrubbers and sure enough, I had three of 'em pop on me... all with complicated, expensive casseroles inside (actually one lovely bread pudding).

                    In the restaurant business, we use tempered glass all the time. And it's strong and seemingly impervious to heat differences... until you push it over the edge. I recall the first really great oven that I ever had was a Thermador with the tempered glass door... a housekeeper sprayed glass cleaner on it after it was hot as Hades... pow! a gazillion pieces. I guess that's how tempered glass breaks (kinda like the safety glass in our cars, now, that can't break into deadly shards).

                2. The official company line looks like "ha ha, you must have been doing something wrong":
                  http://www.pyrexware.com/thetruthabou...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                    I thought the stuff was indestructible.....
                    SO mistakenly turned on the wrong burner on the stove where there was an empty Pyrex dish and it exploded into a million pieces.

                  2. i could see if you had a lot of quite cold meatballs and sauce it could
                    have caused some differential expansion between the cold side in contact
                    with the hard-to-heat-up food and the hot side [some shapes might be ok
                    in situations like this while other shapes are suspectible]

                    i dont have enough experience or knowledge of pyrex to know if
                    repeated heating and cooling makes it more prone to shattering ...
                    but rocks which are heated and cooled over and over ... say a small
                    piece of exposed granite you find in the high sierra ... become crumbly ...
                    maybe the same is true if you use a pyrex 1000 times ... although i'd
                    be surprised if this had an effect over a reasonable number of cycles
                    for cookware.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: psb

                      Nope, no cold sauce. And I had just hand made the meatballs so they weren't that cold. And I seriously doubt I had used this pan anywhere near 1000 times....

                    2. I just had a Pyrex explode on me.....I was baking some Jerk chicken and had taken it out of the oven and it exploded. I put it on the oven which was not on. It shattered and sent peices of glass flying....I am surprised that none of it hit me as I was still holding the dish. That would hurt ..... 350 degree shards of glass. At least I know what could have happened.

                      Now what am I going to eat??

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: moep

                        I have never liked cooking with pyrex cuz the stuff is a bear to clean. I vaguely remember reading that Corning or whoever bought them out changed the glass formula. No more silca borite or something. A lot of troubles it seems with exploding glass.

                      2. Gosh. I don't use mine much, but it's enough to make you think. And what if my girlfiend gets hurt! Maybe she's right about the le creuset set...

                        *edit* just picked up a le creuset set for £80 with 2 stoneware dishes! buh bye pyrex!

                        1. Yup, the same thing just happened to our ANCHOR GLASSWARE. This is the last glass pan that we have in the house, because just last summer our other glass pan (I think they came as a set) exploded in the oven. This was a loud explosion in the oven, too.
                          All I can picture is someone losing an eye or having scars on their face as a result of this.
                          Well, wish my husband luck on his next eggplant parmigiana-that he will make in a non-glass pan.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: cpallasc

                            Hey I was thinking about the reason no-one seems to have been injured: the glass will be cushioned by the food in the dish, and won't fly up.

                          2. Wow, you guys are freaking me out. I have three glass casseroles (one very elderly, my fave 8x8) and now I don't know what to do!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Sarah

                              You probably shouldn't use them. You never see it coming. And it isn't just Pyrex ovenware. It happened to me with a Picardie glass, at room temperature, straight from the dish rack. Shattered in my hand. The glass crumbled and flew everywhere. At least I wasn't looking at it when it happened. I was picking up pieces of glass, in all sizes, everywhere, for months.

                            2. Until this post I had never heard of Pyrex shattering violently, so started looking around the web, it seems like this has become a problem for more than a few people.

                              Pyrex has become a brand name, the US manufacturer that bought the rights to it is selling regular glass as pyrex.

                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borosili...

                              1. I find the reports of shattering very scary, but I also have - and like - several Pyrex baking dishes and pie pans. A partial fix for this danger is to put the Pyrex on a metal sheet pan.
                                Should it explode, at least the food will be contained - you won't be burned and the clean-up will be easier.

                                1. My mother-in-law loves pyrex pans in all shapes and forms, so she uses them often (she's got a lot of old ones) and they've shattered unexpectedly without a thermal shock too. She's been told by someone- a rep at Anchor Hocking? I can't remember... anyway, she was told that due to its particular molecular structure, Pyrex gets more and more brittle the more its used, so eventually this will happen after many many uses. Don't know how true that is, but I know she's experienced this.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: sfumato

                                    Four sail cheep!! 4 pyrex pans. Free shipping.

                                    1. re: sfumato

                                      I think you are correct. I was using a leading French brand of tempered "unbreakable" glassware in an institutional setting. This brand promotes their product by mailing foodservice managers a glass, a nail and a block of wood. You get the picture.

                                      However, after a while a few spontaneously exploded in Patients' hands. Out they went. I was told by the company that the glasses could only absorb a certain amount of energy from impacts before they get overwhelmed and break. It sounds like Pyrex products might have the same problem.

                                    2. I have concluded that after a while, Pyrex just doesn't seem to be safe. It takes years, but the constant expanding and contracting with temperature fluctuations, perhaps in conjunction with a good dose of scratches and surface etching due to years of use of improper metal utensils, just seem to take their toll on the stuff. I now throw out any pyrex that appears scratched up or cloudy as a safety precaution. I still worry when I use a pyrex pie pan, but I put a cookie sheet under it.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: RGC1982

                                        ANCHOR SENT TWO NEW GLASS PANS!!! On the night of the incident, my husband got right on the computer and typed them an e-mail. They responded the next day, and the UPS driver just delevered them 5 minutes ago. The only thing that they requested from my husband was the leftover broken pieces; I don't know if that is for them to analyze, but at least we have a pan to make something else in! Wish him luck...

                                        1. re: cpallasc

                                          That's cool. It could at the least be a way to make sure every cook in America doesn't say 'hey, free pans, just e-mail.' It would be great if it really is for analysis.

                                          Threads like this make me want to cook with all cast iron, or become a raw foodie.

                                        2. re: RGC1982

                                          30 yrs and only 1 has broke. I also had some very expensive ones break too so I don't worry. I continue to use them.

                                        3. It seems it is always the italian dishes. Mine was Eggplant Parmesan. Started layering in the Pyrex and it exploded on top on the stove. I scrambled to get the dogs and came back to chaos and my SO laughing at me! Like I did something wrong. Damn Pyrex. I only use it for cake now!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: dcdavis

                                            Do you mean it shattered while assembling the dish with cold ingredients in a cold baking dish and with no heat applied? Or do you mean it was on top of the stove with a burner on?

                                          2. Seeing as I got an undergraduate degree in Chemistry, I can tell you that true borosilicate 'pyrex' glassware is extremely tolerant of thermal shock. It was not uncommon for us to take beakers and flasks directly off of a burner flame and plunge them into an ice water bath.

                                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrex

                                            According to this, kitchen Pyrex cookware in the US is no longer made of borosilicate, it is made of tempered soda lime. If so, it is NOT true Pyrex but rather a cheaper alternative masquerading under the same name. Such a shame how far US manufacturing has fallen. You can't trust anything anymore. Scratch another manufacturer off the list.

                                            At least I still have my two laboratory grade pyrex casserole dishes that are most certainly made of borosilicate.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: meadandale

                                              That's helpful to know. Please start a blog on cooking with lab flasks. :D

                                              1. re: Cinnamon

                                                Several months ago I did quite a bit of reading up on this problem, but now I don't know exactly where the info was. It was in the late 90's, IIRC, that Corning stopped making Pyrex and sold the name to World Kitchen. Not sure if that's when the make-up of the glass changed, or earlier. There was also something about how to tell from the label what it was made of - something like, if it says Corning it's borosilicate, but that's just a for instance. If and when I shop for Pyrex again, it will be at a thrift shop or tag sale, in hopes of getting an old piece made from the original glass formula.

                                            2. As a potter, I can tell you that ceramic pans are vulnerable to thermal shock, too. Most potters will let you know not to put the piece in a preheated oven. I'll put mine in a nearly preheated oven and always on a sheet pan or other insulator from the hot oven rack. But never when it's cold.

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: Leepa

                                                I have almost all pottery for my casserole dishes and bowls. My other is a few stainless and pyrex. I love pottery. But yes, I am careful. They are by far the best for cooking. I love them.

                                                1. re: Leepa

                                                  Ok, I have some LC stoneware. I'll bear that in mind.

                                                  1. re: Soop

                                                    my pyrex just exploded in front of my face and i'm only 4'11". i'm still in a state of shock. i was warming up some salmon for 4 mins in the oven and let it cool on top of the stove top.

                                                    i'm shocked since i've used this pan to cook yams for 1.5 hours and everything was fine. i just cleaned all the shattered glass from the kitchen counter, floor and stove top. i can't believe i didn't get hurt or cut my eyes. i'm still in a state of shock.

                                                    1. re: anhv

                                                      OMG, sorry to hear that. I have some and they may be only 4 years old but I now use them only in refrige (not in freezer) for organizing things or marinade meat etc (I think glass is better than plastic.) . After hearing so many incidents, I started to shift to porcelain bakeware (Apilco and PIllivuyt) since last year.

                                                      1. re: hobbybaker

                                                        "hearing so many incidents" is one of the hazards of a fully-connected world. I personally have not stopped using pyrex, as my mother before me and I have used it for a total of probably 60 years with no ill effects. No harm in shifting to something else, but also no reason to panic. Sort of like the predator that some parents think lurks on every street corner.

                                                        1. re: DGresh

                                                          My personal decision is eliminating all my pyrex gradually since last year, which are relatively new. The 9 x 13 baking dish has scratches and some of them look deep as things were cut inside often. I am not at all panic as mines have not exploded yet but just not confident anymore in using them in the oven after "hearing so many incidents" not only here but also in person.

                                                          There are many good deals on quality of French porcelains at WS outlet etc. Why bother? I bought two nice baking dishes of Apilco just for $30, thanks for the info in this board. This is the one of beauty of "the fully connected world" :)

                                                2. This is very disturbing. Now, I've never had Pyrex break (have had other tempered glass break with horrible results) but I love to make creme brulee and creme caramel in the Pyrex ramekins I got from my mother. I guess I'll have to be careful about scratches.

                                                  Whilst we're reviving this topic, does anyone remember the Corning cookware that was actually stovetop-safe? Remember in the late '70s, it was smokey-color. I recall buying a set of it (before I knew any better) and boy, was it the most horrible, horrible stuff. Imagine, trying to fry eggs in one of those "glass" pans...

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: shaogo

                                                    If we're talking about the same thing, it's called Visions, and came in either cranberry or amber. I just had one small saucepan, which was fine for sauces and vegetables. It broke when I dropped it while putting it away, but did not shatter.

                                                    I have a very scratched old Pyrex covered dish that owes me nothing but is still going. It mostly goes between the fridge and microwave. A newer one shattered when I put it on a damp surface while it was hot - my intro to the realities of Pyrex. So I am now more careful when handling glass dishes and if using them in the oven, I use a metal sheet pan under them and handle only the sheet pan. If the food is something not eaten hot, I leave the glass on the metal pan as it cools. I do like the heat retention and even baking afforded by glass pans, especially for pie crust, and am not in terror of my Pyrex. I just want to avoid having to deal with burned food on the oven floor, should the unlikely occur.

                                                  2. I'm surprised no one here actually checked this out, but rehashed the same old rumors about the construction of Pyrex bakeware.

                                                    Not only is soda lime glass more resistant to impact breakage, but when it does break, it breaks into smaller rounded pieces. Borosilicate glass shatters into little daggers.

                                                    I have a couple of borosilicate glass measuring cups, and can tell you first hand that they are fragile and turn into glass daggers when they do break.

                                                    >>>
                                                    The claim that the current makers of Pyrex abandoned borosilicate glass in favor or poorer quality soda lime glass is false.

                                                    World Kitchen told TruthOrFiction.com that Pyrex has been made from heat-strengthened soda lime glass for about 60 years and that the switch was first made by Corning, not World Kitchen. The company added, “Consumers should know that soda lime glass, such as that used to make PYREX glass bakeware, is significantly more resistant to breaking on impact than borosilicate glass and comparably resistant to breakage caused by severe temperature changes.”

                                                    It is also false that World Kitchen is not a U.S. company. It is an American firm and Pyrex is manufactured in the U.S.A..
                                                    <<<

                                                    BTW - it is the same plant it was made in when it was part of Corning. All that changed was the name on the door.

                                                    1. I have a small but noticable scar running down the side of my pinky from this.

                                                      1. Part of the problem is that Corning(the former owner) and World Kitchen benefited for years from the rumors of what their products could do and could withstand. It generated sales and as far as I can recall they did nothing to dis-spell rumors that had a positive impact on sales. Sure they included instructions on use and care but who needs those when all your friends have told you how indestructible the stuff is and that's the reason you bought it in the first place.

                                                        Now the shoe is on the other foot and they don't like it. But you can't have it both ways. You either create products that live up to the hype that has driven your sales or you aggressively change the mindset of your customers so that they use your products as intended.

                                                        1. Here's a funny in-depth article of a similar exploding Pyrex experience: http://www.thereviewchimp.com/?p=192

                                                          1. My fairly new 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup just exploded, with NO temperature change, NO chips or cracks, NOTHING falling on it or moving it, and NO discernible reason for such an explosion. It was sitting on the counter next to the cooktop on the opposite counter from where I was filling jelly jars. The room temperature is about 62 degrees.

                                                            The cup exploded into hundreds of pieces which went everywhere: into the salt pig which I just filled with Maldon which I had to throw away, into the last two jars I was filling, all over the floor and onto the opposite counter. It was completely bizarre and unwarranted. The cup wasn't near a heat source or on a pilot light. It was at ambient room temperature, and still exploded.

                                                            I'm throwing out all the Pyrex I've bought in the last 10 years. Now it's Anchor Hocking and ceramic for me. Jeebus. I thought it was people who "just explode."

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: soyarra

                                                              A similar thing happened to me...i have a pyrex 8x10 dish that i've been storing in the drawer under the stove with my other baking pans. The other day we heard a loud explosion and came to find that the dish just randomly shattered in the drawer. I've read lots of posts that explain this shattering to temp changes but i haven't use the oven for a few days before this happened so the dish has been at room temp the whole time. So strange! The dish is also almost brand new and does not have any scratches. Luckily the mess was contained in the drawer and easy to clean up but I'm pretty sure I'm done with glass dishes! Too scary!

                                                            2. I just had a Pyrex baking dish explode in my oven today. . it was brand new and never used. What a mess. .. I'm really upset about this, it is so dangerous and now I have to clean a million little glass Pieces while my 9 month baby tries to "help" me

                                                               
                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: cassandraclaarla

                                                                That's an impressive photo - my sympathies on the mess, but better inside the oven than in your hands as you remove the hot pan from the oven, with the baby underfoot. Put Junior down for a nap and do a thorough sweep of the floor, and vacuum, then wet-mop, just in case anything got onto the floor while you were cleaning the oven interior. Avoiding this type of disaster is why I always have a metal sheet pan underneath my pyrex.

                                                                You've found the shortest of the threads on this topic;
                                                                here are some longer, more recently-active ones: http://www.chow.com/search?q=explodin...

                                                                  1. re: cassandraclaarla

                                                                    My child was an infant once. I don't think she was ever allowed to crawl around in the kitchen. Even forty-some years ago there were devices for confining infants to safe spaces.

                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                      Yes, I completely agree: baby gates. I used them all the time when my two were little. I had visions of turning around and tripping, or trying to avoid, a crawling baby and everything in a hot pan spilling everywhere. Stepping on little fingers, you name it. These days, even the corgis are shooed out of the kitchen when I'm working. Small speed bumps, they are!!

                                                                  2. Somewhere on Chowhound are long discussions on exploding Pyrex. They reveal that people have tried to use it on a direct flame (bad idea) or have shocked it by a too-fast transition from freezer to oven. But apart from that, people have said that newer Pyrex is being made in China using a composition that tends to explode. All I can say is that every bit of my Pyrex either has ancient provenance in my own household or came from a yard sale where it probably had the same in somebody else's, and I have never had a problem. I am now wary of the newer product.

                                                                    1. just happened to me also in an old Pyrex.