Can You Put Ziploc Bags in Boiling Water?

Ziploc bags are a convenient way to store and transport food. Their waterproof design makes them useful for sous vide cooking and other boiling water techniques. However, not all Ziploc bags are created equal. Some are safer for boiling water than others. This article will explore the safety concerns, ideal plastic types, manufacturer recommendations, and alternatives when using Ziploc bags in boiling water.


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Anova Culinary AN400-US00 Nano Sous Vide Precision Cooker, 12.8" x 2.2" x 4.1", Black
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IMPRESA [10 pack] Sous Vide Magnets to Keep Bags Submerged & In Place - Sous Vide Accessories to Stop Floating Bags & Undercooking - Great Alternative to Sous Vide Weights, Balls, Clips, & Racks
Anova Culinary ANVS01-US00 Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer, Includes 10 Precut Bags, For Sous Vide and Food Storage
Wevac Vacuum Sealer Bags 8x50, 11x50 Rolls 2 pack for Food Saver, Seal a Meal, Weston. Commercial Grade, BPA Free, Heavy Duty, Great for vac storage, Meal Prep or Sous Vide
Anova Culinary AN400-US00 Nano Sous Vide Precision Cooker, 12.8" x 2.2" x 4.1", Black
Anova Precision Cooker Container 12L
IMPRESA [10 pack] Sous Vide Magnets to Keep Bags Submerged & In Place - Sous Vide Accessories to Stop Floating Bags & Undercooking - Great Alternative to Sous Vide Weights, Balls, Clips, & Racks
Anova Culinary ANVS01-US00 Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer, Includes 10 Precut Bags, For Sous Vide and Food Storage
Wevac Vacuum Sealer Bags 8x50, 11x50 Rolls 2 pack for Food Saver, Seal a Meal, Weston. Commercial Grade, BPA Free, Heavy Duty, Great for vac storage, Meal Prep or Sous Vide
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Anova Culinary AN400-US00 Nano Sous Vide Precision Cooker, 12.8" x 2.2" x 4.1", Black
Anova Culinary AN400-US00 Nano Sous Vide Precision Cooker, 12.8" x 2.2" x 4.1", Black
$99.00
Anova Precision Cooker Container 12L
Anova Precision Cooker Container 12L
$127.44
IMPRESA [10 pack] Sous Vide Magnets to Keep Bags Submerged & In Place - Sous Vide Accessories to Stop Floating Bags & Undercooking - Great Alternative to Sous Vide Weights, Balls, Clips, & Racks
IMPRESA [10 pack] Sous Vide Magnets to Keep Bags Submerged & In Place - Sous Vide Accessories to Stop Floating Bags & Undercooking - Great Alternative to Sous Vide Weights, Balls, Clips, & Racks
$24.99
Anova Culinary ANVS01-US00 Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer, Includes 10 Precut Bags, For Sous Vide and Food Storage
Anova Culinary ANVS01-US00 Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer, Includes 10 Precut Bags, For Sous Vide and Food Storage
$59.95
Wevac Vacuum Sealer Bags 8x50, 11x50 Rolls 2 pack for Food Saver, Seal a Meal, Weston. Commercial Grade, BPA Free, Heavy Duty, Great for vac storage, Meal Prep or Sous Vide
Wevac Vacuum Sealer Bags 8x50, 11x50 Rolls 2 pack for Food Saver, Seal a Meal, Weston. Commercial Grade, BPA Free, Heavy Duty, Great for vac storage, Meal Prep or Sous Vide
$18.99

Last update on 2024-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


 

Safety Concerns

The main concern with boiling Ziploc bags is the melting point of the plastic. Exposing bags to temperatures above their melting point can cause the plastic to warp, melt, or leach chemicals into food.

Most standard Ziploc bags are made of #2 HDPE or #4 LDPE plastics. The typical melting point of HDPE is around 250°F while LDPE melts at around 230°F. As water boils at 212°F, these plastics can become unstable and leach chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) into food when boiled for an extended time.

Sharp food items or aggressive cooking techniques like pressure cooking also increase the risk of damaged bags. Small tears or holes in the plastic can allow boiling water to leak out and contaminate food.

To avoid potential contaminated food or ingesting harmful chemicals from melted plastic, it’s crucial to use proper bags and handling techniques when cooking with boiling water.

Manufacturer’s Recommendations

Ziploc provides guidelines on how their bags should be used with boiling water. Here are some of their key recommendations:

  • Only use Ziploc brand freezer or vacuum seal bags for boiling. Regular storage bags are not suitable.
  • Water temperature should not exceed 185°F. This is below the typical 212°F boiling point.
  • Avoid boiling bags for more than 3 hours. Extended boiling increases failure risks.
  • Inspect bags carefully for damage before use. Do not use bags with existing tears or holes.
  • Use caution with sharp food items like bones. Wrap them carefully to prevent punctures.

Following manufacturer guidelines is the safest option when using Ziploc bags with boiling water. Their freezer and vacuum seal models are engineered with thicker plastic resins designed to withstand higher temperatures.

Alternatives to Ziploc Bags for Boiling

If you want to avoid potential safety issues with Ziploc bags, several alternatives work well for boiling water cooking:

Silicone Food Storage Bags

  • Withstand temperatures up to 446°F.
  • Food-grade, non-toxic material.
  • Reusable and dishwasher safe.
  • Easy to handle and seal.

Sous Vide and Vacuum Sealer Bags

  • Special heat-resistant plastic made for boiling temps.
  • Multi-layer construction less prone to melting.
  • Maintains vacuum seal to prevent leaks.

Glass Jars or Containers

  • No risk of melting plastic or chemicals leaching.
  • Reusable and easy to clean.
  • Risk of cracking or breaking under heat.

Stainless Steel Containers

  • No concerns about melting or food contamination.
  • Durable and reusable.
  • Requires special sealing equipment.

Conclusion: Safe and Effective Ways to Cook with Bags

Ziploc bags can be an affordable and handy cooking tool. But special care should be taken when using them in boiling water. Adhering to manufacturer guidelines, choosing freezer or vacuum seal bags, and avoiding extended boiling times reduces safety risks. For worry-free boiling water cooking, reusable silicone bags, sous vide bags, or glass and stainless steel containers provide excellent alternatives to minimize concerns over melting plastic or leaching chemicals. With some informed precautions, Ziploc and other bags can still be used effectively to make boiling water cooking safe, convenient, and delicious.