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About microwave cooking

A microwave oven can be used for much more than leftovers or cooking a frozen dinner. Here are some good reasons to cook in your microwave:

  • It is faster than an oven .
  • Cooking in the microwave doesn’t heat up the kitchen
  • More nutrients stay in food that is cooked in the microwave.
  • A microwave is quick and easy


Microwaves used to be considered a luxury. Today most Americans use a microwave. There are some things to think about when you choose a microwave.

  • The space you have to put the microwave.
  • If you cook for a large family, a larger one is important.
  • if you cook for one or two, a smaller one will work fine and save you counter space

Important: Only use cookware that is specially manufactured for use in the microwave oven.

Be sure you use only glass, pottery, and plastics that are labeled safe to use in microwaves. Check the item label to make sure.

Here are some items that are safe to use in your microwave:

  • Microwave plastic wraps
  • Wax paper,
  • Microwave cooking bags
  • Parchment paper
  • White microwave-safe paper towels

Some things are not safe to use in your microwave

Plastic storage dishes should never be used in the microwave. These dishes can warp and melt. When this happens, harmful chemicals can get into the food. Avoid using:

  • Margarine tubs,
  • Take-out dishes
  • Bowls from whipped topping
  • Dishes made to be used one time.
    • Do not let plastic wrap touch foods during microwaving.
    • Never use thin plastic storage bags,
    • Brown paper or plastic grocery bags,
    • Newspapers
    • Aluminum foil
    • Round dishes are better than square for reheating.

Tips for successful microwave cooking

Microwave ovens make water, sugar, and fat molecules vibrate and the vibration causes heat. There are some things you have to think about when you cook with a microwave.

  • Most foods are cooked starting at room temperature or refrigerated temperature. If you use frozen foods, it will take longer and may affect the quality of the food.
  • You usually have to stir the food during the cooking.
  • If you can’t stir the food, turn it over during cooking.
  • Place your food in a round dish or arrange it in a circle. This will make it cook more evenly.
  • If you double a recipe, it will take longer to cook.
  • Foods with a lot of liquid, like soup will take longer to cook.
  • Dense foods, like potatoes, take longer to cook.
  • Pierce foods that are covered with a skin, like potatoes and egg yolks, with a fork or knife. This keeps the food from bursting.
  • Watch the food as it cooks through the microwave oven door. Hot liquids tend to boil over. Open the door right away if food is about to boil over. Do NOT grab the container.
  • Meat cooked in the microwave doesn’t brown. You can get that ‘browned’ look by brushing the meat with Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, butter or spices.

Best foods to microwave

You can cook all types of food in the microwave. Vegetables, meats, soups, and casseroles are all foods that most people don’t realize can be cooked in the microwave.

  • You will need to cook pasta, rice, and dried beans before adding them to a dish cooked in a microwave.
  • Crispy recipes do not do well in the microwave. Cook them in a regular oven.
  • When you double a recipe, do not double the time. Increase the cooking time by one half to start. Test the results before you add more cooking time.

More tips for microwave cooking