Microwave Cooking

Microwave cooking is a quick and easy way for you to prepare meals or reheat leftovers for a fast lunch or dinner. This article outlines some common and not-so-common uses for your microwave.

Microwaves 101

When you’re pressed for time to make soccer practice or need to feed the family quickly, a microwave allows you to reheat leftovers, cook a meal and enjoy dinner in minutes or enjoy a healthy snack of fresh popcorn for movie night. Microwaves come in various sizes, functionality and price points. A microwave is a virtually mess-free, safe method of cooking with kids at home compared to ovens and stovetops. They’re also handy for defrosting, softening or melting foods.

Types of Microwave Cooking



Though it won’t brown food like your over or stovetop, your microwave can indeed be used for toasting. You can make your own breadcrumbs and croutons, toast coconut for baked goods, or have your own toasted nuts on hand for snacking. Try candied spiced nuts (walnuts, pecans or almonds) with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pine nuts are also easy to toast in the microwave, which can be used to make your own pesto.

Desserts & Baking

Treats such as cakes or individual mug desserts take only minutes to prepare in the microwave.  Cold butter, cream cheese and ice cream can be difficult to work with: softening them in your microwave helps shorten your food preparation time. Instead of throwing out hardened brown sugar, soften it in the microwave. You can also blend sugar and cinnamon with apple sauce using a simple potato masher and your microwave. 

Cooking Meat

Meat is also easy to cook in the microwave. Bacon is easily prepared minus the greasy mess and splatter, though it won’t be as crisp as frying or broiling. Salmon also lends itself well to the microwave. A healthy, easy cooking method entails placing the fish skin-side down in a glass bowl. Season it with salt, pepper and a mixture of hot sauce and mayonaise, and top with slices of lime. Then cover and microwave on high; the time will depend on the strength of your microwave and the size of the fish. 

Cooking Vegetables

Fresh vegetables can be cooked, blanched and steamed in the microwave. Blanched vegetables can be eaten right away or frozen for later use. Steamed vegetables, such as asparagus, green beans and carrots should be cooked in a microwave-safe baking dish with a tablespoon of water. Corn on the cob is easy to make with the husk on, timed at 2 to 4 minutes per ear. As a side dish, make polenta using cornmeal, water and salt.

Cooking Rice

Rice is easy to cook in the microwave for a delicious fluffy side dish. Soaking it in water (especially brown rice) for about 30 minutes also improves the flavour and texture of the cooked rice. Microwave uncovered on high for 10 minutes, then on medium-low for 15 minutes. When finished, season with salt and fluff with a fork. Microwaves that have a rice setting make it easy to prepare almost any type of rice including basmati, white, jasmine and glutinous (“sticky”) rice.

Warming Liquids

A cup of cocoa or apple cider is easy to warm in the microwave. Soup, syrup and honey can also be heated. When warming, check the liquid frequently to ensure it doesn’t become too hot or boil over.

Microwave Cooking Tips:

  • Never use metal in the microwave; it’s extremely dangerous and could cause a fire
  • Use only microwave-safe dishes and containers to prevent damage to your microwave
  • Space food out evenly so it cooks properly
  • Cover food, especially sauces, to prevent splattering
  • If cooking a whole potato, sausage or hotdog, pierce it first to allow steam to escape and avoid bursting
  • Microwave popcorn is a fast, healthy snack to give the kids after school or to share while watching a family movie
  • To prevent breads, rolls or baked goods from getting soggy, place a paper towel around them to absorb moisture
  • Large bones should be removed from meat before microwaving; the density can affect the way the meat around it cooks
  • Microwave ovens are available in a range of sizes and deliver 600 to 1,200 watts of power
  • Generally speaking, ovens with more watts of power will cook food faster than models with lower wattage

Types of Microwaves

Microwaves range in size from compact 0.7 cu. ft. countertop models up to 1.6 cu. ft. for families (usually installed over the stove). More expensive models may include a keep warm function, sensor cook, defrost and sensor reheat option. Most are equipped with a glass turntable and a child lock. Convection microwaves cook food quickly and use a fan to circulate the heated air around the food to brown and cook the food quickly. 
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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