Cooking in the Microwave

Families, Food and Fitness January 06, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

Author: Annrose M. Guarino, Ph.D., Human Nutrition and Food, Louisiana State University, Louisiana Cooperative Extension

Microwaves are a great way to quickly cook many foods. However, some foods are better prepared in the microwave than others. Foods don’t brown well in the microwave so meats and fish are not always best prepared in the microwave. The microwave oven is especially good for cooking vegetables as well as for defrosting and reheating foods. Check your microwave cookbook for instructions.

picture of microwave

General Microwaving Tips

  • The higher the microwave wattage, the faster it will cook.
  • Use the microwave cookbook with recipes tested for the wattage of your oven.
  • The amount of time it takes to cook food increases as the amount of food increases.
  • Use a tight-fitting cover on foods you want to steam such as broccoli or corn on the cob. Use wax paper or a glass lid.
  • Cover foods such as leftovers with a paper towel (not made from recycled paper) or wax paper to hold heat in but not steam foods.
  • Remove covers and wraps from heated foods very carefully. Allow steam to escape away from your hands and your face.
  • Use only cookware recommended to be safe for use in a microwave oven such as glass mixing bowls, glass measuring cups, casseroles and ceramic.
  • Never run the microwave oven when it is empty. You could damage the oven.
  • Never heat infant formula or baby food in the microwave. They could have hot spots and burn your child.
  • Keep your microwave oven clean. A dirty oven will increase cooking time.

Cooking Vegetables

Vegetables cooked in the microwave are a quick, healthy, easy way to add a colorful side dish to your meal.

Corn on the cob can be microwaved in the husk (remove silks before cooking). Without the husk, place on a plate covered with wax paper. Cook two ears on high for 6 to 7 minutes.

Sliced Carrots
Place 2 cups thinly sliced carrots in a 1- quart casserole. Add 1/4 cup water. Cover with wax paper. Microwave 4 to 6 minutes, stirring once if needed. Drain. Add spices, salt and pepper if desired.

Divide one bunch of broccoli into individual spears. Cut off 1 to 1 1/2 inches from tough ends. Place in 12x8-inch baking dish. Arrange broccoli with heads toward center. Add 1/4 cup water. Cover with wax paper and microwave on high 6 to 8 minutes.

Cut 1-pound of cabbage into four wedges. Arrange like a wheel in spokes in 10-inch casserole. Add 1/4 cup water. Cover with wax paper. Microwave on high 3 to 4 minutes.

Scrub well and pierce with a fork. When cooking three or more potatoes, arrange potatoes in a circle. Cook on high for 4 minutes for one potato. Add 3 minutes for each additional potato. Turn potatoes halfway through cooking time.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.