The microwave oven has become an indispensable appliance in most kitchens today. Its speed and convenience make it easy to quickly heat up leftovers or cook simple meals. But what about baking in the microwave? Is it possible to bake cookies and other baked goods using this popular appliance?
The short answer is yes – you absolutely can bake cookies in the microwave! While microwaved cookies may turn out a bit different than traditional oven-baked ones, they can be just as tasty when using the right techniques. Read on to learn all about how to bake cookies in the microwave, from what you’ll need to how long to cook them.
How Does Microwave Baking Work?
To understand how to bake cookies in the microwave, it helps to first look at how a microwave oven actually cooks food. Microwave ovens produce microwaves, a type of electromagnetic radiation that causes polar molecules like water to rotate back and forth rapidly. This molecular movement generates heat that warms up the food.
Since the heat comes from within the food itself, microwave cooking tends to be faster but less even than regular oven cooking. Areas with more moisture heat up quicker, while drier spots may remain undercooked.
This is why microwaved treats often end up with a soft, almost steamed texture rather than the crispy exterior achieved through traditional baking.
Equipment Needed for Microwave Cookie Baking
You likely already have most of what you’ll need to bake cookies in the microwave. However, there are a few tips for choosing the right equipment:
- Microwave-safe cookware: Glass, ceramic, silicone, and plastic containers labeled “microwave-safe” all work well. Metal pans should be avoided since they can damage the microwave.
- Low-sided dishes: Shallow baking dishes allow microwaves to penetrate the cookie dough better. Ramekins or small casserole dishes work well.
- Parchment paper: Lining your cookware with parchment prevents sticking. The paper also makes it easy to remove cookies after baking.
- Microwave-safe utensils: Use wooden spoons, silicone spatulas, and other microwave-safe tools for mixing and handling dough.
- Oven mitts: Always use mitts when removing containers from the hot microwave.
How to Make Microwave Cookie Dough
While microwave cookie recipes abound online, you can also easily adapt your favorite traditional cookie recipe for the microwave. When tweaking recipes, keep these adjustments in mind:
- Reduce baking powder/soda: Leavening agents create air pockets that make cookies rise. Since microwaves don’t dry out dough as much, cut back on leavening by about 1/4 teaspoon.
- Increase fat: Microwaved cookies benefit from extra fat to keep them moist. Add a tablespoon or two more butter or oil than the original recipe.
- Lower oven temperature: Equivalent microwave times are much shorter than regular oven baking. Start by reducing oven temp by 50°F, then adjust as needed.
- Watch carefully: Microwaves cook faster than ovens, so keep an eye on cookies and microwave in short increments to prevent burning.
- Allow standing time: Microwaved cookies will be soft immediately after cooking. Let them stand 1-2 minutes before removing from the dish so they can firm up.
How to Bake Regular Cookie Dough in the Microwave
If you don’t want to fuss with altering recipes, you can also bake pre-made cookie dough in the microwave with great results:
- Prepare your work area by lining a microwave-safe baking dish with parchment paper. Have oven mitts nearby.
- Scoop balls of store-bought or homemade cookie dough onto the lined baking dish, spacing them 1-2 inches apart.
- Microwave the cookies on high for 40-50 seconds per batch, checking frequently. Cookies made with butter will spread more than those made with shortening.
- Let cookies stand on the hot baking dish for 1-2 minutes before removing with a spatula to finish cooling on a wire rack. The standing time lets them firm up.
- Repeat with remaining cookie dough in batches, wiping the parchment clean between batches if needed.
- Once completely cooled, store microwaved cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Enjoy!
Single Microwave Cookie in a Mug
When you just need one warm cookie stat, try this easy microwave mug cookie. With just a few ingredients, you’ll have a freshly baked treat in under a minute!
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
- Combine the softened butter and brown sugar in a microwave-safe coffee mug. Microwave for 20 seconds until butter is melted.
- Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla with a fork until smooth.
- Add the flour and baking powder and stir just until a dough forms. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Microwave the mug on high for 50-60 seconds until the cookie looks set.
- Let cool 1-2 minutes before eating so the cookie can firm up. Enjoy your warm cookie!
Microwave Cookie Bars
For easy microwaved cookies in batch form, try making cookie bars. Here’s a simple recipe to whip up a pan of warm, just-baked cookie bars in minutes:
- 1⁄2 cup butter, softened
- 3⁄4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1⁄4 cups flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually mix into butter mixture until just combined.
- Fold in 1⁄2 cup of the chocolate chips.
- Spread into a parchment-lined 8″ square microwave-safe baking dish. Top with remaining 1⁄2 cup chocolate chips.
- Microwave on high 3-4 minutes, rotating dish halfway through. Bars are done when top looks set.
- Let cool at least 5 minutes before cutting into bars.
Tips for Making Perfect Microwave Cookies
It may take some trial and error to get the baking time and dough adjustments just right. Here are some handy tips:
- Stick with basic cookie doughs like chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, or sugar cookies. More delicate cookies won’t hold up as well.
- Make cookies smaller, like 1-2 inches in diameter. Larger cookies are harder to microwave evenly.
- Underbake cookies slightly, then add more time if needed. They’ll firm up after standing. Overbaked cookies will be dry.
- Rotate your dish or rearrange cookies midway through microwaving for more even cooking.
- Add a glass of water to the microwave when baking to add humidity. This keeps cookies softer.
- Microwave 2-3 cookies at a time in a single layer for best results. Crowded cookies won’t cook evenly.
- Let cookies cool completely before storing or they’ll get soggy. Store in an airtight container.
Why Microwave Cookies Turn Out Different
Microwaved cookies will inevitably be a little different than oven-baked ones. Here’s why:
- Texture: Microwaves produce steam that gives cookies a cake-like texture. They may be more soft and muffin-like.
- Shape: Without the hot, dry air of an oven, microwaved cookie dough won’t spread out and flatten like traditional cookies. Shape is more mound-like.
- Browning: Microwaves don’t produce the Maillard browning reaction like ovens, so cookies will look pale rather than browned.
- Crispness: Lack of air circulation and steam created means microwave cookies will be more moist and chewy than crunchy.
- Timing: Cookies take just 30-60 seconds in the microwave versus 8-12 minutes in the oven – a huge time savings!
Common Baking Conversions for Microwaved Cookies
When adapting traditional cookie recipes for the microwave, these conversions may help:
- 350°F oven for 8-12 minutes = High microwave for 30-60 seconds
- Reduce baking powder/soda by 1⁄4 teaspoon
- Add 1-2 tablespoons extra butter or oil
- Bake cookies 1-2 inches rather than 2-3 inches wide
- Allow cookies to stand 1-2 minutes after microwaving
Frequently Asked Questions About Microwave Cookie Baking
If you’re new to microwaving cookies, chances are you have some questions. Here are answers to some often-asked queries:
Are microwaved cookies safe to eat?
Yes, microwave-baked cookies are completely safe. The microwave just cooks them differently than a traditional oven would.
How do you keep microwaved cookies from getting mushy?
To prevent sogginess, let cookies cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Use melted butter or shortening instead of creaming it for a less cake-like texture.
Can you use a microwave to bake all kinds of cookies?
Basic drop cookies with minimal mixing work best. Biscotti, meringue, molded, and slice-and-bake cookies don’t turn out as well since they rely on dry oven heat.
Why do microwaved cookies need to rest before eating?
Standing time allows steam to escape and cookies to finish cooking through. Letting them rest for 1-2 minutes results in a firmer texture.
How long do microwaved cookies stay fresh?
Stored properly in an airtight container, microwaved cookies stay fresh for 4-5 days. They tend to stale faster than oven-baked cookies since they are moister.
Can I reuse parchment paper when microwaving multiple cookie batches?
It’s best to use fresh parchment for each batch to prevent spreading germs or old grease to new cookies. Let the baking dish cool fully before adding new parchment.
Creative Mix-Ins and Add-Ins
Basic cookies are easy to dress up with mix-ins to satisfy any craving with your microwave cookies. Get creative with these fun add-ins:
- Mix in peanut butter or Nutella swirls for peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
- Add chopped nuts like walnuts, pecans or almonds for crunch
- Fold in shredded coconut for tropical flavor
- Swap out chocolate chips for butterscotch, white chocolate, or peanut butter chips
- Add dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, apricots, cherries, or blueberries
- Mix in granola for chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
- Stir in crushed peppermint or butterscotch candies for festive flavors
- Top cookies with sprinkles, crushed candy canes, or melted chocolate before microwaving (related: Melt Candy Canes in the Microwave: Yes or No?)
With the right techniques and a little creativity, you can easily satisfy cookie cravings by baking in the microwave. In just minutes, you’ll have freshly baked cookies without heating up your kitchen. So next time a cookie urge strikes, grab your mug or microwave-safe dish and get baking!