Does It Matter If a Microwave Doesn’t Spin?

Categorized as Microwave Repair and Troubleshooting
Does It Matter If a Microwave Doesn’t Spin

It was just another day. I hit the button to start my microwave, and… nothing happened. No whirring of the turntable, no sound of the timer counting down. Just silence.

I waited a few seconds to see if it would start on its own, but still, nothing happened. I pressed the button again, just to be sure, but still no response. Now I was starting to get worried.

Would my food cook evenly if the turntable wasn’t spinning? Is it even safe to eat food from the microwave if the turntable doesn’t spin? I did a little research to find out, and here’s what I discovered.

Does It Matter if a Microwave Doesn’t Spin?

The good news is that a microwave will still work even if the turntable doesn’t spin. However, it is a turntable that ensures food is cooked evenly by circulating it as it microwaves.

Without a turntable, food may be overcooked in some areas and undercooked in others. You may have to stop the microwave periodically to stir the food yourself or risk uneven cooking.

There are certain risks associated with eating food from a microwave that doesn’t heat evenly. One of the most significant dangers is the possibility of foodborne illness. If your food isn’t cooked evenly, there is a chance that harmful bacteria could survive in undercooked areas.

Bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella are of particular concern. These harmful microbes can cause serious illness or even death in some cases. In the US alone, it is estimated that foodborne illness causes 48 million people to get sick every year and 3000 to die.

In addition, unevenly heated food is often unappetizing. This is especially true if the overcooked areas are dry or rubbery while the undercooked areas are runny or raw.

Does the Microwave Really Need a Turntable?

In the early days of microwave ovens, the turntable was not a common feature. However, as microwaves have become more sophisticated, the turntable has become a standard feature.

The turntable helps to circulate the microwaves evenly, so your food cooks evenly. It also allows for a more even distribution of heat, so you don’t have to worry about hotspots.

While you can rotate your food manually during cooking, a turntable takes care of this for you automatically.

Flatbed Microwaves vs. Turntable Microwaves

One type of microwave that doesn’t have a turntable is the flatbed microwave. These microwaves use a different cooking method that doesn’t require a turntable.

Instead of circulating the microwaves with a turntable, flatbed microwaves use a rotating antenna. This antenna emits microwaves that circulate around the entire cooking chamber, so your food cooks evenly.

Flatbed microwaves are more expensive than turntable microwaves, but they offer some advantages. One advantage is that you can cook larger items in a flatbed microwave. This is because there is no turntable in the way to take up space.

Another advantage of flatbed microwaves is that they are easier to clean. This is because there is no turntable to remove and clean separately.

If you are considering buying a new microwave, a flatbed model may be a good option, especially if you need to cook frequently.

4 Reasons Why Your Microwave Might Stop Spinning

If your microwave turntable doesn’t turn, there could be several reasons why. The first thing you should do is check the owner’s manual to see if there is a troubleshooting guide.

Here are a few possible reasons why your microwave turntable might not be spinning and how to fix them:

1. Obstruction In The Track

If the turntable doesn’t spin, it could be because something is obstructing the turntable’s track. The track is the ring-shaped platform that the turntable sits on.

If there is something preventing the turntable from moving freely on the track, it will not be able to spin. The most common culprit is food spillage.

To investigate, remove the turntable and look for any buildup of food or other debris on the track. If you find anything, scrub it off with a soft cloth or brush. Once the track is clean, replace the turntable and see if it spins freely.

2. Dirty or Damaged Roller Guide

The roller guide is what allows the turntable to rotate on the track. If it is dirty or damaged, it can prevent the turntable from spinning.

To clean the roller guide, remove the turntable and look for any buildup of food or other debris. If you find anything, scrub it off with a soft cloth or brush.

You should also check the roller guide for any cracks or damage. If it is damaged, it will need to be replaced.

3. Worn Out Motor

The motor is what powers the turntable and allows it to spin. If the motor is worn out, it will not be able to rotate the turntable.

To check if the motor is the problem, closely examine the turntable. If you see that the turntable starts to spin but then slows down and stops, the motor is likely the issue. If the motor is the problem, you will need to replace it.

4. Damaged Tray Coupler

The tray coupler is what connects the turntable to the motor. If it is damaged, it can prevent the turntable from spinning.

To check the tray coupler, remove the turntable and determine if the coupler is cracked, damaged, or otherwise dirty. If it is just dirty, you can try to clean it with a soft cloth.

However, if it is cracked or damaged, you will need to replace it.

When you are checking the microwave, don’t forget to unplug it first! Even if the microwave is turned off, it can still hold a charge. If you are going to be working around the electrical components, it’s always better to be safe and unplug the appliance.


So, while a microwave will still function if the turntable doesn’t spin, it is not ideal. If your microwave’s turntable isn’t spinning, it is recommended that you have it repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may be at risk of foodborne illness or unevenly cooked food.

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!