How To Cook Canned Food in Microwave (5 Easy Steps)

Categorized as Microwave Cooking
How to Cook Canned Food in The Microwave

It is a busy world out there. I know some of you are simply too busy to cook, especially on weekdays. But cooking does not have to be a chore or something that you dread all day long.

Instead, you can choose some convenience foods and make your life easier instead of harder. One great example is cooking canned food in a microwave oven.

As the name suggests, it will use microwaves for cooking up the food quickly. This type of cooking is great for taking out canned foods that require heating, like tinned tuna and baked beans. They are typically pre-cooked already, requiring only a few minutes in the microwave to get them piping hot.

In this post, I will show you how it is done and share a few tips on how you can make the best out of it.

Can You Cook Canned Food in the Microwave?

You can cook canned food in the microwave but but you can’t cook the canned food together with the can. You’ll you need to transfer the contents into a microwavable bowl or plate before heating it in the microwave.

Let me explain why.

Unlike what some people have claimed, your microwave will not catch fire or explode if you put a can in it. This is because the microwaves will not be able to penetrate the tin. The microwaves, however, induce currents inside the can. And when the metal has jagged edges or points, the electrical currents can induce sparks and cause a fire.

Here’s a short guide on how to do microwave canned food:

Transfer the content of the can to a microwavable bowl or plate. Cover the dish with a microwave-safe plastic wrap or lid. Microwave on medium power for 2 to 4 minutes.

Do You Need To Microwave Canned Food?

No, canned food, such as canned soup, is pre-cooked, and therefore, there is no need to microwave it. The canning process already ensures that the food is safe to eat as it kills off any harmful bacteria. Therefore, you can safely eat canned foods as they are, whether cold or hot.

But let’s be honest, cold canned food is not too appetizing. Your canned food will definitely taste better when it is heated up to the right temperature.

Related: Is it possible to heat canned soup in the microwave, and what is the method?

How To Cook Canned Food in the Microwave

There are several different ways to cook canned food. For example, you can use the stove, charcoal grill, or even heating it up in a fireplace. Nevertheless, microwaving canned food is the fastest way to do it out of all the available options.

Follow these simple steps to cook canned food in the microwave:

  1. Take a can opener and open the can.
  2. Use a spoon or fork to transfer the food from the can into a microwavable bowl.
  3. Cover the bowl with a microwave-safe lid or paper towel.
  4. Set the microwave to medium power and cook for 2 to 4 minutes. Stir the food every 30 seconds.
  5. Take the food out of the microwave and let it cool for a few minutes before eating.

1. Open the Can and Transfer the Content

Open the can, pour out or scoop out its contents, and place it in a microwavable bowl or plate. Never try to microwave the canned food along with the can itself because it can spark and create a fire.

2. Cover the Bowl

Cover the dish with a lid or paper towel. You can also use napkins, and microwave cooking bags. A microwave cooking bag is the best because it holds a maximum amount of moisture.

By retaining the moisture, the food will retain most of its flavors and juice. While a cover can do a good job of containing the steam and moisture, you should let it slightly loose to allow some steam and heat to escape. Otherwise, they can build up within the cover and cause pressure, which can cause the food to explode.

3. Run the Microwave on Medium for 2 to 4 Minutes

The next step is to put the dish in the microwave, set it to medium power, and let it run for a few minutes. To be sure, check out the manufacturer’s instructions for the suggested cooking time. Generally, most canned foods will take 2 to 4 minutes to cook.

4. Stir the Food

If your microwave doesn’t have a turntable, then you should stir the food after every 30 seconds or so. This will help to ensure that all parts of the canned food get heated equally, and it will also prevent it from burning, which will give it a bitter taste.

5. Take the Canned Food Out of the Microwave

Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your canned food. It should be at least 74 degrees Celsius or 165 degrees Fahrenheit before you eat it.

Your canned food is now ready to serve!

Some More Tips for Cooking Canned Food in the Microwave

Here are some more tips that you should keep in mind when cooking canned food.

  • Never put the can itself in the microwave oven.
  • Use a shallow dish if you reheat dense canned food.
  • Do not add water when microwaving canned foods. This is unnecessary. C
  • Cover the container with a lid, paper towel, or plastic wrap. A lid or paper towel allows steam and promotes even heating while at the same time making sure that the food does not splatter everywhere.
  • Stir the food or rotate the container several times during heating. This will help to ensure that the food is evenly heated and prevents hotspots from forming.
  • Do not overload the food dish. It’s better to microwave in batches if you reheat more than one can of food.
  • Purchase canned foods that come in BPA-free can to minimize the risks of chemical contamination.

Can You Eat Canned Food without Heating It Up?

Absolutely, that’s the beauty of canned food. You can eat it straight out of the can, cold or hot, depending on your preference. Most people do heat up their canned food, but that is mostly because it tastes better that way.

Canned foods are very versatile. You can eat them cold or hot. You can even cook with them by adding spices, sauces, or other food items before boiling them on the stove for a few minutes.

Some canned foods taste better cold, while some are perfectly hot. For example, tuna fish and salsa taste great cold, while canned veggies and meats are definitely tastier when they are warmed up.

Another Way To Cook Food Without Microwave

If you are in a situation where you don’t have access to a microwave oven, such as if you are camping or go on a hunt, there are other ways you can cook your food.

Follow these instructions:

  1. Get rid of the outer label.
  2. Use a can opener to open half of the lid but don’t separate it completely. You will need it to act as a makeshift lid to prevent fire ash from entering the can.
  3. Boil a pot of water over the campfire.
  4. Once boiled, place the canned food in the pot and boil it for a few minutes.
  5. Stir gently from time to time.
  6. When it’s done, handle it with care as the can, and its contents are very hot.
  7. Enjoy!


In conclusion, cooking canned food in microwave ovens is the fastest and most practical way to do so, but you can’t just throw your canned food in there. You must transfer the contents to a dish, add a lid or damp towel, and cook the food for 2-4 minutes. Afterward, simply take it out, and you have a perfectly cooked meal!

In addition, if you don’t have access to a microwave oven, there are other ways you can cook your canned food, such as on an open fire or stovetop.

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!