25 Microwave Hacks Every Beginner Cook Need to Know

Categorized as Microwave
25 microwave hacks

I never realized what a valuable tool my microwave was until I started to do research. To my surprise, it can do so much more than just reheat things. These 25 hacks will have you using your microwave in ways you never imagined.

1. Dry Herbs

I used to dry herbs the old-fashioned way. I would hang them upside-down or dry them in an oven. Unfortunately, both methods take hours, and some of the herbs simply don’t dry well.

Now, I simply place my herbs between two paper towels and microwave them on high for two to three minutes. When I take them out, they have been dried and are ready to be stored in a container.

Not only fast, but this method also preserves the essential oils of the herbs that give the herbs their flavor and aroma.

2. Peel Garlic Faster

Peeling garlic is the most time-consuming part of cooking with it. But, with this trick, you can quickly peel it with your microwave. Just put the whole head of garlic into the microwave and zap it for 20 seconds on high. When you take it out, the cloves will slide right out of their skin.

Related: Can garlic be roasted in the microwave and what is the procedure?

3. Reduce Onion Tears

Onions are one of the most challenging things to cut, especially with your eyes watering nonstop. With this microwave hack, you will no longer shed tears when cutting onions.

Before you chop the onion, place the whole onion in the microwave for 45 seconds. By heating the onion this way, you will break down the enzymes that cause the onions to release the sulfuric acid compounds, which makes you tear up.

4. Steam Fish

You might be surprised to learn that microwave is actually the best way to steam fish. I have tried this method several times, and it consistently returns perfectly cooked fish.

To do it, place your fish in a shallow bowl. Add a bit of butter, pepper, olive oil, salt, and any other spices you want. Fill the bowl with several inches of water and cover it with plastic wrap. Take a fork and poke some holes in the wrap to let the steam escape. Then, microwave it on high for 6 to 7 minutes.

5. Ripen a Banana

When I can’t wait for a bunch of bananas to ripen enough, I turn to my microwave. It only takes about a minute or two, and my bananas and I can use them for baking right away.

All you have to do is place the unripe bananas and use a fork to poke several holes in the skin. Then, microwave it on high for 30 seconds at a time. Repeat the process until they’re as soft as you want them.

Read more: Banana Ripening in the Microwave: Is It Safe and Effective?”

6. Melt Butter or Chocolate

Many recipes ask for melted butter or chocolate. In my experience, there is no better and hassle-free way to do it than with the microwave. Just place the required amount of butter or chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it in 30-second increments, stirring in between heating, until it is completely melted.

7. Cook Grains

Microwaving rice, quinoa, millet, and other grains is so easy and quick. When I’m in a rush, this has become my go-to method for cooking grains

To do it yourself, simply use a microwave-safe bowl and add as much as you want. Then, fill the bowl with water. Cover it with microwave-safe plastic wrap and cook in 5-minute increments, checking on it in between. Usually, it takes around 15 to 20 minutes to cook, depending on your microwave’s wattage.

8. Cook Scrambled Eggs

When you only have a few minutes to get breakfast ready, egg dishes can be your savior. There are plenty of egg dishes that you can cook in the microwave, and my children’s favorite is scrambled eggs.

To make these, simply beat two eggs in a bowl, add a little milk and cheese, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then, cook them in the microwave for a minute and a half, stirring once or twice at the halfway point.

9. Get More Juice From a Lemon

Did you know that you can get more juice from lemon, lime, oranges, and other citrus fruits if you microwave it first? That’s right, all you have to do is zap the whole fruit in the microwave for 20 seconds.

By doing this, you’re softening the fruit’s inner cells. When you cut it open and squeeze out the juice, more of its flavor properties will end up in your drink or recipe.

10. Cook Bacon

Wouldn’t it be nice to make crisp bacon without having to be around a greasy stove? Now you can do it in the microwave!

All you have to do is lay several paper towels on a microwave-safe plate. Then, place your bacon on top of them and cover with another layer of paper towels. Microwave on high for 6 to 7 minutes. Let it cool and drain. There you go, perfectly cooked crispy bacon!

Read more: How to Make Bacon in the Microwave

11. Bake a Potato

To bake a potato in the microwave, simply pierce your potatoes several times with a fork. Then, place it on a microwave-safe plate and cook it for about 7 minutes. Next, take it out and let it cool for a few minutes. Then, slice it open and top with whatever you like- cheese, butter, sour cream

12. Make a Quick Quesadilla

When you need a quick snack, a quesadilla can be your go-to meal. To make one in the microwave, simply get a tortilla and add your desired fillings. Then, fold it over and cook in the microwave for about a minute.

13. Make Oatmeal Bars

Craving something sweet but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen? Oatmeal bars are a great solution. They are easy to make, and you can eat them on the go.

To make oatmeal bars, combine oats and brown sugar. Stir in butter and corn syrup. Press the mixture into a greased baking dish. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1-1/2 minutes.

Rotate the dish and microwave for another 1-1/2 minutes. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and microwave again at 30% of power for 4-1/2 minutes. Spread chocolate over the top and refrigerate for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, cut the bars into squares.

14. Make Pickles

Every hot dog and burger needs pickles on them. Today thanks to the microwave, making crunchy pickles have never been easier.

All you have to do is slice your cucumber and add the extra ingredients (thinly sliced small onions, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup vinegar, one teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon celery seed, and 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed).

Put all of the ingredients into a microwave-safe bowl. Set your microwave to high and microwave uncovered for 3 minutes. Stir and cook again for 2-3 minutes longer. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.

15. Help Bread Dough Rise

Making bread dough rise can be tricky during the winter months or if you live in a cold climate. Using a microwave can help fix this and make the dough rise faster.

All you have to do is microwave a bowl of water for 2 minutes. Then, place your dough inside the microwave along with the bowl of warmed water. Close the door and let it rise until doubled.

16. Make a Foamy Latte

Love coffee but don’t like spending all your coins at Starbucks? Well, now you can make a foamy latte in the comfort of your own home. All you need is milk and a microwave.

Here’s how you do it. Fill a glass jar with milk up to half and nuke for 30 seconds. Remove the milk from the microwave and screw on the lid. Shake the jar for 30 seconds, pour it into a mug, add some espresso and enjoy.

17. Revive Stale Bread

We all have had a loaf of bread go stale before. Now, you can easily revive it in the microwave for a few seconds, and your bread is as good as new.

To do it yourself, take a damp paper towel and wrap it around the bread. Then, place it in the microwave and nuke on high for 10 seconds. If you’re looking to make the bread softer, try placing a glass of water in the microwave with it.

18. Toast Nuts

Most people don’t know that nuts are toasted more evenly in the microwave than in the oven. All you have to do is spread out the nuts on a plate, arrange them in a single layer, and zap them at high for about 4 – 8 minutes, mixing them every minute to make sure they toast evenly.

19. Steam Veggies

Microwaves work beautifully for steaming all types of veggies, from broccoli, carrots, and asparagus to green beans and even veggies as stubborn as artichokes.

You only need a microwave-safe bowl, plate, and water, plus whatever vegetables you want to steam. To do it, put all the veggies in a microwave-safe bowl and add 2-3 tablespoons of water. Cover the bowl with a stoneware plate and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes.

20. Make Hard Taco Shells

Craving tacos but don’t want to buy taco shells? No worries. You can transform a soft tortilla into a crispy taco shell easily in the microwave!

All you have to do is lay your tortillas inside a tall, microwave-safe cup and zap them on high for one minute. Then, take the cup out carefully, and here it is, your crunchy, crispy taco shell.

21. Decrystallize Honey

If the honey in your pantry has crystallized, you can easily revert it back to a liquid state in the microwave.

To do it yourself, open the jar of honey, put it in the microwave, close the door, and set it to medium for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then, take out the jar immediately, and your revived honey is ready to use.

22. Make Potato Chips

Who doesn’t like potato chips? Well, now you can easily make em’ at home thanks to the microwave. All you have to do is toss your thinly sliced potatoes with some oil and salt, then nuke for about 5 minutes or until golden brown.

23. Cook Beans

It used to be that cooking dried beans required you to soak them overnight before cooking. But now, you can cook your dried beans in the microwave instead.

To do it yourself, follow these steps: place the beans in a microwave-safe bowl with enough water to cover, nuke for 8 to 10 minutes until the water is boiling, and your beans will be ready in an hour or two.

24. Soften Ice Cream and Frosting

You love ice cream, but it’s too hard to eat right now? Well, there is a quick and easy way to soften it up in the microwave without melting it.

Microwave your ice cream for about 15 seconds (don’t forget to remove the lid), check the consistency of your ice cream or frosting, continue microwaving it for 15 more seconds if needed. Then scoop away!

25. Make Corn on the Cob

For centuries, people have been boiling their Corn on the Cob. But now, you can easily make your corn on the cob in the microwave.

To do it yourself, microwave on high for about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with butter, salt, and pepper. And that’s it! If you want, you can also add a finishing touch to your Corn by grilling or broiling it under the broiler.

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!