Start Microwaving Guide: Basic Microwave Cooking Tips

Using your microwave to cook some or all of your meals can be a lifesaver in the kitchen.  You can save time, and work when you do some microwave cooking, and usually there’s less washing up to do too!  But as handy as microwaves are, there are some basic guidelines one should follow to be safe, efficient, and make the most out of their microwave oven.


You will find below some basic microwave cooking, safety and general tips.  Follow these tips so you can rest assured you are cooking safely, and will have great results cooking delicious microwave food!


Basic Microwave Guide:  Cooking, Use & Safety Tips

Microwave Cooking Guide - Panasonic NN-SN661S

Keep your microwave clean & always be careful removing hot dishes from microwave. Don’t burn your mouth on hot foods!
Panasonic NN-SN661S


Basic Safety Tips:

  • Clean the interior of the microwave frequently, when kept clean there is no chance of your meal getting damaged.
  • Do not use the microwave whilst empty unless it is on demonstration mode.
  • Be careful when removing foods from the microwave.  The dish could be very hot, but not only that, certain areas of the foods may be  a lot hotter than others, so be careful not to burn your mouth on certain foods, in particular liquid or cream fillings in desserts or pastries.


Even & Thorough Cooking:

Microwave Guide - Even Cooking

When you can, cut vegetables into smaller pieces of similar size for more even and faster microwave cooking.

  • When cooking in the microwave oven, many suggest to cut your food up into smaller pieces.  Not only will it cook faster, but it will cook more evenly which is very important.
  • Lots of recent models praise the evenness of its cooking, but you can help this along and help your food to cook evenly by placing the thicker parts of food outwards closer to the interior walls and place the thinner parts of food close to the center of the turntable.
  • Although you don’t have to, stirring foods occasionally and turning over large food items will help to spread the cooking heat, therefore increasing thoroughness and evenness of foods.  This can also greatly decrease cooking times.


Let Steam Escape:

  • Always leave a small gap or hole when covering foods in the microwave with either plastic wrap or the lid of a dish.  This will allow the steam produced to escape.
  • Some foods especially those with tight skins such as hot dogs, potatoes and other vegetables can burst in the microwave as the water inside them gets hot and expands.  This is why it is a good idea to piece the skins of any of these types of foods, or cut them in half. Eggs should also be taken out of their shells, and the yolk should be pierced.  (Eggs left in their shells can explode!)  This is also why it is common practice to pierce a few hole into plastic coverings such as those on frozen microwave dinners, to give the steam somewhere to get out.


Use Microwave Safe Dishes & Coverings:

Microwave Guide - Dishes

Always use microwave-safe dishes (check underneath the dish!). Porcelain & glass are often microwave-safe. Ceramic sometimes is. Metal is not.

  • Use the proper microwave safe dishes. metal pots and pans are usually not recommended for microwave use, unless you are cooking on convection only mode in a convection microwave.  Microwave safe dishes are designed to not get as hot as other dishes.
  • Coverings.  Many people are confused as to what type of covering is safe to use in a microwave oven.  Aluminum foil and other metallic coverings are usually not recommended although some people say it’s ok to use strips of foil over the parts of foods which overcook.  But it is extremely important that the foil never touch the oven walls.  I tend to steer clear of it anyway, and try to always use microwave safe plastic wrap or preferably a microwave safe lid or plate.  If you don’t have anything like this, you can always use a paper towel, just be sure if won’t fall in your food.
  • Be sure to remove any packaging from foods that are not microwave safe.  For example, Styrofoam as well as some metal and plastic trays.  If you are not sure whether the container a frozen meal for example comes in a microwave safe tray, it is best to move the food to a dish you know to be microwave safe.  The same can be said for coverings too.


And there we go!  I hope these basic guidelines have been useful in getting you microwave cooking in a safe manner as well as getting great results.  Follow safety guidelines, use proper microwave-safe dishes and coverings, remember to let steam escape, and follow our even cooking tips to be safe whilst using your microwave to make great microwave food.


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