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How to Cook in a Microwave Oven.

Updated on November 21, 2016
Elsie Hagley profile image

Elsie has been cooking for sixty years and has many recipes. I'm sharing some with you, some are my mothers recipes, hope you enjoy baking.

Fresh Homemade Garlic Bread In Microwave Oven

Image Credit - by Praisaeng
Image Credit - by Praisaeng

Microwave Cooking

Microwave cooking is a cook's best friend, so much can be cooked, easier and without fuss.

These days with the modern kitchens, well-built appliances, you have an easy to care for clean kitchen, and microwaves ovens are one of them, very quick to master up a meal in a few minutes, when you are short of time and family are waiting for a meal.

There are not many meals that cannot be cooked in a microwave, it is just a matter of following some good recipe books on microwaving, and a little experience, it is quite simple for the average cook, hope this page will help you achieve that.

Tip for Microwave Cooking

Remember : Microwaves cannot be stored in the food.

When you eat food cooked in a microwave oven you are not eating microwaves.

Microwaves Oven Tips - What are Microwaves?

Modern kitchen. Photo Credit - Suat Eman /
Modern kitchen. Photo Credit - Suat Eman /

How does a microwave oven work?

Micro meaning small or electromagnetic waves are a form of radiant energy.

Microwaves travel at 2450 million times a second, as fast as the speed of light and also travel on a straight line.

In a microwave oven, these waves are concealed within the oven itself and are reflected off the walls and door.

Once the doorknob or handle is released all microwave energy stops.

As microwave energy comes into contact with a substance it is reflected, transmitted or absorbed.

Only when this energy is absorbed is heat produced in cooking, microwaves are reflected by metal, transmitted through paper, glass, china, ceramic, wicker or wood products and plastic utensils and absorbed by water in the food.

  • Microwaves cannot be stored in the food.
  • When you eat food cooked in a microwave oven you are not eating microwaves.
  • Microwaves are colorless, odorless and tasteless. They do not affect the flavor of the food.

When you plug in your microwave to a normal 240-volt power outlet, power is fed to a transformer which converts low voltage line power to the high voltage required by the magnetron tube.

The magnetron is the heart of the microwave oven, it converts electrical energy to microwave energy and then the energy is directed into the oven cavity.

When microwaves enter food, they simply cause the liquid or moisture molecules in the food to vibrate at a fantastic rate, friction, created by this vibration produces heat and this is conducted through the food.

Advantages of Microwave Cooking.

There is no preheating of the microwave oven, as you do for conventional ovens, this will save time as well as cutting down your fuel bill.

Food cooks more quickly but looks and tastes the same as conventionally cooked food in fact you will find vegetables do taste better as the true flavor is retained by using only small quantity of water and the nutritional value is far better for you and the family.

Food can be cooked in the dishes you serve to the table, no extra washing up.

Leftovers can be reheated and served without drying or loss of flavor.

Microwave ovens do not heat up the kitchen.

It remains cool and pleasant at all times.

With the Sunday roast, cook enough for the next day, cover with glad wrap and place in the refrigerator and reheat the next day or when required, take only about three minutes to heat,or deep freeze it and use at a later date, will take about 5 mins all depends what size meal you have saved.

Important Points to Remember for Microwave Ovens

Strips of aluminum foil may be used to cover areas of food that appear to be overcooking, like chicken wings, drumsticks or the tail of a fish, but NEVER allow the foil to touch the oven walls as the wall cause "arcing" and could damage the oven.

Do not cover food completely with foil as this reflects microwave energy and the food will not cook and can also damage the oven.

Don't operate the oven empty.

Don't attempt to cook eggs in the shell. Pressure will build inside the shell and it will explode.

How a Microwave Oven Works

About the above Video

Bill details how a microwave oven heats food. He describes how the microwave vacuum tube, called a magnetron, generates radio frequencies that cause the water in food to rotate back and forth. He shows the standing wave inside the oven and notes how you can measure the wavelength with melted cheese. He concludes by describing how a magnetron generates radio waves.

Useful Tips about Microwave Cooking

Maybe you used a microwave for heating food but have never cooked in a microwave oven for cooking.

  • Microwave cooking does not change your whole idea of cooking.
  • Your everyday recipes can be used.
  • But remember to cut down the cooking time.

Take a guide for timings from the cookbook supplied with your oven and learn to open the oven door and test or stir the food just as you would with conventional cooking.

  • Never overcook as this cannot be rectified.
  • Undercook and then you can always give a little more time to complete the cooking if required.

Microwave Appetizers

Appetizers  Microwaved. Photo Credit - Elsie Hagley
Appetizers Microwaved. Photo Credit - Elsie Hagley

Appetizers Cooked in the Microwave

The microwave oven is ideal for appetizers - they can be prepared days or weeks before, frozen and then reheated and served piping hot in minutes.

Here is a quick and easy meal in a hurry


1 x 450g can pineapple pieces

2 ham steaks cut into cubes

1 red or green capsicum cut into small cubes

1 x 150g bottle sweet pickled onions

small bamboo skewers


1. Thread cubes of pineapple, ham, capsicum and a pickle onion onto skewers, starting and finishing with ham.

2. Arrange 10 skewers on a serving plate brush with sauce and microwave on HIGH for 2 mins.

3. Repeat with remaining skewers.

4. Serve with remaining sauce.


1/4 cup pineapple juice

1/4 cup onion liquid

1 tablespoon tomato sauce

1 teaspoon cornflour


1. Combine pineapple juice, onion juice and tomato sauce in a small bowl.Blend cornflour with a small quantity of cold water.

Add to other ingredients.

2. Microwave on HIGH for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir well.

Microwave Oven Cooked Chicken. Photo Credit - Elsie Hagley
Microwave Oven Cooked Chicken. Photo Credit - Elsie Hagley

Microwave Cooking - Poultry

Tips for best results for cooking chicken

Poultry (Chicken) is very nice cooked in a microwave oven as the flavor and moisture are retained.

Ensure that poultry is fully thawed prior to cooking: the microwave oven will do this in a much shorter time than by conventional methods (approximately 30 mins).

  • After thawing remember it must be washed, dried and prepared for cooking.

Chicken Pieces with bone - HIGH - 8-10 mins per 500 grams, 185 F / 85 C, Standing Time 15 mins

Chicken Filets - HIGH - 6 mins per 500 grams, 170 F / 75 C, Standing Time Nil

Turkey Whole - HIGH for 10 mins then reduce to Medium 10 mins per 500 grams, 177 F/ 80 C, Standing time 15-20 mins.

Turkey Hindquarters - HIGH 8-9 mins per 500 grams, 177 F/ 80 c Standing time 10 Minutes

Duck - High 8 mins per 500 grams, 177 F/ 80 c, Standing time 15 minutes

Cooking a ROAST CHICKEN in a Microwave

1 x No 15 Chicken (1.5 KG)

1 onion

Seasoned salt or barbecue sprinkle


1. Wash and dry chicken, place breast side down into a micro proof baking dish.

Cut onion into quarters and place inside the bird.

If desired, legs may be secured together with string or elastic band.

2. Sprinkle with seasoned salt or barbecue sprinkle and cover with paper toweling.

3. Microwave on high 15 mins. Turn chicken over and cook a further 15 mins.

4. Remove chicken from baking dish. Wrap in foil and allow a standing time of 15 mins before serving.

TIP Your favorite stuffing may be used to season chicken, cooking time remains the same.

Cauliflower Au Gratin. Photo Credit - Elsie Hagley
Cauliflower Au Gratin. Photo Credit - Elsie Hagley

Helpful Tips for Cooking Microwave Vegetables

By microwaving your vegetables, you save the food value.

If you boil most of the food value is discarded down the sink and very little nutritional value left.

Microwave cooking of Vegetables is superb, so little water is used and the color, flavor and vitamins are retained within the vegetable.

Vegetables should be covered during cooking to trap the steam. This keeps them moist and hastens the cooking time.

Choose a casserole dish with lid or use glad-wrap, to cover the utensil.

Use a shallow, wide dish for asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower to keep a single layer rather than pile vegetables on top of each other.

Piling creates a density resulting in longer and uneven cooking.

Remove any covering away from hands and face to prevent steam burns.

Vegetables cooked with their skins on, for example, jacket potatoes, should have the skins pierced prior to cooking to prevent bursting.

Frozen Vegetables can be cooked in their original packages, just pierce the bag as no additional liquid is necessary.

Season, before serving.

Glad freezer bags are also suitable for cooking vegetables, just twist the end and tuck under, no metal ties.

Cooking time will vary depending on quantity and type of vegetable used, however, it is advisable to test occasionally for doneness.

Keep in mind that cooking will continue for a brief period after the Vegetables are removed from the microwave oven.

Overcooking will result in dehydration, toughening the Vegetables.

Here is a quick way to cook cauliflower that retains the flavor.


1/2 head cauliflower,

1/4 teaspoon salt,

1/4 cup water


1. Break the cauliflower into flowerets, wash and cut stalks with a sharp knife.

(the stalks are a lot firmer and by cutting they will cook better).

Place flowerets into a large pie dish plate (stalks down) with the larger pieces around the outside and small pieces in the center.

Sprinkle with salt and pour over water.

2. Cover with glad wrap and microwave on HIGH 8-10 mins (depending on size, of cauliflower).

Drain off excess liquid, reserve for sauce.

3. Return glad wrap covering over cauliflower and allow to stand while making the sauce.


2 tablespoons butter,

2 tablespoons flour,

salt and pepper,

300 ml milk or mixture of milk and cauliflower liquid

grated cheese,

dried breadcrumbs


Place butter into a micro proof mixing bowl, cook on HIGH 40 seconds to melt.

2. Add flour, salt, and pepper, stir well, cook a further 30 seconds on HIGH.

3. Gradually stir in milk, cook on High 2 minutes, stir around outside of bowl return to oven a further 2 1/2 minutes on HIGH.

4. Beat sauce well, pour over cauliflower.

Sprinkle with a mixture of cheese and breadcrumbs.

Return to the oven for 2 mins on HIGH to melt cheese and reheat cauliflower.

If desired place cauliflower under a conventional grill to crisp and brown instead of this last 2 minutes cooking.

P.S. You can prepare this CAULIFLOWER AU GRATIN dish while cooking your meat in the conventional oven and brown under the grill, just before serving.

On a average day how often do you use your microwave oven?

See results
Microwave Pickle ingredients. Photo Credit - Elsie Hagley
Microwave Pickle ingredients. Photo Credit - Elsie Hagley

Microwave Cauliflower Pickle

750g cauliflower

200g beans

1 small cucumber

1 small capsicum

500g onions

1/2 cup salt

2 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 1/2 cups vinegar

1/2 cup plain flour

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon curry powder

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1 teaspoon mixed spice

1/2 cup vinegar, extra

1. Break cauliflower into small pieces, chop beans, cucumber, capsicum, and onions.

Place all in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and cover with cold water.

Cover and let stand overnight.

2. In a large micro proof bowl place sugar and vinegar.

Microwave on high 10 minutes stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar.

3. Add well-drained vegetables and cook on high 15 mins Stir.

4. Blend flour and spices with extra, half cup of vinegar.

Pour a little of the hot liquid into the blended mixture, then add all to the vegetable mixture.

5. Microwave on high 8 mins, stirring frequently to blend all ingredients together.

6. Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal.

Microwave Ovens - Are you keeping up to date with the changes in Microwave Ovens?

Microwave oven used to be an expensive item to buy, these days you can buy one at a very reasonable price and be cooking a meal in no time

Also a great range of styles, colors, and many new ways to use a microwave

Be sure you supervise, especially where younger children are involved.

Enjoy - one kitchen appliance I wouldn't like to be without, I use it every day.

Microwave Oven Dangers - Check this video out - it is not as bad as it sounds.

This video investigates the claims that microwave ovens are dangerous.

A transcript and other further information can be found at website.

All media used in this video is covered by Fair Use and Fair Dealing.

This video is copyright free for educational purposes.

Mashed Potatoes: Microwave Cooking Recipe

Cooking the potatoes you love doesn't have to be a daunting task!

Now, with newly developed microwave cooking techniques, you can prepare healthful side dishes or complete meals in a matter of minutes

© 2011 Elsie Hagley

Have you any microwave tips?

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    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      purplepeach: That does not sound good "foul gas" what ever that is. I have had mine for 20 years and wouldn't be without it.

      I bake cookies and cook meals, steam frozen vegetables in it,(which has a better taste than ones heated on the stove), also use it for warming food and countless other things.

      My microwave is tops to me and I enjoy cooking in it very much.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i used to have a microwave oven but discarded it when it produced foul gas smell

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Jackie Lynnley: Microwave cooking is the way to go, saves power, time and keeps the kitchen cooler especially in the summer. You must try baking some cookies, they have a completely different taste to the oven baked ones.

      I have a recipe for Microwave Coconut Fudge in one of my hubs.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I am going to hang onto this. I do popcorn and baked potato in the microwave and that is about it. It would be great to learn to cook other things; especially in summer! Thanks so much! ^+

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      I cover things I nuke either with a wet paper towel or a bowl flipped on top of another bowl. It helps to keep the microwave oven cleaner, longer.

    • susanholland10 profile image

      Susan Holland 3 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      I love making bacon, cheese dip, and frozen vegetables in my microwave. I thought using aluminum foil or anything metal was out, but you taught me something. :-)

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 4 years ago from New Zealand

      @smine27: Yes I agree with you microwave ovens make it so easy to cook anything and cleaning up is minim.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      I love making cakes in the microwave. I also make eggs in there as it's quick and no cleaning up afterwards.

    • darkflowers profile image

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      I only use a microwave sometimes to heat up some milk or so :) I'm an old fashioned cook that loves to use ovens, pots and pans. But I love your dedication to the microwave way of cooking and hope you'll enjoy many more meals!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 4 years ago from New Zealand

      @anonymous: Thanks for visiting and commenting, cauliflower cheese cooked it the microwave sounds very nice, it would have a different flavor cooking it that way.

      Must try it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I took the free cooking class that came with my first microwave years ago. That was very helpful. I have cooked a whole cauliflower in the microwave (stem removed) then poured my microwave cheese sauce over it. Lately I haven't been real adventurous. Do love microwave mug cakes though.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 4 years ago from New Zealand

      @KerryVor: Thanks for visiting and leaving a nice recipe that others can use.

      Actually I will use this one myself, haven't cooked rice for sometime, it will go nicely with my curry tonight.

    • stephen downing profile image

      stephen downing 4 years ago

      25 minutes on the lowest setting is far too long to defrost a pork pie. That's the best microwave tip that I know, and that's from experience!

    • DarcyLogan profile image

      DarcyLogan 4 years ago

      That red and white kitchen just makes me very jealous!

    • KerryVor profile image

      Kerry Voronoff 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Great lens. Well worth reading. Cooking rice is easy in the microwave. I cup long grain rice to 2 cups water, some salt and a little butter or oil. Cover (slightly vented) and Cook 18-22 minutes,let stand 5 minutes. Easy.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 4 years ago from New Zealand

      @stephen downing: Thanks for visiting and the comment.

      Was there anything left to eat, not sure, if you were only defrosting on low, interested?

      At least it not like someone, I know putting a hot cross bun with sultanas in it for 5 mins,to warm it up, it took weeks to get rid of that burnt sultanas smell in the microwave.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 4 years ago from New Zealand

      @Ibidii: Thanks for visiting and commenting, I like what you do with salmon, I will try that, it would be very tasty with a salad, thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Ibidii 4 years ago

      My daughter does not care for salmon. when I want to have it I defrost the small 4 oz of salmon. I add that to 1 cup or water to cover the fish in a glass container. I microwave for 3 minutes, I let it cool down and discard the water. I then put it in the fridge to get cold. When I am ready to eat it, I flake off the skin and add what I want to it and either I have a flaked cold fish sandwich or salad. I mix the fish the same way you would mix tuna.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 4 years ago from New Zealand

      @favored: Thanks for commenting. I don't think there is any problem with using your Microwave.

      If there was they wouldn't still be making them with all the do's and don'ts these day.

      Enjoy your microwave.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      I use my microwave a lot, especially for my tea throughout the day. My sister has a problem with me using one at all, so I don't use it as much as I did in the past.

    • profile image

      soaringsis 5 years ago

      I have never thought of cooking in the microwave,especially chicken. I will have to try some of your recipes.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      @ohcaroline: Thanks for visiting and commenting. Microwave is the way to go, cheaper and easier.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 5 years ago

      Very thorough information on microwave cooking.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      @Jogalog: Thanks for stopping by and commenting, your microwave combo sounds great to me.

      Have you tried baking cookies in it?

    • profile image

      johnsja 5 years ago

      I cook a curried meat casserole dish in the microwave oven and it is done in under an hour instead of 2-3 hrs on the stove. I love the speed of it because I'm not good at planning ahead too far.

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 5 years ago

      I love my new microwave combi oven as I can use it for microwaving but also grilling and convection cooking.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I didn't think you could aluminum foil anywhere, anytime, in a microwave. Very interesting that I can use it as long as it doesn't touch.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I learned a lot more about microwave here.

    • GeekGirl1 profile image

      GeekGirl1 5 years ago

      Useful information about microwave. And thanks for the tasty recipes.

    • ForestBear LM profile image

      ForestBear LM 6 years ago

      Great lens, thank you for the useful tips.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 6 years ago

      Good useful lens. It is a controversy If using microwave is healthy or not. You explain very well that it is healthy.

      Usually I warm up with Microwave because it is a quick precess.... but to cook ... I never invested time to find out the correct timing for each recipe.

      By the way I like your recipe for Ham and Pineapples, I 'll try that one

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I like that everything goes quicker with a microwave and I don't have to spend so much time in the kitchen. You share really very sound information and great suggestions,

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      While I can see the advantages of microwave ovens, I don't want to use one. By the way, it looks like this lens has fallen prey to the recent Squidoo image bug, some of your images have 'disappeared'.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 6 years ago

      Fish is another thing that is better done in the microwave. I don't use my microwave a lot, but wouldn't be without it either!