A microwave is a handy appliance for warming up leftovers, heating water for a cup of tea, or defrosting meat before cooking. While you may use your microwave oven to aid in preparing a variety of meals, your microwave may be able to assist you in an assortment of ways you haven’t even considered. Check out these 20 tips for using your microwave to make cooking just a little bit easier. You may also like: Don’t Reheat These Foods in the Microwave
20. Cook a Baked Potato
You can wait an hour for your potato to bake in the oven, or you can pop it in the microwave and enjoy your spud in just minutes. Simply wash the potato thoroughly, pierce it with a fork, and wrap it in a paper towel. Next, microwave your tater on high for 5 minutes. When the 5 minutes are up, flip the potato over and microwave it for a few more minutes. Be careful not to overcook your spud, as it will turn hard and dry. Your potato is done when it is soft to the touch.
19. Create Latte Foam
You don’t need a fancy espresso machine to create steamed milk for an amazing coffee beverage. Genius Kitchen offers a recipe for whipping up a batch of frothy steamed milk right in your microwave. This Coffee Foam in Microwave recipe requires only 2% or heavier milk, a lidded jar, and your microwave. Simply shake the milk in the jar, microwave, and pour onto your hot beverage.
18. Crisp Up a Taco Shell
Transform soft tortillas into crispy taco shells in your microwave oven. Simply stand the tortilla up in a microwave-safe mug, then place the mug on its side in your microwave. Heat on high for 1 minute. Your tortilla will turn into a crispy, crunchy shell suitable for loading with your favorite taco meats and toppings.
17. Ease Garlic Peeling
Peeling cloves of garlic can be a real chore. Make this task easier by softening the garlic bulb in the oven before attempting to peel it. Pop the bulb in your microwave for about 20 seconds, then break open the bulb and the skins should slide right off.
16. Prepare a Warm Space for Rising Dough
A loaf of bread hot from the oven hits the spot on a wintry day. However, on a chilly day, it can be challenging to find a warm spot in your kitchen to let the dough rise. You can solve this problem by placing a small dish of water in your microwave and heating it on high for 2 minutes. Then, remove the container of water, and you have a toasty warm space to place your bowl of bread dough to allow it to rise.Related: Don’t Reheat These Foods in the Microwave
15. Soften Citrus Fruits for Squeezing
Get the most juice out of your lemons, limes, or oranges by softening them up in the microwave before squeezing. Place a piece of whole citrus in your microwave and heat it for about 20 seconds. Then, slice the fruit in half and give each half a good squeezing.
14. Rejuvenate Stale Bread
If your bread has gone stale, revive it with a quick zap in the microwave. First, wet a cloth towel with fresh, clean water. The cloth should be moist, not dripping wet. Next, wrap the stale loaf or slices of bread in the cloth and place in your microwave on a plate or dish. Heat in 10-second intervals until your bread has achieved the proper moisture level.
13. Prepare a Batch of Toasted Nuts
You can toast a batch of nuts in your microwave in just minutes. Spread the nuts evenly on a microwaveable plate. Then, microwave on high power, pausing to stir and check the color at 1-minute intervals. When the nuts start to brown, decrease the time to 30-second intervals until you achieve the desired doneness.Related: 5 Tasty Nuts for Healthier Living
12. Steam Your Veggies
You can easily steam veggies in your microwave oven. Simply place vegetables such as broccoli florets, zucchini slices, green beans, or carrot sticks in a microwave-safe casserole dish. Add about 1/8 inch of water to the bottom of your dish, cover, and place it in the microwave. Heat on high for 3 minutes, then check for doneness.
11. Sizzle Some Bacon
Keep your kitchen clean by frying up some bacon in your microwave. Place a layer of 3-4 paper towels on a microwave-safe plate. Then, top the paper towels with a layer of bacon. To prevent sticking, avoid allowing your bacon slices to touch or overlap each other. Next, top the bacon with another layer of 3-4 paper towels. Microwave on high for 4-6 minutes. Crispier bacon will require additional time.
10. Revive Crystallized Honey
If your jar of honey has crystallized into a solid block, you can use your microwave to soften it. Simply uncover the jar and heat on high in 30-second intervals. If your honey is in a plastic container that may be altered by rays of the microwave, then simply warm a dish of water in the microwave. Remove the bowl of water and use it as a warm bath to soak and warm your container of honey.Related: Is Your Honey Actually Fake?
9. Soften Dried Beans
If you want to use dried beans in a recipe and forgot to soak them overnight, you can use your microwave to soften them. Hurst’s Hambeens Brand provides these instructions for soaking your beans in the microwave. First, place your beans along with 3 cups of water for every cup of dry beans into a microwaveable dish. Next, cover the dish and microwave on high for until boiling (about 15 minutes). Then, remove the dish from the microwave. Allow to stand for one hour before draining the beans and rinsing them with fresh, cold water.
8. Dry Herbs
Hanging fresh herbs to dry can take a long time. Meanwhile, drying herbs in the microwave can take just minutes. Purdue University states that you can place 4-5 fresh, clean herb branches between 2 paper towels and dry them out in the microwave. Use high heat and zap the herbs for 2-3 minutes. Purdue does caution you to watch your herbs carefully while microwaving them to prevent burning them and starting a fire.
7. Soften Frosting or Butter
If your frosting is difficult to spread, you can place it in a microwaveable dish in the microwave and zap for a few seconds at a time until it becomes easily spreadable. To quickly thaw chilled butter, place a small amount of water in a glass and microwave for 30 seconds. Pour out the water and place the warm glass over your stick of butter to quickly soften it.Related: 10 Tips and Tricks for Using Butter
6. Cook Sweet Corn
For simple and delicious corn-on-the-cob, simply wrap an ear of shucked corn in a damp paper towel and place on a microwaveable plate. Cook on high for 5 minutes, slather with some of that butter you just softened, and enjoy.
5. Bake Desserts
Why heat up your oven when you can quickly and easily bake desserts right in your microwave? From family-sized treats like Mom on Time Out’s recipe for Microwave Lemon Bars to cake-in-a-cup desserts for one, your microwave has you covered. Ree Drummond has a recipe for Chocolate Cake in a Mug that bakes flour, sugar, cocoa powder, milk, and chocolate chips into a tasty treat in only minutes.
4. Scramble Eggs
Scrambling up a batch of eggs is as easy coating a microwaveable mug with cooking spray and adding a beaten egg. The Incredible Egg suggests beating 2 eggs with 2 tablespoons of milk. Cook on high for 45 seconds. If needed, you can add an additional 45 seconds of cooking time.Related: Why Most Countries Don’t Refrigerate Eggs
3. Warm Up Cookies
Nothing beats the taste and aroma of a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. You can regain that delicious, chocolatey aroma and melt-in-the-mouth gooeyness by warming up your cookie on a microwaveable plate for about 15-20 seconds.
2. Whip up a Batch of Potato Chips
Slice up a potato, brush on some olive oil, sprinkle on a little salt and you’re halfway to making a batch of crispy potato chips. Place the prepared potato slices in a single layer between paper towels and microwave for 2-3 minutes. Then, turn the slices over and nuke for an additional 2-3 minutes.
1. Prepare Your Appliance for Cleaning
After giving your microwave oven a good workout, it may be ready for a cleaning. Make cleanup easy by microwaving a small dish of water with a splash of lemon juice for about 2 minutes. Baked-on food particles should now easily wipe away with a damp cloth.Related: 10 Ways to Cook Eggs in Your Microwave