Food-Specific Microwave Cooking Tips

Note: Temperature settings between microwave ovens may vary. Therefore, the time periods suggested for cooking or heating as listed below are approximate. For best results, check your user’s manual for recommendations from the manufacturer.


* Thaw frozen juices by removing the metal lid, placing the packaging cylinder in a microwavable container and heating for approximately 30 seconds.

* Keep morning coffee, tea or hot chocolate fresh by covering leftovers with plastic wrap and placing in the fridge. Reheat one mug at a time for 1-2 minutes on high power. Prior to microwaving, peel loosen plastic wrap to allow steam to escape.


* Soften a chilled or frozen stick of butter by reducing power to 50% and heating for approximately 40 seconds.

* When heating cream or sour cream, lower the power to 50-75% to help avoid curdling.

* Soften hard-packed brown sugar by placing in a microwavable container with a slice of apple or a slice of fresh bread and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Heat on high for approximately 30 seconds.

* Make breadcrumbs by cutting bread slices into cubes and microwaving on high until hard. Crush cubes in a resealable plastic bag for a quick cleanup.

* To renew hardened honey, check to see that it is contained in a microwavable jar and that the cap or lid has been removed. Cover the opening with plastic wrap, leaving a small gap for steam to escape, and microwave for approximately 1 minute. If you are uncertain as to whether the packaging container is appropriate for microwave use, transfer pieces of the hardened honey to a container that you know is appropriate for the microwave oven.


* Melt chocolate squares by heating at full power for approximately 45 seconds per ounce of chocolate.

* Soften rock-hard ice cream by heating at 30% power for approximately 20 seconds.

* Toast coconut by spreading into a thin layer and heating on high power for approximately 2-3 minutes. Stop and stir after 1 ½ - 2 minutes.

* To dry lemon and orange peel, place grated rind in small microwavable container and heat on high power for approximately 30 to 60 seconds.


* Microwave lemons and other citrus fruits for approximately 20 seconds to help get more juice when squeezed. Just before cutting the fruit, roll it against a countertop or cutting board surface, applying pressure with the palm of your hand, until softened.

* To plump dried raisins and other dried fruits, measure one cup of dried fruit and sprinkle with two tablespoons of water. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and heat on high approximately 30 seconds.


* Dry herbs in the microwave by spreading into a single layer between paper towels and heating at full power for approximately 2-3 minutes. After the first minute, begin checking herbs at 30-second intervals. When herbs are dry, crumble and store in airtight containers. Heating times will vary for different herbs.

* To help maximize flavor, try adding herbs after food has been cooked or heated in the microwave.

Meats and Fish

* Separate cold or frozen meats by microwaving at the defrost setting for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute.

* Drain fat from hamburgers by microwaving in a plastic colander placed on top of a dish or bowl.


* Crisp stale chips, cookies or crackers by microwaving them at full power for approximately 10 seconds.

* Blanch nuts by placing them in boiling water and heating on high up to one minute. Remove skins by rubbing between paper towels.

* Roast nuts by spreading evenly in a single layer and cooking on high for approximately 2 ½ – 3 minutes.


* Veggies can be steamed in the microwave in just a few minutes with no added fat. Simply chop vegetables as desired, place in a microwavable container with 1 to 2 Tbsp. of water and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Cook on high until soft.

* To make mashed potatoes in the microwave, cut potatoes into small pieces and place in a microwavable container with 1 to 2 Tbsp. water. Cover container with plastic wrap, turning back one corner to allow steam to escape, and microwave on high until soft. Mash and season with milk and herbs.

* When baking a potato in the microwave, be sure to pierce the skin to release steam.

* When peeling garlic or onions, snip off the ends and microwave for approximately 10 to 15 seconds to make the job easier.

* Make great corn on the cob by rinsing ears in cold water with the husks on. Heat in the microwave on high for up to six minutes for two ears and up to eight minutes for four.

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