How can I optimize cooking with my microwave?


Some tips to use efficiently your microwave

Present in the vast majority of kitchens, the microwave is literally part of the furniture. It is used to heat food, to defrost food, to melt butter for recipes... But are you sure you are using it in the most efficient way in all situations? Here are some tips that may change the way you use your microwave!

Efficiently defrost your food in the microwave


Defrosting in the microwave is quite an art! You have to keep the food raw, without cooking it. For efficient defrosting with this appliance, it is essential to position your food in the center of a plate suitable for your microwave oven.


To defrost meat, opt for a setting at 30% of the capacity of the appliance. The duration is around 5 minutes for 500 grams of meat. If this is not enough, extend it but do not increase the power of the microwave.


To defrost vegetables or other foods, set the power to 20% and count 2 minutes per 100 grams of product. Renew if necessary.



Evenly heat a dish in the microwave


Often, when reheating a dish in the microwave, you will find that the outside of the food is hot but the inside is cold. This phenomenon is due to the fact that the microwave does not heat food evenly, but also because we have all adopted a less than optimal reflex, without even knowing it.


Indeed, it is very likely that you are used to centering your plate on the microwave turntable when reheating it. However, to enjoy even heating, it is better to offset the plate. Try to push it as far as possible on one side of the tray before turning on the microwave, you should see the difference very quickly!

Heat two plates at the same time


Another tip related to reheating, the one that consists of passing two plates, or two small dishes, at the same time in the microwave oven. It is very simple, start by positioning the first plate on the edge of the tray, as explained just above. Then, in the free space of the tray, place a mug upside-down. Then place your second plate on top of this mug to create an upper raised "level" in your microwave.


This trick is all the more functional as it naturally shifts the raised plate, which allows you to stay in line with the previous trick. As you put two plates in your oven, you have to adjust the heating time. Do you know how to do it ? This is the subject of our next tip.

Efficiently adjust microwave cooking time


If it takes 2 minutes to heat a plate in the microwave, should this time be doubled when heating two plates at the same time? There is no doubt that you have already asked yourself this question, and it is quite normal.


One can start from the principle that doubling the reheating time of two plates compared to one does not really make sense, because putting two plates in the microwave does not halve the power of the oven! But in reality, this reasoning is not so wrong. Indeed, the main effect of the microwave is to agitate the water molecules present in the food by projecting waves on it. These waves are therefore " absorbed " by the dish, but not all the waves are used. The remaining waves are used to heat the second dish when one puts two plates in the device.


This means that it may lack a bit of waves to heat both dishes effectively. However, doubling the cooking time can be risky and contribute to burning the food. Thus, it is rather recommended to add 50% cooking time for two plates. If a single dish takes 4 minutes to heat up, then set your microwave to 6 minutes for two dishes, and you are done.

Preserve the moistness of a reheated pizza


When reheating a slice of pizza in the microwave, it is not uncommon to end up with a very dried out and hard pizza as a result. Again, the fact that the device strongly agitates the water molecules present in the food is responsible for this situation.


There is a very simple solution to enjoy a soft slice of pizza after heating it in a microwave oven. Just put a small glass of water near the pizza before starting the reheating. During heating, the water will create a veil of humidity which will prevent the food from drying out. Note that this trick is also valid with slices of pies, cake, bread… In short, anything that can dry out and harden very quickly after being microwaved.

Optimize the use of containers


Everyone knows that you should never put metal containers or accessories in the microwave. But do you know what other materials to avoid, and which ones to favor?


To reheat your food in the microwave, the ideal is to favor Pyrex containers. It is a perfectly adapted material, including during a long heating time. Earthenware, ceramic and porcelain plates are also suitable, provided they are undecorated. Indeed, some paints may contain metal particles which cause the microwave oven to react. Also check, on the back of your containers, whether there are any contra-indications concerning their use in a microwave oven.


Cardboard and plastic can be used only for short heating times that do not exceed a few minutes. A piece of pizza cardboard or the plastic box of a deli dish can be microwaved once, but no more. Over time, the cardboard can burn and the plastic can melt, and some particles can end up in the food.

Earthenware dishes, such as pots and pans, are not recommended either for reheating food in the microwave. The reason for this is that they tend to absorb waves a lot. This causes them to heat up while the food inside stays cold. The container may even become fragile and break. It is better not to take any risk and to opt for a more suitable container.


These few tips should help you make better use of your microwave on a daily basis. Do not hesitate to put them into practice as soon as the need arises.