20 Microwave Recipe Hacks You Need To Know

Microwave Mug Cake


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Microwave Mug Cake

Do the 'Wave

A microwave is an incredibly useful kitchen appliance — and for some people, such as college students and urbanites living in small apartments, it's the only method of heating and cooking food. Fortunately, time- and money-saving staples including pasta and eggs can be adapted for cooking in the microwave, helping avoid expensive meals out. 

Wondering how to cook eggs in a microwave? Or how to make mug cake using the handy appliance? Read on for recipes that use savvy microwave hacks, and give your oven or stovetop a rest.

john shepherd/istockphoto
Chocolate Mug Cake

2. Make an Individual Mug Cake

There are infinite recipes for microwave mug cakes, but start with a classic. A little trial and error with your particular microwave will make you a master, but even if you overcook this cake, it still comes out tasty. Bonus: It takes less than 10 minutes and a handful of pantry staples to make this chocolate-laden dessert!

Recipe: Allrecipes

Baked Potato

3. Bake a Potato

A baked potato is an inexpensive canvas that can be easily transformed into a meal. Prick a potato with a fork, microwave it for 10 minutes with a flip in between, and melt some cheese over the top. This method takes minimal effort and can be customized with a variety of toppings.

Recipe: Allrecipes

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French Toast

4. Make French Toast

Cooking French toast in the microwave one slice at a time means each serving is made to order. It also helps get a consistent texture throughout, rather than getting super-hot and cooked on the outside and raw in the middle. The cooking time is short, too: Just one minute on high.

Recipe: Genius Kitchen

Related: Slow Cooker Breakfast Recipes for Easy and Delicious Mornings

Poached Eggs

5. Poach Some Eggs

Believe it or not, the microwave is actually the easiest way to poach eggs, which can otherwise be a stressful and delicate process requiring a huge pot of boiling water. This technique also takes just about a minute, so eggs can be added as the final touch to any dish.

Recipe: Bon Appétit

Potato Chips

6. Whip Up Potato Chips

Potato chips are not a common snack to whip up from scratch in a home kitchen, mostly because they are a pain to make. Using a microwave is much easier, faster, and healthier than old-fashioned stove-top deep-frying. Slice potatoes extra-thin, brush both sides with olive oil, and cook them in the microwave for roughly six minutes.

Recipe: Taste of Home


7. Make Meatloaf

A standard recipe is adapted in a two-stage microwaving process to yield tender, flavorful, and fully cooked meatloaf. Microwave strengths vary, though, and it's always a good idea to use a meat thermometer (for any meat). 


Recipe: The Spruce

Related: 24 Kitchen Accessories You Didn't Know You Needed


8. Cook Risotto

Risotto is elegant but cheap, and it usually requires someone to stand watch over a pot, stirring constantly for a half-hour. This recipe creates a hearty mushroom risotto without all the effort, and even gives cooking times based on the strength of different microwaves.  

Recipe: Food Network

Related: 20 Cheap and Easy Rice Dishes

Andrey Zhuravlev/istockphoto

9. Make a Batch of Granola

Granola is a nutritious and satisfying snack, breakfast, or even dessert, but it commands unnecessarily high prices. Making your own is simple and fast — it takes just a few minutes with some intermittent stirring. Customizing is encouraged; just remember to add fruit last, as the heat can cause it to burst.

Recipe: My Fussy Eater

Roasted Garlic

10. Roast Garlic

Home chefs use this trick when they are short on time but can't live without the smooth, mellow, and creamy flavor of slow-roasted garlic. In less than 10 minutes, the microwave produces something so similar that any gourmand would be hard-pressed to tell the difference.

Recipe: The Kitchn

English Muffin

11. Bake an English Muffin

Making bread products is a lofty task for most home cooks, let alone those who have access only to a microwave. This serious hack uses almond flour for a quick morning bread ready in less than five minutes.

Recipe: The Gardening Foodie


13. Warm Up Fajitas

Fajitas generally get flavor from high-heat cooking, so this gentler microwave recipe uses plenty of piquant spices instead. Cumin, chili powder, and garlic are the main ones, but feel free to mix it up with a favorite seasoning or spice blend.

Recipe: The Daily Meal


14. Make Burritos

Canned beans and chilies mix with a few fresh ingredients and spices to create healthy and filling burritos. Pre-seasoned refried beans are another quick option to roll into a tortilla and warm up for a quick snack or light, protein-packed meal.

Recipe: Taste of Home

Related: 21 Delicious and Inexpensive Mexican Dishes


15. Bake Lasagna

This recipe is completely classic and traditional, except when it comes to the cooking. Since microwaving is fast, the lasagna is done and ready to be enjoyed after 20 minutes, which includes 10 minutes of cooling time.

Recipe: Real Simple

Snickerdoodle Cookies

16. Bake Snickerdoodle Cookies

Microwave cookies are cheap and fast — but made one at a time, just before eating, so the cookies can be enjoyed warm (and because they start to toughen up after they cool).

Recipe: Kirbie Cravings


17. Cook Quesadillas

This two-ingredient recipe provides the bare-bones method for quick and simple microwave quesadillas. Mix it up by using a blend of cheeses, or even a combination of leftover bits and pieces of cheese to create something unique and flavorful. You won't get the browned or crisp outside, but the melty cheese is spot on.

Recipe: Allrecipes


18. Throw Together Nachos

Many college students are familiar with this go-to recipe. Microwave for about a minute and rotate halfway through to melt the cheese and keep the chips crisp. Beware overcooking, which gives the chips a funky texture.

Recipe: Betty Crocker

Mug Pizza
Mug Pizza by Johnson Wang (CC BY-NC-SA)

19. Make Mug Pizza

It's all the expected flavor and satisfaction of a slice, served in a mug. The size of the mug and the power of the microwave are the main factors in the cooking time, so start with less time and add as needed until you find the sweet spot.

Recipe: Bigger Bolder Baking

Mulled Cider

20. Brew Mulled Cider

Mulled cider is generally simmered slowly for hours to get the flavors to integrate into one warming beverage. This recipe gets the job done in about two minutes in individual servings.

Recipe: Genius Kitchen

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