20 Microwave Recipe Hacks You Need to Know


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

Plain omelet on a plate with greens
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Recipe: American Egg Board
Microwaving eggs is easy, and it doesn't have to be limited to scrambled eggs or simply cracked and cooked. This recipe takes just a few minutes and comes out consistent every time.

Chocolate mug cake
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Recipe: Allrecipes
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.

Baked potato with cheese, bacon, and green onion
Photo credit: LauriPatterson/istockphoto


Recipe: Kitch Me
A baked potato is an inexpensive canvas for toppings that can transform it into a meal unto itself. This method takes 12 minutes and minimal effort — just a quick turnover midway through cooking.

French toast on a plate with a scoop of butter and syrup being poured
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Recipe: Genius Kitchen
Cooking French toast a slice at a time means each serving is made to order. It also helps get a consistent texture throughout, rather than super-hot and cooked on the outside, raw in the middle.

Two poached eggs on English muffins
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Recipe: Bon Appétit
The microwave is actually the easiest way to poach eggs, which can otherwise be a stressful and delicate process with 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.

Homemade potato chips in a bowl
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Recipe: Taste of Home
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.

Meatloaf in a casserole dish
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Recipe: The Spruce
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).

Mushroom risotto in a casserole dish
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Recipe: Food Network
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.

Granola in a white bowl on a white background
Photo credit: LauriPatterson/istockphoto


Recipe: Shape
Granola is a nutritious and satisfying snack, breakfast, or even dessert, but it commands unnecessarily high prices. Making your own is simple and fast — just five minutes at 50 percent power. Customizing is encouraged; just remember to add fruit last, as the heat can cause it to burst.

Whole bulb of roasted garlic on a white plate
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Recipe: The Kitchn
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.

English muffin with red jam
Photo credit: LauriPatterson/istockphoto


Recipe: Dashing Dish
Making bread products is a lofty task for most home cooks, let alone those who have access only to a microwave. This serious hack combines healthy ingredients such as oat flour and applesauce for a quick morning bread ready in less than five minutes.

Tri-colored pasta with light tomato sauce and basil
Photo credit: vm2002/istockphoto


Recipe: Tablespoon
Pasta is convenient, shelf stable, and inexpensive, and microwaving adds just a few extra minutes of cooking time to dried pasta while requiring little more than a bowl, plate, and colander.

Chicken fajita tacos
Photo credit: bhofack2/istockphoto


Recipe: The Daily Meal
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.

Black bean burritos
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Recipe: Taste of Home
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.

Lasagna in a glass casserole dish
Photo credit: Tanya_F/istockphoto


Recipe: Real Simple
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.

Plate of snickerdoodle cookies
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Recipe: Kirbie Cravings
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).

Plain cheese quesadillas on a red plate
Photo credit: MSPhotographic/istockphoto


Recipe: Allrecipes
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.

Plate of nachos
Photo credit: cobraphoto/istockphoto


Recipe: Betty Crocker
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. Overcooking gives the chips a funky texture.

Pizza in a mug
Photo credit: Mug Pizza by Johnson Wang (CC BY-NC-SA)


Recipe: Bigger Bolder Baking
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.

Hot mulled cider in white mugs with apple and cinnamon decorations in background
Photo credit: OksanaKiian/istockphoto


Recipe: Genius Kitchen
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.

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