There’s a reason that microwaves incited obsession the minute they arrived on the market back in the 1940s. Instead of having to use the oven or stove to heat something up, one could simply pop it in the microwave, and out it came—hot and ready to eat! However, we’ve realized microwaves aren’t only a boon for reheating, they’re great for a host of other kitchen tricks. Here, our top microwave hacks to speed things up when cooking, just be sure you’re always using a microwave-safe bowl!
Waiting for butter to soften or come to room temperature is worse than waiting for water to boil. And, if you need melted butter for a recipe, it can be annoying to have to use another pot just for the task. So, we often just melt it in the microwave. If you still have a small bit of butter left unmelted after 30–40 second in the microwave, remove carefully and stir the mixture—the heat will melt that last bit. To soften butter (for cookies among other things), heat it in 15-second increments—that way, you can make sure it doesn’t burn.
Ganache—that silky, chocolatey topping and filling for desserts, is actually supremely simple to make in the microwave. Just pour heavy cream into the bowl, and heat for 1–2 minutes, depending on your microwave’s power. Then, add chocolate chips to the hot cream and whisk vigorously until the chocolate has melted and is completely combined with the cream to form a silky ganache.
One of our go-to toppings for ice cream is this tropical meets decadent chocolate-coconut sauce. It’s made by combining heated coconut oil and chocolate and will totally knock your socks off.
Unsurprisingly, this recipe yields a cake that’s made in, yes, a mug! Pop it in the microwave and you’ve got instant dessert.
Did you know that your microwave is quite the breakfast chef? We’ve recently become obsessed with this method for micro scrambled eggs:
Butter a ramekin (or microwave safe bowl). Scramble/whisk 1 egg, season with salt and pepper. Microwave 30 seconds (check it) and add an extra 10 seconds if needed. Put on English muffin with butter and hot sauce, and enjoy
After we make a big pot of soup or stew, we like to jazz it up the next day (or even the night of), with an egg on top. A genius way to do this is simply crack an egg into the cooled soup, put a cover on, and microwave for 2–3 minutes until soup and egg are cooked through.
When we think of this French sauce, we think of a labor-intensive, rich sauce that’s definitely not microwave friendly. Think again! With some butter, flour, milk, and a microwave, you’ve got the ideal Croque monsieur topping.
We’ll never tire of bacon, but crispy prosciutto is definitely our newest salty, crunchy fave for topping salads, soups, and eggs. Paper towels + microwave + plate + prosciutto = heaven. Did we mention it just takes one minute?!
If setting up a steamer was less annoying, we’d be steaming our veggies all the time except…it’s even simpler to get that crisp texture in the microwave! Cut up your vegetables (broccoli into florets, for example) and place on a microwave-safe bowl with three layers of damp paper towels. Microwave 2.5-6 minutes for that ideal crisp-tenderness. Apparently, it’s called “micro-steaming.”
Eggplant can take quite a bit of time to cook, so to speed things up we often give it a blast in the microwave before sautéing it, which draws out some of the moisture and makes for that perfect crisp texture and golden brown hue. Slice or cube the eggplant, place on a paper towel-lined plate, then cook in the microwave for four to five minutes.
Sometimes, you just don’t feel like turning on the oven for what feels like an eternity for baked or roasted potatoes. Enter the microwave! Just prick the potato(es) all over with a fork, place on a plate, and microwave for about 5 minutes until soft. Be careful not to touch it for a few minutes—the potato will be very hot!
Softening brown sugar
Brown sugar can so easily become rock hard when left in your kitchen. Luckily, microwaving it in a bowl with some damp paper towel for 15–25 seconds will soften it and make it far easier to use.
One of the simplest, quickest, and easiest ways to cook fish is, you guessed it, in the microwave! We love layering herbs and vegetables in the bowl with the fish to infuse it with other flavors. It’s usually best for one or two servings, as more than that is easier done in the oven or on the stove. Combine the fish with some olive oil, perhaps some lemon juice or sliced lemon, and some herbs, maybe even a bit of white wine, season with salt and pepper, and cover. Then, microwave for 4–5 minutes (or more or less depending on the thickness of fish and power of microwave) until tender and flaky.
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