7 Foods You Had No Idea You Can Make In The Microwave
Microwaved meals are synonymous with doing the bare minimum. If you tell someone that you’re eating a microwaved meal, they are very likely picturing a sad, nutrient-void TV dinner, and they’ll express the sorrow they harbour for your lot in life.
But in reality, the kitchen tool is both underestimated and misunderstood. The truth is that you can use it to make a whole host of delicious foods while still doing the bare minimum.
This is especially good news if you hate cooking or don’t have access to a full kitchen. Heck, even chefs use the microwave from time to time. Need proof? Here are seven ways to use that good old heated box, straight from professionals who have access to every cooking tool under the sun.
7 Surprising foods you can microwave
“Cook This Book” author Molly Baz admitted that, like many chefs, she looked down on the microwave for a long time. But when she learned that it could be used to make eggs, she started looking at it in a new way. “I was visiting my parents and I really wanted a poached egg for breakfast. My mom told me that instead of boiling an entire pot of water for one egg, I should just use the microwave,” Baz said. As you can likely guess, she did ― and now she’s a microwave believer.
To make your own poached egg, first microwave a half-cup of water in a microwave-safe measuring cup or mug. Next, crack the egg into the water. Cover the cup with plastic wrap and microwave it for 30 more seconds. Then lift the egg out of the microwave and use a slotted spoon to plate it.
And you can do more than just poach eggs in the microwave. Tara Ippolito, author of “Fast. Simple. Delicious.” and a contestant on Netflix’s “Easy Bake Battle,” said she uses the device to make scrambled eggs. “I just crack some eggs, add some cheese and veggies and pop it in the microwave for one minute. It’s so easy,” she said.
2. French toast
Eggs aren’t the only breakfast food you can make in the microwave. Ippolito said she also uses it to make French toast.
To do so, she said to simply cut up the bread, put the pieces in a microwave-safe container, add your other French toast ingredients (including whisked eggs) and put it in the microwave for between two and five minutes, depending on your microwave. Not only does the French toast come together quicker than when it’s made on the stove, but there will be fewer dishes to clean up, too.
3. Baked potatoes
Baked potatoes are one of those foods that you have to plan for because they can take an hour to make in the oven. Vegan chef and cookbook author Ally Lazare uses the microwave for them, cutting the cooking time down to roughly 10 minutes.
“My favourite hack is using the microwave in place of the stovetop things like potatoes or heavy root vegetables,” she said. “This is particularly helpful in the summer when it’s hot, and you don’t want to have multiple pots and pans boiling away on the stove, or if you’re already cooking multiple things and don’t have any free space on the stove.”
“You can easily ‘roast’ a sweet potato or russet potato by poking the potato a few times with a sharp knife to release steam and then putting them on a glass dish or bowl and microwaving for about 10 minutes,” said chef Amelia Levin. She also cooks spaghetti squash this way, microwaving it for about 15 minutes, depending on the size.
You don’t need an air fryer to make chips that are healthier than what you’ll find in the grocery store. They’re yet another food that you can make using the microwave. “Microwave chips are easy and delicious. I like to use potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash and zucchini,” Lazare said.
She added that the key to making the chips nice and crispy is to slice the veggies really thin and salt them before cooking to soak up moisture. “Lay them in a single layer on a sheet of paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Let them sit for 15 to 20 minutes, then pat them dry,” she suggested.
Now, they’re ready for the microwave. Zap them for between three and six minutes, watching them carefully to make sure they don’t burn.
5. Fried shallots
Fried shallots are great to have on hand to add both crunch and flavour to everything from salads to roasted ― or microwaved ― veggies and to sprinkle on soup.
“You can make them in the microwave by placing some sliced shallots or onions in a little oil, covering and zapping them for 30 to 45 seconds. They’ll crisp up just like you fried them,” Levin said. Smart, right?
6. Bloomed spices
What are bloomed spices, you ask? They’re the key to adding more flavour to all your recipes. Heating dried spices with a little bit of fat extracts the essence of the spice, making it more pungent and flavourful. You can do this to ground spices as well as those in seed form, like coriander or mustard seeds.
Levin suggested adding your spice to a small bowl with some olive oil and microwaving it for about 30 seconds. The end result will be an infused oil bursting with flavour and ready to be drizzled over veggies, meat, salads and grain bowls.
7. Cookies, brownies and cake
Have you ever had a craving for something sweet but don’t want to make an entire cake or batch of brownies to satisfy it? That’s where mug cakes, mug brownies and even mug cookies come in. “Microwaves are fantastic for desserts, especially if you’re baking for one or two people,” Lazare said. Just add all the ingredients into a mug, stir them up and cook in the microwave for about two minutes. Google “mug cakes you can make in the microwave” for hundreds of recipes.
Clearly, there’s a whole lot more you can use the microwave for than TV dinners. Your Instant Pot is about to get jealous.