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11 Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Cook in the Microwave

Three images of foods you can cook in the microwavbe including dehydrated herbs by Steamy Kitchen, Poached eggs by Simply Recipes and cheese sauce by Girl Gone Gourmet.
Steamy Kitchen/Simply Recipes/Girl Gone Gourmet

The microwave has been around since 1955, so it’s pretty easy to take it for granted. However, in addition to quick nukes and meal tune-ups, you can cook entire dishes in this handy tool. So, next time you’re making any of these 11 foods, stick them in the microwave!

While most people are just waiting for a hot, buttery bag of popcorn to finish popping, others are making full-course breakfasts in their microwaves. Here are some surprising dishes this trusty steed of an appliance can handle.

Briny Bacon

Microwaved Bacon sitting on a plate with folded paper towels, to help soak in the grease.
Healthy Recipes

We know what you’re thinking: “They make microwaveable bacon, big deal.” While yes, those frail, yet oh-so-tasty, slices of fully-cooked bacon crisp up marvelously in the microwave, we’re actually talking about raw bacon.

Believe it or not, your microwave will transform those slimy slices into salty sandwich stuffers. It’s a great option when you’re in a hurry and just one of the many ways you can cook bacon.

This snappy strategy does, however, come with some downsides. Your microwave can only cook a few slices at once, and if you have an ancient microwave (like me), then you know all about those hot spots.

Eggs (Three Ways)

Two microwaved poached eggs over a slice of toast, topped with flakey seas salt.
Simply Recipes

Once your bacon finishes, move on to cracking a few eggs in a bowl, and then add your favorite ingredients. Ham, cheese, spinach, bell peppers—you name it, your microwave can cook it into your omelet with ease.

Many might already know about this wonderful hack, thanks to TikTok, but there are other ways you can cook eggs in the microwave, too.

For a scrambled breakfast, just remove your eggs every 30 seconds and give them a gentle stir to break them into smaller pieces. A bit of PAM Cooking Spray will ensure they don’t stick, but I always add a knob of butter toward the end to also give my eggs an ultra-creamy, buttery taste.

Omelets and scrambles aren’t the only way you can microwave eggs, either; you can get the most out of those runny yolks by poaching them, too.

Hearty Potatoes

Two microwaved potatoes with pierced holes placed on a plate with two forks.
Baking Mischief

Potatoes cook up wonderfully in the microwave, especially when you need some quick home fries to accompany those fluffy eggs and ultra-crispy bacon.

Several fork-pierced holes, and into the microwave that spud goes—easy peasy! Timing differs, depending on the size of your potato. Just keep in mind, you’ll need to flip it every few minutes for even cooking. Sweet potatoes work the same way.

Corn on the Cob

Four ears of corn that were just cooked up in the microwave.
An Edible Mosaic

You can buy corn in a can or the frozen section, but we all know the very best tasting version is off the cob, during those breezy autumn months. From now on, you won’t even need an oversized pot of water to get your corn to the juicy, tender crunch you love because your microwave can do it!

Even better, you can throw it in there husk and all, and that pesky silk will slide off like nothing. It’s convenient, less messy, and delicious.

Crispy Potato Chips

A bowl of microwaved potato chips along side of a delicious lobster salad sandwich.
Food Network

Your spuds can quickly transform into thin, crunchy chips with the help of your microwave, too. Don’t believe us? Give this recipe a try!

OXO Adjustable Mandoline Slicer

Perfect, thin slices every time.

You’ll need to sliver them thin first, and nothing quite does the trick like a mandoline slicer (just watch your fingers!). Once you’ve prepped and soaked your potatoes, your microwave does the rest in just five minutes.

Easy Spaghetti Squash

Using a fork to remove the spaghetti strands from within a spaghetti squash.
New Africa/Shutterstock.com

By now, you’ve probably seen blog posts and videos on every way to cook spaghetti squash, but this is the easiest (and safest) method.

We only cook spaghetti squash this way because piercing through the tough shell in raw form is tough and can also be dangerous. Instead, a few pierced holes are all it takes. Once the microwave softens it up, you’ll have no problem gliding even the dullest of blades through that giant yellow winter vegetable.

Quick Steamed Broccoli

A small casserole dish filled with freshly micro-steamed broccoli..
Baking Mischief

There’s nothing like throwing a bag of frozen veggies in the microwave and calling it dinner, but did you know your microwave can steam them, too?

I’ll let you in on a little secret: some restaurants use this trick to get broccoli or mixed medleys to that perfect al dente crunch you love. So, next time you need to cook up a side dish of squash or zucchini, don’t bother with any other method.

This recipe is for broccoli, but we’ve micro-steamed carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, cauliflower, and many others. Just adjust the timing based on the heartiness of the vegetable you’re zapping.

Dehydrated Herbs

A bowl of dehydrated herbs done by the microwave.
Steamy Kitchen

Fresh herbs can really brighten up summer dishes, but once the autumn chill creeps in, those delicate, tiny plants won’t survive the cold. Rather than letting those little beauties die off, your microwave can dehydrate them into potent little herbs for your winter stews.

Your microwave can take thyme, sage, and more from untouched, natural plants to moisture-free in just a few minutes.

Homemade Cheese Dip

Two images of microwaveable cheese sauce.
Girl Gone Gourmet

Next time you’re craving something cheesy (and easy), this quick dip will hit the spot! You only need five ingredients: fontina and mild cheddar cheeses, kosher salt, cornstarch, and evaporated milk.

However, we like to add a sprinkle of chopped tomatoes and some cilantro to take it up a notch. So, grab a bag of tortilla chips and whip this up for your next Taco Tuesday.

Crumbly One-Minute Cookies

Two images of a mug cookie made in the microwave in under one minute.
The Comfort of Cooking

If you’ve got a mean sweet tooth that comes out of nowhere, then you’ll appreciate the ease of making a single-serve mug cookie like this one.

Staple ingredients, like butter, sugar, flour, and egg, all come together in this unique take on the classic chocolate chip cookie. And it’ll be all done in just one minute!

Moist Mug Cakes

Two images of vanilla sprinkles cake made in the microwave in a mug.
Tastes Better from Scratch

If you’re more of a cake guy or gal, then this one’s for you! This moist, convenient take on that most classic of desserts is easy to make and really hits the spot when you need something sweet to savor.

Vanilla and sprinkles are always delightful, but there are many other flavors you can do, including chocolate, and even coffee cake! It’s so simple, why not try ’em all?

If you’ve only been using your microwave for popcorn or to warm up leftovers, it’s time to let that handy appliance do some real work! After you see how much time you can save making these foods in just a few minutes, you’ll never cook them on the stovetop again!

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »
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