11 Surprising Ways To Make Better Use Of Your Microwave

uses for microwave

From defrosting meat to melting butter, your microwave can save you quite a bit of time and effort in the kitchen. But your microwave can do a lot more as well, and some of its handiest uses might surprise you!

In this post, I’ll be sharing 11 surprising things you can do in your microwave! By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have a whole new appreciation of what this small-but-mighty appliance is capable of.

11 Surprising Things You Can Do In Your Microwave


1. Bake A Cookie

You can bake up a single-serving chocolate chip cookie in a mug using your microwave! This is a great option for satisfying your sweet tooth without the temptation of baking a whole batch.


2. Pop (Non-Microwave) Popcorn

Most people already use their microwave to make bags of popcorn. But did you know you can make homemade popcorn in your microwave too?

Popping your own popcorn is not only more affordable, but it also gives you the freedom to flavor it any way you want! Learn how to make homemade popcorn in your microwave here.


3. Make Lip Balm

With the help of your microwave, you can make your own lip balm in minutes! With a few simple ingredients like beeswax and honey, you can make several tubes of moisturizing lip balm for yourself or to give as gifts!


4. Cook Potato Chips

Ever tried making homemade potato chips before? They’re really good, and surprisingly easy to make thanks to this quick microwave method (no deep fryer required!)


5. Poach An Egg

Poached eggs are a brunch favorite, but many people assume they’re too tricky to attempt cooking them at home. But with the help of your microwave, making poached eggs is downright easy! Eggs Benedict, anyone?


6. Cook Corn On The Cob

One of the simplest ways to cook corn on the cob is to do it in your microwave! Just place an ear inside, husk and all, and in minutes it will be perfectly cooked.

And best of all, cooking corn using this method makes the silk slide right off!


7. Bake Gluten Free Bread

You can even use your microwave to “bake” just enough gluten free bread for a sandwich at lunchtime! It’s quick, easy, and can be a real life-saver (or at least stomach-saver!) for those who eat gluten free.


8. Steam Vegetables

Steam vegetables quickly and easily using your microwave! Start by arranging your veggies in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate, then cover the plate in three layers of damp paper towels.

Cook the covered veggies for 2 1/2-6 minutes until they are done to your liking. (The amount of time will vary based on the power of your microwave and the size and type of veggie you’re cooking.)


9. Peel Garlic

Your microwave can make peeling garlic so much easier! Just microwave a head of garlic for 20 seconds, then pull the cloves apart.

Microwaving garlic creates steam that breaks the bond between the cloves and their skins, so you’ll be able to slide them right off! I picked up this trick relatively recently, and now I use it every time I need to peel garlic!


10. Dry Herbs

Want to preserve those fresh herbs in your fridge before they go bad? Use your microwave to dry them! The process quickly saps the leaves of their moisture, preserving more of their flavorful essential oils.

Place 4-5 sprigs of fresh herbs between two dry paper towels, then cook them for 2-3 minutes. They should be brittle and dry enough to be crush or grind them for storage.


11. Soften Stale Bread

Use your microwave to rescue stale bread! Wrap the bread in a damp paper towel, then microwave it for about 10 seconds to soften it up. You can also place the bread directly into the microwave with a cup of water and get similar results!

However you use your microwave, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Bonus Microwave Tips & Tricks

  1. Always use non-metal utensils and dishes in the microwave.
  2. Paper plates, cups, and napkins can be used in the microwave, but don’t use foil-lined paper products, paper towels with nylon or synthetic fibers, or newspaper.
  3. To ensure that food cooks fully and evenly in a microwave oven, stir food and turn dishes periodically while they’re cooking.
  4. Remove large bones from meat before microwaving, as dense bones may hinder cooking.
  5. Wrapping a paper towel around sandwiches, rolls, or other baked goods can help absorb moisture and prevent sogginess.
  6. Thick-skinned foods like potatoes, squash, and tomatoes can trap steam, so pierce their skins before microwaving them to allow steam to escape.

Do you use your microwave in any surprising or unexpected ways?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • We have always cooked corn on the cob in the microwave, but we shuck it first and then wrap in in wax paper before cooking. This years crop, which we buy at one of the local Amish farms, is exceptionally sweet and good. Their ‘maters are very flavorful as well. Far better than the overpriced and mostly flavorless store bought ones.Oh, and if you happen to be in the market for a (new) microwave, the most versatile one you can buy is the Panasonic Inverter. It gives you 10 levels of control over the cookong power by actually allowing you to regulate the microwaves power instead of just cycling the power on and off from 100% like almost every other one on the market.

  • I’ve been cooking my corn on the cob in the microwave for years. It’s so easy. It’s the only way I cook it. I do one other thing – I soak the cob in water before I cook it.
    Thanks for your blog Jillee! I love reading it everyday and have learned so many things here.

  • I use our microwave to make a yummy diy version of the popular just crack an egg omelets. They are so easy assemble ahead of time . I eat them for breakfast when I’m working long hours or a crazy shift sometimes.

  • I use my microwave for some of the things you suggested, but I also use it to store bread, rolls, tortillas & the like. Keeps them fresher longer, & great since my space is limited.

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