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
- Always use non-metal utensils and dishes in the microwave.
- 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.
- To ensure that food cooks fully and evenly in a microwave oven, stir food and turn dishes periodically while they’re cooking.
- Remove large bones from meat before microwaving, as dense bones may hinder cooking.
- Wrapping a paper towel around sandwiches, rolls, or other baked goods can help absorb moisture and prevent sogginess.
- 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?