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Microwave Oven

What do you think is the best microwave oven? I am not a huge fan of microwave cooking and have a tiny kitchen. My son wants it to heat up food after he gets home and before I get home. I also read that you can heat up the sugar syrup for macarons and melt chocolate in a microwave. Any other good microwave uses?

Meg is a trusted home cook.

asked almost 2 years ago
34 answers 1722 views
Merrill
Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

added almost 2 years ago

I use mine for heating up food for the baby, melting butter, and heating milk for lattes (no foam, but still good). Some people swear by bacon cooked in the mv, but I'm skeptical. You can also make these: http://www.food52.com/recipes...

Birthday_2012
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

luv the potato chip idea my parents make bacon in the microwave, it's good but not outstanding

Sit2
added almost 2 years ago

Most of today's models are about the same. For day to day use...avoid 'bake and microwave' ones..those have never really worked well. Just a standard model with a turntable..and easy to use power controls.

I use it for warming stuff, and heating up a mug of water for tea (with tea bags). Rewarming bowls of soups, warming tortillas with a cover of a wet towel to steam.

And for 'gravy' disasters where you underestimate the flour/butter to thicken a gravy..you can add some butter and flour in a bowl and nuke for 20 seconds....repeat again and again..stirring between heat..and then some of the weak gravy..incorporate it and add bits of that mix to gravy pot on the stove to thicken it.

I also use it to steam broccoli..not to make grey...but just some oil/salt..and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and give 1 min on high. (doing broccoli at microwave heat to really make limp broccoli destroys some vitamins more so than steaming--so 1 min tops...I like crisp broccoli). I like wassabi mayo on that lightly cooked broccoli.

Birthday_2012
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

this is a lot of good tips, thanks!

Waffle3
added almost 2 years ago


My day begins by heating water in the MW for my (pressed) coffee. I can't imagine ever going back to the days before the convenience, if only to heat / reheat -- water, butter, milk, eggs, chocolate, tortillas, leftovers, hot dogs -- the list is truly endless. Cooking? Meh. But your son has the right idea.

As for which one is best in a tiny kitchen, consider the kind that replaces your range vent. They take up virtually no space.


Birthday_2012
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

I don't think I have a range vent. Can anybody enlighten me?

Waffle3
added almost 2 years ago

What's above your range or cooktop -- is there no exhaust vent?

Img_1965
added almost 2 years ago

Like many people here, I use it mainly for heating up water and leftovers. I keep mine on top of my fridge so it doesn't take up too much space - I'm quite short but it's still easy to use up there and stays mostly out of the way. I recommend that for a tiny kitchen. I heat up water for tea, like Sam, and it takes about as long as making toast, so my half awake morning routine of heating, steeping, stirring and buttering is now down to a science.

Food52
added almost 2 years ago

my microwave gets used daily for re-heating left overs. Very minimal "cooking" is done with it. The only thing I can actually think of that I "cook" in a microwave is oatmeal. I will occasionally use my microwave to thaw meat if I need it quickly. The de-frost settings on mine work great.

Dsc_0048b
added almost 2 years ago

oatmeal is great made in the microwave. No need to use quick cooking either - old fashioned oats cook in about 3 minutes in the microwave.

Uruguay2010_61
added almost 2 years ago

Probably use mine twice a year, if that . . .but I do high recommend it as a bread box!

Dsc_0122.nef-1
added almost 2 years ago

I primarily use the microwave for melting stuff, defrosting, boiling water and most important, making rice (daily)

Waffle3
added almost 2 years ago


Early on I discovered they'd handily melt my sister's Barbie dolls -- does that count?

Birthday_2012
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

My kids are no longer in Barbie doll age range, AND my son's most closely guarded secret was that he liked Barbies== and owned one!

Moi_1
added almost 2 years ago

Miele has a 24 inch microwave model that also has bake functions, so it can serve as the second oven. Expensive but exponentially more useful.

Birthday_2012
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

luv that idea, will put it into the remodeling plan to try for...

Sit2
added almost 2 years ago

I've done this tech a few times this summer to shuck and cook corn I used for salads and other dishes---and even taking the cleaned cooked cobs for a final trip on the grill with seasonings.

http://www.youtube.com...

Super easy and take about 3 mins and if done right you don't have any silk to mess with.

Default-small
added almost 2 years ago

I use it for all mentioned above. I also sometimes dry clothing in the microwave---seriously. I do this fo damp items when no time/too lazy to go to the dryer.

Birthday_2012
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

The microwave is also good for a homemade heating pad. Fill a clean sock with dry rice, knot, and heat for a minute or so. Apply to achey area.

Default-small
added almost 2 years ago

I use it for all mentioned above. I also sometimes dry clothing in the microwave---seriously. I do this fo damp items when no time/too lazy to go to the dryer.

Waffle3
added almost 2 years ago


There was a lot of ruckus 30 years ago when someone suggested microwaving underwear in an effort to battle recurring yeast infections. Yeast spores can survive the washer and dryer but can be killed with high heat generated in the MW. Unfortunately, the practice has also started many a fire.

Birthday_2012
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

the other issue is that candida (yeast) is part of our natural vaginal flora... very annoying to think about but getting the candida out of the underwear isn't much help for recurrent yeast.

Waffle3
added almost 2 years ago

I was going to make that comment but it's a little out of my field of expertise so I'm glad you said it.

Baci1
HalfPint

HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

I use it for drying herbs, popcorn without oil, melting chocolate, cooking bacon (so much easier to clean up and it's faster too), hot compress, steam vegetables, poaching eggs, 'bake' potatoes.

One thing I've never been able to successful do with the microwave is defrost. You end up cooking the food and the lowest setting is so low that you might as well defrost the traditional way.

Waffle3
added almost 2 years ago

How did this thread go for over a day without anyone mentioning baked potatoes? Or popcorn? (Although I've given up that technique and returned to the cooktop myself.) Those have to be the two most popular uses for the device.

Birthday_2012
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

luv the drying herbs how do you make popcorn? microwaveable bags have all kind of gunk in them

Baci1
HalfPint

HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

I mentioned those 2 things above :)

Waffle3
added almost 2 years ago

That's what I was referring to -- that you were the only person to come up with the best two examples.

Sit2
added almost 2 years ago

I used to pre cook the potatoes a bit in the microwave and finish them up in the oven or grill with oil. Then I went back to oven baking using a Cooks illustrated method of baking on a salt bed... completely different texture, with a crispy exterior and interior that's so creamy is just needs a bit of butter. But, it takes about 2 hours. <a href="http://tossingtheswissaround.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/salt-baked-potatoes-and-melty-roasted-garlic-or-yes-this-blog-is-still-alive/" target="_blank">http://tossingtheswissaround.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/salt-baked-potatoes-and-melty-roasted-garlic-or-yes-this-blog-is-still-alive/</a> Well worth the extra time..and you can re-use the salt a couple of times. I'd check the garlic heads a bit shy of the 1 hour mark..as burned garlic is nasty.

Birthday_2012
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added almost 2 years ago

Thank you, went to the link and emailed myself the recipe. Is this the same kind of salt potato that I saw up in the Adirondacks? Never bought or made it but saw it in the grocery store.

Default-small
added almost 2 years ago

How do you microwave popcorn? I won't buy those horrid packaged bags.
My husband microwaves his coffee every morning, because he finds it to cool by the time it has dripped. Once a week or so we have a clean-out-the-fridge supper when we put out all the leftovers for a "buffet". We fill our plates, put on microwave lids (in lieu of plastic wrap) & dinner is ready in minutes. Plus most of the uses already mentioned.

Sit2
added almost 2 years ago

To microwave popcorn. Put a layer (just enough to make single layer) in a medium sized brown paper bag. Spray with oil...add a dash of salt. Or drizzle some oil and shake if you don't have a oil sprayer. Crimp the top of the bag down, fold it over a few times. Secure with some masking tape if you're feeling special. Lay it flat. and microwave on "popcorn" until 3 pops a second. Listen to it..and it can burn quickly. (sometimes I forgo the oil in the paper bag and add butter at the end and shake with salt, some paprika, garlic, and other seasonings).

Smokin_tokyo
added almost 2 years ago

Well. i guess I'm the only one that actually COOKs in a microwave--that was a necessity 35 years ago--the kitchens here have no big oven to make mac'n'cheese or muffins or even a baked potato. So we invested in a top-of-the-line one then, going on my third one now.
I've done all of the above (not the Barbie doll) but it does cook stews, or gratin (usually microwaves, then grills the top for "baked finish".

In this summer heat and humidity, I haven't had my Oven on all summer.

My suggestions-- a glass pie plate works fine, but proper cookware can be a great help. Pyrex has some great designs.
Also the silicon steamers are great! Put a fillet of fish or chicken, some liquid like white wine, sprigs of thyme, chopped tomatoes, onion whatever- fast main course and quick cleanup,

Instead of steaming veggies, microwave them--Asian eggplant is great, but cauliflower and beans work too. Even spinach. So get one with a great cookbook (another for your collection). I would assume the Japanese makers will have detailed books with the machine because 80% of the people here have microwaves.

Mine also has cycles--crispy leftover chicken when microwaved will get soggy. But my 'Fry' cycle first heats with microwave, then crisps it with the grill cycle, so it seems like you just fried it.

Smokin_tokyo
added almost 2 years ago

And I have a great sweet potato cycle for Yaki Imo-- if you can get the long red Japanese sweet potatoes, then you are really in for a treat. Its a cycle similar to the chicken, the timing is automatic by weight, but caramelizes the potato-so delicious, you won't need any other sweeteners!