The microwave oven has become an indispensable household appliance that many of us would be utterly lost without. From defrosting freezer meals, to reheating food and even cooking tasty meals, there’s endless possibilities for what the microwave can be used for. That being said, there are risks associated with cooking certain foods in the microwave which should not be ignored. With that in mind, you may be wondering what foods can I cook in the microwave?
So whether you’re a newbie to the world of cooking for yourself, someone who is short on time or simply a lazy cook, this list will unleash your inner Gordon Ramsay and have you whipping up meals in minutes. Let’s dive right in and provide you with the ultimate list of foods suitable for microwaving!
Eggs: Poached and scrambled eggs come out exceptionally well in the microwave. Not only is it faster to cook them this way, it’s also easier too and saves on the ordeal of heating up the hob and cleaning pots and other equipment. Cooking times will slightly vary between microwaves, so take note of how long it takes you to make the perfect eggs for future reference. Note that boiled eggs and eggs in their shell are not suitable for microwave cooking.
1. Half fill a microwaveable bowl with water. Some people add salt and 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar to the water, but I personally don’t bother.
2. Carefully crack 2 eggs into the bowl and try not to crack them on top of each other.
3. Place the bowl in the microwave at a 1-minute cooking interval initially, followed by 15-30 second intervals to check how cooked they are.
4. Once cooked, they will be completely white with no opaque parts. You can test if they are ready by prodding it with a fork to check how firm it is.
5. Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs and serve immediately.
1. Crack 2 eggs into a microwaveable bow, add a splash of milk and whisk until combined.
2. Place in the microwave for 1 minute, stir and then put it on at 30 second intervals (or less as they get closer to being cooked) to stir and check how cooked they are.
3. Remove them before they’re fully cooked as they will continue to cook out of the microwave.
Pancakes: Believe it or not, you can microwave cook your pancakes. The texture won’t be exactly the same as traditionally cooked pancakes as there is no browning. It didn’t personally bother me too much because I had covered mine in sauces and fruit so I didn’t really notice.
1/4 cup flour
4 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoon milk
1. Simply make the batter by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl.
2. Lightly grease a microwaveable plate using butter, oil or cooking spray.
3. Pour the mixture onto the greased plate. Note the larger the pancake mixture quantity, the longer it will take to cook.
4. Place in the microwave for 1 minute. Check to see if it is cooked enough. If it is still runny, continue to cook it on 10 – 15 second intervals.
5. Once cooked, remove and serve with your favourite toppings.
Porridge: If you’ve been paying attention to the convenience foods located in your supermarket, you may have noticed porridge pots which offer a single serving of porridge, simply requiring you to add boiling water and stir or milk and microwave. However, those can be expensive to use everyday. So if you are short on time, why not try the below recipe for microwave porridge. I personally find rolled oats work the best.
1. Add 40g oats and 200ml milk of your choice to a microwaveable bowl and stir them together.
2. Place in the microwave for 2 minutes initially, stir and return to the microwave on 20 – 30 second intervals, checking continuously to see if it is cooked.
3. Once cooked, remove and serve with your favourite fruit, nuts, seeds, sauces or flavourings.
Why not add a scoop of protein powder and mix together to get some extra protein in?
Tip: if your bowl is small, there is a risk of the porridge boiling over, so watch it through the window as it gets closer to being cooked.
Chicken enchiladas: Before you go jumping the gun thinking that we’ll be cooking meat in the microwave, you can rest easy as any recipe using meat with be cooked meat. The below recipe makes 6 servings, but divide up the ingredients as necessary; you can easily fit 4-6 enchiladas in an average-sized dish.
250g cooked diced/shredded chicken
425g enchilada sauce
Fillings of choice, e.g. corn, beans, diced peppers
1. Heat the tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds to make them flexible.
2. Layer the microwaveable dish (ideally square shape) with approximately 1/2 cup or 115g enchilada sauce.
3. Mix the chicken, fillings and 1 cup or 225g enchilada sauce until evenly coated.
4. Dip each of the tortillas in the leftover sauce and fill with 2.5 tablespoons of chicken mixture.
5. Roll the filled wraps and place into the dish with the seam side facing downwards.
6. Once all the wraps have been placed in the dish, spread the remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas and sprinkle with cheese.
7. Place the dish in the microwave and cook for 5 – 7 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling, the cheese has melted and the enchiladas are piping hot throughout.
Soup: Whether you’ve gone to the trouble or making your own soup, or just bought some pre-made soup from the supermarket, you can save on time, cleaning and electricity/gas by opting to heat your soup in the microwave instead.
1. Place you soup into a bowl or if you’re cooking it in the container it came in, make sure that it’s microwave-proof.
2. Cook on full power for 3 – 5 minutes, stirring halfway through.
3. Once heated fully throughout, serve and enjoy.
Stew: Similar to soups, stews can also be heated up in the microwave. Did you know that stews often absorb the flavours better when left overnight, which is why they often taste better the next day?
1. Place your stew into a bowl or plate.
2. Microwave for 3 – 5 minutes or until piping hot throughout.
3. Remove and serve.
Fish: Contrary to popular belief, you can in fact cook fish in the microwave. Yes, I was shocked too when I discovered this; I’ll admit I was a little hesitant to try this for fear that it wouldn’t work well, but I did end up with cooked fish at the end. You can try this with white fish, e.g. cod, haddock, whiting and oily fish, e.g. salmon, trout.
1. Place the fish on a microwaveable plate and season on all sides. Suggestions include a sprinkling of salt, paprika and garlic. Some recipes recommend covering with clingfilm or a plate cover.
2. Cook on high power for 8 – 9 minutes, and test for tenderness.
3. Once fully cooked, allow it to stand covered for 5 minutes before serving.
Ready meals: Most of the convenience meals on the market are designed for microwaving. However, did you know that there are certain ones which are designed to be cooked in the oven? This is particularly evident if the meal comes in aluminium foil which, under no circumstances, can be used in a microwave. As a rule of thumb, always read the instructions on the packaging.
Potato: If you’re a fan of baked potatoes but don’t have the time or patience for heating up the oven and waiting 30 minutes plus just to cook one potato, this 10 minute recipe might be your saving grace.
1. Wash and scrub a medium-sized potato. Pierce it with a fork and spray with spraying oil or rub it with 1 teaspoon of oil.
2. Place it on a microwaveable plate in the microwave for 7 – 9 minutes. Check to see if it is cooked by testing how tender it is. If it needs more time, add it in for an extra 1 – 2 minutes.
3. Remove the potato and serve.
Loaded potato: Try cutting the potato in half, fluffing up the insides and topping it with some bacon, cheese, sour cream and salt. You could even place it back in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt the cheese.
Sweet potato: Similar to the humble potato, the sweet potato also lends itself to being microwaved. Instead of a loaded sweet potato, you could opt for sweet potato wedges or fries.
1. Wash and scrub a medium-sized sweet potato. If you don’t like the skin, skip this step and simply peel the skin off.
2. Chop it into wedges or fries and coat with 1 teaspoon of oil or cooking spray and seasoning. Ideas include salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, mixed herbs.
3. Lay evenly on a microwaveable plate and allow sufficient space between each piece of sweet potato.
4. Cook in the microwave for 4 – 6 minutes, turn them over and cook again for an extra few minutes if necessary.
5. Remove and serve.
Vegetables: Frozen vegetables possess many benefits to fresh vegetables, from retaining more nutrients, to being cheaper and let’s not forget how convenient they are. No need for peeling and chopping for what feels like hours on end. To top it off, they’re also easier to cook. While it can’t be denied that fresh vegetables are generally tastier, there’s certainly an argument to be made for opting for frozen veggies.
1. Place the necessary quantity of frozen vegetables into a microwaveable bowl.
2. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of water and cook for 4 – 5 minutes.
3. Check and stir the vegetables. Cook for another 2 – 3 minutes if necessary and serve.
Tip: You may not realise this, but there’s no need to fill the bowl with water, frozen vegetables only need a couple of tablespoons of water.
Chocolate mug cake: A food that is almost as popular as banana bread is the cake in a mug phenomenon. This recipe has everything the healthy/lazy/busy cook needs to satisfy their requirements and cooking skills. All of this for just 120 calories! The most difficult part of this recipe is deciding whether to top it with frozen yoghurt/ice cream, berries and sauce or eat it by itself.
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1.5 tablespoons no-calorie sweetener or ordinary sugar (calories will increase with normal sugar)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coconut or canola oil
1 drop of vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
1. Grease your mug or ramekin with spray oil.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Ensure all lumps are removed.
3. Gently stir in the milk, oil and vanilla and stir until smooth.
4. Place in the microwave for 30 – 35 seconds. Cool for 3 – 4 minutes. The cake will continue to cook when removed from the microwave.
5. Serve with your favourite toppings or sauces.
Chips: Healthy vegetable chips are becoming increasingly popular along with regular homemade potato chips and sweet potato chips. With none of the hydrogenated fats, over half the calories and your choice of flavouring, what’s not to like? Below is a recipe using the traditional potato. So much away without the guilt!
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt to season
1. Wash, scrub and dry a medium-sized potato.
2. Using a mandoline slicer on the thinnest setting, slice the potato into a bowl.
3. Coat the chips in olive oil.
4. Cut some parchment paper to fit your plate of choice.
4. Place the chips on a parchment-lined microwaveable plate in a single layer and season with salt.
5. Microwave for 4 – 5 minutes or until they become crispy. Be careful as they can easily burn.
6. Serve immediately.
Tip: To cut the chips thin enough for them to crisp, you will need a mandoline slicer.
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Popcorn: While store-bought popcorn is convenient, have you noticed that is can be rather high in terms of fat and salt content. Remember the +353 rule for fat, sugar and salt? If the food contains over 3g fat per 100g, over 5g sugar per 100g or over 0.3g salt per 100g, then it’s considered either amber or red on the nutritional traffic light system. Well many of the popcorn bags or microwaveable popcorn packs often rank amber or red in at least 2 of the 3 items in the +353 rule.
People often neglect to realise how simple it is to cook your own popcorn at home, not to mention how much healthier, cheaper and tastier it is. Don’t forget the beautiful smell of fresh popcorn emanating throughout the room! With this quick recipe below, you’ll have healthy popcorn in minutes!
1/4 cup (32g) popcorn kernels
Microwaveable bowl and plate
Seasoning of choice, e.g. salt, chilli flakes, paprika, sugar or cinnamon.
1. Place the popcorn kernels into the bowl and place the plate on top of the bowl. The plate should sit evenly on the bowl so that it doesn’t fall off while cooking. It also needs to form a good seal, otherwise the popcorn won’t cook properly.
2. Place in the microwave and cook for 2.5 – 3 minutes or until most of the kernels have popped.
3. Season with your favourite flavourings.
Tip: The popcorn kernels will almost always have a few unpopped kernels, remove these and use them next time.
If you are short on microwaveable containers, I short-listed the best containers in microwave-safe meal prep containers review. They’re also leak-resistant, which is vital as who really wants to deal with cleaning up curry that leaked into your bag? These are also extremely versatile, so they are suitable for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For those of you who intend to store food for later or cook in bulk, they are also freezer-safe.
- Microwaving is a fast, convenient and healthy way to cook food
- Eggs are excellent types of food that can be microwaved
- Do not microwave boiled eggs or eggs in their shell
- Ensure any materials being used a microwave-proof
- Metal, such as aluminium or tin foil should not be placed in the microwave
What items do you cook in the microwave? Are there any cooking disasters that you’ve encountered while zapping your food? Perhaps there are foods that you think don’t taste as good when microwaved. Please share your thoughts, tips and feedback below!
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Khandjian, S., 2016. Microwave Potato Chips – Sarah Hearts. [online] Sarah Hearts. Available at:
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