20 Microwave Tricks Every Cook Needs to Know

Your microwave can do more than heat up leftovers! Here are a handful of microwave tricks that will change the way you cook.

1 / 20
Microwave tricks - cutting red onions
Photo: Shutterstock

Reduce onion tears

No more crying! Before you chop onions, place the whole onion in the microwave for 45 seconds. By heating the onion before cutting it, you help break down the chemicals that cause your tears.

2 / 20
Microwave tricks - Microwave Oatmeal Bars
Taste of Home

Bake a dessert

Craving something sweet but don’t want to sacrifice time—or wash all the dishes? Use your microwave to make a pan of oatmeal bars. You only need a handful of ingredients and about 10 minutes!

Find out how to make microwave fudge, too!

3 / 20
Microwave tricks - Creamy scrambled eggs with ham
Taste of Home

Cook scrambled eggs

If you’re in a pinch for a quick and delicious breakfast, zap some scrambled eggs. Simply beat two eggs, two tablespoons of milk and a pinch of salt and pepper in a microwave-safe bowl. It only takes a couple minutes to make an easy plate of scrambled eggs.

Here’s expert advice on how to buy the best eggs.

4 / 20
Microwave tricks - Bowl of garlic
Marian Weyo/Shutterstock

Peel garlic

Vampires, beware! Peeling garlic doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Pop a full bulb in the microwave for 20 seconds to soften it, making peeling effortless. The cloves will slide right out of their skins with no mess or sticky, smelly garlic juices.

You’ll wish you knew these brilliant cooking shortcuts sooner!

5 / 20
Microwave tricks - Yeast dough
Olga Markova/Shutterstock

Help bread dough rise

There are few greater joys in life than smelling (and eating!) freshly baked bread. But bread needs a warm place to rise, which can be a tricky feat in the cold-weather months. Here’s a quick fix: Try microwaving a bowl of water for two minutes, then place your bread inside the microwave with the warm bowl of water. Ta da! It’s the perfect condition for your bread to double in size.

Intimidated by homemade bread? These easy bread recipes are perfect for beginners.

6 / 20
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Taste of Home

Make a foamy latte

Fancy a foamy latte? Be your own at-home barista, no frother necessary. Fill a glass jar halfway with milk and microwave for one minute until hot. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously for 30 seconds, pour the milk into a mug, add espresso and enjoy.

The best cup of coffee you’ll ever have is one you can make in your own kitchen—so long as you avoid these common coffee brewing mistakes.

7 / 20
Lime Juice on a vintage background

Squeeze more citrus juice

Get every last drop out of lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits. If a recipe calls for citrus juice, zap the fleshy fruit in the microwave for about 10 to 20 seconds. Then, slice it in half and squeeze away. Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy!

Check out these brilliant ways to hack your kitchen appliances.

8 / 20
Close up of sliced rye bread after freezer.

Revive stale bread

Make that bread good as new. Wrap stale bread in a damp paper towel, place it on a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 10 seconds. You can also put a glass of water in the microwave with the bread for more softness.

Discover another technique to make stale bread delicious again.

9 / 20
assortment of nuts; Shutterstock ID 225173110; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of Home
margouillat photo/Shutterstock

Toast nuts

Nuts are toasted more evenly in the microwave than the oven or skillet. Spread your favourite nuts in a single layer on a plate, then microwave in one-minute intervals, mixing them each minute.

Here are nine microwave problems you’ll regret ignoring.

10 / 20
Cream of the crop veggies
Taste of Home

Steam veggies

Use your microwave to conveniently steam all types of vegetables—broccoli, carrots, asparagus, green beans and even artichoke. You only need some water in a microwave-safe bowl and a microwave-safe plate to cover it all. Delish! Perfectly steamed vegetables.

Find out which foods you’re spoiling by putting in the refrigerator.

11 / 20
Cilantro Beef Tacos
Taste of Home

Make hard taco shells

Magically transform a soft tortilla into a hard taco shell with the help of—you guessed it—your handy microwave. Simply place the tortilla inside a tall, microwave-safe cup, heat it up for about one minute and… hello! A crunchy, crispy taco shell.

Check out the best apps to save money on groceries.

12 / 20
Sweet-N-Spicy Bacon Strips
Taste of Home

Cook crispy bacon

No more splattering bacon fat in the frying pan. With the help of some paper towels and a microwave-safe plate, you’ll be enjoying delicious, crispy bacon in your microwave in no time. Mmm… Bacon.

Everybody loves bacon—but not when it’s underdone or way too crispy! Here’s how to master the art of bacon.

13 / 20
Honey dripping from a wooden honey dipper in a jar on wooden grey rustic background
Eugenia Lucasenco/Shutterstock

Decrystallize honey

Honey that has solidified can be brought back to liquid life. Just uncover the jar and heat on medium power for 30 seconds to one minute. After a quick zap in the microwave, the revived honey is ready to drizzle into tea or over cornbread.

Discover 20 home hacks that’ll save you money.

14 / 20
Homemade potato chips
Taste of Home

Make potato chips

You want to make homemade potato chips. No deep fryer? No problem! Thinly slice a russet potato, drizzle the slices with vegetable oil and salt and lay them out on a microwave-safe dish. Zap ’em for about five minutes until golden and crispy.

Craving cake but don’t have a lot in the pantry? No problem! These easy cake recipes can be made with just a short list of ingredients.

15 / 20
white beans
Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock

Cook beans

Instead of soaking beans in water overnight, place them in a large microwave-safe bowl, completely submerged in water, and heat for about eight to 10 minutes (or until the water is boiling). The beans should be ready to use in an hour or two.

Here are more brilliant cooking shortcuts you’ll wish you’d known sooner.

16 / 20
close view on fresh herbs bunch
marcin jucha/Shutterstock

Dry herbs

Instead of waiting to dry herbs in the oven or hanging them upside-down, microwave them! The electromagnetic radiation of your microwave quickly and efficiently evaporates water from the herbs, preserving the essential oils that give herbs their signature flavours and aromas.

Here’s the real difference between herbs and spices.

17 / 20
BBQ Chicken baked potato
Taste of Home

Bake potatoes

Prick a clean and dry baking potato with a fork. Then, place on a microwave-safe plate and heat for about seven minutes. Once the potato has cooled a bit, cut with a butter knife and top with plenty of cheese, sour cream, chives and butter!

This trick for peeling potatoes is blowing up the Internet.

18 / 20
No-churn gingerbread ice cream
Taste of Home

Soften ice cream and frosting

If your favourite pint of ice cream or jar of frosting is hard as a rock, you can soften it in the microwave without melting it. Remove the lid and heat up in 15-second intervals until the desired softness of your sweet treat is reached.

Here’s how long you can really freeze food.

19 / 20
Three fresh corn cob on wooden table
Oksana Shevchenko/Shutterstock

Make corn on the cob

Corn on the cob in the microwave? We’re all ears! For one or two ears of corn, microwave on high for three minutes. Serve with plenty of butter, salt and pepper. You can also finish the corn on the grill or under the broiler for extra colour and toastiness.

20 / 20
Microwave pickles
Taste of Home

Make pickles

Crunchy pickles are a staple ingredient in Chicago-style hot dogs, burgers and potato salads. Pickled cucumbers have never been easier, thanks to the trusty microwave.

Next, check out the things you should never microwave.

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home

Newsletter Unit