For many, the trusty, old microwave is the staple of the kitchen - a quick and easy way to warm up the leftovers. But that's not all it's good for! This kitchen appliance can do so much more...
For those that love poached eggs but never have the energy to cook them: this genius hack will ensure they're ready in no time! No need for a big deep pan or watching over the eggs carefully like children!
Fill a bowl three-quarters of the way with boiling water and add 1 tsp vinegar. Add a cracked egg and cover with saran wrap. Microwave on high heat for thirty seconds and flip with a spoon. Cover and cook for another fifteen seconds, then remove the egg and drain on a plate with a paper towel - cook longer for a less runny egg.
Peeling garlic cloves is often the most frustrating part of the cooking process. Not only are the skins fidgety to deal with, but they also leave your hands with a strong garlic smell. Luckily, the microwave can come to the rescue, easing the task significantly.
For this legendary microwave cooking hack, just place a whole head of garlic into the appliance on high heat for fifteen to twenty seconds. When it's done, peel like usual. This time, however, the cloves will slip out of their skins with minimal effort and smell!
For anyone looking to dry their herbs in a matter of minutes, the microwave is the easy answer. This kitchen appliance's function is to find moisture and heat it, so it is an excellent tool for herbs. This hack works best for the 'stronger herbs' like rosemary or thyme. Mint or basil might break under the microwave's pressure.
One of the best parts of this trick is that there is almost no preparation time! Wash, dry, and de-stem the herbs, then place them between two pieces of paper towel. Warm them in the microwave on high heat for two to three minutes, flipping them every thirty seconds until they're dry and ready to eat!
For anyone who's saved up tirelessly for the latest at-home coffee machine but can't afford the additional milk frothing accessory, the microwave will come to the rescue! What the local barrister won't tell us is that with a bit of arm strength, frothed milk can be achieved without any particular device.
Fill a glass jar half full with milk, screw the lid back on and shake firmly for thirty seconds. Next, warm it in the microwave for one minute until the milk is hot and the foam has risen to the top. Hold the foam back while pouring in the warm milk, then spoon it to place on top of an espresso. Starbucks who?
Coming in strong as perhaps our most surprising entry on this list is microwave brownies. Take a mug or any microwave-safe bowl and mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon. Next, add oil, water, and vanilla and mix until a smooth, lump-free mixture is achieved.
Heat the mug in the microwave at a high temperature for just under two minutes or until the mixture is cooked through. The toothpick test will work great here to check if it still needs extra time - poke it into the cake, and if it comes out dry, it’s good to go!
Make Edible Bowls
This is undoubtedly one of the more advanced entries on this list, but the microwave can also be a helpful tool in producing more specialty dishes! These edible cheese bowls are sure to impress the guests, who will not believe they were made in a microwave!
Grab two bowls for the molds and spread grated cheese on baking paper in a circle slightly larger than the bowl. Place this on a plate and cook in the microwave on high heat until golden brown. When ready, quickly flip the cheese and parchment over an upturned bowl and then place a second bowl on top. Practice makes perfect!
Bake Potato Chips
All our lives, we've been told that potato chips are not good for us. But if we said there was a way to make a non-fried version of them from home - who could say no to that? Yep, the microwave is back at it again, this time working hard to make some delicious potato chips.
We give fair warning that this hack will require some seriously delicate cutting skills as the potatoes should be sliced to about an eighth of an inch. With the hard part done, arrange them in one layer on a plate and sprinkle vegetable oil and salt. Microwave for three minutes on high heat, flip and repeat.
Cook Corn On The Cob
Corn on the cob no longer needs to be a delicacy reserved for grill nights, as the microwave ensures it can be prepared with minimal effort in a matter of minutes. Take a few ears of corn straight from the bag or store, and place them in the microwave for six minutes in their natural form.
Let them sit for a few minutes, then cut off the stalk. Grab the other side and squeeze them out from the opening. What makes it so easy is that it will take almost all the corn silk with it. Just like that, the corn is hot, crispy, and ready to go! Spread some butter on top and add salt and pepper for extra flavor.
Make Taco Shells
This hack is great to remember for the next taco night. If the shell supply is depleting fast, grab some soft tortilla wraps and head to the microwave. While similar products, tortillas just don't envelope the fillings in the same way. The solution is to harden them in the microwave, molding them into the desired shape.
Take a cup and place the tortilla inside, lining the inside of the cup. Heat in the microwave for one minute and wait patiently for the magic to happen. When the beep goes, take it out and admire the crispy and crunchy hard taco shell in front of you. Fill with whatever innards you want before tucking in.
Juice A Lemon Or Lime
Squeezing a lemon or lime for its juices will usually require severe hand strength. And then, when we're all done and exhausted, we disappointingly notice we have minimal liquid to show for it. Want to get more lemonade from life's lemons? Head to the microwave.
Before beginning to squeeze a lemon or lime, warm it in the microwave for twenty seconds. The heat will work to soften the fruit's membranes which hold the juice firmly in place. When squeezed after, it will more easily come out. An extra tip for softness is to roll it on the counter lightly before warming it!
The majority of us have a love-hate relationship with bacon. Yes, we love the taste which satisfies us at all times of the day, but we simultaneously hate the process of cooking it. With all those grease splatters everywhere and the oily pan, we spend more time cleaning up than eating it. That’s where the microwave comes in.
For this hack, take a microwavable plate and place a paper towel over it. Place strips of bacon on top and then cover with another piece of paper. Not only will this layering trick help to prevent fat splatters all over the microwave, but it will also cook it at rapid speed. One minute per strip later, it’s ready to eat!
Make Caramel Sauce
Like many other dishes, homemade caramel sauce is delicious if made right and disastrous if cooked wrong. After all that time spent watching over the bubbling sugar syrup, there is still the risk of burning it. Of course, the superior microwave has a trick up its sleeve to get it done right without all the fuss.
Whisk together sugar, corn syrup, water, and lemon juice in a microwavable measuring cup. Place in the microwave on high heat for eight minutes and wait for the mixture to golden. Take it out and let it cool and then pour in some cream. Mix in the vanilla and butter, and enjoy!
Yes, the oven may arguably be the best and most delicious way to toast nuts, but we can’t start it up every time we want a few nuts for our cereal or salad. It’s not only time-consuming, but it’s also a serious waste of electricity as it works to heat a few nuts inside. Head to the microwave to get an eco-friendly nut fix.
Take the trusted microwavable plate and spread the nuts around in one layer. Cook them in the microwave for four to eight minutes, opening the door to move them around every sixty seconds. Don’t worry if they’re not turning golden; that’s a feature limited to the oven-toasted version!
This hack may be the microwave’s worst-kept secret, but it’s so good it’s worth repeating, just in case. Yes, vegetables can be steamed in a microwave with incredible results. From broccoli to carrots, from asparagus to even artichoke, there is no vegetable the microwave cannot conquer!
Cut the vegetable up into small bite-size pieces and remove any stalks. Put them in a microwavable bowl and add 2-3 tablespoons of water. Cover the bowl with a suitable lid and microwave on high heat for three to four minutes. Remove the lid carefully and allow the steam to escape. Finish by sprinkling salt and pepper.
Reduce Onion Tears
When an onion's skin is broken, it releases an irritating gas known as propanethial S-oxide. When it comes into contact with the eyes, it will trigger a teary reaction as the eyeballs protect themselves from the chemical by flushing it out with tears.
Unfortunately for us, onions are a crucial ingredient in almost every dish, ensuring constant tears. An alternative solution to eye goggles is the microwave. Cut off the onion tips, put it in a bowl, and microwave it for forty-five seconds. The heat will break down the chemicals and ensure a dry-eye cutting experience.
Double Dough Size
If baking bread were easy, we would all do it! While the smell alone is a tempting motivation, waiting for the dough to rise is a timely process that few people have time for nowadays. Moreover, it requires a warm spot that is hard to find in the winter! Amazingly, the microwave can do the job in a fraction of the time!
Heat a bowl of water in the microwave for two minutes, and then place the covered dough alongside it. With the door shut, the water will continue to steam and create the perfect warm, humid environment for the dough to rise! 30 - 45 minutes later, it should be double the size!
Revive Stale Bread
There's a short window of time when bread has gone hard but is not yet covered in mold. Technically still edible but far from tasty, it often ends up getting thrown in the trash. One of the more magical features of the microwave is its ability to give stale bread a new lease on life.
At this point of its life cycle, bread needs some moisture to be revived, and the microwave can help make this happen. Wrap the bread in a damp paper towel (or put a small glass of water alongside it) and place it on a microwavable plate. Set it on high heat for ten seconds, and watch the bread soften!
Next time the delicious roasted chicken recipe calls for soft honey: Thankfully, we find a jar of honey in the pantry and don't need to run to the store. But one second! It's gone hard after all this time on the shelf. Is it not usable anymore? Don't fret; there is a hack!
The good news is the honey is still good to eat, and the trusty microwave can help yet again as it works to de-crystalize the honey and bring it back to its original soft state. Unscrew the lid and pop it inside the microwave on low power for one minute and thirty seconds.
Beans often get a bad rep for requiring forward thinking in the form of overnight soaking. While that certainly is an electricity-free, natural way to prepare them, there are some quicker, slightly more spontaneous methods. Once again, the microwave is our kitchen appliance of choice.
Take a microwave-safe bowl and pour in the desired amount of beans. Next, fill the bowl with water, ensuring all the beans are fully submerged. Heat them in the microwave for around eight to ten minutes, waiting for the water to boil. Tightly cover the bowl and leave it to stand for one to two hours before eating.
The baked potato may be the simplest of meals, but boy, does it take long to roast in the oven. If the hunger pains are real, the microwave is a great alternative to getting the job done. Although slightly less crispy than its oven counterpart, the potato inside will be just as soft and delicious.
Poke some holes in the potato with a fork to eliminate the chances of any explosions, and pop it into the oven for ten minutes on high heat. At the halfway point, open the door and turn it over. Once it’s ready, there are endless options for toppings. From tuna to cheese, it’s a complete meal in one!
Soften Ice Cream
Is there anything more frustrating than sitting down to watch a movie with all the snacks at the ready and realizing the ice cream is way too hard to eat? No, we don't have to wait impatiently for the frozen treat to defrost on its own; we can take matters into our own hands!
Using just the microwave, that tub of ice cream will be ready-to-eat in an instant! Take off the lid, place the tub on the plate, and set the timer to fifteen seconds. Repeat this process until the dessert has reached the desired softness. Bon Appetit!
Pickles are the perfect salty, savory snack. But when the pickle jar is empty and the craving is real, the microwave will provide a DIY solution. In a big microwavable bowl, combine one medium sliced cucumber, two small sliced onions, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp celery seed, and 1/2 tsp mustard seed.
Place the bowl into the microwave at high heat for three minutes with no cover. After stirring, cook for another two-three minutes or wait until the mixture begins to bubble and the vegetables are crisp-tender. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for four hours.
Not only is quinoa hard to cook correctly, but once we're done and transfer it over to a container, we have the pots and strainers left to clean. The microwave provides a way to cook it from the start in the storage box, easing the process significantly.
Like cooking it in a pot, combine one cup of quinoa with two cups of water in any lidded microwavable container or bowl. If there is no lid, saran wrap can also work as a suitable cover. Cook it in the microwave for fifteen to twenty minutes, stirring it at five-minute intervals.
We've steamed vegetables in the microwave, so why not steam fish as well? For a quick and easy healthy dinner option, try microwaving a delicate fish such as salmon. The best part of this hack is that it's pretty foolproof, requiring minimal preparation and ensuring the fish doesn't overcook.
Place the fish in a shallow bowl, add butter or olive oil and sprinkle any seasonings of choice. Add water to the bowl up to a few inches and cover it with saran wrap. Poke a few holes with a fork for ventilation and place in the microwave on high heat for six to seven minutes.
For anyone craving scrambled eggs but doesn't want to be left with pans to wash, this is the microwave hack to remember. It's also an excellent trick for the office when all that can be found are eggs and a microwave! To start, begin as normal - scrambling one or two eggs in a bowl with milk and seasoning.
Next, pour the mixture into a microwave-proof bowl and cover it tightly. Cook it in the microwave for one minute and thirty seconds on medium heat, stirring twice throughout. When the beeper sounds, allow it to remain there for a few minutes as it will continue to cook to perfection.
Make Pizza In A Mug
When we hear 'at-home pizza,' what comes to mind is either an all-out professional pizza oven or unhealthy defrosted microwave pizza. But there's an excellent in-between option that's quick yet not full of preservatives! We introduce the microwave mug pizza.
As instructed by biggerbolderbaking.com, use any microwavable mug and mix 4 tbsp flour, 1/8 tsp baking powder, 1/16 tsp baking soda, 1/8 tsp salt, 3 tbs milk, and 1 tbs olive oil. Spread marinara sauce on top and add cheese, herbs, and pepperoni. Microwave for 1 minute and 20 seconds or when the toppings begin to bubble.
Baking a batch of cookies in the oven can be a risky venture. As their delicious smell overtakes our sensations, our body feels compelled to eat most of the tray in a matter of minutes. There's just no such thing as one cookie when they look and taste that good! Thankfully, the microwave enables us to make one at a time.
While bigger than a regular cookie, there's at least a clear end point! As a bonus, it also takes a fraction of the time to make. Whisk butter, flour, white sugar, and an egg in a small bowl, and then pat the dough into a flat cookie shape. Place it on a piece of parchment paper and cook for 50 seconds. Let it cool and harden.
Ripen A Banana
Need a banana for a recipe, but none of the ones in the kitchen are ripe enough yet to use? Of course, there's a simple microwave hack! This kitchen appliance can significantly speed up the ripening process, ensuring a banana cake is available on demand!
First things first, poke holes into the banana with a fork. This will ensure the fruit will not explode all over the microwave while it is heating up. Then cook it for one to two minutes, depending on the appliance's strength. When it looks ripe and ready, it's good to go!
Defrost A Chicken
We've all been there. That panicked feeling when we realize we forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer the night before! Despite contrary beliefs, there is a way to defrost it in time and still have the chicken ready for tonight's dinner. Cue the microwave!
Place the chicken on a plate and set the microwave to the defrost setting at a rate of two minutes per pound of chicken. While it is important to cook immediately after defrosting, ensuring the chicken is completely thawed first is also crucial. Use a meat thermometer to check and continue to microwave if needed.
With all these newfound abilities, the microwave is sure to be overworked, with various splatters and messes to prove it. In full meta-form, there is, of course, a chemical-free, quick microwave hack to clean the microwave as it is essentially a self-cleaning device.
Place a bowl of sliced lemons and water inside the microwave on high heat for five minutes. As it dislodges all the dirt stuck to the sides, it will then be easy to wipe away with no harsh scrubbing required. Sparkling clean and ready to mess-up all over again!