Practical hints in using microwave oven

Lesson 5 : Methods of Food Preparation

Practical hints in using microwave oven

  • Do not use the oven for home canning or the heating of any closed jar. Pressure will build up and the jar may explode.
  • Small quantities of food or foods with low moisture content can dry out, burn or catch on fire.
  • Do not dry meats, herbs, fruits, and vegetables in the oven.
  • Do not attempt to deep fry in microwave oven. Cooking oils may burst into flames. Microwave utensils may not be able to withstand the temperature of the hot oil and could shatter.
  • Do not heat eggs in their shell in microwave oven. Pressure will build up and the eggs will explode.
  • Potatoes, apples, egg yolks and whole vegetables must be pierced before microwave –cooking to prevent bursting.
  • Over cooking of vegetables like potatoes cause dehydration and fire.
  • Heated liquids can erupt if not mixed with air. Do not heat liquids in microwave oven without first stirring.
  • Do not use paper towels or clothes which contain a synthetic fibre woven in to them. The synthetic fibre may cause the towel to ignite.
  • Do not use paper bags or recycled paper products in the microwave oven.
  • Do not heat narrow mouthed containers as the liquid boil over even after cooking has stopped.
  • Do not leave open unattended while in use.
  • Both bone and fat affect cooking. Bones may cause irregular cooking. Meat next to the tips of bones may overcook while meat positioned under a large bone such as a ham bone may be undercooked. Large amounts of fat absorb microwave energy and the meat next to these areas may get over cooked.
  • If the food is wrapped, the wrapper should be perforated or otherwise allow for steam to escape to prevent it from bursting.
  • As the quantity of the food increases so does the cooking time. Place thin parts towards the centre of the dish and thick pieces towards the edge. Thin pieces cook more quickly than thick pieces.
  • For even cooking place in the oven equal distances apart. When possible, arrange foods in a circular pattern.
  • When removing plastic wrap covers, as well as any glass lids, be careful to remove them away from you to avoid steam burns.
  • Less tender cuts should be cooked in liquid.


  • Microwave ovens cook many foods in about 1/4th of the time necessary on a gas burner. There is no wastage of energy.
  • It saves time in heating frozen foods. Thawing can be done in minutes or seconds.
  • Only the food is heated during cooking. The oven or the utensil does not get heated except under prolonged heating periods.
  • Flavour and texture do not change when reheated in a microwave oven.
  • Loss of nutrients is minimised. Β-carotene and vitamin C are better retained by microwave cooking compared to pressure cooking and saucepan cooking.
  • After cooking in a microwave oven, washing dishes is much easier as food does not stick to the sides of the vessels.
  • Food gets cooked uniformly.
  • Preserves the natural colour of vegetables and fruits.
  • No fat or low fat cooking can be made.


  • Due to short period of cooking food does not become brown unless the microwave has a browning unit.
  • It is not possible to make chapatti or tandoori roti in it. It cannot cook soft or hard boiled eggs. Deep frying necessary for puris, jalebis, pakoda, vadas cannot be done in it.
  • Sometimes unwanted chemicals migrate to food from plastic cookware or food packages. Only “microwave safe” should be used.
  • The short cooking time may not give a chance of blending of flavours as in conventional methods.
  • The operator should be careful in operating the microwave oven since any exposure to microwave oven causes physiological abnormalities.
  • If the food is greater than 80mm the central portion is out of range of the microwave radiationand will only heat by the normal slow process of conduction. It will be relatively uncooked while the exterior accessible to microwave is cooked in minutes or seconds.
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Last modified: Wednesday, 7 December 2011, 1:27 PM